4 Memphis Rappers on Their Favorite Classic Tracks from the 901

By: Ezra Wheeler

In the words of Charlamagne Tha God, “the best rappers in the game right now are from Memphis…Memphis got now.” And while we certainly don’t disagree, this isn’t the first time Memphis’ hip-hop scene has changed the face and sound of popular music. In that spirit, we spoke to four of the city’s best rappers (Bleu Levees, Lukah, PreauXX, and Tyke T) to hear their choice for the best track from Memphis’ “Golden Era.”

Bleu Levees

Although Michael Royal, better known as Bleu Levees, is originally from New Orleans, he knows a thing or two about Memphis hip-hop. “When I first came down here, of course, I knew about 3-6, but it wasn’t until I started rapping myself I stumbled upon some real Memphis gems,” he says. With his new single “Switch the Knob,”Bleu Levees is gaining new fans around the country and earning praise from critics for his dexterous flow and vulnerable lyrics. In short, Bleu Levees is quickly becoming a “Real Memphis gem” himself. About his favorite song from Memphis’ past, he writes:

“The one that still sticks out today for me is Gangsta Blac’s “My Click So Thick.” That’s just one of those tracks you put on when you wanna cruise through the city or to whatever your destination is. Also, coming from a poet’s background, the track is not only Raw but it also has poetic qualities as he tells his story, which may be what drew me to the song. Besides, it’s also one of the smoothest beats anybody has rapped on.”

 

Lukah

South Memphis-based emcee Lukah is a bit of an anomaly amongst the city’s current crop of rappers, embodying the best of both the new and old schools of hip-hop. His most recent album “When the Black Hand Touches You” has been hailed as a “tour de force” and one of the finest rap albums to come from the Bluff City in years, which we co-sign whole-heartedly. Lukah writes:

“My choice is Playa Fly’s “Nobody Needs Nobody” feat. Gangsta Blac, because this is what my neighborhood called the South Memphis anthem. Fly and Blac are from South Memphis and that song spoke directly to us South Memphians. We could relate strongly to what was being said and the messages in the song. And though everybody in Memphis loves that song, I feel the South connected to it more because it was somebody speaking from our neighborhood. Lines like “I rather please you than tease you / please don’t make me decease you / I believe instead of having you dead / I rather lyrically beat you” were very inspirational for me and I related to it deeply. I like the fact that he acknowledged that it’s very much possible for him to cause harm to those in the way or causing damage to the foundation. But instead of doing that, he’d rather hurt you lyrically with his words and we all know words are powerful. I still live by those lines today. For me, that song is everything.”

 

PreauXX

Much like Bleu Levees, rapper PreauXX (pronounced “pro”) hails from New Orleans, but has fully embraced Memphis’ hip-hop culture. Over the past several years, he has become one of the city’s most celebrated underground artists with his combination of charisma, lyricism, and intellect, as well as his captivating live performances. PreauXX writes:

“If I had to choose one of the songs that influenced me from the Memphis rap era, it has to be a Project Pat song. The record is “Life We Live” from the classic album Mista Don’t Play. I remember the most simple and fun times in my life when I didn’t have anything. And whenever I put that song on it takes me back. Humble beginnings, not forgetting where you come from, all of that…that’s what that song does for me.That record is a timeless feeling and you can’t recreate something that genuine.”

 

Tyke T

Born Tyrone Stroble, Memphis-based rapper Tyke T is not only a successful solo artist, but also the head of the Driven by Music brand. From tours with B.o.B and Boosie Badazz to a number of his songs being featured on shows from MTV, Starz, and VH1, Tyke T is proving that contemporary trap music can win over fans while still being both thoughtful and soulful. Tyke T writes:

“There are so many songs to choose from because Memphis is and has always been so damn bumpin’, but one of my favorite Memphis songs that resonates with me is 8 Ball’s “Stop Playin Games”. The reason why I love this record so much is because Memphis is such a “no-nonsense” city mane. Everybody is on their grind, everybody is out here hustling, trying to get to the money, and we don’t have time for games. He’s telling you on the record that if you are “playing games” then you are wasting time and missing out on money. So if you are still playing games…..STOP! The beat is crazy, and P.Diddy is just being P.diddy on that junt lol. It’s fire!”

 

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