As a musician who grew up in North Carolina, producer 9th Wonder recalled being surrounded by New York Hip Hop while growing up just shy of the Mason-Dixon Line. He credited the influx of New York rap in the Carolinas to the large number of black colleges and those in New York who had relatives in the South.
During his interview with AllHipHop.com, he stated that 2 Live Crew was the group that really put Southern Hip Hop on the map. 9th then labeled the Miami, Florida-based group “the biggest Southern group.”
“North Carolina is second in the nation with the most black colleges,” 9th Wonder said. “Alabama’s number one, North Carolina’s number two. So, now you had a whole lot of kids coming down from up North. Coming to these Southern schools bringing music. This was before the internet. So, they would bring—Not only would they bring the music, they would bring another rap show called ‘Uncle Ralph McDaniels Video Music Box.’ So, they were bringing this on videotape. All we saw was New York rappers. That’s all we saw. So, this whole notion of Southern music didn’t really start until—Probably the first Southern group to blow big like that was 2 Live Crew…2 Live Crew is probably the biggest Southern group and they were from Miami.”
According to 9th Wonder, following the success of 2 Live Crew there were those at So So Def Recordings, and also Atlanta, Georgia duo OutKast.
Later in his interview, the musician recalled being perplexed whenever those in Little Brother were asked why they sounded like they were from New York.
“So, by the time we get to the mid-2000s, especially with the inception of Little Brother, everybody asked us ‘Well, why do y’all sound like y’all from New York,’” he said. “And I’m thinking ‘What are we supposed to sound like? What are we supposed to?’ And it seems like—I talk to my class about this. If you put a lot of words in your rap, you from up North. This is what it is. If you don’t—If you space your words out and kinda bounce or whatever, you from down South. And I think that’s kind of—That’s insulting as hell.”
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