Since I could remember, I was a fan of Hip Hop duos. It was a fascination to see the chemistry of guys like Run-DMC, Jalil & Ecstacy (Whodini), Prince Markie Dee and Kool Rock-Ski (The Fat Boys) EPMD, Nice & Smooth, and Kid-n-Play displayed on wax. As Hip Hop shifted to the South, the admiration would remain. Duos such as UGK, OutKast, and 8Ball & MJG would be the reason.
The aforementioned national debuts were detrimental to their careers as well as Southern Hip Hop. UGK’s Too Hard to Swallow was the first to hit the market. Released in 1992, the stakes were high for the Port Arthur, Texas natives. Fellow Texas natives, Geto Boyz had put The Lone Star State under Hip Hop’s radar the previous year with their hit single, “Mind Playing Tricks on Me.” However, sometimes one group with one major hit isn’t enough. In addition, Geto Boyz represented Houston, a recognizable city, but where or what in God’s name is “Po’ Arthur, Texas?” Pimp C and Bun B would fill in all the blanks.
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As Wikipedia states, “The American crack epidemic was a surge of crack cocaine use in major cities across the United States between the early 1980s and the early 1990s.” Rappers from major cities rapped about it, however, tracks like “Pocket Full of Stones,” “Short Texas,” and “Cocaine in the Back of the Ride” reminded us that small towns in between weren’t exempt.
Compared to UGK’s later releases, it’s apparent Pimp had not hone his craft at producing nor did him and Bun’s emcee’s skills had reach it’s pinnacle, however, the potential for greatness was there.
Too Hard to Swallow, which features the hit, “Tell Me Something Good” charted at 37 and 14 on Billboard’s Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums and Heatseekers Albums, respectively.
8Ball & MJG’s Comin’ Out Hard dropped in 1993. Hailing from Memphis TN, a city that’s deeply rooted in Blues, Ball and ‘G, like Bun B and Pimp C, were assigned the task of getting Hip Hop heads to listened to their music while coming from a non-Hip Hop Southern city. They did it loudly and proudly in their national debut.
Comin’ Out Hard features some classic bangers such as “9 Little Millimeta Boys,” “Armed Robbery,” and the album’s title track. In addition, it features “Mr. Big,” one of the best hood stories told in form of rap.
[“Hip Hop Roundtable” by HHAD podcast coming SOON!]
In 1994, OutKast dropped, Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik. During a time when the South was closely associated with booty music, Big Boi and Andre 3000 went against the grain to give us consciousness with tracks like “Get Up, Get Out” while still giving us something we could bump in our rides with “Players Ball” and the album’s title track.
For their debut effort, the duo received Best New Artist of the Year away at the 1995 Source Awards. This would be the stage where Andre famously said “the South got something to say.” #TBT
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Who had the better national debut?
[Polls Are Closed!!]
8Ball & MJG – Comin’ Out Hard -69%
OutKast – Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik -25%
UGK – Too Hard To Swallow -6%