From a small town called Florence, Alabama, Gene the Southern Child has been quietly releasing music under the radar for years. Florence is part of an area known as “The Shoals,” which houses the legendary FAME Recording Studios and is also the hometown of W.C. Handy “The Father of Blues.” Hailing from this rich musical history, Gene’s unique style is smooth Southern hip-hop, incorporating poetry, blues, and soul. His is a fresh perspective in what is an often redundant niche.
Southern Meridian is Gene’s latest collaboration with production team Parallel Thought and his proper solo debut. Recorded on a week-long trip to The Paradigm, Parallel Thought’s New Jersey Studio, the album is an amalgam of rich storytelling, provocative social commentary, booming beats, and impeccable production. Its refined sound breaks the heretofore conventions of Southern rap, and Gene draws the listener in with his stories of the deep South. The album, inspired by Cormac Mccarthy’s crimson-soaked novel Blood Meridian, comes on the heels of A Ride with the Southern Child and Artillery Splurgin’, Gene’s much-praised last two albums, also produced entirely by Parallel Thought.
Gene and Parallel Thought have partnered with Adult Swim who will release Southern Meridian for free online. Known as an influential powerhouse for popular late-night television, Adult Swim has also made a name for itself by defying the traditional music business model with its offshoot record label Williams Street Records. The network has not only introduced the masses to artists like J Dilla, Madlib, and Flying Lotus with their groundbreaking “Bumps Series,” but it has also released highly acclaimed albums for Dangerdoom and Killer Mike & El-P.
“We want the fact that it's on Williams Street to mean that whatever it is, whether you like it or not, it's not going to be the expected thing,” said Williams Street Records’ founder and Adult Swim’s vice president of on-air and creative director Jason DeMarco. “And that's obviously a really high bar.”
Additional collaborators include Emmy Award-Winning Filmmaker Rob and the production team House of Nod for music videos and Kevin Vitella for album artwork. Vitella’s depiction of the lonesome poet standing in front of his barren landscape is the perfect nod to the album’s message and tone.