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Dirty South: OutKast, Lil Wayne, Soulja Boy, and the Southern Rappers Who Reinvented Hip-Hop

3.71  ·  Rating Details  ·  136 Ratings  ·  25 Reviews
Rap music from New York and Los Angeles once ruled the charts, but nowadays the southern sound thoroughly dominates the radio, Billboard, and MTV. Coastal artists like Wu-Tang Clan, Nas, and Ice-T call southern rap “garbage,” but they’re probably just jealous, as artists like Lil Wayne and T.I. still move millions of copies, and OutKast has the bestselling rap album of all ...more
Paperback, 240 pages
Published May 1st 2011 by Chicago Review Press (first published January 1st 2011)
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Can't Stop Won't Stop by Jeff ChangBomb the Suburbs by William Upski WimsattDecoded by Jay-ZEgo Trip's Book of Rap Lists by Sacha JenkinsIt's Bigger Than Hip Hop by M.K. Asante Jr.
Hip Hop History & Currency
26th out of 106 books — 41 voters
It's Bigger Than Hip Hop by M.K. Asante Jr.Sentences by Percy CareyThe Tanning of America by Steve StouteBomb the Suburbs by William Upski WimsattHip-Hop and Philosophy by Derrick Darby
MFA Reading List
26th out of 100 books — 3 voters


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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 435)
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Ebony
Dec 27, 2011 Ebony rated it liked it
Shelves: hip-hop
I liked Dirty South because I liked Ben Westhoff. I liked reading about the slightly aloof white guy kicking it in the club with Luke, being driven away from a potentially “gay” area by Mr. Collipark, asking Soulja Boy how much money he carried around, and unsuccessfully deciphering Gucci Mane’s southern drawl on the phone. He clearly cared about the culture and had done his homework. Every time I thought, “what about affiliate so and so,” Westhoff would mention him. There’s no new information h ...more
Evan
Aug 19, 2011 Evan rated it really liked it
I read this to try and keep an open mind about a sub-genre of music that I generally find repulsive. I have to say that I've got a better understanding of the appeal of this music and the stories of the "artists" in the book are intriguing.
Megan burling
Feb 01, 2011 Megan burling rated it really liked it
i like this book bec it real no lie
Latasha
Feb 19, 2012 Latasha rated it liked it
Editorial: How Southern Rappers Changed the Climate of Hip Hop; The Expectations Of a Region

Up and coming rappers succumbed to the east coast sound and lyrical poise from rap initiators such as: Kool Herc, Run DMC, to name a few. But, UGK, consisting of Pimp C and Bun B were from Port Author, TX. A city 90 miles outside of Houston would lay the framework for a sustainable and cherished piece of rap history. Pimp C, the stepson of a school band teacher, possessed a classical background and an app
...more
Bigwesmusic
Aug 15, 2015 Bigwesmusic rated it it was amazing
Westhoff did a great job. He's a captivating writer with a journalistic, yet entertaining approach. He transitions his commentary about southern artists fluidly and cites interesting facts that are either common knowledge or that he gleaned from phone or in-person interaction. He basically purports that Southern rap, while not liked by all, is no different from its 'northern' sibling, or any other musical genre. Either you're entertained or enlightened, or both, or you dislike it totally. The di ...more
Kirsten
Jun 03, 2016 Kirsten rated it liked it
Shelves: books-read-2016
It's good, but I would have liked a little more depth- the last half seems thin compared to the first half, as if the author has far less to say and less knowledge about those artists- and fewer of the author's somewhat pointless interjections. Still, it's a good overview of southern hip hop, and some of the main players. (I am annoyed that Missy Elliott gets a page in the chapter all about Timbaland, but no chapter just for her- women hip hop artists are barely mentioned in this book at all.)
Quan
Jun 16, 2012 Quan rated it really liked it
This reads less like a cohesive book than a series of long, feature profiles. It makes for easier reading and the content he digs up is engaging.

So overall, it's a very good book with a lot of great info on artists who don't generally get a good critical look at. I had a couple minor issues with it though. One was that I thought it was weird to read about things as current as 2010 as if they were history. I guess I think he should've held back on tackling Gucci Mane before the dust had really se
...more
Max Nelson
Nov 08, 2013 Max Nelson rated it it was ok
I was hoping for a little more from this.

There was an opportunity to really take a look at cultural issues through the lens of Southern Hip-Hop, but rather than dive too deeply into anything of substance, the book kind of just skims around the edges of the major issues, and focuses more on profiling individual people than on developing a consistent narrative.

The book starts by taking a look at why Southern hip-hop has developed such a bad reputation (and how East/West coast rappers look down o
...more
Amar Pai
Dec 18, 2013 Amar Pai rated it it was ok
Shoddy. The whole thing feels tossed off. It's a shame; the ascendance of the Dirty South in rap is a fascinating topic, and I would've liked to see it covered properly. In particular I'd love to someday read an in-depth history of New Orleans rap-- Cash Money, No Limit Records, bounce, etc. Such a crazy story. Also would love to see a proper Lil Wayne bio, complete w/ investigative reporting into Baby's finances. (Does the Birdman ever pay anyone ? Amazed there's no Wikipedia page for "Cash ...more
Alex
Sep 08, 2014 Alex rated it liked it
This books talks about all the rappers and groups in the late 90s and early and mid 2000s. Talks a lot about drugs and guns and gangs.
Miko Suzahiru
Aug 10, 2011 Miko Suzahiru rated it really liked it
A great book covering different eras of hip-hop in South that brought a great sense of nostalgia for me. It was very informative and entertaining. I recommend this book for the new generation who is oblivious to the foundation of rap and hip-hop, even though it only covers the South, it's better than the nothing that they know now. I would like to add this my collection one day and perhaps find other books similar to it that cover other areas of the genre.
Troy
Mar 18, 2012 Troy rated it liked it
It was a good book, showcasing some of the more major characters behind the music movement. I enjoyed reading some of the quirky, unknown tidbits about rappers I've listened to over the years. I got the impression that it paints southern rap, and in some ways rap in general, as a genre on the decline, coming down from a heyday it won't reach again.
Noah
Aug 12, 2012 Noah rated it liked it
Westhoff basically hops around the different Southern subcultures (Houston, New Orleans, Atlanta, etc.) and goes over the basic history and the key players, but he doesn't make much effort to develop any characters or tie it all together. I was entertained but it's definitely not for everyone.
Matt
Jan 23, 2014 Matt rated it liked it
Can I give it 3.5? I cannot.
Jenn
Mar 09, 2012 Jenn rated it it was amazing
Dirty South is a great read for anyone who loves Southern Hip Hop! It takes you from the early 90s to now and really gives some great insight into the plights and flights of southern rappers. Loved it from beginning to end!
Dy-an
Sep 10, 2015 Dy-an rated it really liked it
This book gives a whole new perspective on shout-outs. At least I know who they might be referring to now. Also, is there any song out there that Pharrell Williams isn't messing around in the background?
Skyler
Aug 17, 2014 Skyler rated it really liked it
I really liked Ben Westhoff's writing style and almost journalistic approach to the genre, but I felt like it left a lot out. It would be a five star if it were more in depth and longer.
Bethany
Mar 25, 2014 Bethany rated it it was ok
This book was fucking annoying, but I finished it anyway because there were some good stories about my favorite rappers.
RaUl  RaMiReZ
liking this book really much i am done with this book it was a good book
Samuel Hooper
Sep 28, 2011 Samuel Hooper rated it it was amazing
that this will be a good book because lil wayne is one of my favirate rapper
Nievie
Apr 19, 2012 Nievie rated it really liked it
first non-fiction in a long while. really enjoyed it.
Kent
Aug 30, 2011 Kent rated it really liked it
Easy read, but enjoyable.
LilWayne WEEZY
Feb 28, 2012 LilWayne WEEZY rated it it was amazing
I love anything about me
Matt
Sep 21, 2012 Matt rated it liked it
Dece.
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Jun 11, 2016
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Ben Westhoff is a former staff writer for St. Louis' Riverfront Times.

His work has also appeared in Creative Loafing, Pitchfork, Spin, and the Village Voice.

Dirty South: OutKast, Lil Wayne, Soulja Boy, and the Southern Rappers Who Reinvented Hip-Hop is his second novel, which will be released in May 2011. His first novel was New York Citys Best Dive Bars. "

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