Hip Hop Awards 2023: So So Def Sonic Revolution: 5 Rap Anthems That Helped Propel the South’s Presence in Hip-Hop

Journey through the beats and rhymes that defined an era.

Regarding the evolution of hip-hop, the South has undeniably played a significant role in shaping the genre's landscape. So So Def Records was founded by superproducer and recent “BET Hip Hop Awards” 2023 performer Jermaine Dupri. The powerhouse label has been a nurturing ground for talents that have played a pivotal role in the South’s rise to prominence in the hip-hop arena.

During the celebration marking 50 years of hip-hop, hosted by Fat Joe, So So Def Records commemorated its 30th anniversary with a mesmerizing tribute performance. Dupri, the maestro himself, graced the stage alongside a constellation of So So Def all-stars, including Da Brat, Bow Wow, Bone Crusher, Dem Franchize Boyz, and many more.

In honor of the incredible evening and the label’s contributions, we’re diving into So So Def's crates and looking at five rap anthems that helped the South rise in hip-hop and shaped the genre's evolution.

  • Jermaine Dupri - “Welcome to Atlanta” ft. Ludacris

    Jermaine Dupri and Ludacris collaborated to create an ode to their hometown, Atlanta. The track celebrates the city's vibrant hip-hop culture and put the South firmly on the hip-hop map, solidifying Atlanta as a central hub for talent and innovation.

  • Kris Kross - “Jump”

    Kris Kross' youthful energy and catchy beats marked the beginning of So So Def's legacy, capturing the essence of Southern rap's raw talent.

  • Nelly - “Grillz” ft. Paul Wall, Ali & Gipp

    “Grillz” is a testament to Southern style. This collaboration highlighted the South's influence on hip-hop fashion and music.

  • Jermaine Dupri - “Money Ain't a Thang” ft. Jay-Z

    Jermaine blurred the regional lines with this 1998 collaboration of epic proportions.

  • Dem Franchize Boyz - “I Think They Like Me” So So Def Remix ft. Jermaine Dupri, Da Brat, and Bow Wow

    The Southern rap scene was set ablaze with this explosive collaboration from the So So Def family, Dem Franchize Boyz, Dupri, Da Brat, and Bow Wow.

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