“The South got something to say” remains true more than 20 years after André 3000 uttered the words while on stage at the 1995 Source Awards, but, according to some, the region’s minimized presence in tributes honoring Hip Hop’s 50th birthday suggests otherwise.
Throughout 2023, a number of events and performances showcased the global impact of the genre, from the early days of New York emcees who shaped the culture to new-age artists who are helming the charts. In the new episode of Jalen Rose’s “Renaissance Man” podcast, Cash Money Records co-founder Birdman echoed similar sentiments about the region being overlooked.
“Hip Hop 50 right, but I still say that they don’t compliment the South enough for me. And I don’t respect that s**t about what they [are] doing in Hip Hop, and I never will respect it because the South, I ain’t just gon’ say us (Cash Money), Imma say the South, we paved a big way of keeping Hip Hop alive,” he said. “I don’t think they compliment us enough, and I always was told, ‘What a n**ga don’t give us, we gon’ get it anyway.’”
The South boasts industry heavyweights such as Lil Wayne, Outkast, Killer Mike, Ludacris, Geto Boyz, UGK, Jeezy, Master P, Scarface and countless others. In August, Uncle Luke called out the notable absence of Florida artists from the lineups that paid homage to various waves of musical trends in Hip Hop. The Slip-N-Slide record executive is widely respected as a pioneer in the South who notably took on the Supreme Court in 1994 to fight for freedom of speech amid scrutiny of sexually explicit lyrics and album artwork. He won, and the explicit content sticker that appears on albums was born.
In an August Instagram post, Luke wrote, “Hip Hop fans from Florida, don’t be upset they don’t recognize your favorite Floridian artists as part of Hip Hop’s 50th year celebrations. This industry has never considered us as Hip Hop from the time I started Hip Hop in the South. You can only imagine the names they called us. Country booty music, trash music — I can go on and on [about] the disrespect towards Florida Hip Hop. Still to this day, we fight for our respect, and you have stood behind us every step of the way. We will continue fighting.”
Birdman echoed sentiments that Luke’s contributions were among those that did not get the attention they deserved during tributes. “That man deserves a lot of respect for what he did… Luke and them was around before we was around. That man was huge, and he play[ed] a big part in Hip Hop when nothin’ was popping. He went to bat ‘bout it.”
Check out the full interview below.