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Atlanta hip hop

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Atlanta rapper Ludacris

Although the music scene of Atlanta is rich and varied, the city's production of hip-hop music has been especially noteworthy, acclaimed, and commercially successful. In 2009, The New York Times called Atlanta "hip-hop's center of gravity",[1] and the city is home to many famous hip hop, R&B, and neo soul[2] musicians.


Gucci Mane

In the 1980s and early 1990s Atlanta's hip hop scene was characterized by a local variant of Miami's electro-driven bass music, with stars like Kilo Ali, MC Shy-D, Raheem the Dream, and DJ Smurf (later Mr. Collipark).[1] MC Shy-D is credited with bringing authentic Bronx-style hip-hop to Atlanta (and Miami), such as 1988's Shake it[3] produced by DJ Toomp; Jones was signed to controversial Southern hip hop label Luke Records, run by Luther Campbell aka "Uncle Luke". Arrested Development won a Grammy Award in 1992 with "Tennessee", while Kris Kross won with their hit song "Jump". The group Tag Team released their debut platinum certified album Whoomp! (There It Is) on July 20, 1993, spawned by their hit single of the same name.[4] However, Organized Noize and Dungeon Family "cornerstone" Rico Wade, who even produced albums for Outkast, Goodie Mob and Future, was considered to be a major architect of Atlanta hip hop.[5][6] Numerous aspiring musicians and artists would in fact record music in the studio which was located in the basement of Wade's mother, and which became known as the "Dungeon."[5]

By the mid-1990s, the rise of LaFace Records artists Outkast, Goodie Mob and the production collective Organized Noize led to the development of the Dirty South style of hip-hop and of Atlanta gaining a reputation for "soul-minded hip-hop eccentrics", contrasting with other regional styles.[1] While Atlanta-area hip hop artists were from the suburban Decatur area, their prominence was eclipsed by music associated with these artists from "The S.W.A.T.S." ("Southwest Atlanta, too strong"),[7][8] i.e. Southwest Atlanta, plus territory extending into the adjacent cities of College Park and East Point. The term "SWATS" came into vogue around 1996, initially made popular by Outkast and Goodie Mob.[9]

From the late 1990s to early 2000s, record producer Lil Jon became a driving force behind the hip hop subgenre known as crunk, known for its upbeat and club oriented hip hop sound. Record producers L.A. Reid and Babyface founded LaFace Records in Atlanta in the late-1980s; the label eventually became the home to multi-platinum selling artists such as Toni Braxton, TLC, Ciara. It is also the home of So So Def Recordings, a label founded by Jermaine Dupri in the mid-1990s, that signed acts such as Da Brat, Jagged Edge, Xscape and Dem Franchise Boyz. The success of LaFace and SoSo Def led to Atlanta as an established scene for record labels such as LaFace parent company Arista Records to set up satellite offices.[10]

In 2009 The New York Times noted that after 2000, Atlanta moved "from the margins to becoming hip-hop's center of gravity, part of a larger shift in hip-hop innovation to the South." Atlanta hip-hop's pop breakthrough—everyone from Jermaine Dupri to OutKast to Lil Jon—involved the blend of various distillations of hard-core sounds from the West, bass beats from Florida, and styles and images from the North.[11] Producer Drumma Boy called Atlanta "the melting pot of the South". Producer Fatboi called the Roland TR-808 ("808") synthesizer "central" to Atlanta music's versatility, used for snap, crunk, trap, and pop rap styles.[1] The same article named Fatboi, Shawty Redd, and Zaytoven the four "hottest producers driving the city".[1]

Atlanta hip-hop has influenced other mainstream forms of media. The television show Atlanta, which chronicles the lives of two cousins as they navigate the hip-hop world, exemplifies this broader impact. It has earned two Golden Globe awards and two Emmy awards. A number of Atlanta-based artists, including Killer Mike and Jermaine Dupri, have also become involved in local and national political movements.[12]

Top-selling artists[edit]

Local multi-platinum artists include Ludacris,[13] Ciara,[14] B.o.B,[15] Outkast,[16][17] T.I.,[18] and Young Jeezy.[19] The following hip-hop, rap, R&B, and soul artists have had #1 or #2 albums or singles on the U.S. Hot 100 chart:

Artist Year Rank Single name Year Rank Album name
21 Savage 2017–2022 1 2 #1 singles 2018–2024 1 4 #1 albums
B.o.B 2010 1 Nothin' on You 2010 1 B.o.B Presents: The Adventures of Bobby Ray
CeeLo Green 2010 2 Fuck You!
Childish Gambino 2018 1 This Is America
D4L 2006 1 Laffy Taffy
Future 2021–2024 1 3 #1 singles 2015–2024 1 10 #1 albums
Gnarls Barkley (CeeLo Green/Danger Mouse collaboration) 2006 2 Crazy
Gucci Mane 2016 1 Black Beatles
Gunna 2020–2022 1 3 #1 albums
Kris Kross 1992–1995 1 4 #1 singles 1992 1 Totally Krossed Out
Lil Baby 2021–2022 2 2 #2 singles 2020–2022 1 3 #1 albums
Lil Jon 2004 2 Get Low
Lil Nas X 2018–2021 1 3 #1 singles 2021 2 Montero
Lloyd 2009 2 BedRock 2007 2 Street Love
Ludacris 2003–2006 1 5 #1 singles 2003–2010 1 4 #1 albums
Migos 2016 1 Bad & Boujee 2017–2018 1 2 #1 albums
Outkast 2000–2003 1 3 #1 singles 2003 1 Speakerboxxx/The Love Below
Playboi Carti 2024 1 Carnival 2020 1 Whole Lotta Red
Quavo 2017 1 I'm the One 2018 1 Quavo Huncho
Rich the Kid 2024 1 Carnival 2018 2 The World Is Yours
Shop Boyz 2007 2 Party Like a Rockstar
Soulja Boy 2007 1 Crank Dat
Tag Team 1993 2 Whoomp! (There It Is)
T.I. 2006–2013 1 4 #1 singles 2006–2008 1 3 #1 albums
The-Dream 2009 2 Love vs. Money
Usher 1998–2010 9 #1 singles 2004–2012 4 #1 albums
Ying Yang Twins 2003 2 Get Low 2005 2 U.S.A. (United State of Atlanta)
Young Thug 2017–2021 1 3 #1 singles 2019–2021 1 3 #1 albums
Young Jeezy 2008 1 Love In This Club 2006–2016 2 3 #1 albums

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e Caramanica, Jon (December 11, 2009). "Gucci Mane, No Holds Barred". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved July 20, 2023.
  2. ^ NPR: "Atlanta soul scene reborn"
  3. ^ Mickey Hess, Hip Hop in America: A Regional Guide: Volume 1: East Coast and West Coast
  4. ^ Billboard – Google Books. September 4, 1995. Retrieved March 29, 2011.
  5. ^ a b Abrams, Jonathan (April 14, 2024). "Rico Wade, an Architect of Atlanta Hip-Hop, Dies at 52". New York Times. Retrieved April 15, 2024.
  6. ^ "Atlanta rap legend, Dungeon Family member Rico Wade dies at 52". WSB-TV. April 15, 2024. Retrieved April 15, 2024.
  7. ^ "Revolution Rock: Atlanta's Goodie Mob fight for truth, justice, but not necessarily the American Way", Vibe, June-July 1998
  8. ^ S.W.A.T.S. Web television series YouTube channel
  9. ^ Mickey Hess, Hip Hop in America: East Coast and West Coast
  10. ^ Hinson, Glenn; Ferris, William (January 2010). The New Encyclopedia of Southern Culture: Volume 14: Folklife. Univ of North Carolina Press. ISBN 978-0-8078-9855-0.
  11. ^ Sarig, Roni (2007). Third Coast: Outkast, Timbaland, & How Hip-Hop Became a Southern Thing. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Da Capo press. ISBN 978-0-306-81430-3.
  12. ^ "How Atlanta rappers helped flip the White House (And they're hustling to flip the US Senate)". CNN. December 29, 2020.
  13. ^ Birchmeier, Jason. "Ludacris Biography by Jason Birchmeier". AllMusic. Retrieved November 30, 2022.
  14. ^ Thomas, Fred. "Ciara Biography by Fred Thomas". AllMusic. Retrieved November 30, 2022.
  15. ^ Cordor, Cyril. "B.o.B Biography by Cyril Cordor". AllMusic. Retrieved November 30, 2022.
  16. ^ Guzman, Isaac (October 22, 2000). "Melody Makers of Hip-Hop". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved November 30, 2022.
  17. ^ Bush, John. "OutKast Biography by John Bush". AllMusic. Retrieved November 30, 2022.
  18. ^ Kellman, Andy. "T.I. Biography by Andy Kellman". AllMusic. Retrieved November 30, 2022.
  19. ^ Kellman, Andy. "Jeezy Biography by Andy Kellman". AllMusic. Retrieved November 30, 2022.