Country Rap: The Gulf States (Mississippi)

The Land Where Blues Began

Dir. John M. Bishop, Alan Lomax, Worth W. Long, 1979, 58 mins.

“A self-described ‘song-hunter,’ the folklorist Alan Lomax traveled the Mississippi Delta in the 1930s and 40s, sometimes in the company of black folklorists like John W. Work III, armed with primitive recording equipment and a keen love of the Delta's music heritage. In the late 1970s Lomax returned with filmmaker John Bishop and black folklorist Worth Long and made the film The Land Where the Blues Began. Shot on video tape, the film is narrated by Lomax and includes remarkable performances and stories by J.T. Tucker, William S. Hart, Bill Gordon, Belton Sutherland, Reverend Caeser Smith, James Hall, Johnny Brooks, Clyde Maxwell, Bud Spires, Jack Owens, Beatrice Maxwell, Walter Brown, Wilbert Puckett, and Othar Turner.”

Dirty States of America

Dir. FLX, 2004, 95 mins

Dirty States is the most thorough documentation of Southern hip-hop rap in all its regional variation and cultural offshoots. This history is told through interviews with practically every notable southern rapper at a pivotal time when hip-hop form the South began to upstage the East and West coast versions in popularity and market value. While “keeping it real” in its even representation of gun-talk, booty shaking and obscenity in the Dirty, poignant and conscious voices emerge in the film, particularly those of David Banner and Killer Mike.