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Dirty South

“Ben Westhoff possesses the ear of a skilled hip-hop critic, the cadence of a poet, and the nerves of a pro boxer. Dirty South reveals not just the grit and spirit of Southern hip-hop, but the intensity of old-fashioned shoe-leather reporting–mixed with a dash of Gonzo journalism for good measure.” –Mara Shalhoup, author of  BMF: The Rise and Fall of Big Meech and the Black Mafia Family

“Dirty South is packed with lively reporting and colorful social history. But [it] doesn’t shy away from the bigger questions.” – Rolling Stone

“Unprecedented in its research of the origins of Southern Hip-Hop, this gem is key to understanding the catalyst that caused the 21st Century Dirty South explosion.”The Source

“Dirty South is a must-read for anybody interested in hip-hop’s ever-growing role in America’s cultural consciousness.”Forbes

For interview requests or a review copy, contact Meaghan Miller, mmiller [at] ipgbook [dot] com.

Dirty South: Outkast, Lil Wayne, Soulja Boy, and the Southern Rappers Who Reinvented Hip-Hop reveals the roots of southern rap, examining the groundbreaking artists and labels who have changed hip-hop – and the scene’s haters.

Southern rap dominates the airwaves, and has challenged the authority and coastal dominance of the scene since the early-2000s. While it’s clearly appealing to the masses, its cultural significance has been hotly debated, and its emergence has been contentious in the hip-hop world. In 2007, original West Coast gangsta rapper Ice-T accused  viral-success-story Soulja Boy of “single-handedly” killing hip hop, and he wasn’t alone in his ire.

Acting as both investigative journalist and irreverent critic, Westhoff journeys across the southern United States in a small Hyundai, and the exclusive interviews with the genre’s prominent players take many forms—watching rappers “make it rain” in a Houston strip club, partying with Luke Campbell, visiting the gritty neighborhoods where T. I. and Lil Wayne grew up, and speaking with popular-but-derided artists DJ Smurf and Ms. Peachez along the way. The celebrated but dark history of Houston’s Rap-A-Lot Records, the lethal rivalry between Atlanta’s Gucci Mane and Young Jeezy, and the venerable Scarface’s memories from time in a mental institution are just a few of the textured and tricky subjects explored.

Westhoff explores the genre that is often thought of as “simple” or lacking a message. Including interviews with key figures like Luke Campbell, Juvenile, Big Boi of OutKast, Memphis trailblazers 8Ball & MJG, Lil Jon, and Ludacris, Dirty South shares the stories of acts that put southern rap on the map, and lays out why the genre is so vital.

Peppered with surprising details and insider perspectives that make the growth and revolution of hip-hop a cultural touchstone, Dirty South is a fresh and highly readable account of the scene, the society that fostered it and its effect on the music industry.

“Ben Westhoff brings journalism back to hip-hop, and hip-hop back to journalism, by reclaiming the lost art of reporting. As a result, Dirty South is a most fascinating trip through Southern hip-hop’s origins and current reign. Great book.” –Dan Charnas, author of The Big Payback: The History of the Business of Hip-Hop

“I love this book. It’s a real in-depth look into southern hip hop history, and loaded with facts. Recommended for hip hop music lovers.” –8Ball, southern rap pioneer, member of duo 8Ball & MJG