The latest news out of Atlanta involves the fracas that Shawty Lo's crew got into with Grand Hustle artist Alfamega at the 2008 Dirty Awards (The Dirty Awards? Seriously folks?). While I can't help but get some enjoyment out of all the ignorance that's come out of the reports (the Hip Hop community has its new version of Chuck Norris, or rather Josh Homme, with twice the fearsomeness and not an inkling of the talent), I can't help but feel a little sad for the South's music scene, as least as far as Hip Hop is concerned.
In 1995, Outkast stood up to accept their Best New Artist award at the Source Awards in front of a hostile crowd that was already keyed up from mounting tension between the Death Row and Bad Boy Records camps. They were booed on their way to the podium. Salt-N-Pepa were the presenters for the award and they even announced the name of the winners with obvious disappointment in their voices. There was no love in that room for the South at all, it seemed. Then, in a move that would make me proud to be a Hip Hop head from the South from that day forward, Dre (no 3000, Three Stacks, or anything back then) proclaimed without fear that "...the South got something to say." Outkast used this soundbyte in the song "Chonkyfire" to close the album Aquemini:
The album ended up taking The Source's coveted Five Mic rating, a perfect score. Now, much like The Source has fallen into a state of irrelevant disarray, the South is the same mess of bickering, in-fighting and lackluster music as everywhere else. I'm still a proud Southerner, no doubt. As time goes on though, I'm having to reach further and further back to explain why.