|Cultural origins||Early 1990s, Memphis, Tennessee, United States|
Memphis rap, also known as Memphis hip hop or Memphis horrorcore, is a regional subgenre of hip hop music that originated in Memphis, Tennessee in the early 1990s. It has been characterized by its often low budget, repetitive production and its occasional lo-fi sound that utilizes the Roland TR-808 drum machine and minimal synth melodies. The genre commonly features double time flows and samples ranging from soul and funk to horror film scores and classical music, as well as hooks from songs by related rappers in the same genre, although DIY production without sampling is common as well.
Memphis artists released recordings on independent labels. The dominance of New York and Los Angeles’s hip hop scenes forced southern artists to form an underground style and sound to compete with the other regions. Artists used a grassroots approach through word-of-mouth in the club scene and mixtapes to promote their music.
Other early artists and groups associated with Memphis rap include T-Rock, C-Rock, Gangsta Pat, La Chat, Project Pat, Tommy Wright III, Princess Loko, II Tone, Tre DaVinci, DJ Squeeky, DJ Zirk, DJ Sound, Blackout, Lil 808 Official, Playa Fly, Gangsta Boo, Al Kapone, MC Mack, Lil Noid, 8Ball & MJG and Three 6 Mafia, with the latter two achieving relative commercial success. Three 6 Mafia's Mystic Stylez and other releases by members of the group such as Come with Me 2 Hell by DJ Paul and Lord Infamous, and Lil Noid's Paranoid Funk, as well as DJ Spanish Fly's early mixtapes were particularly influential in the genre's development. Despite largely staying underground, it has attained a cult following from MP3 blogs, influencing rappers such as Lil Ugly Mane, Lil 808 Official, Denzel Curry, and SpaceGhostPurrp, as well as the rise of crunk, trap music, and phonk.
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- Haynes, Gavin (2017-01-27). "What the phonk? The genre that's gripping Generation Z". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2020-04-14.
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