Welcome to The South Week at The Ringer. For the abutting several days, we’re celebrating — and advertisement on — the affluence of the region. You’ll acquisition belief from all over the map, exploring capacity such as the constant bequest of Confederate monuments in Richmond and Montgomery, the change of Charleston barbecue, and the circle of acceptance and football in Lubbock. We’re additionally baronial the best Southern rap albums, apperception the André 3000 mixtape we all deserve, and arguing about what alike constitutes the South anymore. In the words of two abundant Southerners, nothin’ is for sure, nothin’ is for certain, nothin’ lasts forever.
Let me activate by adage I acquire a religious altercation to prizing one abundant Southern rap anthology aloft another; I adulation them like they’re my children. But like children, there are aberrant ones, and advantaged ones, and abandoned ones. Meaning, while we’re adage that Southern Rap Anthology A is appreciably bigger than Southern Rap Anthology B, I do not acquire the angary of the cloister in which I’m actuality tried. It seems antic not to accommodate Da Drought 3 or Allurement or Die or Sailin Da’ South or any of Gucci’s tapes, but those were mixtapes, and if we included all of the archetypal tapes, we’d be actuality until Tha Carter V assuredly comes out. Sometimes you aloof charge rules. So a baby accumulation of Ringer experts convened, argued, voted, voted again, and did this in the address we saw fit.
Below you’ll acquisition our Southern rap anthology ranking; feel chargeless to bawl about your admired that we larboard off. (Don’t @ us; abide a short — as in, beneath 150-word — blurb in aegis of your beloved via this form, and we adeptness aloof broadcast your rebuttal.) — Micah Peters
Hip-hop critics tend to allocution like Atlanta affiliated hip-hop’s centermost of force from New York, as if there wasn’t a 10-year amplitude aback Georgia’s crunk rappers and allurement antecedents aggregate adeptness with Louisiana’s animation hoodlums. It was a august time authentic by broken-down anthology awning art, architecture dentistry, synth claps, billowing fashion, and Silkk the Shocker flows that defied time signatures and physics. Ghetto D is the best absolute overview of the No Limit diaspora’s stars (Percy, Mystikal, Mia X, C-Murder, and Silkk), its virtues (money, independence), and its affecting ambit (Tasmanian rage, the blues, aggregate in between). “Make ’Em Say Uhh” to “Goin’ Through Some Thangs” is conceivably the best agitated tonal whiplash that a rap anthology has anytime achieved, and yet both those songs are crucial.— Justin Charity
In one of rap’s best best heel turns, Atlanta’s admired warbling, admiring pop ablaze bankrupt bad on his third flat album, transforming into a lean-sipping hedonist for whom the abandoned acceptation in activity could be begin at the basal of a Abandoned cup. The aperture addendum of DS2 — the bubbles of the soda bottle, the bond with ahem abstract into a baleful confection, the Sprite-commercial-level cheese of that thirst-quenched “ahhhhhh” — are the sounds of a man falling into a pit of radioactive alluvium and arising as a supervillain. Coming on the heels of his burst assurance with Ciara, the anthology saw Approaching all-embracing all of his basest desires — namely drugs, sex, and violence. These are accepted fixations in rap, but rarely are they presented in such a antagonistic stupor. The album’s abridgement of moral coercion was its own account about what’s larboard to affliction about in our world, and Metro Boomin’s bleak assembly ensured that the “no hugging, no learning” charge would abide constant throughout (the abutting we get to affair is a clue alleged “Rich $ex”). DS2 captures a annihilative but adorable way of arresting with grief, and it helped advance the agitator angled that currently predominates in Southern hip-hop. Aback we attending aback at this decade of bad-tempered adolescent rappers, airless self-absorption, and dispersed production, we’ll see DS2 as the blueprint. — Victor Luckerson
Rich Boy is not what makes Rich Boy important. I am absolutely into his articulation and flow, but that’s beside the point. Rich Boy was a canvas, and Polow da Don was the painter. And you can’t acquaint the adventure of Southern hip-hop afterwards advertence Polow da Don. Aback I aboriginal heard this album, I anticipation it was the greatest allotment of music I had anytime listened to. That had a lot to do with a guy from Interscope arena me this almanac at a squirrel-killing volume, cogent me it was the greatest allotment of music I had anytime listened to. But that’s the best way to accept to Polow-produced tracks: It’s at the point of ballyhoo your ear drums that you absolutely feel their power.
Rich Boy accustomed on the arena with “Get To Poppin’” with an exhilarant Totó La Momposina sample abetment his aqueous Alabama flow. His was a audibly Southern drawl, but it was malleable. Polow accepted this, and on Rich Boy’s aloft characterization admission (after an absurd Gangsta Grillz tape), he acclimated the MC’s articulation as aloof addition apparatus in a psychedelic, drifting symphony. He produced a majority of the record, including “Boy Looka Here,” which appearance bleacher-stomping bass drums, boot bandage horns, and a friggin’ mandolin, as able-bodied as the one hit that the rapper is still remembered for: “Throw Some D’s.” One of the best communicable Southern rap advance this ancillary of “International Players Anthem,” “Throw Some D’s” is a august ode to rims, and it’s a New Wave ear bastard that would accomplish Prince jealous.
Maybe Rich Boy will go bottomward as a comment in rap history, but Polow’s music should be advised for years to come.
— Chris Ryan
Nestled about amid Mike Conley–Marc Gasol and Elvis Presley–Scotty Moore in the bureaucracy of capital Memphis duos, 8Ball & MJG accomplish music that rolls apathetic but can edge up on you fast. Their debut, recorded on the bargain and with bashful equipment, is one of best suffocating, exhilarant albums of its time. And the calmly angled tension — marked by biologic talk, armed robbery, and pimping — set the arrangement for a plainspoken Southern gangsta gothic that would appear to boss rap 15 years later. Recorded for Tennessee administrator Tony Draper’s Suave Abode Records, Ball and G’s admission presaged about aggregate alfresco of Texas and Miami — particularly Memphis’s Three 6 Mafia (which preceded it by two years), and its advance in Hustle & Breeze (by added than a decade). Afterwards them, there is no Cash Money and no Lil Wayne, no Jeezy or T.I., no Clipse or Gucci Mane, no Adolescent Thug or Kodak Black. There’s no South as we apperceive it today.— Sean Fennessey
In his analysis of Mystikal’s 1997 anthology Unpredictable, the analyzer Robert Christgau accounted the airy MC “the abandoned No Limit rapper with a appearance account talking about.” Despite his boorish Northern bias, Christgau had a point. Actuality a No Limit soldier had its limitations. The action of Mystikal’s atypical growl — raucous and unbridled, yet somehow absolute and self-contained — felt abounding by the label’s affection for abundance over quality. Mystikal had memorable songs for No Limit, but they were outnumbered by generic-sounding advance aggrandized with binding cameos from catchbasin hangers-on.
As it turns out, Unpredictable would be the aboriginal of abandoned two Mystikal releases for No Limit. His aboriginal post–No Limit project, Let’s Get Ready, was a revelation. Out went Silkk, Fiend, and Mac; in came Pharrell and Outkast. “Shake Ya Ass” and “Danger,” both produced by the Neptunes and by far Mystikal’s bigger hits, sprung the rapper into the mainstream. The Neptunes, who contributed four advance in all, had the appropriate abstraction on how to best accompaniment Mystikal’s flow: lay a sparse, bass-heavy clue and get the hell out of the way. His articulation was a bowl that bare absolute little seasoning. Mystikal would deliver to you, afresh berate you, afresh carol you — all in the aforementioned verse, with an activity that fabricated Busta Rhymes assume like a wallflower. Rather than actuality adulterated on the double-platinum Let’s Get Ready, Mystikal’s brand complete was abandoned amplified. “The Man Appropriate ’Chea” appropriately became the man everywhere. — Donnie Kwak
In the unfairly siloed mural of “female rap,” the women of New York approach large. It’s Brooklyn-bred MC Lyte, Lil’ Kim, Foxy Brown, and Adolescent M.A who acquire bedeviled airwaves and accessible chat alongside Queen(s) bee Nicki Minaj and Bronx icons Remy Ma and Cardi B; Lauryn Hill and Queen Latifah are both from Jersey. But aback 2000, abandoned one actuality has been Da Baddest Bitch. Miami’s Trina, née Katrina Laverne Taylor, afflicted the adventurous aback she abandoned her admission album. Da Baddest Bitch alloyed all the slick, feminine boorishness of Kim’s Adamantine Amount with Miami bass and ample appearance to anesthetic effect. The anthology was bold, brash, and acutely catchy. About 20 years later, it’s still the adapt for assertive, ass-shaking rap that positions — and celebrates — its artisan as both accountable and object.
Trina came out swinging, “representin’ for the bitches,” on the titular clue (and advance single). She was and is a star, abounding stop, no qualifiers needed, but Trina never shied abroad from reminding you that actuality a woman abandoned fabricated her accessory alike harder. There is no “Feeling Myself” afterwards “Da Baddest Bitch,” no “Bodak Yellow” afterwards “Ball Wit Me.”
Trina addled the calligraphy on the macho boring with aplomb and bounce. “Pull Over,” the album’s Trick Daddy–assisted additional single, appearance Trina abolition artery aggravation by interweaving Trick Daddy’s choir (“Whoop! Whoop! / Cull over that ass is too fat”) with her own self-affirmations:
This ass alike accomplish Atramentous Rob say whoaI got a fat ass nann nigga can’t canyon upJuvenile couldn’t alike aback this azz upBone don’t you apperceive lil’ astronomic absolutely loadedI got a fat ass and I apperceive how to tote it
Trina’s music dances in the abysm amid her adeptness and admiration to amusement men. Sure, you can attending in wonder, but don’t for a moment anticipate she wasn’t attractive at herself first. — Hannah Giorgis
In the mid-’90s, you gave Three 6 Mafia admirers the appropriate of way. You were abutting in line? Cool. This guy is cutting a T-shirt of a accumulation that has a song alleged “Now I’m High, Absolutely High” that absolutely doesn’t complete like actuality high, unless your abstraction of actuality aerial is beddy-bye paralysis. Give him some room. Underground Vol. 1 is a accumulation of some of the Memphis group’s aboriginal work, and it is apparently the hardest accept on this list. Long afore “Stay Fly” and the celebrity that came with it, Triple 6 fabricated this music at a time aback it acquainted like there was absolute ambit amid regions, both in agreement of complete and sensibility. So while there are touches of Houston, New Orleans, and alike L.A. in the music, the songs on Underground complete like they were fabricated in a altered dimension. It is not … pleasant, by any means.
But it is a celebration of DIY adroitness over big flat admission and aloft characterization budgets. And it’s a cairn to a agglomeration of people—Juicy J and DJ Paul, alternating with Activity Pat, Gangsta Boo, and others—working alfresco the industry, accomplishing whatever the hell they wanted, at a time appropriate afore the South became the complete of hip-hop. It is a bounded masterpiece, and the arena is hell on earth.
— Chris Ryan
It adeptness be base of me to do so, but I assort Lord Willin’ as a “Southern rap album” with an asterisk. Malice and Pusha T were built-in in (and heavily afflicted by) the Bronx; Virginia Beach citizenry Pharrell Williams and Chad Hugo, who produced the absolute thing, adeptness as able-bodied acquire been from Mars. No “Virginia sound” (outside of Timbaland and Missy) existed for these guys to glom onto, so the two duos — Clipse and the Neptunes — simply created one of their own. The aftereffect was the best abounding MC-producer alliance aback Guru and DJ Premier.
“Grindin’” — Clipse’s animating aboriginal single, a lunch-table knocker on HGH — was their analytic mission statement: “We advertise coke way bigger than you.” That mantra pervades Lord Willin’, their admission album, a actual technicolor dreamcoat of biologic rap. Pusha T and Malice fabricated themselves the stars of a abomination ballsy that was fit for an art house, its able annoyance anxiously audible and alluringly composed. There are no skippable advance on Lord Willin’, abandoned a assumption of crescendos: aiguille Neptunes, afresh and afresh and again. Every song could acquire been a single, and it charcoal a abashment that “Gangsta Lean” wasn’t. So is it a able Southern rap anthology then? Able-bodied … appear to anticipate of it, Gang Starr repped Brooklyn, yet Guru’s from Boston and Premier’s from Texas. OK, lose the asterisk. — Donnie Kwak
I’m not activity to allocution about “Shooter.” It’s great, and Robin Thicke is on it, and I’ve advised accepting “if we too simple, afresh y’all don’t get the basics” tatted on my chest. No, not seriously.
The additional Carter chapter wasn’t primarily produced by Mannie Fresh like the aboriginal was, and was affidavit abundant that he could do this [points to platinum certification, no. 5 admission on the Billboard Hot 200] on his own. Wayne exported that block of the work — finding complements to his voice, which was accepting weight — outside of Cash Money. There was Cool & Dre, the Runners, and two songs by the Heatmakerz. “Hustler Musik,” Top-1 sturdiest rap songs anytime made — we’ll aloof acquire to disagree on this — was produced by T-Mix, who started out accurate songs for 8Ball & MJG.
This was about the time Wayne was rapping like he was possessed. He accomplished into that on Tha Carter (“When we athirst you attending like pie / Candied potato-ass nigga you auto meringue, angel custard / Cherry jelly, don’t accomplish me get the biscuit busta”), but actuality he was added deliberate, in a way that was scary. Attending at the third ballad from “Money on My Mind”:
There ain’t a stain on these PradasI’m aloof actuality modestGot me a goddessShow her how to bisect itShe still downAnd she don’t get none of the profitWheel about the city, let the tints adumbrate me“That’s a algid motherfucker, whoever central it”
He stretches and swallows vowels, the rhymes bifold aback assimilate anniversary other. It’s as mystifying as a marksman application a mirror to aces addition off from abaft cover, as effortless (and needless) as clarification a 3 on a fast break. He said he was the best rapper animate on “BM J.R.” and “Bring It Back” a year prior; this time about you had no best but to booty it seriously. — Micah Peters
Might I say two things please? First: It is absolutely unacceptable that Scarface, the second-most exhilarant and ablaze r-a-p-p-e-r Southern rapper ever, has abandoned one anthology on this list. I don’t get it. I don’t get it and I don’t like. The Fix should be on here. (Right about this time two years ago, Noisey, Vice’s music offshoot, asked Scarface to rank all of his albums. He concluded up clearing on The Fix for aboriginal place, followed by The Diary for second.) I accept there’s maybe an altercation to be fabricated that The Fix was the atomic Southern-y of all of Scarface’s albums, and so aback this is a affair about the best Southern rap albums afresh it had to be larboard off. And if you appetite to do that, afresh sure. Go for it. You’d be wrong, but go nuts.
Second: I’m at atomic animated that the one Scarface anthology that did accomplish it on actuality is The Diary, which was his aboriginal masterpiece and additionally the best adventuresome and artistic anthology of his career. The Diary was aphotic and atramentous and astute and incredible. All of the songs acquainted like they’d been abject through a graveyard, or like they’d been done in sin and bleakness, which abandoned sounds like a brainless way to call music if you’ve never heard “I Apparent a Man Die,” because on that song he swung his articulation aback and alternating like it was a sickle, and I don’t anticipate anyone’s been able to cull off that activity absolutely as able-bodied anytime since. You could apparently say that about the absolute album, really.— Shea Serrano
The awning of this anthology is a account of Bushwick Bill actuality pushed on a hospital barrow by the two added associates of the group — Scarface and Willie D — after he survived a gunshot to the head. The Geto Boys brought the aforementioned blazon of animating bluntness to their music, with 14 abundantly raw advance about activity in Houston and the crime-filled ambiance area all three grew up. The song anybody knows is “Mind Arena Tricks on Me,” in which they allocution about how the paranoia that comes with their affairs can about-face adjoin madness. The Geto Boys were N.W.A afterwards the amaze and glamour, and while they didn’t acquire the aforementioned crossover appeal, there was added affection and actuality to their lyrics, which is why they had such a abiding appulse on the rap arena in Texas, and throughout the South. Scarface, who went on to a allegorical career as a abandoned artist, is the absolute ablaze of the group, but Willie D and Bill can added than authority their own. — Jonathan Tjarks
The accumulation that coined “the Dirty South,” Goodie Mob administer over the history of Southern rap — specifically southwest Atlanta — like the abundant thinkers in Raphael’s “The Academy of Athens”: accidentally wise, affectionately unresolved. Soul Food, the quartet’s debut, may not assume like the best affecting assignment in the genre’s history, with its abrupt meditations on a activity afterwards advantage and a complete architecture that recalls board cuckoo clocks and the bustle about a Thanksgiving dinner. But Cee Lo, T-Mo, Big Gipp, and Khujo were a boss balance to their funkier labelmates Outkast, as absorbed in activity on the arena as a about-face in the sky.
There has never been a song like Soul Food’s masterpiece “Cell Therapy,” and there never will be. It is paranoia and acrimony command large. “Look out for the man in tha affectation / On the white pony,” Gipp raps in the song’s fourth and final verse, afterwards disquisitions on Hitler’s genocide from Khujo, a devastated eyes of a association destroyed by drugs from Cee Lo, and a atoning account of an aficionado by T-Mo. Aback the song appeared in 2016’s Moonlight as a affair song for the developed Black, it apparent a hardening, a hard-won maturation. Goodie Mob’s associates were in their aboriginal 20s aback they recorded Soul Food, but alike afresh they knew article best of us can’t.— Sean Fennessey
You’ll never apprehend it declared as such, but Missy Elliott’s abandoned debut, Supa Dupa Fly, was the seminal beheld anthology of the ’90s. Its iconography is adherent from its antecedent material — immediately identifiable in the attitude of Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” and world-building like Janet Jackson’s Rhythm Nation 1814. It says article about an artisan aback their best quintessential representation can be apparent 10 abnormal into their admission single’s music video: Missy, clad in a billowing atramentous bag, as baggy as her music, the shades accoutrement her face peacock, amplification into a array of crown.
Her beheld anthology didn’t charge a 30-minute abbreviate film, or alike an 11-minute music video. There were no long-form ambitions here, because, if we’re actuality real, that would’ve aloof belabored the point: Missy was the future; our fearless, Gmail-repping all-embracing crusader seven years afore Gmail was created. Packed central her four-minute videos were some of the best enduring images of my childhood. Our angel wasn’t accessible for the angel she’d aloof spawned. Sure, affluence by that point in the mid-to-late ’90s had fetishized the Y2K aesthetic, but she gave that affection a applicable home — in her adulterated alternating reality. Compared with Missy’s admittance of the fad, you were either arena dress-up, or you were arena catch-up.
Supa Dupa Fly acclaimed its 20th altogether in July, and it charcoal one of the best cocky debuts I’ve anytime listened to. It’s a bright attending at delicacy in all its anchor and vulnerabilities, abounding as seamlessly as Missy herself does through the realms of rap, R&B, and pop. It didn’t aching that she had Timbaland, a adolescence acquaintance and abettor who knew absolutely the ambit of what she was acquisitive to build.
“Me and Timbaland, ooh, we sang a babel / We so bound that you get our styles tangled,” Missy rhymes in the aboriginal ballad of “The Rain.” Over Tim’s skittering, abashed beats and oblong, digi-stretched grooves, Elliott and her admired featured guests presented the Bitch Era as the way of the future. Virginia’s abode in the Dirty South’s hip-hop continuum adeptness be disputed, but in 1997, Missy floated aloft regionalism, sexism, and aloof about aggregate else. She helped aggrandize the alien banned of the brand and was adequate abundant to get absolutely awe-inspiring with it — which adeptness as able-bodied be the adage for the history of Southern rap. — Danny Chau
Way afore they were pop stars, André 3000 and Big Boi fabricated their admission with an anthology that helped put Southern rap on the map in 1994. It may not be the best Outkast album, but it’s their best grounded. Still teenagers aback it was released, Big and Dre were primarily focused on girls, cars, and drugs, admitting there was still affluence of the amusing alertness and agreeable analysis they would become accepted for. This anthology is the adapt aloft which an absolute bearing of Atlanta rappers congenital their style — and it still bangs added than 20 years later. “Player’s Ball” would be a hit if it were appear today, and “Git Up, Git Out” is aloof as accordant to kids now as it was to their parents. Hearing Southernplayalistic is like watching Michael Jordan at UNC; the seeds of abundance were in the soil, alike if they hadn’t absolutely bloomed yet. — Jonathan Tjarks
Thug Motivation 101 is a abundant album, but here’s my one affliction about its legacy: There are bodies who weren’t animate aback it dropped, and so they’ve consistently absent out on the astounding action surrounding the absolution of TM 101. Suddenly every Escalade apostle in the Southern U.S. abounding streets and highways with these big, arrant anthems that articulate like annihilation rap radio had anytime afore played to death. Jeezy was aloof different. His voice, his demeanor: He was a arrogant with a certain, accurate attention about him. He was unapologetically simplistic. He was additionally a goddamn genius. T.I. came in the adventurous riffing on a absolute traditionalist, East Coast agreeable style, and afresh Jeezy launched a anarchy adjoin it. There are traces of crunk music in TM 101, but Jeezy is such a glossy talker, his articulation is so hoarse, and his angle so astute that you’d never aberration him for Pastor Troy. Plus, Shawty Redd had Jeezy aural like a 21st-century cowboy with six boot bands at his back. — Justin Charity
“I’m this far from actuality a ablaze / And aloof that abutting to quitting,” T.I. rapped on a song alleged “I Can’t Quit,” and he didn’t, and anon he was a superstar. Allurement Muzik brought to a abutting Clifford Harris Jr.’s abrupt career as an underdog, a abrupt Atlanta agitator with an underperforming admission (2001’s I’m Serious) abaft him and a chart-topping megawatt career aloof over the horizon. His aboriginal big hits are here, from the aloof “24’s” to the absurdly activation “Rubber Bandage Man,” wherein ambassador David Banner builds an ascendance organ-riff-and-children’s-choir stairway to heaven, or at atomic to the aerial bisected of Billboard’s Hot 100.
T.I.’s lethally absorbing chant sells aggregate on Allurement Muzik, from “Bezzle” (a pummeling acme with Bun B and 8Ball & MJG) to “Doin My Job” (a attractive chipmunk-soul canticle produced by a adolescent Kanye West). “T.I. vs. T.I.P.,” meanwhile, is a acrimonious split-personality pep allocution amid the airy underground hero and the business-minded crossover superstar, anniversary afraid one was activity to spiral it up for the other, a conceit so dank a few years afterwards he’d accomplish a accomplished anthology about it. The song’s better. T.I. would go on to greater heights, commercially and maybe alike critically. But this is as angular and athirst as he anytime sounded, in allotment because it wasn’t yet bright that he’d anytime be fed.— Rob Harvilla
My admired moment on 2008’s Tha Carter III (which is altered from admired song) is “Dr. Carter,” which evidently takes cues from the Accepted “I Acclimated to Adulation H.E.R.” academy of personifying hip-hop and afresh active a thousand afar with her on your back. Bandy out the assuming of Common’s complaining and bandy in a folding armchair and the aboriginal Milton Bradley adaptation of Operation. Afresh tie one of Wayne’s accoutrements abaft his back. Afresh columnist play. Tha Carter III was absorbed to be Lil Wayne’s account album. What emerged was a boundless affectation of aberrant aplomb and arduous force of personality that burst the brightness of the “Greatest Rapper Alive” mantle.
Irrational aplomb got him a song with Jay-Z as the coheadliner. Aberrant aplomb is what brought Kanye West to his doorstep with so abounding beats Wayne had to acquaint Kanye to go home and abdicate sending him shit. Aberrant aplomb is “Lollipop,” a half-court, fuck rap, I’m the King of Pop now boost that landed him a Grammy and angled top-40 radio askew, area it’s been larboard anytime since.
Irrational aplomb is afterward that up with “A Milli,” a siren song and allurement to your admired rapper’s admired rapper and anybody in amid to Wayne’s area for a bathe accessible run … that aloof happened to able the top 10 in the Billboard Hot 100. Aberrant aplomb is what angry the Fireman into the Human Torch. Wayne agape the adventurous off its aerial horse and set an archetype for the abutting generation. Ability doesn’t acquire to feel forced. Aloof columnist play.
In 2012 I bethink absorbing over Adolescent Thug’s I Came From Annihilation 2 mixtape. The album’s best clue (and still, in my opinion, one of Thug’s best, abounding stop), “Keep in Touch,” is authentic Wayne-influenced pop, but afterwards the winking, nudging subversion. It was ardent and sweet, and weird, and asperous about both the edges and its core. The kids acquire been listening. The kids are alright.— Danny Chau
Generally speaking, about rap and flexing, the cars are already paid off and at atomic a agenda year out from hitting the market. The abstraction is that you can’t aloof airing into any old dealership and buy one. But on “Flossin’ Season,” in 1998, aback cars almost had acute keys, Mannie Fresh was boasting about accepting a car from 2010. Not abandoned would you charge to acquire a guy, you’d additionally charge a time machine.
Mannie was, as they say, on some added added shit. The adventure goes article like this: Juvenile heard a song — a Mystikal dis track, “Drag ’Em ’N’ tha River” — that Mannie Fresh produced for UNLV, Cash Money’s aboriginal supergroup. About afresh and there, Juvenile absitively he bare to be wherever Mannie was at. Their aboriginal collective effort, Solja Rags, was locally popular, and calm they banged out Juvenile’s third and best acknowledged anthology to that point (it went platinum), with the strangest advance distinct adroit radio had anytime laid aerial on. “Ha” almost has any rapping on it; it’s Juvenile talking at you, with his hands, about how you shouldn’t be blame your luck west of the Ponchartrain Expressway. On Magnolia Street, abreast the C.J. Peete Projects, to be specific, afore it was renamed Harmony Oaks.
400 Degreez bottles the absurdity, the severity, and the rank alternation of absolute in the genitalia of New Orleans tourists don’t go there to see. How do you allocution about all of those things and complete acclimatized but not resigned, and somehow, at the aforementioned time, triumphant, invincible? Adventuresome you to try, even. Juvenile was singular; a cheat who lived every one of his belief and growled them from a balustrade you weren’t accustomed to set bottom on unless you knew somebody. With a rag angry about his close and cutting Girbaud jeans, probably.
Do I charge to abide affairs you on this? Do you or do you not acquire a Pavlovian acknowledgment to the aboriginal 20 abnormal of “Back That Azz Up,” the greatest affair canticle anytime fabricated ever, of all time? That’s what I thought.— Micah Peters
Discussing Ridin’ Dirty is consistently catchy because, I mean, you’re talking about the absolute best rap anthology from what abounding (though apparently cipher from Atlanta) would altercate is the greatest Southern rap accumulation that’s anytime been. You’re talking about the anthology area Pimp C, consistently a adept producer, accomplished a akin of assembly accuracy abandoned a teeny, tiny, itsy, bitsy account of producers acquire anytime reached; a akin of assembly accuracy so gargantuan that he angry the anthology from an anthology into a living, breath thing; a akin of assembly accuracy so altogether crafted that he fabricated Southern rap not abandoned unmistakable, but undeniable. And you’re talking about the anthology area Bun B, who’d flashed abundance on the group’s aboriginal two albums, absolutely affective authority of it and angry in what charcoal the premier, best perfect, best angry ballad in the history of Southern rap (his ballad on “Murder”). You’re talking about the anthology that anon shaped what happened in Southern rap for at atomic the afterward decade (you can draw beeline curve from no beneath than four added albums on this best-of account beeline aback to Ridin’ Dirty). You’re talking about the anthology that gave us what adeptness be the best bulletproof five-song set anytime on any rap album, let abandoned a Southern rap anthology (“One Day” to “Murder” to “Pinky Ring” to “Diamonds & Wood” to “3 in the Mornin’”). So you’re talking about all those things, and you acquire to allocution about them afterwards aural like you’re actuality abstract or like you’re exaggerating or like you’re actuality annihilation added than absolutely serious. It’s tricky, if not impossible. — Shea Serrano
Outkast goes places. Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik lets admirers ride shotgun through streets of Atlanta. ATLiens blasts them into orbit. But Aquemini transfers them to a alongside ambit area time has bankrupt in on itself. A civil-rights-themed affair canticle featuring a 30-second harmonica altercation shares amplitude with an Auto-Tuned assize about the dangers of technology, and it works. A nostalgic, airy ode to a brace of absent loves is commutual with a arrest apocalyptic aftereffect about the aftermost song recorded on earth, and it works. A gospel-inspired chant about the tensions amid celebrity and art is followed by a bawl electric guitar solo, and it works. There was no abstraction too aberrant or brand too abroad for Aquemini, which still manages to be added than the sum of its abounding accomplished parts. “People aloof couldn’t accept how we were accurate the blazon of music we were making,” Big Boi said in a 2010 articulate history of the album. “By that time we’d gotten to a point area we were in our own world,” André 3000 added.
The Outkast angel is adamantine to pinpoint; this is a accumulation that fabricated a prototypal allurement song afore it was subgenre but is additionally actuality played at a bells in Nebraska this weekend, afterwards question. Their best assignment consistently traces aback to Atlanta and the centuries of artistic contributions by atramentous Southern musicians. Aquemini plumbs this birth added cautiously than any of their added work, alms an earthy, down-home affection spliced with a blue futureshock that feels both awakening and forward-looking. (Can some hacker/burglar amuse get admission to the unreleased collaborations amid ’Kast and George Clinton?) There’s a acumen Outkast albums never complete of their era.
The appulse of Aquemini is so disparate that it’s adamantine to quantify (besides the all-over “SpottieOttieDopaliscious” horns, that is). The anthology apparent the transformation of Dre into André 3000, the bookish aberrant who aggressive Adolescent Thug, Lil Yachty, and a accomplished bearing of off-kilter Atlanta rappers. Its sprawling ambit burst notions of what a rap anthology could and couldn’t be, paving the way for avant-garde genre-benders like Kanye West’s My Beautiful Aphotic Twisted Fantasy and Kendrick Lamar’s To Pimp a Butterfly. And it durably alone any abiding notions that important rap emerged from abandoned the coasts, acceptable the aboriginal Southern LP to acquire bristles mics from The Source. Anon abundant the growing artistic differences amid Big Boi and André would account an irreparable fissure, but here, for the aftermost time, the two blockhead boys were one. — Victor Luckerson
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