The South Back on the Rise


By Juvone Freeman

In the past two to three years a different side of southern rap music has had a light shined upon it. Many of us have gotten use to the dance and gangsta style  songs from artist like Soulja Boy, Waka Flocka Flame, Travis Porter, and more. Now with artist such as North Carolina’s J. Cole, ATL’s Cyhi Da Prince and Pill, Mississippi’s Big K.R.I.T., and a host of others a more lyrical side of this regions music is now being displayed for the masses to indulge in.

J. Cole has been leading this “new school” of artist as a Roc Nation artist/producer who is often compared to Young Money’s Drake and often argued to be the games next Jay-Z.  J. Cole who is a graduate of St. John University changed the game and the way people look at an artist. He made it cool to be an educated rapper and to even be in college in general. Cole’s lyrical content touches on topics that were previously rarely spoken of from rappers in the south. With his three mixtapes; The Come Up, The Warm Up, and Friday Night J. Cole has indeed set an outstanding foundation for his longevity in the game.

Kanye West and Rick Ross struck gold when they came upon Cyhi Da Prince and Pill both ATL natives and XXL freshman. Cyhi, a G.O.O.D Music artist is known to many as “the down south J” and the title does suit the prince just right. Cyhi in my opinion is one of the most talented right now when it comes to metaphors and flipping words and meanings to give you a hot punchline. Pill who signed to MMG just early this year has been making a name for himself in the rap community with the recent release Self Made volume 1 and appearing on Cyhi’s Royal Flush 2 mixtape. Pill offers you a more gritier style but yet still lyrically and metaphorically intact. As MMG prez recently said in an interview about Wale, Meek Mill, and Pill “they each gotta carry they own weight in the crew they can’t lean on each other or me,” Pill is definitely one to carry his own and he along with Cyhi are making ATL look real good right now.

XXL 2011 freshman Big K.R.I.T. is another who gives listeners the artist and producer combo. On his track Hometown he writes and produces and gives you a mini visual of his upbringing in Meridian, Mississippi and on songs like  This Can’t Be All he spits on a deeper level speaking of life’s worth. Critics praise Big K.R.I.T.’s production skills as much as his lyrics and flow and many even name K.R.I.T. as a likely successor to Southern rap legends UGK, Scarface, and Outkast.

At the end of the day it’s always about being open minded and many of us from places like Boston, New York, and LA only listen to whats POPular which limits us in so many ways. The South throughout raps start has had many different eras of styles and sounds but I feel it is now at a place where their music can easily be compare and argued against an east coast or mid-west artist like a Jay-Z, Nas, or Eminem.

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