Louisiana mogul and founder of Cash Money Records, Birdman, has claimed that the South will be the dominant force in hip-hop for the foreseeable future and won’t lose its grip on the culture.
During an appearance on the 85 South Comedy Show DC Young Fly, Karlous Miller, and Chico Bean, the label executive (real name Bryan Brooks) recalled the days when the culture used to mack and disregard hip-hop from the South.
Speaking about the East and West Coast dominance of the 1990s, Brooks explained, “The East and the West was the last two places that would embrace our music if you were from the South. It’s always been a competitive thing for us with them — ’cause they felt like they was better than us.”
He continued, “You’ll have a hit in the South, and it’ll take a long time to hit in the East and the West. But once they caught onto us like it is now, I don’t think they’ll ever get it back. We here forever, ’cause they had it forever. The East and the West, they had it forever.”
Acts such as Houston’s Geto Boys and UGK were dismissed for a long time, and it was in the late 1990s that the region finally began to receive some respect. Explaining why it was so hard for artists in the South, Brooks divulged, “It was challenging for us coming up. Very, very challenging because they wouldn’t play our music in no kinda way.”
One figure whom Brooks showed the utmost respect for was Atlanta’s Jermaine Dupri, who he said had done a lot for the region, revealing, “Jermaine Dupri really broke that barrier for us down South cause he went up there and really made them play our music ’cause they wouldn’t play our music at all.”
The South has been the dominant force in hip-hop ever since the emergence of crunk and then trap, which combined the energy of electronic music with the aggression of rap. The region continues to dominate the genre. You can watch Birdman’s interview below.