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Dirty South hip hop and societal ills in the former Confederacy

Dirty South hip hop refers to a gritty rap culture first developed in the southern United States during the 1980s and the 1990s. Goodie Mob, an eccentric quartet from Atlanta, Georgia, titled a 1995 single “Dirty South” in order to shed light on myriad societal ills in the former Confederacy, where ethnic prejudice and racism seemed to be perennial sicknesses. Today the term is used to describe not only everyday life in Dixieland, but also an array of risqué artists, lyrics, clothes, and other fashion items that originated there. And even though some might say that dirty South hip hop, as a synthesis of global rap influences and aesthetics, lacks distinction, the emergence of Atlanta and other major Southern cities as recognized headquarters of urban popular culture has compelled many critics and fans to describe the phenomenon as unique. The following playlist, courtesy of Oxford African American Studies Center contributor Bertis English (Alabama State University), provides a selection of some of the most significant artists in the genre.

Bertis English is an Associate Professor of History at Alabama State University. He has written about Atlanta’s unique contribution to hip hop on the Oxford African American Studies Center.

The Oxford African American Studies Center combines the authority of carefully edited reference works with sophisticated technology to create the most comprehensive collection of scholarship available online to focus on the lives and events which have shaped African American and African history and culture. The Oxford African American Studies Center is free for Black History Month. Simply use Username: blackhistorymonth and Password: onlineaccess to log in.

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