MUSIC THINK & LEARN

Atlanta – how it became the new Mecca for hip hop

For years we have seen unmatched talent flood out of the east and west coast. Untouchables like The Notorious B.I.G., Tupac, Kendrick Lamar, A$AP Rocky, Snoop Dogg, P. Diddy — the list goes on. Back in the late 80s to the 90s, the music industry was run by the coasts. Now we are seeing artists pop out of unique places that have remained dormant throughout a majority of hip-hop’s lifetime. Places like Louisville, Minneapolis, Kansas City, Washington D.C., Miami, etc. Although these are newer cities in regards to the hip-hop scene, there is an old city that has remained in the dark until the turn of the decade that has now claimed the rights to the hip-hop geographical throne.

“The Dirty South”, “ATL”, “The A”, whatever you want to call it, Atlanta is no stranger to the rap game. In fact, it has given birth to some of rap’s greatest moguls such as Outkast, Gucci Mane, Ludacris, Shawty Lo, Goodie Mob, and so many more.

Atlanta is everywhere. It seems like everyday we get a new hit coming from an Atlanta-born artist, but how did it come to this? Atlanta has been living in the shadows of New York and California for years, and now the city is ready to gain the respect it deserves. Future achieved fame status seemingly overnight, and it’s not a coincidence. A strip club titled “Magic City” located in downtown Atlanta has been credited as the reason for Atlanta’s recent surge into the limelight. The strip club is the first place new songs out of Atlanta are played, if the strippers like it and are dancing to it and money is being thrown, then it’s a hit. Future and DJ Esco got their start up through ‘Magic City’ back in 2012 when Future dropped his debut album “Pluto”. It was played in the strip club and seemingly overnight, Future went from streets to stardom. Magic City isn’t a stranger to the rap game, veterans in the game like Gucci Mane and Young Jeezy reference the club in multiple songs. Along with other strip clubs based in Atlanta like Onyx and Oasis. Now I have to admit, I do credit the strip club scene to be a large contributor to making artists famous but let’s not forget about the hip-hop moguls that paved the way for the new generation to thrive.

thugga
Young Thug / shot by Ben Watts for GQ

Veterans Gucci Mane, 2Chainz, Young Jeezy, and T.I. are some of the legends that paved way for this new wave of Atlanta dominant hip-hop. Without these vets, there would be no Young Thug, or Migos. Gucci Mane especially has done some absolutely amazing things for the rap scene in Atlanta. He has made numerous artists famous by merely hopping on a feature or signing them to his label. Without Gucci, there is no “trap music”, which is what most of Atlanta’s artists identify as in terms of genre. With the help of Gucci Mane, and the rest of Atlanta’s veteran roster, the city created the popular styles of music we hear today. You even see the Atlanta style rubbing off on different artists outside of the Atlanta rap scene. For example, when Joey Bada$$ put out the song “Devastated” the first assumption that came in my head was that he was doing this for clout. It didn’t seem like natural Joey, but it later became, not only a hit, but the highest grossing song of the young rapper’s career thus far. This isn’t a style that is stuck in Atlanta. It’s sweeping the nation.

There are a number of movements coming out of Atlanta that it’s hard to keep track, especially when it comes to music production. For instance, everyone wants a piece of a Metro Boomin, Zaytoven, Mike-Will Made It, Southside, or 808 Mafia track. Even artists who you wouldn’t think to collab, such as Metro Boomin and pop/R&B artist, The Weeknd. Producers have never blown up like this before, and with the 808 heavy, mumble rapping, spacey beats, there’s no better time for it.

We have to thank so many artists, businessmen, and strippers for the making of this movement. This Atlanta hip-hop movement is here, and here to stay, whether people like it or not. Atlanta is on top of the rap game, and I for one am a proud supporter.

Demi Lovato and Nick Jonas Kick Off the 2016 Honda Civic Tour: Future Now - Atlanta
Migos / shot by Kevin Mazur, via Billboard
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