The Atlanta Renaissance

In the 1980’s young adults from all over the United States and United Kingdom flocked to New York and Los Angeles in search of fame and fortune.

Rock n’ Roll music transcended into the Rock Culture and every musician wanted a piece of it. Local bars and venues boomed due to the influx in amateurs who wanted to showcase their art and the other fans of creativity who wanted to hear it, see it, or become a part of it.

Sound familiar?

Do you think that they knew they were contributing to a series of events that would shape the music industry? Did Warhol and Basquiat know that they would impact art FOREVER? Or were they just creating and living in the moment?

Every active creative person in Atlanta is currently a part of something monumental. The amount of energy, influence and opportunity pulsing from this city is nothing short of astounding.

Back in 2009 when I first moved here after being put out of a Louisiana HBCU for fighting, I worked at a plethora of studios interning and producing trying to get my big break.

I remember being in a session and having a conversation with this tall, lanky kid with locks. He reeked of marijuana and drank from a contaminated 20 oz as he hummed melodies in the corner. Even though he couldn’t have been more than 25, he had pain in his eyes and a charisma and fire in his recording that astounded me.

This is that lanky kid now.

Funny how much can change in five years, huh?

I’m 24 years old, I’ve been on 5 continents and I can honestly say that when it comes to current musical and cultural influence there aren’t many places like Atlanta.

This is one of the only places where you can see a stripper at Follies on Wednesday and in a Lil Wayne video on Friday. Look at the influence that this city has and recognize what we’re apart of.

They’re playing trap music in London. Teenagers and adults around the world are performing dances that originated here, in Atlanta. They “Nae Nae’d” at the Oscars. The OSCARS. Shit, Atlanta Vine exposes the masses to local records faster than other outlets do. Where else can a five word phrase relating to perspiring due to drug use take off like it did here?

Atlanta is currently the International hub for hip hop and at least 50% of popular culture. Atlanta is to Hip-Hop now what New York was in the 80’s and 90’s. Outside of Bobby Shmurda’s “Hot Nigga” how many Records have broken out of New York? And if a record did break out of New York, did it not have a southern feel to it?


Young Thug, Rome Fortune, Rich Homie Quan, Two-9, Travis Porter, OG Maco, Migos, Money Makin’ Nique, ILoveMakonnen, B.O.B, Janelle Monae, Childish Major, Key!, Que and Future Vandross himself all broke HERE.

Arguably the best current artist in the industry right now (Drake) comes HERE to hop on local hot records. (“Tony Montana”, “Tuesday” and “Versace.”) If I’m not mistaken, Drake first rapped for Wayne at Hot Beats! That’s on Spring Street! I interned there!

Lex Luger is one of the pioneers, if not the originator of the current “Trap” sound. He came to Atlanta to push that shit. Metro Boomin was sitting in a St. Louis high school a few years ago. He moved here for college and now I can’t stop hearing the tag “METRO BOOMIN WANT SOME MORE NIGGA.”
This is where dreams come true.

We have to remember not to take what’s happening here for granted. One city has control over a large percentage of OUR music industry. The power that we have as a community is astonishing in itself. We’re going to be apart of history, ladies and gentlemen.

We’ll be able to tell the stories to our children. “I remember when “Swag Surf” first dropped. It was damn near an out of body experience.” Or “Hell Yeah, I was at the first Outkast festival. I was there!!”

The experiences and the opportunities that present themselves here are breathtaking.

A lot of outsiders think that what they see on fucking “Love and Hip Hop” or “Real Housewives” is Atlanta.

Fuck that shit.

Cars being plastered with mixtapes is Atlanta. Hipsters, Thugs, Creatives and Students flooding Edgewood is Atlanta. Hearing “Danny Glover” in an MMB Henny Party and almost destroying the building is Atlanta. We run the culture, we control the industry. If we focus on the art and put out the best possible product, everything else will come.

If you want to know what’s really going on here, read this blog. I’ll be here reporting history as it happens. One day when we’re all old and washed, I hope this article is as relevant as I think it will be. I hope that we can look back and say “Damn, we were apart of something great.” SoSo Def, Cash Money and No Limit all started off indie, just like us. This is our opportunity to be great and make something of this wonderful Atlanta energy. In closing, I’ll quote an Industry insider and close friend.

“Atlanta breaks records. You only go to New York for meetings.”




Remember, Fortune Favors the Bold. Until next time.

-Malcolm the King


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