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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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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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"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
"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
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I should have enjoyed this more than I did "Original Gangstas". I am drawn more to Southern hip-hop than I am to any other strand, almost certainly because I grew up in Atlanta.
This book is well researched and well written. But honestly there is almost no information here that you can't get from Googling these artists and reading a short bio of them. There's not a huge attempt to connect all the different threads together to form a larger narrative, each chapter essentially an essay on the respective artist or record label.
Because Westhoff is a good, personable writer its an easy read and isn't dull, but I still don't think that "Dirty South" is an essential read.