As the rebellious love child of old-school New York hip hop's rigid traditionalism and its own city's rich musical legacy, New Orleans' hip hop scene has always been one of the most fascinatingly distinctive. From the chant-heavy, repetitive bounce that ruled the area in the early '90s to its more streamlined and lyrical sibling that took over the national charts by the end of the decade, the city's scene(s) thrived on this unique push-and-pull relationship. In this time New Orleans' hip-hop circuit produced some of the genre's biggest stars and most unheralded talents. And much like the city itself, it has seen both its highs and very low lows, but it's still here, surviving.
In 2011, No Limit celebrates its 20th anniversary, Cash Money still rules the charts (albeit with a sound that has very little to do with the city that birthed it), and bounce sees its highest mainstream critical profile in years, with artists like Big Freedia becoming hipster darlings and David Simon's recently relaunched HBO series Treme taking a long-delayed interest in the genre. To celebrate that great legacy, Complex took a look back at The 50 Best New Orleans Rap Songs. The city's scene is so deep that 50 only scratches its surface, but the list offers a solid cross-section of the many styles and subscenes that the city has produced over the years, from major national hits to records that only impacted on the underground level.
Written By Andrew Noz (@Noz)