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Dirty South: OutKast, Lil Wayne, Soulja Boy, and the Southern Rappers Who Reinvented Hip-Hop Paperback – May 1, 2011


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Dirty South: OutKast, Lil Wayne, Soulja Boy, and the Southern Rappers Who Reinvented Hip-Hop + Third Coast: OutKast, Timbaland, and How Hip-Hop Became a Southern Thing + Can't Stop Won't Stop: A History of the Hip-Hop Generation
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Chicago Review Press (May 1, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1569766061
  • ISBN-13: 978-1569766064
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.6 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #541,348 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Journalist and hip-hop enthusiast Westhoff delivers a fascinating exploration of the musical and personal terrain of what has come to be known as the Southern sound of rap by such artists as Lil Wayne, Young Jeezy, and Ludacris. Westhoff convincingly details how Southern rap music—"party music, full of hypnotic hooks and sing-along choruses"—took over from dominant East Coast and West Coast rap styles by replacing "normal rap structures and metaphor-heavy rhymes... in favor of chants, grunts and shouts." In fact, the beauty of Westhoff's descriptions of the genre as a whole and various songs in particular will make old fans as well as newbies want to search out and play classic CDs such as OutKast's "Aquemini" and "Kings of Crunk" by Lil Jon. And Westhoff's personal trips to the home bases of each artist he presents show how the personalities of the artists reinforce their music, which leads to scenes such as Lil Wayne's equally impassioned and hilarious defense of his fast-paced, workaholic lifestyle: "What am I supposed to do, take a vacation? This is the vacation right here." (May)
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Review

"Unprecedented in its research of the origins of Southern Hip-Hop, this gem is key to understanding the catalyst that caused the 21st Century Dirty South explosion." --The Source

"Dirty South is packed with lively reporting and colorful social history. But [it] doesn't shy away from the bigger questions." -- Rolling Stone


"Dirty South is a must-read for anybody interested in hip-hop's ever-growing role in America's cultural consciousness."  --Zack O'Malley Greenburg, Forbes


"Even if you only barely recognize the names in the full title...you can still understand and enjoy Ben Westhoff's new book." --Andrew Matson, Seattle Times

"[A] consistently entertaining and enlightening chronicle of hip-hop below the Mason-Dixon line."  --Martin Caballero, Dig Boston

"A fascinating exploration of the musical and personal terrain of what has come to be known as the Southern sound of rap." —Publishers Weekly


"Westhoff offers an excellent introduction to hip-hop in the South that will be informative and enjoyable for both newbies and those familiar with Southern hip-hop...A great introduction to Southern hip-hop, and a fun book for those familiar with the genre and its artists." —Library Journal


"Packed with lively reporting and colorful social history...doesn't shy away from the bigger questions. Westhoff grapples with Southern rap's troubling racial politics and takes on the critics." —Rolling Stone

More About the Author

Ben Westhoff is an award-winning journalist, the music editor at L.A. Weekly and senior music editor at Voice Media Group. His 2011 book on southern hip-hop, "Dirty South," was a Library Journal best seller, and he is also the author of "New York City's Best Dive Bars." His feature profiles, investigative stories, and music journalism have appeared in the Village Voice, Spin, Oxford American, New York Observer, Pitchfork, and others, as well as the web editions of The Wall Street Journal, New York magazine, and NPR.

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Maco L. Faniel on May 14, 2011
Format: Paperback
Let's go back to 1995 when Andre Benjamin, one half of super group Outkast, said these words - "....The South got something to say!" They had just received their award for Best New Group at The Source Awards, and the audience was not pleased - as their booing showed. The audience could not accept that a group not from the East or West could win a hip-hop award. They must've not known about the Dirty South!

But sixteen years later I think it's safe to say that the entire globe now knows what the dirty south had to say and knows a whole lot more about the Dirty South. Why? Because artists hailing from below the Mason-Dixon Line have dominated the hip-hop industry for the last decade, and they have created a new standard for the culture. For those who want to understand how the dirty south changed hip-hop, Ben Westoff has written a new book to tell you all about it.
The book is titled Dirty South: Outkast, Lil Wayne, Soulja Boy, and the Southern Rappers Who Reinvented Hip-Hop. And in it, Westoff tells the stories of the artists and the cities that gave hip-hop its soul.

Dirty South answers Pimp C's question, "What you know about them Texas boys", through the stories of the Geto Boys, UGK, DJ Screw and the SUC, Paul Wall and the Swishahouse movement. Westoff interviewed Scarface and learned more about his tricky mind and he also took a journey with Trae into a Houston strip club to learn more about the SUC.

In Dirty South, Westoff talks about how he stalked Luke Campbell to get an interview and then found out what really happens on stage at Luke's concerts.

From an interview that Westoff conducted with Eightball & MJG, Dirty South is able to decode the term most oft used by southern rappers - pimpin'.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Rick Stevens on July 5, 2013
Format: Paperback
I'm a 62-year old teacher/assistant director, musician, and piano teacher at an independent school.

I just finished reading Dirty South and loved it, especially the final section where Westhoff writes about the populist nature of Southern hip hop and its connections with Delta blues. To me, it represents the tone of the entire book, which celebrates the joy of a being a fan, while keeping a faithful eye on a much bigger music history perspective.

For many years, I have been immersing myself in reading about and listening to the "popular" music forms of American 20th century music. What continues to strike me over and over are the connections among all these forms--ragtime, blues, jazz, rock and hip hop--and the similar paths they have all taken in their quests for "legitimacy."

Hip hop is the one form of music I have struggled to understand as I have been going through this process of educating myself. At Christmas this year, my 26-year old daughter gave me an oral history of the first decade of rap, and after finishing, and enjoying, that, I happened to pick up this book. Now, I have begun spending time listening to many of the artists in the book and enjoying much of what I'm now hearing with new, enlightened ears.

I credit Westhoff's combination of thoughtful research, entertaining interviewing, and unapologetic passion for hip hop for helping me break free from my prejudices. It's been fun and I plan to share this book with my students this fall.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By RossK on May 3, 2011
Format: Paperback
This person clearly hasn't read the book. In fact, they probably haven't even read the table of contents, because Trae (along with DJ Screw) gets his own chapter. In truth, this book delves into all aspects of southern hip-hop and tells an entertaining story. I highly recommend it.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Andrea D. Craven on January 28, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a book I needed for a college class, it arrived on time, it's a great read! Very pleased
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By JBK on April 30, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Awesome research, enjoyable read. Uncle Luke, UGK, and Geto Boys chapters were favorites. Obscurest highlight was formation of Ying Yang Twins. Great info
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Diane Troisi on April 28, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I really enjoyed this book, it has a lot of history of southern rap which I love. I thought it was well written, and interesting. I always wanted to know about DJ Screw, and what happened to Baby. It also tells a lot about writers and producers, I was not aware of all that Timbaland and T Pain have done. I would read another book by this author.
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