Birdman, co-founder of Cash Money Records, recently shared his perspective on the enduring dominance of Southern Hip Hop during an engaging conversation on the 85 South Show. He reminisced about the challenges Southern Hip Hop faced in the 1990s when it struggled to gain recognition from the East and West Coasts, the reigning forces in the genre at the time.
During the discussion, Birdman reflected on the initial reluctance of the East and West Coasts to embrace Southern Hip Hop. He acknowledged that competition was fierce, with both sides believing they were superior.
Birdman asserted, “The East and the West was the last two places that would embrace our music if you were from the South,” Birdman said. “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.”
He went on to explain that hits originating from the South took a considerable amount of time to gain traction in the East and West Coast markets. However, once these regions embraced Southern Hip Hop, Birdman expressed his conviction that they would never relinquish their newfound appreciation. He emphasized the enduring presence of Southern Hip Hop, remarking, “We here forever, ’cause they had it forever. The East and the West, they had it forever.”
Birdman also acknowledged the pivotal role played by Jermaine Dupri in breaking down barriers for Southern Hip Hop. He praised Dupri for his relentless efforts to make the music from the South known in other regions.
Birdman stated, “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,” Jermaine Dupri, known for his solo success and his contributions to the careers of artists like Da Brat and Kris Kross in the ’90s, earned Birdman’s respect for his dedication.
Birdman further explained how, in the past, Southern Hip Hop often had to wait months before its music gained traction on the East and West Coasts. However, he noted that the landscape had shifted, with Southern Hip Hop now making a more significant impact in those regions. He concluded by expressing appreciation and affection for the East and West Coasts, emphasizing the unity and mutual respect in the contemporary Hip Hop scene.