Put Some Respect on It: Louisiana Rappers Need More Credit

Today I was driving in my car, listening to Webbie’s Savage Life, that dropped in 2005. I analyze music the best when I’m driving, so while I’m making my way to my destination, I realize that The Boot (Louisiana for those who don’t know) has produced some of the best artists to grace the hip-hop industry, and also has shaped the culture for the present and future of hip-hop.

Mind you that some music labels in Louisiana were essentially competing, but the gist is that the entire state made waves in the hip-hop industry for quite sometime between the late 90’s and early 2000’s. Around this time, Louisiana had Trill Entertainment, Cash Money and No Limit just to name a few. All of these different labels had some musical powerhouses apart of their camp, which helped to put Louisiana on the map. (Let’s not also forget that bounce music was on the scene as well, a true staple of New Orleans culture.)

Let’s also remember that at the 1995 Source Awards, Andre 3000 of Outkast made a bold statement after winning the ‘Best New Artist’ award by saying “The South got something to say.” This was and still is revered as the beginning of mainstream hip-hop embracing the style and culture of Southern hip-hop. Before Outkast won that award that night, mainstream hip-hop didn’t acknowledge any Southern hip-hop because it was referred to as “dumb” or “too slow.”

Across the state of Louisiana, artists where making waves everywhere. Cash Money Records, or Ca$h Money, Formed by Slim and Birdman, broke a multitude of amazing artists, including Juvenile, Lil Wayne, and Mannie Fresh. Not only is Ca$h Money known for their amazing music, they are also most widely known for the way that Birdman flipped his deal with Universal. The 80%-20% deal was one of the most legendary deals made in the hip-hop industry to date. To take that deal a step further, in 1998, Cash Money signed a $30 million pressing and distribution deal with a $3 million advance contract with Universal, entitling the label to 85% of its royalties, 50% of its publishing revenues and ownership of all masters. The label would then go on to make some staple hip-hop songs for the Black Community, including Back That Azz Up. Going forward into the 2000s, Cash Money rapper Lil Wayne would go on to create a group of his own, Young Money, which broke artists like Nicki Minaj and Drake.

No Limit Records was ran by Percy Miller, or as many know him, Master P. He began by distributing his records through a small label called No Limit Records, based in San Fransisco, California. In 1995, Master P officially relocated No Limit to New Orleans. No Limit signed a distribution deal, but Master P still owned all of his master recordings. The label signed other artists, like Soulja Slim, Mystical & C Murder. Master P would end up being the face of the label, and released solo albums after that. No Limit would also go on to sign a big-named artist to the label, Snoop Dogg, after his depart from Death Row Records. Snoop released The Game is to be Sold, Not to be Told, which was the most successful release for the label at the time. Master P was not only a mastermind in terms of the music business, his acumen allowed him to work in other industries as well. Master P at one point in time played for the Hornets.

Now let’s leave New Orleans and take a trip to Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Trill Entertainment is by far, one of the greatest groups to ever grace the hip-hop industry, and is responsible for quite a few singles & club bangers during the early 2000s. What many may not know, is that the Southern roots and unity in the hip-hop industry ran deep. Pimp C was the CEO of Trill Entertainment. Trill Entertainment was home to quite a few well-known rappers, including Boosie Badazz, Webbie, and Foxx. Now having attended undergraduate in Louisiana, I wasn’t fully aware of their impact in terms of crunk music. Trill Entertainment had some of the best production in the early 2000s. The camp had some of the most legendary beats that we know of today, including Wipe Me Down, Turn the Beat Up, and Rubbin on My Head. Even when Trill Fam broke up, Webbie and Boosie went on to still make great music. Webbie’s Savage Life series began in 2005, and Savage Life alone has some amazing & memorable sound.

Regardless of what camp these artists came from, they made waves in the industry with their music. A lot of these songs are still in DJ rotations today, whether on the radio or in the club. Whether it be ad libs, lyrics or actual samples, these songs are still in use. Artists of today have bit off of Louisiana style without acknowledgement; from bounce beats to production, Louisiana is responsible for a good portion of it.

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