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A Year of Lil Wayne: "I'm So Hood (Remix)"

The next step in DJ Khaled's march to the top did even more to open a lane for Wayne as a mainstream figure in rap.

Day 149: "I'm So Hood (Remix)" feat. T-Pain, Young Jeezy, Ludacris, Busta Rhymes, Big Boi, Lil Wayne, Fat Joe, Birdman, and Rick Ross – DJ Khaled, We the Best, 2007

Soon after "We Takin' Over" changed everything with regards to DJ Khaled and the Southern rap supercut, Khaled's next big single, "I'm So Hood," hit. Like "We Takin' Over," it laid out a blueprint worth paying attention to: T-Pain was on the hook, priming us for "All I Do Is Win," and a who's who of Miami rap (Rick Ross, Plies, and Trick Daddy) filled out the roster, helping to cement the city's modern incarnation in the minds of rap fans everywhere. This was around the time Lil Wayne moved to Miami, too, which further added to the city's clout. And then there was the remix, which brought together the Miami heavy hitters with Atlanta heavy hitters (Young Jeezy, Ludacris, and Big Boi) and New York heavy hitters (Fat Joe and Busta Rhymes), which combined pop radio staples (Luda, Fat Joe) with more artistically revered pop radio staples (Busta, Big Boi) and regional stars (Wayne, Ross, Jeezy). So many boundaries were bridged on this song! Suddenly, here was a street classic repping Florida that stretched across all kinds of boundaries and landed on the radio. What better victory lap could there be for Khaled's rapidly emerging legacy, not to mention Wayne's and Ross's (the two ascendent stars on the roster)? Plus, Lil Wayne shouts out the original Plies verse, so it's credible as a remix.

We talk a lot about how Atlanta came to run rap in the modern era, and much of that story resides in Atlanta, but it's also true that in terms of shifting rap's center of gravity, the DJ Khaled posse cut did a lot to legitimize the South. The Busta Rhymes stamp of approval made Lil Wayne a more credible national figure (more on Wayne and Busta to come), as did Fat Joe making hit records with Southern artists. DJ Khaled may not have been much more than the connective tissue, but there's no doubt his imprint helped Wayne find his lane as a more broadly popular figure in the rap world and, by extension, the pop sphere.

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