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Is TI the King of the South?

Granted, it’s silly to proclaim anyone in hip-hop the king of anything in an age when top-selling artists stuggle to go platinum, and some years there aren’t enough decent albums to put together a top 10 list, but whatever. For business purposes, hip-hop can’t have a bad year (or decade). Just a different one.

TI, hip-hop’s foremost activist, has declared in interviews with the Associated Press that he’s the King of the South, and has even gone so far as to name his new album King. As sad as it sounds (and really is), King is the only rap album on Billboard’s top 10 right now. It’ll be this year’s fastest-selling album until something good comes along.

That said, TI isn’t the only jig in the South moving units. King came out in a weak-ass spring for hip-hop, and also benefited from being released the same day as a major motion picture. For being the top-selling rapper out, TI is hardly a household name. You’d expect the King of the South to be a known figure outside of hip-hop circles a la a Snoop or a Jay-Z.

“What You Know” is ubiquitous, to be sure, but not any more so than several other southern rap songs released in the past six months or so. Take for example “Lean With It, Rock With It,” “Laffy Taffy,” “Grillz,” and so on and so forth. And note that I’m not purposely using examples of awful rap songs to prove some sort of point. Those really are the most popular rap songs from the South I could think of.

Don’t hate the player. Hate yourself.

Young Jeezy, to me, seems a more worthy candidate for King of the South. Where as “What You Know” is popular, “Soul Survivor” was all over the place last year, a year that also brought us the likes of “Stay Fly” and “Still Tippin’.” His snowman t-shirt scandal brought him a certain degree of notoriety outside of the South, and as Sickamore mentioned on this site, Jeezy is apparently really popular outside the South as well.

For what it’s worth, I liked Thug Motivation 101, or whatever it’s called, a lot more than I do King, though obviously I’m no conniosseur of the form. What do the rest of you bags think?

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