Briana Younger

This week, NPR Music launched The South Got Something To Say: A Celebration Of Southern Rap. The project is centered around a canon of 130 greatest releases by Southern rappers; it was assembled by a team, led by critic Briana Younger, of Southern critics, scholars and writers representing the Carolinas, Georgia, Florida, Maryland, Mississippi, Texas, Tennessee, Louisiana and Virginia.

It's a famous scene by now: André 3000 in a purple dashiki, Big Boi in an Atlanta Braves jersey, the pair ascending the steps of the stage at the 1995 Source Awards to accept the trophy for New Artist of the Year amid a flurry of boos from a less-than-pleased audience. In retrospect, it's hard to imagine OutKast catching jeers in any room of self-proclaimed hip-hop lovers. Yet here they were, just over a year removed from their debut album, Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik, still underdogs, still unwelcome, still outcasts.

It's been five months since Pop Smoke's death and just over a year since "Welcome to the Party," the first single of his debut mixtape, Meet the Woo, began snaking through the firmament. Then it was joined by the even more irresistible "Dior." That music remains an artifact of the New York summer — the songs that once soundtracked the city's revelry have now been refashioned for protest, which only further cements his growing legend.

This essay is one in a series celebrating deserving artists or albums not included on NPR Music's list of 150 Greatest Albums By Women.

"Architectural designer" has to land pretty high on the list of unexpected day jobs for musicians, but that's the world singer-songwriter Anne Dereaux traverses. Dereaux began her journey in architecture in pursuit of a career path that would be deemed professional and acceptable but that would still fulfill her creative inclinations. Through college, her passion for singing pulled her in another direction — but she's never had to choose between the two. Nothing goes to waste when one career somewhat informs the other.

Ritual and pop aren't usually words that are associated with each other, but "ritual pop" is how Francine Thirteen describes her music and message. "Lust Heals, Give Me My Sin Again" is a meditative take on the Bible's creation story, mastered by the legendary Dave Cooley (J Dilla, M83, Madlib).