South: The Rise of Southern Hip Hop

The daily prompt dropped a gem off today. South. The word standing all alone stirs so many thoughts and emotions. Lightning bugs (fireflies to you Yankees), the smell of fresh cut grass & charcoal, and the orange aurora glowing from the horizon at dusk. For all the sights and smells the South has to offer, it is the sound that truly seperates the South, from all other regions of the country. Y’all finna get some understanding.

When someone from the South starts talking, you’re drawn to listen. The drawl and use of hyperbole are enough to keep the attention of a squirrel. Maybe it was because you couldn’t quite understand, or were intrigued by the use of metaphor, but by God you listen harder when a Southerner speaks.

I’m still a bit of a youngster, yet at times life fails to remind me I’m not 55. I was born in 1990. NWA, MC Hammer and Vanilla Ice were running hip hop back then. I remember “Big Poppa” being a hit, always playing on the radio in Pops car. I remember the East Coast/West Coast magazine covers, it was clear there was something going on. But I was greener than the grass I played in, so I didn’t feel a part of what was going on. It wasn’t until the Source Awards in 95′, I remember choosing a side. The South.

Andre’s prophecy, “The South Got Something to Say” is the hip hop equivalent of “The South will rise again” only greater, and truer. In hip hop terms, the South had yet to secede from the umbrella of the lyrical New York street raps. Sure you had 8Ball/MJG & UGK, but they weren’t generating any real airtime or winning awards back then. They didn’t demand respect, the way Andre did at the Source Awards. Outkast had a bigger plan. They weren’t content being beloved legends in the South alone, they wanted everyone to shut up and listen to them. Fuck the East Coast/West Coast beef, the South got something to say.

I still get deja Vu, when the sun is setting just right, and the Outkast station is playing on my Pandora. “Elevators” always takes me there, I guess that’s why the song is called Elevators. As the old prophecy goes, The South Will Rise again. Well, it has, only this time in the form of hip hop, and carried to the top by those Outkast Elevators. Thank you Outkast, for freeing us of tyranny.

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