PR: Music Writer/Author Ben Westhoff's Book "Dirty South"
Dirty South reveals the roots of southern rap, examining the groundbreaking artists and labels who have changed hip-hop – and the scene’s haters
“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
“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
“Journalist and hip-hop enthusiast Westhoff delivers a fascinating exploration… In fact, the beauty of Westhoff's descriptions of the genre as a whole and various songs in particular will make old fans as well as newbies want to search out and play classic CDs such as OutKast's ‘Aquemini’ and ‘Kings of Crunk’ by Lil Jon.” –Publishers Weekly
CHICAGO: 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.
In Dirty South: Outkast, Lil Wayne, Soulja Boy, and the Southern Rappers Who Reinvented Hip-Hop (Chicago Review Press, May 2011), journalist Ben 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, 8Ball & MJG, Three 6 Mafia, Lil Jon, Ludacris, Jermaine Dupri and many more, Dirty South shares the stories of acts that put southern rap on the map, and lays out why the genre is so vital.
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.
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.
“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
Ben Westhoff is a former staff writer for St. Louis’ Riverfront Times, who has also written for Village Voice, Creative Loafing, Spin and Pitchfork. His web site is www.benwesthoff.com .
MP3/Video: DELS - "Trumpalump" f/ Joe Goddard of Hot Chip
MP3 For Latest Single, Remix Featuring Ghostpoet Now Available For Free Download
Anticipation continues to build as the release date approaches for DELS' new album, GOB. Dropping May 24th on Big Dada/Ninja Tune, DELS has already brought fans the a remix for the title track, courtesy of TV On The Radio's David Andrew Sitek, and now "Trumpalump," is being released as a free, downloadable mp3 for the first time, accompanied by a video for the single and a remix featuring fellow UK rapper Ghostpoet.
The track, which features and is produced by Joe Goddard of fan favorite English electro group Hot Chip, comes equipped with 8-bit samples, the most prevalent being the fuzzy, stuttering bass line and descending synth flutters. The synthesizer lines stack and build over beating drums and heavy claps, and just two minutes in the listener is immersed in a melancholic soundscape, one totally different than the chugging, aggressive beat that laid the foundation for DELS' first verse. And, fittingly, this change brings a more reflective mood to the song, along with Goddard's beautiful, understated chorus.
Goddard himself turns in the first remix. Originally conceived as a re-vocal with new lyrics from DELS complemented by Ghostpoet, Goddard liked the new, melancholy feel of the words so much, he re-worked the music to emphasize this aspect even more. The results are spellbinding, a falling, stumbling ballad.
DELS' debut album GOB will be available for purchase on May 24, 2011.
Roach Gigz has been nominated in this week's contest for mtvU's Freshman 5 for his "Can I Rap" video, a single off Roachy Balboa 2, released earlier this year.
Every week, five new and upcoming artists are presented an opportunity to gain regular rotation on the mtvU channel, which is broadcasted to college campuses and gives artists an excellent shot at obtaining exposure.
The video, now with over 460,000 views on YouTube, was shot this past fall, while Roach and fellow San Franciscans celebrated the Giants' World Series appearance, and eventual victory, outside the stadium. The video was shot by Aris Jerome and the song was produced by C-Loz, who is now producing the entirety of Roach's forthcoming EP, Bitch I'm A Player, dropping later this month and featuring Lil' B, Husualah, DB The General, and Lil' 4-Tay.
Aries Celebrates New Mixtape With Bay Area Release Party This Thursday
Some projects are just perfect for a particular season of the year, and you'll be hard-pressed to find a new release better for the spring, and the arrival of warm weather that comes with it, than Clean Ass Whip, the new mixtape from Bay Area do-it-all Prince Aries. Self-described as West Coast Cruising Music, Clean Ass Whip skips from track-to-track, delivering a carefully selected and deftly mixed collection of old school classics and brand new exclusives that were made for listening to with windows down, car stereo speakers blasting.
To give the project an added, personal touch, Aries dug through the crates of his own vinyl collection, with much of the vinyl (song selections ranging from Too $hort to Concious Daughters, and more) coming from the artists themselves, as Aries spent time interviewing them for Distortion 2 Static, the hip-hop TV program he co-founded shortly after moving from NYC to the Bay. "As far as the mix itself, it's just a refection of myself as a DJ," says Aries. "I feel like it had everything a good mixture needs. Exclusive tracks, remixes, blends, drops, rare singles/b-sides/album cuts and classics. And put together in a way that can be played easily from beginning to end."