Petey Pablo
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One of the more versatile rappers who came out of the Dirty South school of hip-hop in the early 2000s, North Carolina native Petey Pablo is capable of being raunchy one minute and poignant the next. The gruff-voiced MC gets the Pablo part of his name from a close friend who was killed at a young age. Born and raised in Greenville, NC, Pablo is best known for his 2001 single "Raise Up" -- an insistent, anthemic number that finds him paying tribute to his home state. While other Dirty South rappers have represented New Orleans (Master P, Mannie Fresh), Atlanta (Outkast, Goodie Mob, Rehab), Texas (UGK), or Miami (Trick Daddy), "Raise Up" made it abundantly clear that Pablo was proud to be from North Carolina. Consequently, the single became an anthem among hip-hoppers in the Carolinas in much the same way that Boogie Down Productions' "South Bronx" became an anthem for the Bronx back in 1987. The very fact that Pablo would loudly proclaim his allegiance to the Carolinas -- or anywhere in the South, for that matter -- shows how much rap has evolved since its early years. In the late '70s and early to mid-'80s, the vast majority of well-known rappers were from New York City and its suburbs. But in the late '80s, 2 Live Crew and their Miami colleagues put bass music and booty rhymes on the map; and in the 1990s, the Dirty South explosion saw the rise of major MCs from all over the southern states. One of them was New Orleans native Mystikal, who has been among Pablo's ardent supporters. After rapping locally in North Carolina in the 1990s, Pablo landed a deal with Jive Records in 2000 and started to enjoy a lot of national attention when "Raise Up" became a hit in 2001. It was in November 2001 that Jive released Pablo's debut album, Diary of a Sinner: 1st Entry, a diverse effort that ranges from stereotypical Dirty South decadence to poignant, autobiographical tunes that reflect on the challenges and hardships he experienced growing up poor in the Deep South. ~ Alex Henderson, All Music Guide
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