We take a brief look at Atlanta's affinity with hip-hop, and how the music has evolved over the years.
Atlanta, Georgia. The city bursting with waffle houses and strip clubs also happens to be one of today’s hip-hop capitals. Trap music has skyrocketed over the past couple years, ATL being its home. Twenty years ago, however, there was a much different picture in the A. The Dirty South was simply trying to garner recognition while the East and West Coasts shared a stranglehold on the rap scene. Crazy how times change.
Before 1994, Atlanta was certainly not considered a threat. Nothing was the same after the rise of OutKast; the duo put Atlanta on the map with their debut album Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik. The album’s soulful style was an unprecedented sound in hip-hop. Years later, another pioneer was bred. Lil Jon relieved the funk and entered the crunk.
Lil Jon & The East Side Boyz brought forth a different style of rap, one particularly popular in night clubs. This highly energetic genre known as crunk specialized in finger-snapping and lyric shouting. Soulja Boy catapulted crunk music’s popularity in 2007 when his smash single “Crank That” spent seven weeks as the #1 song in America. Once the crunk fad ended, ATLiens adopted trap music.
More prevailing than ever, trap music currently thrives in the streets. Atlanta natives T.I. and Jeezy were two of the first to popularize the drug-slanging genre, now powering with up-and-comers. Each year, Atlanta is responsible for a countless number of new trap artists. This year, Rich Homie Quan and “Versace” trio Migos have erupted onto the scene among others. The New York Times noted that Rich Homie Quan is "part of Atlanta’s rising generation of rappers—think Future, Young Thug, Young Scooter—who deliver lines with melody and heart, like singers on the verge of a breakdown." Rooting back to OutKast, it is clear the soul hasn’t been washed out of the city yet.
So what fuels Atlanta’s longevity? In an interview with MTV, Lil Jon answered: "Atlanta's always been a city where the local music is just as hot as a Jay Z or whoever the big national artist is at the time." As long as trap music continues to prosper, Atlanta and its artists will as well. The next trending genre of rap has yet to be determined, but one thing is for sure: A-Town will be on top of it.
Let us know who your favorite A-Town rappers are in the comment section.