During the 2000s, the Southern rap scene was booming. Artists like Ludacris, Lil’ Wayne, and Young Jeezy broke out into superstardom, and hip-hop icons Outkast, UGK, and Clipse, were all in peak form.
However, this article is not focused on these giants. During this flourishing time in the South, there were plenty of artists who broke into the scene as quickly as they faded out, either as one-hit wonders or gimmicky dance rappers. These are the guys we at the Lampin’ Blog affectionately call “The Dumpster Boys.”
Picture Mike Jones, Paul Wall, and others of the like huddled by a dumpster on a cold Atlanta evening (yes, I know they’re Texans) talking about their reign at the top of the rap game. Each of them, cup of lean in hand, bragging about their respective No. 1 hits, the ice on their chains, the cars, and everything that made them so special back then (no pun intended). They are envious of Migos, Young Thug, and the new wave of Atlanta rappers making it big in today’s low-standard mainstream rap scene.
Despite all these rappers’ shabby appearance, there is a certain beauty in their back-and-forth rapport. Each of them knows they still got it. The scene is reminiscent of dads at a little league game talking about their glory days as the ace of their high school’s staff.
As fantastical as this situation might seem, it doesn't change the fact that these men gave us some of our favorite tunes at the time. "Grillz” and “Some Cut” (albeit the clean version) are still in rotation in our hearts.
While there are many members of the Dumpster Boys, not all are created equal. Mr. Jones and Mr. Wall both had relatively lengthy and successful careers compared to say Dem Franchze Boyz or D4L. With that in mind, we created a three-tiered hierarchy system that consists of the Board of Directors, the Work Force, and the Mail Room. This system is based with musical talent valued over career length. Now, without further ado, let’s get into who’s where in the Dumpster Boys.
The Mail Room
These are the guys who had relevant careers for less than two years. They didn't have careers cut short prematurely a la Arrested Development (the TV show, not group), rather they simply lacked the talent to have a lengthy career in the music industry.
While this particular group may be untalented, they were still able to cash in on their 15 minutes by capitalizing on trends. Snap music, rock-rap, and gimmicky samples of children's music allowed the Mail Room rappers to experience a taste of glamor.
There is still a certain time and place for their songs, even though it might not be suitable for every day listening. For example, while I probably wouldn't listen to "Laffy Taffy" in the car on my way to work, you can bet your ass I'm leaning and rocking when that shit comes on at a party.
In that sense, you can say that some of these songs are timeless, but we're not going to do that. These are mostly guilty pleasure songs by rappers who never had another hit.
Büsh: Shawty Lo (RIP), Fabo, Stuntman, and Mook-B are the four creative geniuses who are credited with popularizing snap music. Although their debut single "Betcha Can't Do It Like Me" is what gave them their big break, "Laffy Taffy" is the song they are remembered for.
The triple-platinum single landed D4L on top of the charts in in the hearts of millions of Americans, including a young 11-year-old Büsh. I"m pretty sure this was one of my most played songs at some point in my middle school years. Those were some interesting times.
Unfortunately for D4L, they failed to really create anything as special as "Laffy Taffy," and with founder Shawty Lo pursuing a solo career the group faded as just another one-hit wonder in the rap game.
Andre 3000 is a god damn national treasure.
Nev: I think I should start off by saying that, as a slightly matured hip-hop listener, the original "Walk it Out" is a song that would never ever crack the sanctity of my music library. There was, however, a time when I could not get enough of it. I even bought the ringtone for $5.99. I knew my mom would proceed to chew me out when she saw the bill, but I bought it anyways in a moment of preadolescent reckless abandon.
When you look at Unk, or as he is formally known, DJ Unk, there’s not much that jumps out at you in terms of any pure musical talent, swagger, or personality. Hence, the remixes to all of his hits (two) to suspend his imminent arrival at the Dumpster. The remixes are the only way I can bring myself to listen to a DJ Unk song thanks to solid features from Andre 3000, and Jim Jones on "Walk It Out" and E-40 and T-Pain on "2 Step."
The dirty version of "Some Cut" is where we all lost our innocence as children.
Nev: Trillville was actually an integral part of the conception of the Dumpster Boys. They are a perfect example of artists that had no talent whatsoever, but just stumbled upon a tour-de-force of mid-2000’s goodness.
While the group never had the same airplay as Unk or Dem Franchize Boyz, Trillville was quite popular during the early life of "Some Cut." Afterwards they were never heard from again. If I saw one Trillville’s equally mediocre members in a crowded area, I would not be able to recognize them for the life of me. But their sexually disturbing yet simultaneously great song has been going through my head since ‘04.
Büsh: "Party Like A Rockstar" was a middle school dance favorite. It was also nominated for a Grammy (???). That's pretty much all I can say about these guys. Open and shut case, Johnson.
Nev: Jibbs. What can you say about a guy like Jibbs? I love saying his name, for one. It’s a name that you know belongs to a one-hit wonder, like Chumbawamba. "Chain Hang Low" is not one I look upon to fondly, but the underappreciated “King Kong” with fellow Dumpster companion Chamillionaire is one I’ll listen to if I’m feeling nostalgic.
The Work Force
Now we move up to the Work Force. These rappers had longer careers than their subordinates in the Mail Room, but they still faded into obscurity rather quickly. In addition, these guys have proven to handle the mic with a little more skill than the Mail Roomers.
While we may not listen to these particular artists every day, we have more than just sentimental ties to their songs. Their music was more than just a fad, and it has lasted the test of time (for the most part).
Büsh: With the explosion of the "Juju" dance, the world was reminded of Crime Mob's 2004 single "Knuck If You Buck." As a matter of fact, the first time I heard the Juju song I thought it was Crime Mob, only to be slightly disappointed and marginally entertained by that volleyball player's moves.
Crime Mob followed with "Rock Yo Hips," which to this day Nev and I will get hype to on any dance floor. In fact, it is "Rock Yo Hips" that raises Crime Mob above the Mail Room rappers, specifically Diamond's verse. "Look I got 32 flavors of this bootylicious bubblegum" is an absolutely perfect way to start a verse and there is no convincing me otherwise.
However, the Mob failed to create anything else as noteworthy as their two standout tracks, and that is what keeps them from joining Dumpster Boy royalty.
Dem Franchize Boyz
Büsh: While D4L may have brought snap music into the mainstream, Dem Franchize Boyz had been making snap music for quite some time before. With snap "classics" "Lean Wit It" "White Tee" and "Oh I Think They Like Me," you DFB's "deep" catalogue lands them in the Work Force.
However catchy those three songs may be, they are basically the same song. You could strip the drums from "White Tee" and throw them directly on "Oh I Think They Like Me" and you wouldn't notice. They even use the same lyrics ("hell naw that don't excite me" "cuz they shine so brightly") and similar rhyme schemes. It's not a coincidence that the titles rhyme.
With that in mind, we had to consider Dem Franchize Boyz as lower-tiered Work Force candidates. That doesn't mean we don't love "Oh I Think They Like Me" any less (shouts to Bow Weezy, Prince of the O-Town).
Büsh: The self-proclaimed "Mixtape Messiah" got his big break in 2005 with his studio debut Sound of Revenge, containing smash hit "Ridin'" and other solid tracks such as "Turn It Up." Unlike the rappers we've seen so far, the Chamillitary Man actually dropped a pretty decent second album, Ultimate Victory, which has "Hip-Hop Police" and the "Final Countdown" sampling "Industry Groupie."
In addition to these major label hits, on the third disc (!!!) of his first Mixtape Messiah tape was "Call Some Hoes," which featured Kanye West (and is the only song to my knowledge to utilize a slide whistle), and a version of "Still Tippin'" in which he is featured instead of Paul Wall. He also took the place of Xzibit as a guest host on Pimp My Ride, but we choose to not remember that.
Chamillionaire is the first (and probably only) rapper on this list with demonstrated lyrical prowess, but he just barely missed the cut to be on the elusive Board of Directors.
Nev: Nothing symbolizes a fall to the dumpster depths like Young Joc's ridiculous hair, to which he received much deserved endless roasting on all forms of social media. We like to remember the pre-perm Joc days.
To the extent of my knowledge, Yung Joc is the first rapper to stylize himself as “Yung”. To me, at the dawn of the age of texting and IM in 2006, we as youngsters thought we were so cool by abbreviating words and spelling things wrong on purpose. So props to Joc for capturing the nuances of an odd and confusing era of hip hop. And my life.
I dare you to not get hyped when you hear "Dis a Nitti Beat."
Joc’s catalogue can be summed up in five tracks, four of which are features. Joc’s only solo hit, “It’s Goin’ Down”, was an absolute staple on my iPod nano. “If a girl choose, let her do her thing, just like her mama niss ass nice brain.” Utterly poetic Joc. The other favorite of mine is the timeless “Buy U And Drank” with T-Pain, who wouldn’t catch himself within a fifty mile radius of the dumpster.
The Board of Directors
We have finally reached the top floor. These are the guys that we consider the swaggiest of the bunch. They might not have lyrical skills per se, but their persona, flavor, and ear for beats make these select few a cut above the rest.
Nev: It pains me that Chingy ended up a Dumpster Boy, as I always liked the guy. Coming out of St. Louis, Ching was poised to sit upon the throne of the South at the right hand of his DTP superior, Ludacris, for years to come.
Chingy’s peak popularity came in 2006 with the release of his third album, Hoodstar. The great thing about Ching was that while not ultra-talented, he had versatility. He was able to create awesome prototypical mid-2000’s bubble gum hits such as “Right Thurr” and “Dem Jeans” and then slow it down a little with a ditty like “Pullin Me Back” and “One Call Away”, which both had a more soulful, R&B feel.
Chingy’s fall from grace was a little more graceful than those like DJ Unk. He continued to steadily put out music through 2014, but without much commercial success. The pinnacle of Chingy’s career may have been his cameo in Scary Movie 4, where he can be seen lampin’ with a few choice groupies inside that War of the Worlds thingy. And it just dawned on me that “thingy”, while not actually a word, is the only word that rhymes with Chingy. That aside, I hope Ching can sip lean in peace knowing that he is Dumpster Boy royalty.
A true man of the people.
Büsh: This dude had me fiending for a grill in middle school. How in God's name do you get a Lebanese/Filipino tween from the valley wanting diamonds in his mouth? Being swaggy as fuck. Wall's influence among other rappers and fans is a testament to his personality, and it is a large part (arguably bigger than his music) of him being on the top floor.
After skating Houston's underground scene for some years, the Iceman broke out with a verse on Mike Jones' highly revered "Still Tippin'" and released his platinum debut album The Peoples Champ in 2005. However, it was his featured verses on other rappers song that really shined. In addition to "Still Tippin'," Wall had standout verses on Nelly's "Grillz" and Kanye's "Drive Slow."
He was able to continue the momentum with his sophomore album Get Money, Stay True, which cracked the Billboard top 10, but his subsequent releases failed to create as much buzz. Wall continues to make music to this day, but is nowhere near what he was in his heyday.
Nev:If we had to delegate dumpster real estate amongst the Boyz, Jones would be living in the hills so to speak. Jones seemed sure to stay on top after the release of his debut album, Who Is Mike Jones? The album name alone creates this enigmatic air about Jones. Sure we see the diamond grills and the du-rag, but we’ll never really know the answer to the question for the ages: “Who IS Mike Jones??”
Anyways, Mike Jones owned 2004. Between “Still Tippin',” “Back Then,” and “Badd” (featuring Ying Yang Twins), Jones created a unfuckwittable catalogue that is 2-3 times larger than the rest of his Dumpster Boy counterparts.
To this day, my dad, who has an untraceable set of criteria for hip hop, bumps Still Tippin’ religiously. Jones music career fizzled out quickly but remains active-ish. Given the current climate in hip hop today, it’s quite safe to say that Mike will not be making a resurgence in popularity, but we will all remember the good times he gave us, as well as his phone number.
Every single one of these rappers, no matter where they are today, had some impact on both mine and Nev's life, and we just needed to express it somehow. The era of 2000s Southern rap should never be forgotten, and this post is dedicated to keeping its memory alive.