Since the birth of hip hop in the South Bronx in the late ’70s and its subsequent spread to the West Coast in the ’80s, much of what has been written about hip hop has focused on the music from these two coasts. The result is that regional hip hop styles and variations have been virtually ignored. Third Coast: OutKast, Timbaland, and How Hip-Hop Became a Southern Thing by Roni Sarig is a long overdue book that details the rise and later dominance of Southern hip hop music. As a native Floridian and fan of hip hop music, it was great to read a substantive treatment of the history and contributions of Miami bass music and other Southern hip hop genres such as crunk and snap. Sarig has done his homework and tells the story of how artists like 8Ball & MJG, the Geto Boys, Nappy Roots, Mystikal, Pharrell Williams, Uncle Luke, OutKast, and many other rappers and producers became iconic figures on the hip hop landscape.
As the reader might expect, most of the book’s pages are dedicated to the development of hip hop music in the city of Atlanta and there are two reasons for this: (1) Atlanta has been the largest and longest running engine of Southern hip hop music; and (2) Sarig is a the former music editor for the Atlanta-based alternative newspaper, Creative Loafing. But Third Coast is also comprehensive in its coverage of hip hop in other southern cities and regions such as Memphis, Houston, New Orleans, Virginia Beach, and the rural South. Although Sarig’s journalistic background causes Third Coast to sometimes get too caught up in obscure facts and anecdotes about hip hop history, the book is an invaluable addition to any collection of literature on hip hop music.
Fans of Southern hip hop will enjoy seeing their favorite artists finally receiving some of the scholarly and literary attention that they truly deserve. What’s more, with the addition of Third Coast, both fans and scholars will benefit from a more complete history of the genre. Finally, Third Coast’s contribution of important hip hop texts proves that “the South got something to say.”
Posted by fedara mareva