During the 90s, the south was the dreaded third wheel of hip-hop music. It was all about the east and west coast. Acts like UGK, Three Six Mafia, and the Geto Boys were not always welcomed with open arms, especially by the majority of the east coast scene. Even the award winning group Outkast was once booed during the 1995 Source Awards. Even during this time where the south was not as popular in the rap world, west coast artists collaborated with them creating a mini-renaissance movement.
You could say the bond comes from family ties, as many famous west coast artists have ties to the south. For example, MC Eiht of Compton’s Most Wanted, originally is a native of Augusta, Georgia. Snoop Dogg’s parents are both from Mississippi. Instances like those two lead to the two coasts forming a relationship.
Also, the styles between the two coasts are similar. Instead of having aggressive and gritty lyrics over a darker sounding beat like the east coast, The west and south both have more of a faster paced, up-tempo sound. In cities like LA and Memphis, you have music that you can just ride out to and have fun.
The west accepted the south because they probably knew how it felt to be on the outside looking in. When the west coast started to gain traction in the late 80s, their sound wasn’t well received by the east coast. The laid back g-funk style that the west had was described as too “country” by many east coast natives, leading to the two coasts feuding later on in the 90s. When southern acts were treated in the same manner, west coast artists probably felt, “Instead of hating on the success of these guys, why not work with them to create something special?” That led to collaborations like Dj Quik and 8Ball and MJG, Scarface and MC Eiht, and Dallas native The D.O.C and N.W.A.
Even now, the bond is still strong between the two coasts. Tennessee’s Isaiah Rashad is signed to Cali-based Top Dawg Entertainment. Compton’s own Kendrick Lamar and North Carolina native J-Cole have collaborated on many occasions. Atlanta native Young Jeezy has worked with west coast acts like YG, even signing him to his CTE record label in 2013. Sacramento newcomer Mozzy recently released a joint project with Houston’s Trae the Truth. It is no coincidence that the south and west coast are at the forefront of hip-hop now.