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Acting as both investigative journalist and irreverent critic, Ben Westhoff journeys across the southern United States in a small Hyundai to document the phenomenon of southern hip-hop. The exclusive interviews with the genre's prominent players take many forms--watching rappers "make it rain" in a Houston strip club, partying with The 2 Live Crew's Luke Campbell, visiting the gritty neighborhoods where T. I. and Lil Wayne grew up, and speaking with DJ Smurf and Ms. Peachez along the way. The celebrated but dark history of Houston's Rap-A-Lot Records, the lethal rivalry between Atlanta's Gucci Mane and Young Jeezy, and the venerable Scarface's memories from time in a mental institution are just a few of the textured and tricky subjects explored.
Ben Westhoff is a former staff writer for St. Louis' Riverfront Times. His work has also appeared in Creative Loafing, Pitchfork, Spin, and the Village Voice. He lives in Hoboken, New Jersey.