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

3.77  ·  Rating details ·  188 Ratings  ·  29 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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Dec 27, 2011 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
Jul 31, 2011 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 rated it really liked it
i like this book bec it real no lie
Feb 04, 2012 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
Jun 29, 2011 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
Mrs. Palmer
Feb 21, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017, music, non-fiction
This was another interesting read about music that was an integral part of my college years! However, I think it could use an update, as it was published in 2011, and it appears that most of the research was done prior to that, so it's almost like a time capsule. The book references MySpace and SouljaBoy, whose stars have definitely faded in the time since the book was written, and Pharrell is almost glossed over, which surprised me. Actually, I was even more surprised that Ludacris was barely m ...more
Dustin Griffin
Jan 04, 2018 rated it really liked it
Good book. Westhoff is a great writer and obviously has a passion for the music.
Lots of info on artists I didn’t know enough about beforehand. Turned me on to some great albums.
My only real complaint is that many of the chapters felt like unfinished snippets, or quick glances of artists and movements that could have had their own full length books. As such, at 269 pages, it’s too short. But it’s a great introduction to these southern spitfires and their DIY ethos.
I also appreciated the recomm
Max Nelson
Oct 28, 2013 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
Amar Pai
Jul 03, 2013 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
Aug 15, 2015 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
Jun 03, 2016 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.)
Miko Suzahiru
Jul 29, 2011 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.
Maria Yegorova
Dec 12, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Another great read by Westhoff.
Feb 04, 2012 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.
Jan 31, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: groupie-fuel
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?
Aug 12, 2012 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.
Mar 02, 2012 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!
Jan 30, 2014 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.
Apr 19, 2012 rated it really liked it
first non-fiction in a long while. really enjoyed it.
Jun 26, 2011 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.
Sep 10, 2012 rated it liked it
Jul 05, 2011 rated it really liked it
Easy read, but enjoyable.
Sep 08, 2014 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.
LilWayne WEEZY
Feb 28, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I love anything about me
Jan 12, 2014 rated it liked it
Can I give it 3.5? I cannot.
Samuel Hooper
Sep 28, 2011 rated it it was amazing
that this will be a good book because lil wayne is one of my favirate rapper
Guy Warburton
rated it really liked it
Mar 31, 2018
Jason Swick
rated it really liked it
Mar 10, 2015
rated it liked it
Nov 21, 2011
George Kuchava
Mar 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Andre 3000: "South Got Something To Say...."
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Ben Westhoff's most recent book Original Gangstas: Tupac Shakur, Dr. Dre, Eazy-E, Ice Cube, and the Birth of West Coast Rap has been translated into multiple languages and received multiple printings. It received glowing reviews from Rolling Stone, People, Booklist, and others, and a starred review in Kirkus. He is an award-winning journalist and writer-at-large for The Guardian whose work has als ...more
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