Many people may know that Hip-Hop and Rap music began up North. New York is the idol city for the music industry. Many of the record labels such as Interscope and Def Jam reside there. This is key for Northern rappers who are from the city or surrounding areas. These rappers somewhat have an advantage because they can walk around the corner or down the block to contact a major record label. This made the Hip-Hop and Rap scene predominantly have a strong influence within the music industry in the early 90s and late 90s. Artists such as Jay Z, Nas, DMX, and others were the front runners of the Rap game. Southern artists have a more independent work ethic than Northern rappers because of the lack of major record labels.
Southern rap and Hip-Hop wasn’t as mainstream compared to these artist. 3 6 mafia, 8ball and MJG, UGK, and OutKast were very popular amongst the South. Record labels in the South, in the early 90s, included Cash Money Records and No Limit Records. Master P and the whole Cash Money roster were popular but not on the level of the new era of Southern artists. I would say that Southern artists came along in the early 2000s. Artists such as T.I., Ludacris, Usher, Rick Ross, and many more have placed an imprint on the music industry. Many of these artist come from the city of Atlanta. Atlanta itself is a good place to invest in music. A lot of Southern cities have not adopted this culture of Hip-Hop record companies. Memphis is one of those cities. Atlanta have a lot of music producers and independent record labels. This is key for Southern rappers to get a foot into the music industry. This allows these independent artists exposure to the major record labels up North.
Southern artists such as Lil Wayne, Future, Rick Ross, Yo Gotti, Young Jeezy, and many more are dominating the music industry. Producers such as Drama Boy, Lil Jon, and Jazzy pha produce many of the beats we listen to today. These artists and producers represent the Southern way of living and grind. These artists are featured on a lot records that are played today. They have hustled their way into the music industry and are getting record spins up North. This is a big accomplishment for southern music. It is an accomplishment because most Southern music is look as being country and hard to understand. It is similar to how the Blues became an epidemic in the United States.
Lil Wayne set the bar for Southern Hip-Hop. Many southern artist weren’t known for their lyrics. The South was known for its banging beats and creation of the crunk music. He added a Southern swagger to the Hip-Hop industry. He is one the most featured artist today.
The South has made a strong influence on the Hip-Hop and Rap industry today. Southern rappers have worked their way into the mainstream music industry and have became household names. Many of them represent the relentlessness of the South and its culture. This is a representation of the hard work and dedication Southerners have.
As a teenager, I worked for Subway. The Subway was located in Olive Branch, Mississippi. Mississippi is still one of the top racist states in the United States. Minimum wage was $7.25 during my time working for Subway. Race, labor, gender, and region had a lot of affect on my experience while working there. I was the only male to be hired during my time there. That was shocking to me because the owners were both (white) males and they hired only black women. All of the hourly workers were people of color and the only supervisor of the store was white. She was an older white woman too. She carried herself as if she grew up in the era when racism was at its peak in Mississippi. She never did any of the hard labor such as mopping, washing dishes, fixing the food, or food preparation. I understand that some of those things weren’t part of her job title but she never tried to assist neither when we were busy. During the busiest parts of the day, she would literally watch all of the hourly workers work and purposely take an hour break. From my understanding, while working a part time job, a break does not exist. The hourly workers kept the store in great condition. Me and my past co-workers went far and beyond to the store running smoothly. We never received any credit. Our supervisor would get the credit and never glorify our success in the store.
At the time, minimum wage was $7.25. I was working for a couple of owners who control if that pay rate changed or not. I worked for Subway for an entire year and never saw a pay raise. My co-workers always said, ” John and Troy love giving raises”. I always made production and was on time for work everyday. I was the top performer in the store numerous times. I even worked seven days a week and covered for my co-workers whenever they were unavailable to work. I never received a raise. I think I never received a raise because I never gained a strong relationship between the two owners. One day one the owners asked me, “why aren’t you smiling”? I didn’t have a response because it had been a long day and we were very busy. That situation was similar to Lisa and Janis, from $1o an hour, and how she had to be customer friendly to get a raise.
Due to the region that I worked in, I understood why most of those things occurred. In my opinion, It was similar to labor houses. The two white male bosses were the masters, the supervisor was the mistress of them both, and we were the workers. I’m not trying to depict them as being racist but this may have been the way they were raised. Also, I worked under these conditions for $7.25 an hour. I never looked at their system of employment and how they ran their store as an issue until this semester. It has been an eye opener.
When you think of Memphis what do you think? The Fedex forum, the Memphis Tigers, the Memphis Grizzlies, and Beale st. Beale st. is home of the Memphis blues. Beale st. is the most famous street in the city of Memphis. Beale st. was a good place for Blues musicians to come and perform. Many African American musicians looked at the street as a great place to prosper and showcase their musical talents. Beale st. was the Harlem of the South in the early 20th century. Beale st. was great for mainstream Black America and helped establish Memphis as a great musical city throughout the world.
As a twenty-one year old citizen of Memphis, I never knew that Beale st. is such an important landmark. I always looked at the street as a place to go have drinks, listen to Blues music, club and eat good Southern food. I had a lack of knowledge about the importance of the street because it does not have a great significance to the city as it once did.During the week days Beale st. is like an abandoned town, but many citizens use the street for a place to go to get out the house on the weekends. It is still a tradition for drinking and social intoxication. The street still consist of many bars and clubs.The clubs on the street may have few live bands or musicians to visit. Many host local, voluntary bands to perform. The street’s most popular club is Club 152. Club 152 is the street’s main attraction now. The club is consisted of three floors and have different activities going on for each floor. The street is basically an outdoor club for me and my peers during the late hours of the night, on the weekends. Many people walk around and socialize. Jello shots and huge glasses of beer are almost in everyone’s hand.
During specific times of the year, Beale st. draws large attraction for Memphis citizens and outside visitors. Beale st. is popular for the Beale st. musical festival. The event is part of Memphis in May which is a showcase of musical talent locally and nationally. The musical festival was once popular for African Americans throughout the South. I love going to hear the different musicians perform. Tom Lee Park is filled with many sounds and electrifying music. The music festival keeps the music element of the street intact with what made the street famous. Beale st. holds another cultural event which is the annual Africa in April. Africa in April is held for a week during the middle of the month. Africa in April helps attract many visitors to the street. During that entire week, Beale st. generates more money because of the large amount of visitors. During the basketball season, Beale st. also attracts many visitors because of the success of both the University of Memphis Tigers men basketball team and the Memphis Grizzlies. The street sits next to the Fedex Forum and is a good place to go after a win or to sit to watch the games.
Memphis, as I know it, is a place of few opportunities. I have lived here since I was 5 years old; therefore, I am accustomed to the Memphis lifestyle and cultures. It is a mid-major city compared to other large African American populated cities such as Atlanta and New York. There are few jobs in the city and those available to the mass majority are low paying jobs. Many households are led by a single parent, in which, is a single mother. I am a product of a single parent household. My mother worked two jobs to keep the household together. Many of my peers and elders are stuck working low income jobs to make a decent living for themselves. I have witnessed many generations, of my peers, stuck in the chain of welfare. Many have made that source of living. The shortage of jobs, in Memphis, have pushed this ongoing issue.
The lack of education competition, in the city, has also lessen and set the city back. Many inner-city students finish high school without a proper education. Also, many of my peers chose to drop out or rather take the option of a GED. Many of these students are not prepared to take assessment tests such as the ACT and SATs. Upon the entrance of college, this can cause a great deal of adjustment for those who choose the college path. Recently, the grading scale for all levels of education in Memphis has lowered. Therefore, education leaders are not setting a standard for the youth to get a valuable education. The education system is crippling and handicapping the next generation of inner-city children. While I was in grade school, there was not a real push to get a great education either. I went many days without having to study for a test simply because of the lack of education enforcement around me. Grade school was a cake walk. The Memphis city school system gifted wrapped a diploma for me and many of my peers.
There are not many recreational locations for the youth in Memphis. I grew up in the Orange Mound area of Memphis, and we did not have much to do outside of school. Besides playing a sport, we did not have recreational parks, museums, nor gyms to go to. The ones the city do offer are one of historical monuments or abandoned. Most parks are infested with homeless and are targets for soliciting. Many of my peers were not taught to be interested in such activities. This has led to many inner-city kids roaming and the cause of violence. The inability to go somewhere and do something constructive leaves many inner-city kids with the option of being deviant. As a result of being deviant, the rate of teen pregnancy is a high. Many teens, in my neighborhood, gave birth to children at a young age. Gang affiliation is another result of the deviancy. Many inner-city kids do not have the luxury joining positive organizations and clubs. This leads to wanting to be accepted by their peers; therefore, many join gangs.
Memphis, from an inside perspective, is a place of very few chances. Many of the citizens chose to look for work outside of the city. The city contains low income jobs and very few chances of employment for citizens living in poverty. The lack of education can be the reason for the acquirement of these jobs. Memphis has also dealt with the issue of not having recreational areas. Many inner-city kids are left with nothing to do to occupy their precious time outside of school. This issue has led to many negative activities.