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Big Shoes To Fill

Ya’ll remember what happened the last time T.I.P. got locked up. Flipparachi supposedly started claiming the “King of the South” title at his shows, probably thinking T.I. was “out of sight and out of mind.” You know the story from there.

Well, with Mr. Harris incarcerated and probably facing a bigger fight this time around I found it interesting that no one is bothering to snatch what could become a vacated title. Is it out of respect for the man’s situation, or is it because, no one really ain’t interested in that shit?

When T.I. came out making those bold claims seven years ago he ruffled feathers because it meant something. It meant that this young’n was demanding to be said in the same sentence as Outkast, Goodie Mob, UGK, 8Ball & MJG, South Circle, Triple Six Mafia, Screwed Up Click and Geto Boys. It meant that he planned on making his Grand Hustle imprint/clique on par with, if not better than No Limit, Rap-A-Lot, Suave House, Dungeon Family, Hypnotized Minds/Prophet Posse and Cash Money. It meant that he was naming himself the leader of a new movement that included folks like Killer Mike, Field Mob, Ludacris, Swisha House, Bubba Sparxxx, Juvenile, Youngbloodz, Lil Jon, David Banner, Playa Fly, Trick Daddy and a gang of other very dope MC’s that were focused on being raw on the mic and providing a voice that was constantly being overlooked.

Over the past few years, most of those names, including T.I., have pretty much moved on to “bigger and better things” as they say. Either that or they got older grown and figured becoming Kings of their households and personal lives was more important. Shied, when you think about it, T.I. hardly claims “King of the South” anymore either. Which once again makes me ask, is the “King of the South” title worth having anymore? Because hell, if anyone was to come out now and say “I AM THE NEW KING OF THE SOUTH!” would it really be a statement worth making.

The South, just like Black folks after the Civil Rights movements of the past has been assimilated into the mainstream. Drugs, cars, jewelry and strippers have become the prominent subjects in a genre of music that used to touch on everything from police brutality to gun control to loyalty to government corruption to religion to family values to relationships. Because of that change for the worst, its rarely looked at as “different.” It doesn’t garner alot of attention anymore, its just kinda, heard but not listened to. For every person that berates the music that comes out of the South, there are two who try to copy it and three who figure they have to “switch to Southpaw” (what does that even mean?) when ever they get featured on a Southern artist’s song.

The South used to be more than just a sound that was easy to copy. It was an attitude, an aesthetic. It was a culmination of East Coast freestyling and West Coast lifestyling seen through the eyes of a Southerner. Except, instead of finding different ways to say the same shit, cats were indeed, saying different shit.

Nowadays, it sounds like the South is almost exclusively synomous with dumb shit like making it rain, poppin’ pills and trickin’ on hoes. Like Pimp C said, hardly any social commentary. “Swag” means more than lyrics and money is buying respect.

Once again, I ask, is the “King of the South” title worth having anymore? Does anyone want to be considered the emperor of an empire that ain’t hardly saying shit anymore? Is the scarcity of quality material the reason why nobody is anxious to do what Flip did and said back in ’04, this time around?

Just as I was wrapping this up, I came across a new song from Petey Pablo, saying that he was gonna hold the crown until T.I. got back. I like some of Petey’s shit, but I don’t know about that one.

But yeah, Lil’ Boosie, with a little more maturity, could be next, if he wanted to. Oh yeah, Trae’s new album Life Goes On drops today. He sounds like he is a worthy crown holder, if he even wants the title. What ya’ll think?

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