Filmed two days before rapper Da Real Gee Money's untimely death. Tilted TV also speaks with TBG under-boss Blvd Mel from jail.
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Baton Rouge has maintained a deep hip-hop talent pool for two decades, but the city has not broken through to the mainstream in comparison to New Orleans. The city's first entry towards national recognition came in the late 1990s courtesy of Young Bleed. Bleed's single 'How You Do Dat' became a hit, and his album, My Balls and My Word, would be certified gold. That LP introduced the world to the Camp (formerly known as the not-so tasteful Concentration Camp), which housed the first real stars in Baton Rouge.
The Camp was led by C-Loc, who is the godfather of Baton Rouge rap. Many of the city's biggest names can be traced back to C-Loc, including Boosie BadAzz. The Camp also housed Max Minelli, perhaps the finest rapper that Baton Rouge has ever produced. While the Camp are certified legends in South Louisiana, it was their youngest member who became the city's first breakout star.
The aforementioned Boosie BadAzz (then known as Lil Boosie) got to make his debut in 2000 with his Youngest of da Camp album, and quickly rose up in the ranks in his hometown. Just a few years later, Boosie had linked up with Trill Entertainment in what would become the dominant label in Baton Rouge. Boosie's work with Webbie helped them turn into regional stars and later vaulted both men into the national spotlight. Boosie and Webbie became mainstream acts thanks to hits like 'Zoom,' 'Wipe Me Down' and 'Independent.'
During the height of Trill Entertainment's run, Baton Rouge's jig music scene flourished. But much like bounce music in New Orleans, jig was very insular. Its local popularity did not translate outside very well. Perhaps for that reason, Baton Rouge did not find its next breakthrough star until the recent rise of Kevin Gates.
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Kevin Gates opened eyes, showing off a different style from the Trill roster. And there's no denying that his success, such as the outstanding performance of his debut album, Islah, showed that Baton Rouge is a talent market that's worth exploring. YoungBoy Never Broke Again, 17, is the latest beneficiary of this new focus, gaining the recognition of both majors labels and the listening public. While he's currently incarcerated on two counts of attempted first-degree murder, that hasn't stopped him from releasing new music or expanding his fan base.
But YoungBoy is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to Baton Rouge's hip-hop scene. With that mind, XXL introduces you to 12 of the city's rising rappers that need to be on your listening radar.
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Hometown: Ardmore, Okla.
Notable Songs: 'Stare and Whisper,' 'Boss' and 'Trap Hop'
Sounds Like: Killer Mike before Run The Jewels
Why You Need to Know Him: Marcel P. Black originally came to Baton Rouge by way of Oklahoma, but has established himself as one of the city’s hip-hop leaders over the past decade. In addition to cultivating the local scene, Black has become an in-demand act on the regional circuit. Black’s rise has been an unlikely one, creating conscious rap in a Baton Rouge scene largely bereft of such content. The rapper found a winning formula in recent years by moving away from boom-bap beats to more traditional southern production. The switch reached its apex last year via Black's excellent Cry Freedom LP.