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Known for it's darkness, heavy bass and fast flows, Memphis rap originated in the early nineties with the likes of DJ Squeeky, Al Kapone and early Three 6 Mafia. Memphis rap was crucial in the horrorcore movement, as the genre's dark, sinister sound was perfectly suited for the style's frightening lyrics. Perhaps most notably, it was Memphis rap, along with Miami bass, that laid the groundwork for crunk. What's more, Memphis rap was the first style of rap to feature true tongue twisting.

In contrast to most styles of Southern rap, Memphis rap is remarkably down-tempo and decidedly not party-oriented. Memphis rap rarely, if ever, samples old R&B or rock songs, a practice that has become commonplace in Southern rap. Sampling is confined mostly to movie sound-bites. Many rappers coming out of Memphis today have abandoned Memphis rap and fit stylistically with the majority of Southern rap (i.e. Three 6 Mafia, Eightball & MJG). Nonetheless, rappers like Mr. Sche and Nasty Nardo have kept the style alive, while the sound has spread through cities in the south and midwest. .

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