‘Bottom of the Map’ Podcast Explores Hip-Hop Culture In The South

Music journalist Christina Lee and writer Dr. Regina Bradley are the voices behind the new WABE podcast “Bottom of the Map.” (Johnathon Kelso)

WABE is handing the mic to two queens of Southern hip-hop knowledge: music journalist Christina Lee and writer Dr. Regina Bradley.

In the new WABE podcast, “Bottom of the Map” the conversation around hip-hop culture is getting a new perspective.

Lee and Bradley delve into a passionate exploration of hip-hop culture and its impact on the world. The 20 episode season will cover how Southern hip-hop has made its mark on music, culture, politics, fashion, self-care, and more.

They will also explore themes such as fatherhood, Afrofuturism, hip-hop as a civil rights protest, and more.

They both sat down with City Lights’ producer Myke Johns to discuss the various topics they will explore in “Bottom of the Map.”

On contextualizing music:

“I feel like my writing has been a way I try to connect music to a larger part of our cultural identity and it was very gratifying to be able to talk about that with zero radio experience,” said Lee about being apart of this new podcast platform.

On what makes Southern hip-hop different from other regions:

“If the north is looking at jazz [for hip-hop inspiration], the south is looking at funk, blues, gospel, and it’s borrowing from the aesthetics that dictate the black community that we’re either overlooked or underappreciated by other regions,” said Bradley.

On Trap music:

“Once trap arrived at Atlanta, it took on a particular sound. The rhythm you hear [in “Bottom of the Map by Jeezy”] and the percussion has been very unique to the South,” Lee said. Bradley also adds, “I’m a Georgia girl, so I think about trap music from the perspective of Atlanta. The production and music accompaniment to the lyrics is what differentiates itself from ‘gangsta music’ or ‘corner music.’”

On the Atlanta child murders:

“As a Southern studies scholar, it’s very fascinating for me to see this renewed interest [in the child murders] world-wide.The way newer representations of media have talked about these cases, haven’t sat well with me,” said Bradley. She and Lee wanted to explore an angle that hadn’t been discussed in the media about the child murders, and that was how it influenced the music scene in Atlanta. “Atlanta artists from Ludacris, to Goody Mob, to Outkast, partcularly Andre 3000, have taken that very terrifying moment in Atlanta history and continuously revisit [in their music],” Bradley continues. For two episodes in the podcast, they want to talk about how this event is a major influence rooted in the hip-hop scene.

On HBCU’s marching bands:

“Beyonce comes out with her Netflix special ‘Homecoming’ which not only is the aesthetic of HBCU’s, [Historically Black Colleges and Universities] in particularly the band, because an HBCU homecoming is an experience,” said Bradley, who graduated from HBCU,  Albany State University.

This piece was originally published with audio on WABE.org.

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