From: AL, United States
Genre: Hip Hop/Rap
There is no question that hip-hop reigns supreme in the Southern-most region of the U.S, however when most people think of Southern rap, artists representing Atlanta, Houston, Miami and Memphis come to mind. Alabama, a.k.a. the "Heart of Dixie," is more often associated with its role in the U.S. Civil War and the Civil Rights movement of the 1950s and '60s not as a hot spot for hip-hop. Much has changed since then, and hip-hop has definitely taken hold of the "Cotton State" busting onto the scene with the arrival of Mobile, Alabama's Rich Boy and now with debut from the crew out Huntsville, Paper Route Gangstaz.
It's been a longtime coming for this hip-hop quartet comprised of Paper Route Recordz CEO Dawgy Baggz along with Mata, Jhi Ali and Gunt, who have been stirring up a buzz in the underground scene for a number of years. "We started off as a bunch of solo artists and groups who often collaborated with each other on songs and compilations, until we found a formula that worked which was the beginning of the PRGz," states Dawgy Baggz. "And luckily we happen to have a few tracks that caught the attention some folks."
It has been a lengthy grind for the PRGz, having formerly been a part of a larger collective known as Slow Motion Sounds in the early 2000s. After the group garnered a buzz in Huntsville with their song, "I'm A Hustla," the momentum carried PRGz to record a track with the rapper T.I., called "Lacs & Prices" in 2001 that became a regional underground smash. "We were already known around the city for putting it down," remembers Mata, "but when we did "Lacs & Prices," that pretty much solidified us."
Now 8 years, several crew reformations and a slew of mixtapes later, the Paper Route Gangstaz are ready to take their successes and lessons learned to a national stage with the release of their debut EP titled Rocket Fuel. If you think the PRGz are your average, run-of-the-mill Southern-based hip-hop group, think again. Not only does their abundance of flows and choice of style and profile instantly grab your attention, but the group's superior production quality will make fans out of grill sporters and hipsters alike. Standout tracks on this 6-song effort are joints such as "Stuntastic (Remix)" and "Bama Getting Money," produced by famed Philadelphia DJ Diplo. On the surface PRGz and Diplo may seem like a strange marriage, but when their respective managers brought them together (Dan Weisman and Kevin Kusatsu),they soon found they had a lot more in common than originally thought. "Actually Diplo reached out to us first," recalls Dawgy Baggz. "He was born in Mississippi, so he has Southern roots. At first I was leery about the collaboration, but it all came together perfectly. Diplo complements our sound very nicely."
Other must listens include "Woodgrain" and the EP's lead single "Keyshia Cole." The project also features appearances from wordsmiths Wale and Blaqstarr, which is sure to put the hip-hop industry on notice. While the EP precedes the group's full-length album due out later this year, the Paper Route Gangstaz are steadily making fans one region at a time. "This ain't just regional music," states Mata. "We make music for all people whether you're in London or Brazil. We feel that we have a worldwide sound. We're about having fun and living life. That's what everyone is trying to do and that's the type of music they want to hear."