Underground Southern Rap Is Heating Up

Updated on June 23, 2017

Have you ever heard of Country Rap?

If you're familiar with country music, you may be thinking of Jason Aldean's hit song "Dirt Road Anthem" or Sam Hunt's hit, "Waste Your Time".

If you're more familiar with rap music - then you might just be mostly confused.

However, it is really as simple as it sounds. It is a blend between southern rock, rap, and occasionally, you may even hear Johnny Cash and Waylon Jennings. It is a very interesting genre.

If the names Colt Ford, The Lacs, Jelly Roll, Lil Wyte, Haystak, or Struggle Jennings don't sound familiar to you then you have probably not yet dove into the world of country rap, but it's time to lift the veil.

Tennessee as a whole, but particularly the Nashville area, really seems to be cranking them out. A few of the above mentioned artist are Tennessee natives, and raised nearby the Nashville area.

Nashville is notorious for, at least, discovering the hottest new thing in country, but the best part about this style I'm choosing to call "Southern Rap" is that they are really letting their southern roots show and I just can't seem to figure out what's not to love?

nashville skyline cafe
nashville skyline cafe

Artist Jelly Roll seems to describe the genre best in an Alexander King song that he is featured in (along with Yelawolf) titled "Country Side". In the song he states, "hell no, this ain't hick hop - this is what you get when you mix Pac with that 1997 Kid Rock."

So if you haven't been listening and paying attention to these upcoming artist who are bringing the waves in a genre that has been making a splash since the new millennium.

It doesn't seem like these artist are going to be able to ignore for much longer.

I started at the floor,

But I think I hit the ceiling"

— jelly roll
shotgun shane
shotgun shane
sonny bama
sonny bama

Jelly Roll is one of my personal favorites. A Tennessee native, his sound stays very true to traditional rap the majority of the time, but his lyrics are raw and honest which reflect the country lifestyle.

Haystak is one of the original underground country rap artists, as far as I have ever been able to tell. Also a Tennessean, and perhaps that makes me a little biased, but Haystak seems to have made a lot of lead way in this particular genre.

Yelawolf is making a big wave and he's coming up fast. Originally from Alabama my favorite song is obviously "Tennessee Love" from the album 'Love Story'.

The Lacs let their country show with a great beat to keep you hooked in. Some of my personal favorites by The Lacs include Field Party and Black Moon.

Struggle Jennings is the grandson of Waylon Jennings. So I really don't know what you're waiting for. Go check him out cause you're already way behind on the change.

Doobie is actually from Cleveland, OH. Doobie has a great, fresh sound. I have just recently discovered him, but I am very excited to hear more from him. Look him up on facebook [Doobie Bvndit]

Moonshine Bandits - This duo have been performing together since about 2005. Tex and Bird met in California and it seems like their music career together must have taken right off, but I haven't been able to find too much biographical information on the pair.

Sonny Bama is from Huntsville, Alabama and he has a nice southern twang to his music. Sonny Bama has collaborated with a lot of artists, including Jelly Roll.

Shotgun Shane is from Morristown Tennessee and probably the youngest member on this list, he has a unique blend of music including several remixes to popular songs that are topping the charts today.

These Artists Describe This Genre Best

Were you previously familiar with this genre of music? (No matter what you prefer to call it)

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Questions & Answers


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      • jrk1121 profile image

        James Kenny 10 months ago from Virginia

        I have heard it coined "crap" a few times, especially around older folks. Some of the songs really are catchy though.

      • ml33 profile image

        Emily Lantry 10 months ago from Tennessee

        It definitely brought a lot of attention to a genre that wasn't being taken seriously. I know the first time I heard of country rap, the conjunction "crap" followed shortly after, but it's so much better than people first wanted to admit!

      • jrk1121 profile image

        James Kenny 10 months ago from Virginia

        Dirt Road Anthem definitely got the ball rolling.