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The Most Important Southern Hip-Hop Albums Ever

With respect owed to New York as the birthplace of hip-hop, the South has had something to say since the mid to late ‘80s, becoming a highly competitive region for the past two decades. Putting a spin on universal themes of lavish indulgence, rap below the Mason-Dixon line is spoken in different dialects and rhythms by hungry emcees who are determined to be heard by any means. With Atlanta being arguably the most popular city, respect is also due to New Orleans as well as parts of Texas and Tennessee that tend to go forgotten by the greater population of rap fans.

Taking flashiness to new levels, the Cash Money and No Limit cliques were two of the more formidable empires to go up against Puff Daddy’s Bad Boy label, leveraging the star power of Juvenile and Master P. Other benefactors of the South’s rise include T.I., Young Jeezy and Three 6 Mafia, all putting their own unique spins on what it meant to come up and win against the odds. From crunk to bounce and player tales to mind elevation, here are 15 albums that represent the best of Southern hip-hop’s past and continue to influence where music is today.

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