With his debut album Only Way Is Up finally out, rapper K Camp is really able to secure himself as success in the rap game– or at least, that’s the hope. For the past year or two, Kristopher Cambell has been delivering massive hits in Atlanta to great success and everyone’s enjoyment. What’s funny though, is despite his successes and a particular ear for the desires of the A-Town market, K Camp’s origins couldn’t be more far from Atlanta; in fact he initially heralded all the way from Milwaukee.
A brief overview shows more than a few great rappers have been lucky or gifted enough to find fame and fortune far from where they originally were born and raised. After all, like a wise man once said, it ain’t where you from, its where you at. So join HotNewHipHop, as we show K Camp’s nomadic ways find him in very good company.
Kurupt: L.A. via Philadelphia
As one of the most capable rappers on Death Row, Kurupt got fast-tracked to West Coast super-stardom after making a name for himself on Dr. Dre’s The Chronic, and as a member of the Dogg Pound Gang. But not many know that long before he hooked up with Snoop and Daz, Kurupt was a resident of Philadelphia. Given the mathematical approach to gangster rap embodied by individuals like Ab-Liva and Beanie Siegel, one can’t imagine a talent like Kurupt would have gotten lost in that city, but the history of the G-Funk-era would’ve been notably different without him.
The D.O.C.: Compton via Texas
The secret weapon of NWA, Tracy Lynn Murray, was not a native of Compton or even L.A., but in fact heralded from Texas. Before linking up with future stars such as Dr. Dre, Eazy-E and Ice Cube, D.O.C. was a member of the Dallas-based Fila Fresh Crew. His move resulted in a classic debut album and his pen helped a number of his fellow rappers, and inadvertently resulted in the accident that cost him his golden voice. He remains one of the key members in one of rap’s most storied crews, but just think what’d happen if he’d remained in the Lone Star state to make his name?
Jay Electronica: New York via New Orleans
With his commanding voice, compelling penmanship and a sporadic output due to periods of homelessness, Jay Electronica might’ve been one of the most captivating underground rap figures at the dawn of the new millennium. The likes of DJ Premier and Just Blaze were swift to declare him the future, even if that future still seems a bit far away. Hard to think that this true school icon heralds not from the Big Apple, but all the way from New Orleans. Despite his success in a city known for its elitist and conservative tendencies, Jay has remained an unapologetic Louisiana representer, and a big ally for common misconceptions against southern rappers.
Waka Flocka: Atlanta via Queens, NY
When Waka Flocka Flame started to take the Atlanta scene by storm, the rap game had long been without his sort of whirlwind energy and aggression. Crunk had long since been a thing of the past, and trappers like T.I or even Flocka’s mentor, Gucci Mane, were aiming for pop-level successes. An argument that has been jokingly suggested: Flocka, well-known as a former Queens native along with mother Deborah Antney, is actually the spiritual descendant of grimy NYC aggro rappers like Onyx. Regardless of his background, Waka has born the brunt of anti-Trap dismissals from East Coast vets and declared his allegiance to the south on a number of records, so its safe to say Waka Flocka Flame feels quite at home in the city that made him a star.
Gucci Mane: Atlanta via Alabama
Over the past decade, Radric Davis, best known to the world as Gucci Mane, has become one of the most prolific, entertaining and controversial icons. Drama plagues the currently-incarcerated Gucci, yet he remains one of the biggest stars in a rapidly-evolving city, Atlanta, even while behind bars. Almost incredulously, it isn’t actually Atlanta where Gucci was born and raised, but Alabama. Alabama has provided ATL with more than a few big faces, such as Alley Boy and Yelawolf, but to think someone who embodies that city’s character as well as the natives just shows what kind of a unique presence Gucci Mane is.
Soulja Boy: Atlanta via Mississippi
The first internet artist was Soulja Boy, no question. In fact sometimes it feels like talking about him in terms based on real life geography seems ridiculous, when MySpace and YouTube were the kind of places Deandre Way made his name. But given how Soulja has made himself a constant figure in Southern rap, despite seeming destined for 1-hit wonder status, you have to give it up to the kid. Especially when one puts into consideration that back when “Crank Dat” was becoming a phenomenon and inspiring legions of copycats all through Atlanta, Soulja was nowhere near the city. In fact, by this point, Soulja was living in Mississippi with his father, only to migrate back to Atlanta once his career awaited him– not to mention, he was actually born in Chicago. Given his role as a perennial figure of ‘ringtone’ and ‘swag’ rap, its hard to imagine Soulja Boy gave Atlanta so much while being so far away.
MF Doom: New York via England
The case of MF Doom is a particularly unusual one, even for rap’s tendencies into the weird. As a baby, Daniel Dumile was in fact born in England and never became a full-fledged citizen in the US despite having moved to Long Island as a child. While living in New York, he debuted as Zev Love X in KMD before transforming himself into the rap supervillian we all have come to know and love, but due to Visa issues, Doom has been a underground rap icon in exile, forced to live in his original home of England. He remains an illusive yet prolific figure just the same, with new projects remaining anticipated by a loyal fanbase who seem willing to follow him wherever his journey takes him.
Doseone: Bay Area via Ohio
Whether its as a member of groups such as Subtle, themselves, cLOUDEAD or 13 & God, Doseone already seems like a transplant from rap in general. First starting as a battle rapper in the Skribble Jam era alongside friends like Slug of Atmosphere and Eyedea, Doseone has since gone on to be one of the most consistently bewildering members of the ‘undie’ era of rap. Initially based out of Ohio, he would have legendary freestyle sorties against future stars Eminem and Rhymefest, while recording alongside Slug, Eyedea and others in the Deep Puddle Dynamics crew. Afterwards, he would then go on to move to re-establish himself in the Bay Area while founding the controversial Anticon label and consistently leave rap twisted into unrecognizable shapes.
Slick Rick: New York via England
Slick Rick AKA Rick The Ruler is without question one of the most innovatory lyricists and iconic old-school figures in rap. Right up there with his eye patch and his luxurious jewelry is his authentic British accent, as he was born and raised in the UK, before eventually migrating to the Bronx in 1976, just moments before the birth of hip-hop would begin and help transform Ricky Walters into a legend. Though plagued with legal issues that have threatened to have Rick deported from America, he has thankfully remained in the country that helped him become a star. And as his adopted home, the US is all the better for it.