From East Point to Shaolin, y’all better know that. Yee-uh.
Yes we all know, Hip Hop started out in the deep crevaces of the South Bronx in the early 70’s. We know. We know. BUT The South influence has shifted the infrastructure of rap as we know it, in more ways than it is given credit for. The Southern influence on New York rap is unconsciously under-appreciated and criminally underrated. The New York and Southern styles clash showcasing more in common even your most sought after hip hop analyst would be able to identify. In the words of Andre 3000’s, now infamous 1995 Source Awards declaration, “The South Got Something To Say.” Down bottom a lot of Hip Hop artists were getting a decent amount of hatred and neglect as many of the third coast participants were looked upon as “poor lyricists”, clinging tightly to their innovative approach towards their own examples of fashion and street slang, the South became more popular for establishing their own trends. They generated heat due to the sudden public interest and the constant criticism of their technique only helped to fueled the fire. Personally, What I love and respect most Southern artists is that they did not budge from their origins, and stayed true to their roots placing their self compromising respect in tow as they refused to adapt to any other coasts customs. And if you look at today, everyone is now becoming comfortable enough to trace the blueprint imitating Southern style from production, to slanguage, even to the gold teeth and motor vehicles various member in the community drive.
Rap was dominated by the New York/West Coast format all through out the late 1980’s and 1990’s. While popular acts such as Houston’s own The Geto Boys, UGK and New Orleans’s own Lil Wayne started making more of a name for themselves from their independent hustle, the South began to demand more attention from the mainstream media in the late 90’s. Outkast became one of the first Southern acts to reach platinum status. Outkast didn’t just stay true to their roots, they incorporated live instruments into their recordings and perfected a different sound that no one else in their region possessed the capability to master. Outkast became one of the driving forces combining that authentic southern style with that boom bap NY sound.
My opinion, but you have the best of both worlds when you can translate the South and NY rap together. The South keep the gumbo pot stirring with their different dynamics for music and you have NY which emcompasses the rugged gritty and raw street lifestyle in the city that never sleeps. Outkast’s “Skew It On The Bar B” featuring NY emcee, Raekwon is the perfect example of their ode to the traditional origin and well rounded sound of Hip Hop’s raw nature that is New York City. And if I’m not mistaken, this might be the first time where both coasts meet on a track and this is from a top 5 album of all time. Outkast’s southern influence and Raekwon’s NY flow, made this standout track was an undeniable masterpiece and it made their full length LP, Aquemini flow so much smoother with every other song on that project.
I strongly feel like A$AP Rocky has made the successful leap that he has because as a rapper that is actually from NY,(Harlem to be exact) he has a heavy southern influence. There are A LOT of rappers from NY (no diss in anyway, well take it how you want it) but you can’t market them the way that you can with A$AP Rocky. And that’s the difference. With the right beats and right lyrics, A$AP Rocky is doing no wrong. He really is bringing something new to rap, something most NY rappers attempted but failed to execute properly. A$AP said it best: “Influenced by Houston, hear it in my music. A trill ni&&a to the truest.”
Instead of just being caught up in just one area of musical influence, I feel that it’s very important to touch other regions with your message. It’s a good way for music to make it’s impact. With so many rhythms and tones in music, it has more of an impact than it normally does. And when you bring the fundamentals of two creative regions that are responsible for providing a great amount of insight to the living situations of so many commonalities within a community fueled by music, that’s the true meaning of strength.