Saturday, January 29, 2011

Third Coast: Outkast, Timbaland and Hip-Hop Became A Southern Thing / by Roni Sarig

For the longest time it seemed like the world of hip-hop derived from two exclusive geographical sources: New York City and Southern California. Having originated in the South Bronx in the early 1970's when independent funk acts like Grandmaster Flash, The Sugarhill Gang, DJ Hollywood, Kurtis Blow along with many others began combining looped percussion beats with rhyming samples of spoken word poetry, the form of musical expression called hip-hop, known as rap or beatboxing in the early days, became semi-permanently relegated to the country's top two media markets. For the entire decade of the eighties and much of the early nineties, this remained the case. No one really complained. It was an accepted fact that these two centers had always held the infrastructure necessary to support the entertainment mediums of music, movies and TV. But with the advancement of the digital age and the merging of mainstream music with the underground in the mid to late 1990's, everything changed.
Author and music writer Sarig chronicles the complete history of Southern hip-hop beginning with the movement's roots in which recording artists like Jermaine Dupri, Pharrell Williams and Master P broke industry protocol and created their own production labels which promoted performers from the regions they were most familiar with--Atlanta, New Orleans, Miami, et. al. Cataloging Southern hip hop through the last decade or so is no easy task and even the most casual music fans can appreciate the complexity of such an undertaking. But Sarig knows his stuff. He displays a remarkably encyclopedic knowlege about his subject, extrapolating on everything from the Luther Campbell's innovative lyrical style with 2 Live Crew and the Miami club scene to Outkast in Atlanta and of course the violent eruption of the Houston's own 'chopped and screwed' motif. It's not a purely informational resource though. Sarig, with his witty and enthusiastic candor, clearly enjoys detailing how hip hop from the Dirty South came to the forefront of the industry and engagingly describes the nitty gritty details of personal partnerships, stylistic tendencies and business agreements. Stories of record shops which were the legendary acts once frequented, nightclubs and street corners from Charlotte to Dallas and everywhere in between where up-and-coming rappers once exposéd their skills, are thoroughly revealed in this interesting chronicle of pop music history, sure to be a hit with fans. (782.4216 SARIG)

No comments: