Southern hip hop has gone through many phases in its relatively short lifespan– upbeat, grimy, horn-laden… If you like it, there is a Southern artist out there that fills the void. Through all of that, one group and one album have been credited with laying the foundation of what the genre is all about: The Underground Kingz, or UGK as their fans refer to them, and their third release on the Jive Records imprint, Ridin’ Dirty.
Hailing from Port Arthur, Texas, artists Bun B and Pimp C lyrically illustrate a story of betrayal, loss, and the trappings of street life with soulful, bass guitar-heavy tracks that draw you into their world. The album begins with the hip hop classic “One Day”, where the combination of a heavy blues melody and vocals reminiscent of the legendary Ron Isley creates an environment for the dynamic duo to tell their story of close calls and drama. “Diamonds & Wood” explores a love of diamond rings, wood-grain steering wheels, and classic automobiles.
Over the decades, this album has been referred to as one of the most influential hip hop albums of all time and can be credited for inspiring other Southern artists including Ludacris, T.I., Young Jeezy, Goodie Mob, and even Outkast. This is the type of album where you ease into the car, roll the windows down, start from the beginning, and let the Texas veterans take you on a journey. Take my word for it.