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Bow Wow (courtesy photo)

A quick glance at 98.5 The Beat's top 10 requested jams reveals that in the world of hip-pop, Atlanta is where it's at. Subpar groups like Li'l Jon & the Eastside Boyz, Youngbloodz, and the Yin Yang Twinz are running the charts, with Ludacris and Chingy not far behind. The lyrical quality of commercial rap is at an all-time low, yet the genre thrives, courtesy of "personalities" outside the five boroughs, particularly those in the Peach Tree state.

A lot of the South's 21st-century success can be traced to Jermaine Dupri and his ATL record label, So So Def. During the '90s, JD built his empire on Top 20 singles by Kriss Kross, Usher, and Da Brat, the first female MC to go platinum. Dupri is remarkable for a few other reasons: He is the son of Michael Mauldin, former president of Sony's Black music division; he danced for Whodini during the legendary Fresh Fest tour; and at age 14, he produced his first record. This is also the same guy who green-lighted the cover of Kris Kross' 1993 album Da Bomb, which featured a World War II mushroom cloud over Japan.

Bow Wow with Jagged Edge
Sunday, December 21
Freeman Coliseum
3201 E. Houston
These days, JD is still pimping kid rap, via Bow Wow, and Shawntae Harris, aka Da Brat. His most recent hits though, have come from Jagged Edge, a four-man R&B unit with a knack for minting catchy remixes like 2000's "Let's Get Married" and 2002's "Where the Party At."

Jagged Edge comes to SA behind Hard, their so-so fourth album. For 20-somethings groomed on Jodeci and Boyz-II-Men ballads, however, JE offers a warm way to celebrate the first day of winter and these days we need a song like "Where the Party At." •

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