What Is Southern Rap?:
Southern rap is a style of hip-hop that originated from southern cities like Atlanta, Houston, and New Orleans, as the name implies. In fact, those are the most notable cities to have consistently churned mega rap stars like T.I., DJ Screw, and Lil' Wayne respectively.
Elements & Style:
Stylistically, southern rap relies on exuberant production and straightforward lyrics. The dirty south form of hip-hop is more distinct for its sound and slang than for lyrical content. In an attempt to capture their stylish lifestyles on wax, most southern emcees consciously incorporate car culture, fashion trends, nightlife, and unique lingo into the songs.
Southern Rap as a Revolving Door:
The spotlight on those cities that rock the southern style of hip-hop is the musical equivalence of a revolving door. Atlanta once had its run with the dominance of OutKast, Goodie Mob, Ludacris, T.I., and the emergence of sub-genres like crunk and snap. Houston's hegemony in 2005 gave rise to the mainstream success of Paul Wall, Chamillionaire, Slim Thug, and Mike Jones. H-Town's commercial reign also put the 'chopped and screwed' sub-genre (christened after its pioneer DJ Screw) on the national map.
Southern rap has been in existence since the early days of hip-hop. However, Scarface and his seminal rap crew The Geto Boys are often acknowledged for paving the way with their 1989 debut Grip It! On That Other Level. UGK (Bun B and Pimp-C) are also credited with making southern rap a known hip-hop form with their critically acclaimed albums Too Hard Too Swallow and Super Tight.