Cash Money Records co-founder Birdman recently sat down for an interview on the 85 South Show, where he discussed the early struggles of Southern hip-hop and predicted it would remain a dominant force.
On the 85 South Show, Cash Money Records co-founder, rapper, and producer Birdman spoke on the early struggles of Southern hip-hop in the ’90s and how he believes the genre will remain a dominant force in the industry for years to come. He attributes the issues in Southern hip-hop during its early days to the East and West Coast rap scenes, which failed to take the South seriously.
“The East and the West was the last two places that would embrace our music if you were from the South,” said Birdman. “It’s always been a competitive thing for us with them, ’cause they felt like they was better than us, and we felt like we was better than them, especially in our neck of the woods, the South.”
“You’ll have a hit in the South, and it’ll take a long time to hit in the East and the West,” the Louisiana native continued. “But once they caught onto us like it is now, I don’t think they’ll ever get it back. We’re here forever, ’cause they had it forever. The East and the West, they had it forever.”
“It was challenging for us coming up. Very, very challenging because they wouldn’t play our music in no kind of way,” said Birdman before shouting out Jermaine Dupri for opening new doors for Southern hip-hop. “Jermaine Dupri really broke that barrier for us down South ’cause he went up there and really made them play our music ’cause they wouldn’t play our music at all.”
In addition to his solo work, North Carolina native Jermaine Dupri has played an integral role in the early success of ’90s rappers like Kris Kross and Da Brat. Meanwhile, Jermaine Dupri echoed many of Birdman’s sentiments during his December 2022 appearance on The Gauds Show.
“The reason New York plays down South music on the radio is because of me,” said Dupri. “Bone Crusher and the YoungBloodZ were all over Hot 97 in a way that, like, nobody could ever imagine, and I hired DJ Envy to work for me.”
“My attack on New York radio and New York streets from the South is like no other: nobody, no other company, nothing. Not as far as back then; now everybody else moving forward, that door opened ’cause I was out there beating the streets,” Dupri said.
While Jermaine Dupri’s efforts can’t be discounted, CeeLo Green insisted during an interview last month with AllHipHop that his ’90s Atlanta rap group Goodie Mob deserved credit for helping pave the way for Southern rap’s later dominance.
“I think that’s definitely our contribution to the culture and the community, being able to spearhead and set into motion the rise and reign of Southern hip-hop,” said Green. “We fought those first wars, and we fought for the civil rights and the equality of hip-hop. And with that equality, we gave the sentiment and the sound a certain kind of quality.”