Southern hip-hop is a fantastic affirmation of regional culture. In Third Coast, Roni Sarig traces dozens of genres birthed from their geographical environs: Atlanta crunk, Miami bass, Houston screwed & chopped.
Sarig unveils detailed networks of producers, moguls and musicians, emphasizing intricate social connections rather than the beats themselves. It is probably necessary. The beats, often effortlessly avant-garde, are tight packages of trends, references and other artifacts of a rich dialogue. Here, Third Coast excels, as when Sarig traces the transmutation of “Drag Rap,” a 1986 12-inch by obscure Queens act The Showboys into “Triggerman,” the foundation of New Orleans bounce.
If dry, Third Coast is also clear-headed: an essential document of the last two decades of pop. All it’s missing—sorely, unfortunately—are lists of recommended cuts. Oh, well. Grab a highlighter.