The South reigned supreme for over two decades with cities like Houston, Atlanta, New Orleans, and Memphis engraining their timeless sounds into the 50-year-old genre. Fortunately, platforms like NPR’s Tiny Desk Concert series have allowed us to appreciate the musical compositions of the South’s finest with a bit more intimacy. This week, trap pioneer Jeezy delivered a pint-size powerhouse set of bangers during his concert, fleshing out the gritty and motivational trap hits with the help of a string section that added a poignant touch to songs like “Standing Ovation” and accentuating the eloquence of trap anthems such as “Go Crazy.”

For hip-hop trailblazers, the NPR Tiny Desk Concert series is a moment that allows them to reimagine the classic records to reflect their current reality. The undertones of trap music, in particular, are equal parts motivational and grim; a reflection of the bleak realities that inspire the music and the aspirations to be removed from said environments. Ultimately, these performances allow our rap icons and their catalogs to shine in a new form, one that pays respects to their roots and their artistic growth and evolution simultaneously.

In the wake of Jeezy’s excellent Tiny Desk Concert performance, we’re taking a look at some of the most iconic performances from some legendary Southern rappers that we encourage you to revisit right now.

Gucci Mane 

If there’s anyone who could take the NPR offices to the trap, it’s Gucci Mane. In 2016, shortly after his release from prison, Wop, alongside his day-one collaborator Zaytoven, delivered an iconic Tiny Desk Concert performance that felt like a warm return. The short set consisted of three songs, “First Day Out,” “Waybach” and “Last Time” – newer entries in his catalog at the time but three records that undoubtedly captivated the masses upon his release. Unlike most Tiny Desk performances, Wop kept the live instrumentation minimal, opting to use fully recorded versions of his songs as backing tracks while Zaytoven played the keys over top of them. For anyone else, it would be considered amateur but for Gucci Mane, it remained an iconic performance that further affirmed his position as a Trap God.

Read More: The Year Of Gucci Mane

Big Boi

The possibilities of an Outkast reunion album are quite slim these days, though Big Boi’s remained active in keeping their catalog alive on stages across the world. In 2018, Daddy Fat Sax and Sleepy Brown of Organized Noize came through with a few Outkast classics during Big Boi’s Tiny Desk Concert performance, beginning with “So Fresh So Clean.” Then, Big Boi dived into “All Night” from Boomiverse before closing out with “The Way You Move” from Speakerboxxx/The Love Below. Big Boi reworked these classic records with the help of trumpet players, a turntablist, a drummer, a guitarist, and a bassist to exceptional results. 

Rick Ross 

There’s a duality in Rick Ross’s sound: the grimy trap and the lush orchestral productions that became synonymous with Maybach Music Group. Yet, he’s always found ways to bridge the gaps between these two incredibly distinctive production choices, as evidenced in his Tiny Desk Concert performance in 2021. Still amid the pandemic, Rick Ross delivered a legendary performance at the gallery space of Miami artist Rich B Caliente. DJ Sam Sneak held it down on the ones and twos but it was the live band that helped deliver Ross’ catalog in a new dimension, from the backup vocalist’s rendition of the “Aston Martin Music” hook to the band’s high-energy on songs like “BMF” and “I’m Not A Star.” Although confined due to COVID-19 restrictions, Rick Ross certainly went above and beyond expectations during his Tiny Desk Concert performance.

Read More: Elijah Blake Chimes In On The Viral Memes After Rick Ross Tiny Desk

Scarface

Could this list even make sense without mentioning the ever-legendary Scarface? A groundbreaking MC and a consummate instrumentalist, the Houston MC delivered one of the best Tiny Desk performances ever (regardless of genre) in late 2023. Although he had already begun teasing his retirement the year prior, the lush, bluesy, and soulful performance highlighted his illustrious catalog. Serving as the “conductor” of the show, he reunited with Mike Dean and enlisted a full band to help revise iconic records like “Smile” and breeze through some of Scarface’s most iconic hits throughout the eras, from Geto Boys’ “Mind Playing Tricks On Me” to “I Seen A Man.”

Read More: Scarface And Mike Dean Deliver An Unforgettable Performance For NPR’s Tiny Desk Concert

Juvenile

After demands for a Tiny Desk Concert with Juvenile, the rapper emphatically shut down the request on Twitter in the funniest way imaginable. “Wtf is a tiny desk [laughing emoji] and no [laughing emoji] [laughing emoji],” he tweeted in response. The tweet rippled across social media and serendipitously led to his iconic performance, where he paid respects to the rich history in his stomping grounds, New Orleans.

Accompanied by the backbone of the Cash Money sound, Mannie Fresh, Juvenile delivered a set that celebrated and commemorated second-line music. With plenty of brass instruments, such as trumpets, trombones, and saxophones, along with musical direction from Jon Batiste, Juvenile delivered a refreshing twist to iconic records like “Ha,” “Slow Motion,” “Back That Azz Up,” and the Hot Boys’ “I Need A Hot Girl.” In fact, it was such an exhilarating set that it led to the first-ever encore at a Tiny Desk concert — a remarkable feat for an artist who didn’t even know that the platform existed months prior.  

The post 5 Classic Southern Rap Tiny Desk Concerts To Rewatch After Jeezy appeared first on HotNewHipHop.

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