1. Coastal Sounds are Blending:
One of the biggest shifts in hip-hop over the years is the change in coastal sounds. At one point, each coast had a distinct sound. Fast-forward to the early 2000s through the present and every major radio hit sounds Southern. Puff Daddy stated in a recent interview with The Breakfast Club that one reason “Finna Get Loose” sounds the way it does is because New York has lost its distinct sound. West coast rappers are working with ATL rappers. East coast rappers are clamoring over ATL production for hits. It seems like Georgia has the formula.
2. Eccentricity of Artists:
It is no doubt that artists from Atlanta have had their share of interesting styles over the years. Andre 3000 still holds that eccentric title high, but artists from Lil Jon to Gucci Mane to Future, Young Thug and more have offered diverse styles of dress and music to hip hop. Andre made it cool to be terrestrial; Lil Jon made it cool to get crunk and Future capitalized on the “struggle rapper” approach. In the past, artists from other coasts didn’t veer away too much from the norm of their coast but Atlanta has forced the hand of traditional sounds.
3. Radio/Nightlife: A major city in the south (or really anywhere) with plenty of clubs and strip joints sounds like a good place to push your record and Atlanta is just that. With a major nightlife scene and a big radio market, ATL provides a lot of “underground” opportunity to climb up. Getting in the ear of DJs (radio and club) is a big help and has catapulted people into bigger opportunities numerous times in the past. If you can get love in the clubs AND on the radio, you’re pretty much set; and Atlanta has been the springboard for its share of young stars.
4. Immigration to the City:
Over the years, Metro-ATL has grown in to its own as another hub for Hollywood-esque aspirations. Celebrities and non-celebs alike have made the trip down south and their offspring, or even their own roots, get mixed in with the southern culture. Everything from swagger to slang to style gets intertwined and it regurgitates when people pursue and create music, fashion and other art.
5. Growing City of Stature:
New York and Los Angeles have a long history with hip-hop and had a grasp on the game until the mid 90s. Outkast, TLC and others broke through in the 90s and have since stamped their names as influential artists that weren’t from the aforementioned cities. As more artists like Ludacris, T.I., Lil Jon, Usher and others began to appear more and more on the radio, the city gained more attention and increased economic growth. Atlanta has been steadily expanding for about 20 years and more people and businesses are drawing from the southern Mecca. Media all over the nation has picked up on the appeal of Atlanta, moving headquarters and franchise branches to the area. The theory relates to the power of NY or L.A. in the past, artists would move to those cities to shop around demos and search for opportunities and now Atlanta is the new destination.
6. A3C & Other Major Events:
For the last 10 years, one of music’s largest festivals/conferences has taken place in Atlanta. Each year, aspiring artists, established artists, fans and everyone in between attend the conference to watch performances, sit in on sessions and experience diverse aspects of the music industry. The fact that this major event is held here means that the city is fertile in planting the seeds for a new career or even in reinventing your sound. With artists and industry officials visiting the city more often, the more likely they are to stay around or take back music to their homes.
7. Fertile Ground for Indie Artists:
To further the notion from previous points, Atlanta is a breeding ground for young stars looking to add to the culture. With a growing reputation for major events (Olympics, A3C, major city on tours, etc.), people are stopping in the city more than ever and some aren’t leaving. Other places have stagnant scenes where all of the music is the same and no one is open-minded enough to give anything new a chance, but Atlanta is becoming more and more of a melting pot.
8. It’s the South’s Time:
New York and California had their time to run hip-hop. Atlanta now stands at the forefront. Hip-Hop has seen its eras of artists emulating whatever region was hot at the time in one way or another and now that spotlight is gleaming over the Peach State. Undeniably, artists from all regions are imitating the south with trap beats, lyrical styles and more; and artists are coming to ATL artists/producers to try new sounds that have been successful for them. Atlanta is winning whether people want to admit it or not.