Chronicling Stankonia: The Rise of the Hip-Hop South (University of North Carolina Press, 2021) pulses with the beats of a new American South, probing the ways music, literature, and film have remixed southern identities for a post–civil rights generation. For scholar and critic Dr. Regina N. Bradley, OutKast’s work is the touchstone, a blend of funk, gospel, and hip-hop developed in conjunction with the work of other culture creators—including T.I., Kiese Laymon, and Jesmyn Ward. This work, Bradley argues, helps define new cultural possibilities for Black southerners who came of age in the 1980s and 1990s and have used hip-hop culture to buffer themselves from the historical narratives and expectations of the civil rights era. André 3000, Big Boi, and a wider community of creators emerge as founding theoreticians of the hip-hop South, framing a larger question of how the region fits into not only hip-hop culture but also contemporary American society as a whole. Chronicling Stankonia reflects the ways that culture, race, and southernness intersect in the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries. Although part of southern hip-hop culture remains attached to the past, Bradley demonstrates how younger southerners use the music to embrace the possibility of multiple Souths, multiple narratives, and multiple points of entry to contemporary southern Black identity.
Dr. Regina N. Bradley is an alumna Nasir Jones HipHop Fellow at Harvard University and an Assistant Professor of English and African Diaspora Studies at Kennesaw State University
Check out Bradley's podcast about Southern hip-hop, Bottom of the Map.
Bradley also has another OutKast book coming in August 2021, An OutKast Reader:
Essays on Race, Gender, and the Postmodern South (UGA Press).
Emily Ruth Allen (@emmyru91) is a PhD candidate in Musicology at Florida State University. She is currently working on a dissertation about parade musics in Mobile, Alabama’s Carnival celebrations.