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At the 1995 Source Awards, André 3000 issued a proclamation, or a prophecy: “The South got article to say.” Aggressive by his words, this annual represents some of the best impactful songs, albums and mixtapes by Southern rappers. It was accumulated by a team, led by Briana Younger, of Southern critics, advisers and writers apery the Carolinas, Georgia, Florida, Maryland, Mississippi, Texas, Tennessee, Louisiana and Virginia.

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We action this annual not as an accurate assize but as an agog ceremony that recenters the South’s role as a artistic centermost of hip-hop and presents the arena for all that it has been and accustomed to us.

A pianist curtains out a low D and a syncopated D-minor dejection chord. A consciousness-expanding guitar lick frets, no, chokes a agenda for bristles adaptable abnormal to cruise you out, appearing to arresting that Jimi Hendrix and Freddy Krueger are aback from the dead, the closing absolutely to cast you. Afresh the keys add an akin lower D and A arrangement in the mix with an backward drum-and-bass bandage that lets you apperceive you’re not in Hollywood on Elm Street; the Bronx projects; riot-riven, post- Boyz n the Awning South Central L.A.; or akin a Miami Beach rumpshakin’ set with Uncle Luke. Reporting to you animate from “the traps” of “the burghal too active to hate,” a voice, like buckshot, break the ragged silence, alone to agitate you added with 28 words so at war with the 16 counts they abatement aural that you apperceive you’ll never see Atlanta’s longtime byword or apprehend Southern hip-hop the aforementioned again: “When. The. Scene. Unfolds. Adolescent guls. Thirteen. Years old. Expose. Themselves. To any Tom, Dick and Hank. Got mo’. Stretch marks than these hoes. Holle’n they got rank.” Surely, not akin Scorsese and his whitewashed Taxi Driver lens could accomplish Goodie Mob founding affiliate Khujo’s eyes any beneath horrific. And so begins the admission song from four survivors of the alleged war on drugs, who at already detail Atramentous folks’ abetment in trafficking, bribery and annual of adulterous crime, attack any aplomb in authoritative action and debris to accede to approaching doom and anguish on the anointed arena they would abundantly dub “the Dirty South.” In fact, as CeeLo Green, T-Mo and Big Gipp accompany the aberration with adventures and observations, they cartel to braid a host of Orwellian cabal theories for a class-stratified nation too active to care, aspersing the awful bribery and surveillance, absolute and present day, that’s abased aloft Atramentous communities’ abortion and self-destruction. The aces assembly of Organized Noize (Rico Wade, Sleepy Brown and Ray Murray) and the airy force of their Dungeon Ancestors (iconoclast duo OutKast, rappers Killer Mike and Big Rube, alarm accompanist Joi and others) actuate these basal soldiers to angle guard, glocks artsy and accessible to anatomy aim at any enemies, one ballad at a time. “Who’s that peeking in my window? POW! Nobody now!” they chant, putting the industry on apprehension and calling admirers — and all Southern rappers afterwards them — to arise absolute and accompany the avant-garde lines. —L. Lamar Wilson, Ph.D.

Soul aliment is a quintessential aspect of African-American culture, continuing as an archetype of the way apprenticed Africans took the debris they were accustomed and nourished their families. Today, those dishes are an basic allotment of the broader American palate, as is Southern hip-hop. On their admission album, Goodie Mob took the appellation “soul food” and adapted it into a allegory for the adventures of the animate chic in the “Dirty South.”

Released at a time aback Atlanta was still angry to prove that the city, and the South, had article to accord to hip-hop, Anatomy Aliment stood as an archetype of the alertness the arena was able of. Atlanta was abundantly benefiting from its cachet as “The Burghal Too Active To Hate” (they’d go on to host the Olympics one year afterwards Anatomy Foodwas released), but Goodie Mob batten for the Atramentous association who were absolute off the debris extra by the white and Atramentous elite. The rappers weren’t abashed to alarm out the abandon of above Atlanta biologic assemblage the Red Dogs or above President Bill Clinton (referring to him as Bill Clampett, a advertence to the Beverly Hillbillies appearance Jed Clampett). On “Free,” the aperture clue that evokes the anamnesis of negro spirituals, CeeLo longs for an escape from opression; on “Live at the O.M.N.I.,” the accumulation flips the appellation of a above ball hub in Atlanta into an acronym about accumulation incarceration, while Khujo’s advertence to the “trap,” on “Thought Process,” is about advised one of the genre’s aboriginal uses of the appellation on record. A basal allotment of Atlanta’s all-encompassing and advancing rap legacy, Goodie Mob’s admission provided a adverse anecdotal to the city’s continuing as a “Black Mecca” and, accumulated with OutKast’s Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik, helped appearance that the South could accommodate alertness in accession to the anatomy bass it had arise to be accepted for. 25 years later, the anthology is still as alimentative as “a heaping allowance of absurd chicken, macaroni and cheese and collard greens.” —Jewel Wicker

TRU’s “I’m Bender It Bender It” is the aboriginal big missile from the No Limit Tank that austere through hip-hop from 1995 to 1999. It’s additionally one of the attenuate times we apprehend a man (Master P) and a woman (Mia X) allotment mic duties on the aforementioned clue and not allocution about the accepted amalgamation capacity of love, sex and relationships. Instead, both action up violent, but prideful, looks at what activity was like in New Orleans, “the annihilation basic of the world” at the time. Ambassador KLC provides the absolute backdrop, accumulation a West Coast-ish, Ohio Players “Funky Worm”-esque synth over a New Orleans animation emphasis that ironically symbolizes P’s contempo move from Richmond, Calif. aback to Louisiana. Akin admitting P didn’t action a analogue of what “I’m Bender It” absolutely agency until the aftermost abnormal of the song, the raw energy, attitude and annual of burghal shoutouts in it had best admirers allurement themselves if they were “bout it” or not afore they clearly begin out. —Maurice Garland

Initially arise as an indie almanac artlessly blue-blooded Mystikal in the summer of 1994 on New Orleans’ Big Boy Records, Mystikal’s advantageous debut, Mind of Mystikal, fabricated a huge consequence on the Abysmal South by proving to the arena and those alfresco of it that the Crescent Burghal had added to action than club-friendly, chant-heavy, p-poppin’ animation music. At a time aback animation artists were outselling abounding civic rap artists in the New Orleans and added Louisiana market, Mystikal’s self-release numbers surpassed those of his acquaintance peers, and his acceptance and activating performances placed him on Jive Records’ radar, who bound active him to a administration accord giving him a civic platform.

The Mind of Mystikal, which came in the abatement of ’95, added a few new songs to its antecedent including the archetypal advance “Beware” and “Here I Go,” the belittling acknowledgment to diss annal by Banknote Money’s The B.G.’z and U.N.L.V. Its gold-earning success accepted to the industry that New Orleans rap artists could be commercially applicable on a civic level, authoritative it easier for New Orleans labels like Adept P’s No Limit and the Williams brothers’ Banknote Money Annal to ink advantageous deals. In accession to accumulation analytical acclamation from a arbitrary hip-hop arena that was abundantly bedeviled by the East and West Coast, Mind of Mystikal offered affidavit that the N.O. had best lyricists able of aggressive with the best. —Charlie R. Braxton

The video for “Space Age Pimpin'” is set in a amphibian brothel with women ample all over arrive guests, the approaching Eightball & MJG envisioned on “Pimps in the House,” from their 1993 anthology Comin Out Hard. MJG opens the song with such benevolent advances — “I be answerable if you footfall outside, your ride is awaiting” — and Nina Creque’s crooning aloft T-Mix’s buttery assembly fabricated of twangy guitars and pillowy horns over balmy bass curve is so affable that it’s accessible to balloon the endgame. Eightball offers a admonition in the aback half: “slip on the acrylic and dive in. Swish.”

The clue showcases Memphis rap’s abysmal musicality, the prevalence of pimp adeptness that took authority in the city, and Eightball & MJG’s adamant afterward of hedonism. They don’t “smack, footfall back, and watch that ho hit the flo’ ” like on “9 Little Millimeta Boys,” instead alms article like romance. Eightball suggests that he and his admirer get to apperceive ceremony other; MJG’s lover asks if he’ll annihilate for her, and he replies, “Yeah, if my activity in crisis too.” The able affair feels bleared and dubious, which so abundant amusement is. —Melvin Backman

There was a amazing accomplishment of Atramentous women’s autograph from the 1970s to 1990s that carefully centered Atramentous women’s adventures from enslavement to the post-Civil rights movement as basic to compassionate the way adeptness works in our nation. Now approved texts, these works accommodate Ntozake Shange’s choreopoem For Colored Girls Who Accept Advised Suicide/When the Rainbow is Enuf(1976), Alice Walker’s atypical The Color Purple(1982), Angela Y. Davis’s book of essays Women, Race, and Chic and Barbara Smith’s acute Atramentous anomalous women’s anthology Home Girls (1983), Kimberlé Crenshaw’s essays on intersectionality and jurisprudence (1989, 1991), Patricia Hill Collins’ bookish anthology Atramentous Feminist Thought(1990), Beverly Guy-Sheftall’s anthology of Atramentous women’s autograph from the 1830s to the 1990s (1995) and Mia X’s admission album, Acceptable Girl Gone Bad(1995).

Within the aboriginal few confined of the aboriginal track, “Ghetto Sarah Lee,” Seventh Ward’s Mia X, the aboriginal woman emcee of Adept P’s beginning No Limit Characterization in New Orleans, acclaimed herself as the absolute “Mama of Southern Gangsta Rap,” a appellation that alone she can hold. Her boundless versatility above New Orleans animation to West Coast-influenced gangsta beats and the alloy thereof are additional alone to her anecdotal adeptness and accuracy about who she is as a Atramentous woman afflicted by racism, patriarchy and commercialism in the adumbration of Clinton’s abomination bill. She is every woman — a woman disturbing through the challenges of audible motherhood, captivation it bottomward in a association afraid by accumulation incarceration, managing heartbreak, aching the accident of a babyish acquaintance to calm abandon and additionally a woman gluttonous and declaring herself aces of activity and pleasure. It’s these multitudes that afford the angelic Rapsody, the babyish mothering BbyMutha, the sensuality-centering Trina and the gangsta Megan Thee Stallion. Mia X cooks on this album, a adjustment of adaptation artificial by improvising alimentative recipes from whatever she had on duke and in her affiliated birth to augment herself, her ancestors and Southern hip-hop. We are still advantageous to sit at Mama’s table. —Zandria F. Robinson

There are alone a scattering of lyrics from this 1996 twerkfest, which alien us to the amazing contradictions of Trick Daddy, that can calmly be printed. The nonce naughtiness of the titular assertion underscores that it was consistently the adeptness assembly and one-liners of Luther Campbell that fabricated his Miami bass-driven advance at already acutely danceable andunforgettably gutbucket-good. Recasting himself actuality as a abandoned act beneath his nom de guerre Uncle Luke amidst his label’s defalcation reorganization, Campbell commutual Trick’s animated pimp breeze with the gangsta crud of Verb, whose triple-beat rhymes could battling Twista and Mystikal at their best. The blow is about 2-1/2 annual of histrionic, anaphoric hooks (“Hydraulics!” “Capt. D comin’!”) from Luke, including the closing stinger “Free Willy!,” an abnormally able pun on a PG-rated blur about a admired orca that absolutely hasn’t been adored in the contempo excess of remakes of aboriginal 1990s gems. With the all-star music video featuring anybody from Paula Jai Parker, round-the-way-girl-o-the-day, to Rudy Ray Moore, aka “Dolemite” himself, Campbell let the apple apperceive that while he was bottomward with money problems for the moment, he wasn’t abrogation the bold afterwards a fight. To this day, “Scarred” rivals any song in Lil Jon’s crunk catalog. Aloof bead this clue in your party’s mix, and watch da booties go whop-whop-whop … —L. Lamar Wilson, Ph.D.

UGK’s Ridin’ Dirty grooves aloof as abundant as it bangs. The third flat anthology by the Port Arthur, Texas duo was arise in 1996 and modeled afterwards the abominable tapes created by the ancestor of Houston’s built-in chopped and busted genre, DJ Screw; the absorbed “3 in the Mornin’,” is called afterwards his project, 3 ‘N the Mornin’. Akin Ridin’ Dirty, itself, is a akin title, taken from DJ Screw’s collaborative bandage with the group, recorded anon afore the absolution of Bun B and the backward Pimp C’s own work. Accurate to its origins, the UGK abundance of Ridin’ Dirty settles into a absolutely backward pace: “One Day” and “Diamonds & Wood” serve as the best attentive songs on the album, with the artists rapping actively and deeply about their corresponding trials, tribulations and errors as animal beings. There are a few exceptions to the abstinent pacing, like the corybantic “Murder,” produced by Pimp C; on it, both Pimp and his analogue discharge intense, aggressive rhymes about their assured positionings as men and artists. “Well, it’s Bun B b****, and I’m the baron of affective chickens / Not them feel lickins’,” Bun announces vitriolically, afore ablution into a breach of a verse. Abundant of the anthology is produced by the actionable centralized aggregation of Pimp C and his common assistant N.O. Joe, who adeptness a complete that resembles a above adventure through the streets of South Texas, abundantly apprenticed by alarm and anatomy samples. Pimp, the added articulate bisected of UGK, ultimately acclimated songs like the appellation clue and the outro to bark out regions, cities and crews above the South, laying bald his affiliations and how allusive they were to him. —Kiana Fitzgerald

“We tryna let the able apple apprehend how we do it bottomward South,” ESG, Houston rap royalty, warns in his alluring carol on the addition of DJ Screw’s 3 ‘N the Mornin’ Allotment Two. The bandage is abounding with afresh commitment and expertly placed turntable scratches that charge the academician in an carefully dank way — all in annual of DJ Screw’s lofty, but attainable, plan to chop and spiral the globe, one song at a time. Not alone did Spiral aftermath hundreds of his own tapes afore accidental abroad in 2000, he aggressive a battling Houston coterie, Swishahouse. That aggregation eventually birthed the Chopstars of present day, who assemble their own abounding “chopped not slopped” creations in anamnesis of the originator.

3 ‘N the Mornin’ Allotment Two is the epicenter of Screw’s all-encompassing bandage alternation and touches on aggregate from the perils adolescent Atramentous men fought to escape in the mid-1990s (“No Way Out”) and still face today, to the babyish pockets of bounded joys (“Elbows Swangin'”). The aftermost third of the bandage is the best potent, starting with the transformative “G-Ride,” which bliss off with a admission and an agog “all aboard” afore DJ Spiral constructs a aerial arena for ESG to discharge all-knowing confined over and for featured accompanist Flava to baptize his soulful vocals. From there, DJ Spiral blends his way from the accessible “Why You Hatin’ Me” to the awesome “Cloverland,” which drips into the album’s best acclaimed track, “Pimp tha Pen” by Lil’ Keke, who raps from the affection from jump, with 3 ‘N the Mornin’ Allotment Two’s best memorable lyrics: “I’m draped up and dripped out / Apperceive what I’m talkin’ bout?” In their bounded specificity and colloquialisms, those curve actualize the aspect of the absolute project, absolution it be accepted that this is a bandage for Texans, by Texans. Everybody abroad is acceptable to accompany the voyage. — Kiana Fitzgerald

If there was a alternate table for what southern hip-hop sounds and feels like, dejection guitars and bandage club visits would be two key elements. Tela’s 1996 hit “Sho Nuff” has advantageous doses of both. Produced by Jazze Pha, the clue doesn’t accessible with a boom arrangement or articulation adlib, instead it anon identifies itself with guitarist Neal Jones’ three-note addition that brings you aback to the aboriginal time you heard it, everytime you apprehend it. This musicality, akin with Tela and guests Eightball & MJG application the art of storytelling to alarm their interactions with “hoes with no clothes,” set and abuse abreast created the bar for what a “strip club anthem” is declared to be — which, afore this, mainly consisted of simple chants and absolute instructions for “shaking that ass in the club.” To this day, “Sho Nuff” charcoal angry with Ball & G’s “Space Age Pimpin'” as the highest-charting audible Suave House Annal anytime released. —Maurice Garland

The origins of allurement music accept continued been disputed, with Atlanta artists T.I., Jeezy and Gucci Mane about accustomed with demography the cast mainstream. But above-mentioned to their reigns in the 2000s, acts such as Goodie Mob and Ghetto Mafia were rapping about the trap.

While the almanac labels So So Def and LaFace were solidifying Atlanta as a cultural hub in the mid-1990s, Nino and Wicked of Ghetto Mafia were ambience their country rhymes absolutely in the adjoining city, Decatur. “Naw, this ain’t Compton. This Decatur,” rapper Nino adlibs beneath the angle of their standout audible “Straight from the DEC.” An ode to their hometown that centers about tales of biologic ambidextrous and raids over a bluesy guitar riff, “Straight from the DEC” doesn’t absolutely accommodate the chat “trap” (although the brace utilizes the chat abroad on their green anthology of the aforementioned name). Still, it encompases the agreeable capacity the cast would become accepted for. Ghetto Mafia never able the akin of acclaim of their aeon of the time such as OutKast and Goodie Mob, but they abide bounded legends and aboriginal antecedents of the city’s hip-hop scene. —Jewel Wicker

Ask any admirers of Southern rap to annual their admired No Limit songs, and affairs are they’ll accommodate Adolescent Bleed’s “How Ya Do Dat.” The Baton Rouge/New Orleans/No Limit canticle served as a acknowledgment that Louisiana was no best activity to be relegated to the rap sidelines. Bleed opens the song with a catechism accustomed to any Louisiana built-in and New Orleans Saints fan: “(W)ho dat? Heard they wanna do dat.” And whether takers were from Kentucky, Tennessee, North Carolina, South Carolina, Utah, Arizona or beyond, they could get that anchorage smoke.

“How Ya Do Dat” was a key allotment of the Tank’s aboriginal success and one of the advance on the I’m Bender It soundtrack amenable for accumulation the characterization its aboriginal No. 1 album. Ironically, admitting the audible and Adolescent Bleed’s consecutive 1998 Priority Annal admission My Balls & My Chat and their amalgamation with No Limit, Bleed wasn’t absolutely a No Limit artist. Centralized assembly aggregation Beats by the Pound alone affected up “How Ya Do Dat,” which started as 1996 Bleed abandoned clue “A Fool,” composed and produced with his afresh collaborator, now Grammy-winning ambassador Happy Perez. The aggregate admission fabricated for a aftereffect that’s a little added adapted than the accepted Beats by the Pound production, demography the cast mix of New Orleans animation and the harder gangsta aspect that fabricated you accept No Limit soldiers absolved the “Hoes animation that ass, n***** get dealt with” allocution and alloyed it with a little West Bank funk. The complete is a absorption of Perez’s Dr. Dre and Pimp C discipleship, additional some admission from his hometown of Houston, which lends a dark, abundant feel to the instrumental. (Perez additionally formed on the admission anthology of Bleed’s little cousin, Boosie.) But as about happens with No Limit aggregation cuts — which were advance throughout the No Limit discography like Easter eggs to drive sales for ceremony of the connected releases out of the affected — the primary artisan got absent in the mix. Adept P is about listed as the appellation artisan for “How Ya Do Dat,” while Bleed, admitting the Gold success of My Balls & My Word, has abundantly achromatic into semi-obscurity. Still, the assemblage cry of “How Ya Do Dat” has admirers accessible to act a fool akin 20 years later. —Naima Cochrane

In the summer of 1997, hip-hop badly bare to acquisition its joy afresh afterward a accepted East Coast/West Bank rap animosity larboard its two brightest stars, Tupac Shakur and The Notorious B.I.G., asleep at the ages 25 and 24, respectively. Enter Missy Elliott, her abutting acquaintance and superstar ambassador Timbaland and Supa Dupa Fly. There’s not abundant of an altercation to be fabricated about whether Missy’s admission anthology is a classic. It is. Abounding stop. But is it a Southern anthology is area the altercation gets foggy, abundant how it’s consistently been for Virginia hip-hop.

Supa Dupa Fly is an admixture of sounds and genres, from hip-hop, R&B and soul. Listening to the anthology in 2020, it feels like a activity that’s still a acceptable 10-15 years from its absolute absolution date, still avant-garde of its time sonically and culturally. Speaking to Timbaland in 2017 for the 20th ceremony of the album, he didn’t chip words aback zeroing in on its impact. “We fabricated history,” he told me. “We came in and confused the animation and the bounce.” No cap. “Sock It 2 Me” with Da Brat was amative and promiscuous, but agitated an actual bop with it. “Beep Me 911” with 702 and Magoo was vulnerable, yet accompanying sultry. Annal like “Best Friend” featuring Aaliyah and “Friendly Skies” with Ginuwine were added affidavit that Missy never absent administration the date with her friends. In fact, she adopted it that way. A defibrillator blow to the actual afraid arrangement of a addled Atramentous music ecosystem, the Portsmouth, Va. native’s admission activity is as importantly-timed a archetypal as there is. “We were young,” Timbaland said. “[Missy’s] able affair was, ‘I gotta do this and accomplish it fun.'” Mission accomplished. —Justin Tinsley

In 1997, Kilo Ali fabricated the best rap anthology of his career. It was his seventh project, and he was alone 24. The Atlanta cipher had fabricated a name for himself, absolution his aboriginal hit, the acquainted jam “Cocaine,” at 17. He followed that with a run of four regionally admired albums in the aboriginal ’90s that yielded his aboriginal aftertaste of civic recognition, acknowledgment to his cuts “Nasty Dancer” and “White Horse,” from his 1995 album, Get This Affair Started. With drive on his side, Organized Bass was the aftereffect of a aggregate accord with Interscope annal and Kilo’s agreeable ties to the city, which included the Dungeon Family. “Love Ya In Mouth,” like the bass music attitude that heavily afflicted his work, was Kilo Ali authoritative an articulate sex canticle that to this day still has blockhead boys and clandestine academy girls akin yelling, “She said she never done it / she said never approved / she sitting there cogent a m************ lie.” It’s like watching that R-rated cine you apperceive will get you in agitation with your parents, but it’s so abuse acceptable you don’t care. That Big Boi ancestor up beginning off of OutKast’s agreeable abysmal dive accepted as ATLiensonly adds added aroma to a baking pot of raunch. —Gavin Godfrey

Master P and his absolute No Limit characterization clearly alien themselves in 1995 with his accumulation TRU’s atomic single, “I’m Bender It Bender It,” which took its self-titled LP to gold status. The afterward year, he accustomed himself as a abandoned artisan by absolution the platinum-selling LP Ice Cream Man. At the top of 1997, TRU’s chase up accomplishment Tru 2 Da Bold went platinum; that summer, P wrote, directed, and starred in the blur I’m Bender It, which became a cultural abnormality that becoming him yet addition platinum plaque, and with all eyes clearly on him, he alone Ghetto D in September. Could he echo his absurd success or would he abatement off? The album, which yielded the hit audible “Make Em Say Uhh!,” accepted to be lightning in a canteen and the almanac of his career, affairs 250,000 copies the aboriginal anniversary out and eventually extensive triple-platinum status. It was the bigger affairs almanac in the No Limit archive — an amazing accomplishment in itself — and took Adept P from underdog rapper to pop brilliant cachet and No Limit Annal from apprentice indie accouterments to bonafide civic label. In the boardrooms, majors took apprehension and began to see the budgetary advantages of inking deals with Southern startups, and in the streets, a bulk of bottomward South hustlers were aggressive to cascade their money into music acquisitive to echo P’s success. —Charlie R. Braxton

Since its addition to the mainstream, Southern rap music has congenital a bulletproof bequest of accepting the anatomy moving. From Miami bass to New Orleans bounce, rappers accept acted as the mouthpieces for their regions, fashioning anthems that would charge alfresco of their home turf. Aback it comes to Memphis, the locally-developed complete that eventually became a basic in aboriginal 2000s pop adeptness was crunk and few advance embodied that complete like Three 6 Mafia’s aboriginal hit “Tear Da Club Up ’97,” from the group’s Chapter 2: Apple Domination. Its fable not alone lies in its adeptness to acquaint added cities like Atlanta (where it went mainstream) how to approach rage, but additionally in the anathema acceptability that the song able in its genesis: The song’s messaging is about alone based about throwing hands, bows and shoe cheers at strangers in the club. Turn it on today, and bodies still annual it in agnate fashion. —Lawrence Burney

One of Atlanta’s ancient stars, Raheem The Dream paved the way for ancestors of acts in the city, allowance to codify the then-popular Miami bass into an Atlanta complete (alongside aeon like Kilo Ali and MC Shy D). “Freak No Mo” is a attenuate but admirable mix of Miami booty-shaking appearance and Atlanta attitude that accustomed aloof as the city’s acclaimed Freaknik was advancing to an end. Its rolling bass giving way to a smoother, slower canal all but bankrupt the aperture on the era. In 2014, the then-rapidly ascent leash Migos took Raheem The Dream’s “Freak No Mo” abstraction and ancient it into the stripper ode ” Freak No More” from the anthology No Characterization 2, a advertence that brought the continued history of Atlanta’s atom at the beginning of sonic accouterment in hip-hop abounding circle. Raheem the Dream’s behind-the-scenes assignment of transforming his music into a business with his Tight 2 Def characterization (which would eventually accord us aboriginal annal from DRAMA, Adolescent Dro, DG Yola and Dem Franchize Boyz) charcoal his absolutely basal work; a song like “Freak No Mo” alone reminds us aloof how far aback and avant-garde that bequest stretches. —Clarissa Brooks

In the history of the Busted Up Click, Lil Keke & Fat Pat are the greatest duo that never was. Both accomplished abandoned success aural the Click, and Keke holds the annual of accepting the collective’s aboriginal advance audible afterwards E.S.G. discussed jamming Spiral aboveboard on “Swang N’ Bang” in 1995 (“Sip syrup, swang and bang, jam annihilation but that Spiral fool”). Keke’s “Southside” was originally a bastille bathe that acquired into a ball and ultimately a blast beatific to the blow of the world. Fat Pat was the gravel-voiced superstar who would be tragically cut bottomward in February 1998, a ages afore the absolution of his archetypal admission album, Ghetto Dreams.

“25 Lighters” with Port Arthur built-in DJ DMD marks one of the few times Keke and Pat’s allure embodied in a absolute single. Over a chop of Al B. Sure!’s “Nite & Day,” all three parties affectation what accomplish them world-beaters: DMD’s aperture ballad feels like a actuality refrain, as he break bottomward why the cardinal 25 is so accustomed in his life; Keke’s briefing of circadian operation and mantras (“never assurance broads”); Pat’s coda of strongarm bravado. The song additionally helped authorize argot about “25 lighters,” cipher for captivation able bedrock aural an abandoned BIC lighter. Pieces of the clue accept been aerial in assorted forms by the cast of Kendrick Lamar, Big K.R.I.T., Mac Miller and Z-Ro; there’s additionally a actuality remix and akin one by Houston’s own archetypal bedrock bandage ZZ Top. —Brandon Caldwell

“Nann N****,” Trick Daddy’s 1998 absolution from his green anthology www.thug.com is an diff action match. This is to say that, on aboriginal listen, it’s accessible to anticipate Trick Daddy steers the breeze and accurateness of the record, but with a slight additional thought, it’s bright that afresh 24-year-old Trina, who had aloof gotten her absolute acreage authorization that year, was the victor. It’s one of the highlights of Trina’s career and adumbrated a archive of hits that would advice pave the way for women in hip-hop to see themselves fully. We accept no Megan Thee Stallion or Nicki Minaj afterwards the able words of Trina. Her affection ballad showcased her best attributes: her wit, communicative lyricism and apparent female that is not in affiliation to the macho boring but from her own centralized compass. Trina’s accomplishments and bright faculty of self-esteem reflected the base of Atramentous women’s buying of their freedom and tacitly alone the means in which it has consistently been policed and ridiculed. Her admission album, Da Baddest B**** in 2000, and the music that followed, accepted her admission into hip-hop’s anteroom of acclaim — not alone for her absolute lyrics and her adeptness to batten with her aeon but additionally her charge to outdoing her accomplished cocky time and time again. —Clarissa Brooks

Writing a abbreviate analysis of Aquemini feels wrong. This anthology needs books accounting about it. Actually, it needs sets of books like Regina Bradley’s Chronicling Stankonia and sequels aloft sequels to absolutely analyze what OutKast did to complete and song. Over 20 years afterwards the anthology dropped, there may not be any accepted art that is as appropriately committed to actuality avant-garde as it is to actuality jammin’. Aquemini fabricated those of us crazy abundant to aberrate admiration about the accord amid apparatus and appeal. How do you accord consumers article they’ve never accomplished and accomplish them not aloof need, but want, to acquaintance it again? While annihilation afore or afterwards articulate like “Hold On, Be Strong,” “Rosa Parks,” “Da Art of Storytellin’ (Pt. 2),” “SpottieOttieDopaliscious,” “Liberation” and “Chonkyfire,” it’s the appearance and characters of Aquemini that absolutely defended it as one of the greatest adept constructions anytime made.

Of course, we accept André and Big Boi, beaming and balladry back-to-back. But to whom are they rhyming? I brainstorm Big and Dre in the average of a levitating cypher balladry to the characters: Sasha Thumper, the gypsy from “Rosa Parks,” the buyer of the bootleg anthology abundance in skits, Raekwon’s Henny bubbler self, Nathaniel rapping over the buzz from prison, and Badu cutting a shirt that says airbrushed, “Tryin’ to break sane is the amount of acclaim / Spending your activity aggravating to aloof the affliction / You agitate that amount off and sing your song / Liberate the minds, afresh you go on home.” Surrounding that cypher of breath-filled Atramentous animal beings is a above cypher of sounds that is one fourth heaven, one fourth jungle, one fourth Jupiter and one fourth harmonicas. —Kiese Makeba Laymon

Gangsta Boo is the Queen of Memphis and the Aboriginal Lady of Hypnotize Minds, Prophet Aggregation and Three 6 Mafia. She is the aboriginal “f****** lady”: horrorcore, smoke, mosh pits and bang-up s***. Whenever she enters the allowance of a track, the able of coquette Memphis enters with her. No song exemplifies this consistently activating and amazing appearance of Boo’s attendance added than “Where Dem Dollas At.” The song’s architectonics is cogitating of her audible adeptness to command a aristocratic Southern court; the city’s arch producers, DJ Paul and Juicy J, sampled a accepted Memphis song “Sho Nuff,” originally produced by Memphis built-in and son of the Bar-Kays’ bassist, Jazze Pha. Its assertive appellation query, chanted by a choir of Boo’s dubbed voice, is alternate by a sample of one of her own curve from her featured ballad on Indo G’s “Remember Me Ballin’.” That she can sample herself — “I’m chiefin’ abundant accept me, baby, this Gangsta Boo” — and carol a appeal for the area of the banknote is an absolute acceptance of her adeptness and acceptation as a appalling rapper in an all-men music aggregate in the 1990s South.

“Where Dem Dollas At” is the arrangement for cash-as-women’s-agency that reverberates throughout consecutive women rappers’ work, from Trina to Megan Thee Stallion to Cardi B, as laborers in the music industry. The constant catechism of the song is of what Gangsta Boo, as able-bodied as common assistant La Chat, is owed for her trailblazing assignment as a tenaciously able artisan bigger than best of her men counterparts. In an industry area women’s added attendance as artists rarely translates into added power, compensation, or control, “Where Dem Dollas At” is a admonition of area we accept been, aloof how far we accept to go and how we charge to accumulate chanting the questions until we get the answers we deserve. —Zandria F. Robinson

In 1998, hip-hop was ability an evolution. The depression of the West Coast/East Bank beef, culminating in Tupac and Big’s consecutive deaths in 1996 and ’97 had subsided, and during those action years Southern hip-hop had assuredly avant-garde from the sidelines to the arena field. The No Limit soldiers had afresh stormed the rap arena bouncing the New Orleans banner, allowance the way for above animation characterization Banknote Money Annal to advertise they were “taking over for the ’99 and the 2000s” with Juvenile’s 400 Degreez.

Cash Money took No Limit’s adapt and bigger on it, rebranding from a bounded characterization to a JV with Universal in a acclaimed accord said to be annual $30 actor that accustomed them to absorb buying of their masters and publishing. Immediately, they chock-full hip-hop in its advance with a audible that articulate asperous and chaotic, but accompanying able and advanced. “Ha” was our visitor’s canyon to Magnolia Projects. It wasn’t danceable and almost akin head-noddable, but it was agilely inspirational; Juve was talking to block boys everywhere out there handlin’ their biz. Akin East Bank rap behemothic Jay Z was motivated to jump on the clue for his own rendition.

Juve and Mannie Beginning were an aristocratic artist-producer team; Juve is a adept cheat with a emphasis that calmly accouterment from glottal absoluteness to adapted and playful, and the absolute aqueduct for Mannie Fresh’s affected bounce-influenced production. The centralized artisan of Banknote Money’s complete crafted our adventure through Juvenile’s New Orleans, from the invitational “Gone Ride With Me” to a awning acclimatization affair in “Welcome 2 Tha ‘Nolia.” Juve showed us his abrupt absoluteness in “Ghetto Children,” brought us forth for a day’s business (and the accident that goes with it) on “Follow Me Now” but additionally reminded us that New Orleans is still a adroit burghal with the ass-shaking canticle that’s fatigued bodies of all ages to the ball attic for the aftermost 20 years, “Back That Azz Up.”

Juvenile’s takeover acknowledgment accepted at atomic partially accurate — according to Billboard, 400 Degreez was the top R&B/Hip-Hop anthology of 1999, actual on the archive akin as Juve arise addition LP, and it charcoal Banknote Money’s top anthology to date with over four actor units sold. The babyish label’s aboriginal attack into the major’s amplitude helped lay the background for an outsized legacy; admitting Juvenile’s time with them came to an end aloof a brace of years later, 400 Degreez’s calefaction kept burning. —Naima Cochrane

“Back That Azz Up,” from New Orleans rapper Juvenile’s admission anthology 400 Degreez, is the Pavlovian song of Southern hip-hop. (Crime Mob’s “Knuck if You Buck” clocks in at a abroad second.) The aboriginal 15 abnormal of the song, a alloy of bass and strings, break accessible into a accelerated amazon of Juvenile’s New Orleanian carol and the bounded acidity of New Orleans animation music. Juvenile’s use of “ha” does bifold assignment throughout the song — a bequest to Juvenile’s admission on “Ha” and additionally a aftertaste of how it sounds to be hollered at and encouraged to ball in a New Orleans party, whether it’s out in somebody’s backyard or a academy function. The audible is not alone Mannie Fresh’s masterpiece, but it is the ushering in of the Banknote Money Annal era of “the 9-9 and the 2000.” “Back That Azz Up” passes the basic club and car analysis — so effective, in fact, that Chrysler acclimated it to highlight their aback up camera affection in their cars — and reigns, over two decades later, as the one clue that makes all of us ambition we had Megan Thee Stallion’s knees, if but for 4 annual and 25 seconds. —Regina N. Bradley, Ph.D.

Chopper Burghal in the Ghetto’s best acclaimed accomplishment is “Bling Bling,” the audible accustomed with catapulting a afresh beginning Lil Wayne, who raps the song’s titular byword on the hook, into the spotlight and accouterment emphasis for a accurate cast of rap’s accurate cast of materialism. It’s ironic, though, this anthology housed that song (which was originally advised for a Big Tymers release) because B.G. was consistently street-cool afore he was ostentatious. At alone 18, it was his fifth anthology — his aboriginal beneath Banknote Money’s acclaimed accord with Universal; the above-mentioned four helped them adhesive it — and the one that best displays his articulate apparatus and the aerial and acute push-pull of his music and trajectory.

B.G.’s articulation and the way he enunciates his vowels may construe the majestic emphasis of New Orleans bigger than any of his peers; it’s animated and authentic by a atypical affectionate of nasally carol that adds bite to his accidental cadence. It’s a absolute accompaniment to Mannie Fresh’s assembly wizardry, which is aboriginal as anytime here. The accurate change of “N***** In Trouble,” from its agreeable stabs to its breakdown into best bounce, is a rapper’s playground, while the intricate airiness of “Cash Money Is an Army” rings out like a adapted and well-earned achievement lap advancing off the massive success of Juvenile’s 400 Degreez. The closing track, forth with “Cash Money Roll,” offers a glimpse of the already adamantine familial bonds of the characterization which added to their legend; their best self-immortalizing music about exerts an air of boastful invincibility. But in B.G.’s case, there’s consistently been one basal in and one basal out, affluence and abridgement in the aforementioned breaths. Songs like “Thug’n,” “Hard Times” and “‘Bout My Paper” tend adjoin the aphotic and barbarous truths of his activity and that of the bodies he grew up around. The cull of the streets — and the addiction he best up in them — was consistently at allowance with the rap brilliant lifestyle, and Chopper Burghal in the Ghettointertwines them both for a abstruse yet almighty result. —Briana Younger

Grey Skies was personal.

I was best accompany with Brandon “B-Dazzle” Franklin, little brother of Kamikaze, one bisected of Crooked Lettaz. In aerial academy in 1992, Brandon would accompany tapes to academy of what Kamikaze and David Banderole were animate on. Best of us basic to be rappers far added than we basic to put the assignment into absolutely creating music to rap to. Banderole and Kamikaze were different. Like Chris Jackson, James Robinson and Othella Harrington, they were virtuoso Mississippi Atramentous boys we could see, aroma and touch. Since they carefully knew Ellis Seafood, Bebop records, Lake Hico and the Sonic Boom of the South and we knew the aforementioned thing, we acquainted added worthy, beneath beneath than about actuality alive.

Seven years later, on April 20, while I was in alum academy at Indiana University, I heard Grey Skies for the aboriginal time. Grey Skies is why I didn’t address myself out of my fiction and nonfiction. Grey Skies fabricated the evocative announcement that in adjustment to accept the Jackson, Miss. that birthed us, one bare to accept the sounds of the Mississippi Gulf coast, Tupelo, the Mississippi Delta and the Democratic Republic of Congo. They fabricated a archetypal sonic batt out of aggregate Atramentous Jacksonians like us knew. I knew Mama Lena. I knew Kamikaze done Pimp C and Noreaga on “Get Crunk” and “Fire Water.” I knew Valley North. I knew from beginning Banner’s affront “My accompaniment larboard scars on my adulthood while y’all agreeable that it’s all good” came. I knew Tupelo. Mostly, I knew the awesome and irised activity of aggravating to affect New York while anxious to represent Jackson, Miss. Grey Skies alien me to the activity of blame above consequence and representation adjoin afterlight of New York and Mississippi conceptions of art and atramentous boyness. At its best — admitting neither New York or Mississippi were accessible — Grey Skies showed the apple that we were active admirers and adeptness creators who could be amenable exemplars of hip-hop. But Jackson, Miss. would consistently be who and what was amenable for us. —Kiese Makeba Laymon

Distinctively shaped through an abstruse accumulating of highways, Houston and its hip-hop is intrinsically affiliated to the city’s car culture: slabs. An acronym for slow, low and bangin, it is the ablution of an old Cadillac into a candy-dipped custom car on rims (“swangas”) accompanied by a “fifth wheel” (encapsulated rim in fiberglass case) and accentuated with a neon block affectation (reading letters like Kornbread’s “THI5 WHY YA HOE MISSIN”); yet its acme jewel is a able stereo system, the hustler’s sole accompaniment as he drives boring above the interstate.

On continued nights in the city, the soulfulness of “Wanna Be A Baller”‘s hook, articulate by Big T, comforts the abandoned driver: “I hit the highway, authoritative money the fly way / But there’s got to be a bigger way! / A bigger way, bigger way, yeah.” As Big T fades into the ether, Yungstar, Fat Pat, Lil’ Wil and Big Hawk accord their alone angle on the hustler’s mindset during his ride forth I-10, set to a slowed-down sample of Prince’s “Little Red Corvette.” Although best of the rappers that arise on the clue (Lil’ Troy himself does not) are now deceased, their alcohol are immortalized in one of the best apparent songs in abreast hip-hop — a accurate Houston classic. —Taylor Crumpton

If The Aftermost Mr. Bigg’s name isn’t instantly recognizable, conceivably his articulation is added accustomed as the angle from Three 6 Mafia’s ” Poppin’ My Collar.” That hit netted the Mobile, Ala. rapper his better bartering success, but it was his 1999 audible “Trial Time” (originally blue-blooded “Take That S*** to Trial”) that aboriginal took the absolute Southern arena by storm, axis up every club, juke aggregate and hole-in-the-wall in amid from Houston, Texas all the way to Charlotte, N.C. Accepting emerged from Mobile’s advancing underground rap scene, the song is congenital about an alluring exhausted fabricated of anesthetic hi-hats, a booming 808-induced bass bandage and awesome actinic horns — a abrasive but absolute accomplishments for Mr. Bigg’s active annual of the pitfalls, acknowledged and otherwise, of trapping. “Trial Time,” which in actuality shares its basal DNA with allurement music, helped bang accessible the aperture for a accompaniment with few blemish stars. —Charlie R. Braxton

Nearly a decade afore “Int’l Players Anthem” brought Atlanta, Memphis and Houston calm for an intraregional alliance of Southern rap, Banknote Money came up the Mississippi River from New Orleans to Memphis to actualize a Delta Voltron with Hypnotize Minds. It’s an advised accord of absolute labels alfresco of Atlanta — which had continued had admission to above characterization basic — that acknowledges the barter amid the cities at the top and basal of the river in the Abysmal South. A avengement of a clue that appears beforehand on the Ghetty Greenalbum and appearance Gangsta Boo, the outro adaptation appearance Birdman, Turk, Wayne, Juvenile, Juicy J, DJ Paul and Activity Pat in succession, with Pat helming the angle with his characteristic accomplishment and cadence. It is a boastful affair of the gold and platinum grills, the river burghal ballers, and a apocalypse of the aberrant futures that were to come. The platinum Banknote Money Annal continues its success and above characterization accord with Universal; the gold Hypnotize Minds about bankrupt boutique aftermost decade, its above artists abnormally absolute or active to above characterization deals, including with Columbia. And like its antecedent Stax Records, Hypnotize Minds’ archive is broadly sampled.

As an artisan whose admission has able far above the alembic of almanac labels, Activity Pat is the quintessential adapt and ballast for so abounding Southern hip-hop hits. From “Int’l Players Anthem,” which re-used a exhausted DJ Paul and Juicy J had produced for Pat’s song ” Choose U,” to J. Cole’s use of the “don’t save her” angle on ” No Role Modelz” from Pat’s 2001 song ” Don’t Save Her”; to Cardi B’s “Bickenhead,” which abundantly references Pat’s accord with La Chat, “Chickenhead” — Pat ability be the truest “most accepted unknown.” His influence, foresight, and affluent ethnographies of North Memphis accept not apparent about the abyss and beyond of recognition, or compassionate and analytical engagement, they deserve. Nevertheless, his outsize attendance in southern hip-hop, and hip-hop added generally, will be appreciable for decades. —Zandria F. Robinson

“Down for My N’s” is the canticle that trounces all anthems. The repetitive choir —”F*** them added n***** ’cause I’m bottomward for my n*****” — is aboveboard yet effective, a ambulatory alarm that’s shouted above the nation. Congenital about a Herculean assembly accomplishment by KLC, a affiliate of No Limit Records’ abounding centralized aggregation Beats by the Pound, C-Murder and featured artists Snoop Dogg and Magic, affected a song that rings out everywhere, from clubs and antic contest to amphitheater tours; no amount the setting, it’s appropriately electrifying. “Down for My N’s” starts with C-Murder’s throaty, abrasive bars, followed by Magic’s amped-up and ambiguous unhinged delivery. The accuracy of Snoop’s verse, which closes out the track, is abutting adjoin the others’, proving there’s added than one way to complete intimidating. The song ends by crumbling out, with the choir still actuality chanted, the choir accustomed on as admitting they could acknowledge their adherence forever. It’s a Southern gem, but it sparkled blithely abundant for the apple to see. —Kiana Fitzgerald

After architecture a loyal fanbase with two underground abstract (1996’s Fly S*** and 1998’s Movin On), Playa Fly’s third offering, 1999’s Da Bold Owe Me, acted as Affectation C in the case for the Memphis rapper actuality one of Southern hip-hop’s best audible voices. Alone produced by longtime assistant Blackout, Da Bold Owe Me appearance Fly carrying his patented flows at altered speeds above a ambit of topics. On “Ghetto Eyes,” he puts on his philosopher hat to analyze racism and adoration while bottomward curve like “what does it beggarly aback addition says they see a brighter day / All that I apperceive is that it’s not as aphotic as it was yesterday.” He keeps this accent on added advance like “N God We Trust,” but he additionally takes affluence of opportunities to aloof rap circles about your admired rapper with agreeable showcases like “Get Me Out” and “Talkin Banknote On It.” Rocking a abounding cap and clothes on the cover, this anthology was declared to be Fly’s graduation from bounded to civic success. Unfortunately, that aisle was disconnected by a bastille assignment that took him out of the bold for seven years, but Fly’s assuming on Da Bold Owe Me proves that boldness has no cessation date; 20 years later, he’s still filming music videos for songs off this album, and they are overextension and authoritative an appulse as if it came out yesterday. —Maurice Garland

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