It seems far-fetched that small portion of Virginia could be home to a number of hip-hop's biggest names, but hey, believe it. The Virginia Beach/Norfolk/Portsmouth area of VA is the origin of artists from Pharrell, to Pusha T, to Missy Elliot, to rising producers like Lex Luger, and prominent beatmakers like Timbaland and Nottz. Obviously some of these artists themselves can no longer be considered "underrated", however, the area they all hail from definitely is.
Pusha T and his brother formerly known as Malice formed rap-duo Clipse in '92, and took the nation by storm with their mean flows and bars about cooking pies down in Virginia. They frequently worked with funky production duo The Neptunes - Pharrell and Chad Hugo, both from the same area - and established themselves as two dominant pairs in the hip-hop game.
Peep Clipse's hit track "Mr. Me Too" below, featuring Pharrell and produced by The Neptunes.
Hailing from Portsmouth, a town 25 minutes from VA Beach, are Timbaland and Missy Elliot, among the most successful producers and female emcees in the industry, respectively. They worked together on Missy's 1997 platinum-certified album Supa Dupa Fly, paving the way for top-notch collaborations with nearly everyone in hip-hop and the success that they would both ultimately achieve. Timbaland's work has spawned VA producers following his lead, like Nottz and Lex Luger, both of whom are central figures in today's rap game. From The Neptunes' groovy instrumentals to Pusha T and Missy Elliot's confident bars, a small slice of Southeastern Virginia has established itself as a hip-hop mecca in its own right.
Here's Timbaland's hit single "Give It to Me", featuring Nelly Furtado and Justin Timberlake off of the first installment of his Shock Value series.