1994 was a monumental year for Southern hip-hop thanks to the dynamic duo straight out of the Dungeon Family known as OutKast. Coming out of a time when hip-hop’s focal point was on Gangsta Rap giants from the West and slowly shifting to East Coast Kings, like Nas and Biggie, OutKast put the “A” and the south on the map with their debut album bringing huge commercial success. Since “Southernplayalisticcadillacmuzik” the flood gates have opened with rappers coming out of the south with Atlanta being the hub for what’s hot today. When Andre 3K stated, “The south got something to say” at the 1995 Source Awards for winning Best New Rap Group, he wasn’t kidding. Today so many of raps biggest talents are from the south, from Dungeon Family’s own Future, to Gucci Mane, to T.I. and much more. Check out some of the south’s newcomers in rap below.
Growing up from a small town in South Carolina and currently residing in Atlanta, Nick Grant’s Southern roots run deep with soul and style. Nick Grant came on the hip-hop scene showing confidence, mic presence, and an impressive ear for soulful beats. His breakout mixtape “’88” gained my attention packed with punchlines and a delivery that hits even harder. He’s also gained respect from southern OGs such as Killer Mike, Young Dro, and Big K.R.I.T. who were featured on his debut. In addition, he’s earned himself the co-sign of all co-signs with rap royalty Andre 3 Stacks himself bowing to him when first meeting Nick Grant in the studio. His latest project, “Return of the Cool” premiered at the peak of the new year in January. Check out his new album and more on Soundcloud.
Inking a new deal with Interscope Records, singer 6LACK is in the spotlight as one of Atlanta’s rising stars. 6LACK gives R&B an alternative sound smoothly combining his raspy vocals with trap beats. His debut album “Free 6LACK” became his claim to fame releasing in November 2016 with lead single “PRBLMS” peaking at 34 on the Billboard charts. In Free 6LACK, you’ll find a breakup’s best remedy with songs that touch different stages of moving on and freeing yourself. “Free 6LACK” is available for download and stream on DatPiff and on Soundcloud. You can also find 6LACK on features, including my girl Syd on their song “Over” from her EP “Fin.”
Dreamville Records has a lot of fresh talent brewing, and the newest addition to the roster, J.I.D., is bubbling now. Also coming straight out the “A,” J.I.D. makes his mark in the game with his EP “The Never Story” loaded with lyricism and a dopeass, distinct delivery. Dreamville has a whole squad full of hitters with Cozz, Omen, Bas and now with J.I.D up next at bat. With “The Never Story” knocking it out the park already, it’s no telling what he’s going to do next and I’m looking forward to seeing it.
Following in the footsteps of Southern rap kings OutKast, EarthGang, formed with 2 friends, Johnny Venus and Doctur Dot, out of high school hailing from Atlanta much like Big Boi and Andre did. Both groups share many things in common including incorporating soul and funk into hip-hop music, a fashion sense that’s out of this world, and massive creative energy that’s even more electric on stage. EarthGang has joined forces with Dreamville by joining Bas on the Too High to Riot Tour, collabing with J.I.D. on a few songs, and in their song “VooDoo” produced by J. Cole with the video debuting 2 weeks ago. While new music from this pair hasn’t happened in quite a while, hopefully we’ll be expecting new music sometime soon with also more Dreamville collabs. Their sophomore album “Strays with Rabies” from 2015 can be found on SoundCloud as well.
Anyone else you’re checking for out of ATL or in south in general? Kick knowledge in a comment below.