Hip Hop By The States Part 1: Louisiana

Cajun Food, Partying, and Bourbon Street are all things that come to mind when we think about Louisiana. Music is also a huge part of the culture in Louisiana. The music that comes from Louisiana is so different from anything offered in any other state in America. With such a big cultural influence there’s no surprise that this is reflected in the music. Louisiana is the birthplace of Jazz, the home of Bounce Music, and record labels such as No Limit and Cash Money. All in all Louisiana is home of some of the most talented musicians in the world, and deserves to be appreciated for its original sound and culture.

Starting in the early 90s, Louisiana became popular for its high energy bounce music and the local rap talent. Soon rap labels No Limit and Cash Money emerged and took the Louisiana hip hop scene to a nationwide level. Artists such as Master P, Soulja Slim, Mystikal, The Hot Boyz, Big Tymers, Mannie Fresh, C Murder, Silk The Shocker, and more began to be noticed on a level that would boost them to platinum selling success. Both labels enjoyed a significant amount of mainstream success and great album sales. They left their mark on 90s and early 2000s hip hop, not only in the south but everywhere. Their run will never be forgotten, and if you're like me you remember just how big of a deal they were.

Today, Louisiana artists such as Lil Wayne, Boosie, Curren$y and Frank Ocean are enjoying their success on a mainstream level. Louisiana is such a diverse state and all of these artists are successful in their own ways. Lil Wayne was able to carry on his success from the days with the Hot Boyz and became one of the most popular rap artists of all time during his run from 2006-2009. His album, The Carter 3, sold an outstanding 1.5 million copies in the first week in 2008. Since then he has been able to sign big name talents such as Drake and Nicki Minaj to his Young Money imprint. It's safe to say that Lil Wayne has enjoyed more success than any other Louisiana hip hop artist to date. Boosie solidified his spot as a street legend. He took his life from the rough streets of Baton Rouge and expressed it in his music which connected with all of his fans. Boosie has accumulated an enormous amount of support throughout the south, and other parts of the country. With many comparisons to 2Pac, Boosie is loved and adored by his southern fans, and they all rejoiced when he was released from prison earlier this year. Curren$y truly has worked hard to get to where he is today. He was signed to both No Limit and Cash Money in the early stages of his career. Once he branched off from those labels he began his run as an independent artist, releasing numerous mixtapes, and eventually released several albums. He now has a huge online following, and is one of the most popular rappers on the internet. Curren$y has used his popularity to give exposure to other Louisiana talent such as Young Roddy, Trademark The Skydiver, Nesby Phips, Le$ and more. Jet life, right? Many people forget that Frank Ocean is also from Louisiana, and he has enjoyed large amounts of success, writing songs for artists such as Beyonce and collabing with hip hop heavyweights Jay-Z and Kanye West. Frank continues to build his career as a part of Odd Future and achievements such as his grammy winning album, Channel Orange.

Now we have a new wave of Louisiana artists that are on the come up and have already started making a name for themselves. Jay Electronica may not be too young, but his debut album is highly anticipated, and drastically overdue. Ever since the release of "Exhibit C" in 2009, Jay E has built an enormous amount of buzz and attracted the attention of Diddy and even Jay-Z, who signed him to his Roc Nation label in 2010. His high amount of technical rap skill and lyricism has made him a popular rapper among hip hop heads as we "patiently" wait on his debut. August Alsina had a breakthrough year in 2013 with the release of his single "I Luv This Sh**" and got a huge amount of radio play nationwide. He was signed to Def Jam in 2012, and has been pushing forward ever since. His natural voice separates him from other R&B singers and his debut album "Testimony" dropped earlier this year and debuted at #2 on the billboard charts. Kevin Gates has been on a steady grind for a few years, from his popular song "Satelite" to now, Gates has established a name for himself. His mixtape "The Luca Brasi Story" was highly regarded as one of the best mixtapes from last year and led to him signing to Atlantic Records in 2013. Teedra Moses is a neo-soul songstress and spent some time on Rick Ross's Maybach Music Group label. She has since continued to work on music and progress forward in her career. Female rapper 3D Na'Tee started building a buzz for herself last year with different radio appearances and music videos. She is a highly skilled rapper and is ready to take the industry by storm, She signed to Universal Records in April of this year. Universal Records is also the label that teamed with Cash Money back in the 90s.

As we look back at where Louisiana music was and how it has progressed now, we see that time is filled with change and transition. The Louisiana artists of today all have different sounds, and are affecting the music industry in their own way. Homage is always paid to No Limit and Cash Money for paving the way for these artists to shine today. The legends will never be forgotten as Louisiana continues to make its impact on hip hop today and in the future.