The ten greatest Southern rappers of all time

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It took a long time for the South to be recognized as a major player in the hip-hop scene, and it still has a ways to go to be held in the same regard as the East and West coasts, but with the emergence of a new breed of countrified rappers such as Big K.R.I.T., Future, Yelawolf and 2 Chainz (and even hyper-influential artists like Harlem's A$AP Rocky, whose flow is reminiscent of the old Houston flow and whose style strongly evokes that of Three 6 Mafia by proxy of SpaceGhostPurrp), the Southern brand of hip-hop is clearly on the rise. They say that to understand where something's going, you need to understand where it came from. Continue on for the ten greatest Southern hip-hop rappers.

See also:
- The ten most enigmatic figures in hip-hop
- The 50 best rap lyrics of all time: Complete list
- The 50 worst rap lyrics: The complete list

10. Three 6 Mafia
Founded by Juicy J, Lord Infamous and DJ Paul, Three 6 Mafia cultivated one of hip-hop's most distinctive and alluring aesthetics -- dark and exciting, disturbing yet entrancing. Triple 6 has been making music almost as long as Southern hip-hop has been viable, but the crew didn't release an official studio album until 1995. Eventually, the group's image softened a bit, and it wasn't until 2000 that they blew up in a major way with "Sippin' on Some Syrup," which helped reignite hip-hop's on-again-off-again love affair with lean, coincidentally, just months before the death of DJ Screw. Three 6 also earned the respect of the most dignified of audiences by winning an Academy Award in 2006 for Best Original Song for "It's Hard Out Here for a Pimp," from Hustle & Flow, which featured another Southern stalwart, Ludacris.

9. T.I.
T.I. might have the smoothest, most effortless flow in all of hip-hop: He sounds like he's just talking, but he's also rhyming and clowning his haters at the same damn time. The key is an almost imperceptible assonance that Tip uses to string out his thoughts, which indicates a tremendous amount of effort on his part. In other words, he works hard to make it look so easy. His sophomore effort, Trap Muzik, popularized the style that has now transcended rap and captured a large portion of the EDM market, and T.I., though his career was derailed by an eleven-month prison sentence in 2010, has been making stellar records ever since, with four going platinum. Last year's Trouble Man: Heavy Is the Head continues to be a fixture.


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85 comments
Lance Cayko
Lance Cayko

Thank god this reference is still alive.

Isaac Loya
Isaac Loya

Outkast is lyrically superior to them all, more creative & unique! All the others bite off someone else's style!

John Elliott
John Elliott

There is no sentence in which "greatest" and "rapper" belong together. Ever.

Saul Segura
Saul Segura

Noel Gutierrez, what says you? What do you th8nking of this list?

Zac Cheeko
Zac Cheeko

Three six mafia, lil flip,gucci, waka

J Luis Sanchez
J Luis Sanchez

Yes Jacob he was and hes dead because od it but their talkin bout rap not crimes committed.

Stu Balch
Stu Balch

What are u talking about? Doom was born in London and then came up in New York with his music. And ugk is like the epitome of southern rap, they should be right behind outkast

Nicholas Streeter
Nicholas Streeter

Luda! Along with outkast, goodie mob, scarface, trick daddy, I could go on and on

Ted Biondo
Ted Biondo

da fuq @ this list not having Scarface and at least CeeLo if not the whole Goodie Mob on it... are you on crack? Cunninlynguists will eventually have to be recognized for their discography someday. Killer Mike is #1 these days.

Cory Metheney
Cory Metheney

Dylan, dylan, dylan, Dylan, dylan because he spits hot fire

Zach Carsel
Zach Carsel

I'm gonna go with either milli or vanilli

Chase Sasiain
Chase Sasiain

how is missy eliot and 8 ball and mjg ahead of triple 6? three six should be top 3 no doubt. too many hits as a group and as solo artists. and juice man is still making moves. dudes likes 40..

David Mercado
David Mercado

I don't even no where to start! Southern rap is the G shit!

Jose Montoya
Jose Montoya

Go fire up your old 45 player, and Shut the fuck up. Dusty ass Waylon Jennings liking mofo..

Josh Bradley
Josh Bradley

Always did enjoy Lil Flip's stuff, not the greatest of all time, but still good and didn't see him mentioned here. So many good rappers from the South.

Warren Cummings
Warren Cummings

how bout we go way far south to south Africa and throw Die Antwoord in there

Isabel Emm
Isabel Emm

2,3,4 all Houston rappers getting that recognition! I was about to critique if they left off DJ screw. Adam Snow

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