Without question, the South is the most influential region in hip-hop today…and has been for quite some time now. With Atlanta being the undisputed Mecca of rap music, Houston and New Orleans providing the blueprint for independence (Rap-A-Lot, No Limit, Cash Money), Florida supplying the 808 bass foundation and Memphis adding its angst-filled aggression to the mix, the South went from being the underdogs in hip-hop to dictating the culture.
But it didn’t happen overnight. Before the major label deals, million-dollar videos and piles of platinum and gold plaques, independent rappers built their respective empires up from the mud. In the process, mountains of classic material was released by independent labels. Below is a list of 20 classic Southern rap albums that may not have gotten the shine they deserved.