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ATL Untrapped


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Word of her death sent shock waves throughout the city’s music scene. The cause of death, according to friends and family, was a drug overdose. During a memorial service at Passion City Church on December 29, and a wake at Ria’s Bluebird the next day, family members and friends hosted a frank and transparent discussion about Nilan’s battles with drug addiction, attempts to check her into rehab programs, and interventions.

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In 2015, Speakerfoxxx played a Boiler Room live set, and in 2016, she went into OutKast’s Stankonia studio with New York-by-way-of Atlanta artist Brittany BOSCO to step up the production for their one and only release together, Girls in the Yard (Fool’s Gold). Her death leaves a tremendous hole in the hearts of all who knew her.

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  string(3378) " Speakerfoxxx  2018-12-23T15:06:46+00:00 Speakerfoxxx.jpg   Fuck her she had solved drugs so drugs and stole music from local Atlanta artists  The DJ and ‘Queen of ATL’ has died 12124  2018-12-23T04:28:49+00:00 Speakerfoxxx: 1983-2018 chad.radford@creativeloafing.com Chad Radford Chad Radford Chad Radford 2018-12-23T04:28:49+00:00  Sad news came late on the evening of Saturday, December 22, when word spread that Atlanta DJ and stylist Speakerfoxxx had died. The Atlanta native was born Christen Nilan, or just Nilan to those who knew her, was 35 years old. After catching the world’s attention in 2012 with her sophomore mixtape, Dopegirl Anthems (released via Yelawolf's Slumerican imprint) — a follow-up to 2011’s Dopeboy Anthems — she was dubbed by some the “Queen of ATL.”

Word of her death sent shock waves throughout the city’s music scene. The cause of death, according to friends and family, was a drug overdose. During a memorial service at Passion City Church on December 29, and a wake at Ria’s Bluebird the next day, family members and friends hosted a frank and transparent discussion about Nilan’s battles with drug addiction, attempts to check her into rehab programs, and interventions.

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Over the years, Speakerfoxxx emerged as a leader of Atlanta nightlife. In 2011, she was inducted as a Ballers Eve resident DJ, and later earned a spot amid various DJ crews including the Queen Cartel and the Academy DJs. More mixtapes followed, as she rocked stages around the country DJing for Mike Will Made It, Rittz, and Gangsta Boo of Three 6 Mafia, and was a regular performer at Art Basel Miami, SXSW, A3C, and more. For her Cash Money Fridays residencies at El Bar, she shared turntables with one of the most influential hip-hop producers of all time, Mannie Fresh.

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     CL file photo/Courtesy Speakerfoxxx REST IN PEACE: Speakerfoxxx brought a singularly bold and progressive voice to Atlanta hip-hop.                                   Speakerfoxxx: 1983-2018 "
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Article

Saturday December 22, 2018 11:28 pm EST
The DJ and ‘Queen of ATL’ has died | more...
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  string(34) "RECORD REVIEW: Danger Incorporated"
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  string(1843) "Since 2015, Danger Incorporated has experienced a meteoric rise to fame with Atlanta’s dialed-in teens and 20-something audience. In just two years, the group’s members, Louie Duffelbags and Boothlord, have signed with indie rap powerhouse Awful Records, toured across the U.S. and Europe, and released a handful of albums and singles. Their latest full-length, Danger Reality, garnered praise seemingly overnight, but the album delivers a disappointing break from the balance of Soundcloud pop-rap they’ve fostered so far. The album features no rap verses, minimal instrumentals, simple lyrics, and dissonant vocals. Unlike previous offerings, which have remained consistently smooth, Danger Reality’s catchier numbers such as “$$$/xoxo,” “Turn Around,” and “Superstars,” hit a sweet spot between electronic music and modern indie hip-hop production. The first single, “Casting Spells,” combines a minimal trap beat over chiming synths and elementary lyrics, such as “Walking fast / Blowing smoke / ATL / Making money moves.” This, along with other songs such as “IRL” and “Let It Out,” are juvenile regressions from the inventive promises of 2016’s Are You Afraid of the Danger Boys? and 2017’s Birds Fly By Night.

The age of SoundCloud rap and internet celebrity has given rise to a tendency to place a higher cultural premium on the cool-factor — social clout — over steady musical talent that remains aware of modern trends while still yielding a new and progressive batch of songs. The Danger Boys fall prey to their own cool cachet, and Danger Reality, misses the mark. ★★☆☆☆

★★★★★ This album will change your life | ★★★★☆ A truly great album | ★★★☆☆ A solid effort, worth a listen | ★★☆☆☆ No thanks | ★☆☆☆☆ Don't bother

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~~#000000:The age of SoundCloud rap and internet celebrity has given rise to a tendency to place a higher cultural premium on the cool-factor — social clout — over steady musical talent that remains aware of modern trends while still yielding a new and progressive batch of songs. The Danger Boys fall prey to their own cool cachet, and ''Danger Reality'', misses the mark. ★★☆☆☆~~

~~#000000:★★★★★ This album will change your life | ★★★★☆ A truly great album | ★★★☆☆ A solid effort, worth a listen | ★★☆☆☆ No thanks | ★☆☆☆☆ Don't bother~~

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  string(2234) " Music Danger8 1 17  2018-12-06T16:10:36+00:00 Music_Danger8-1_17.jpg     'Danger Reality' falls prey to its own cool cachet 11689  2018-12-06T15:57:57+00:00 RECORD REVIEW: Danger Incorporated chad.radford@creativeloafing.com Chad Radford Brenna Hilby  2018-12-06T15:57:57+00:00  Since 2015, Danger Incorporated has experienced a meteoric rise to fame with Atlanta’s dialed-in teens and 20-something audience. In just two years, the group’s members, Louie Duffelbags and Boothlord, have signed with indie rap powerhouse Awful Records, toured across the U.S. and Europe, and released a handful of albums and singles. Their latest full-length, Danger Reality, garnered praise seemingly overnight, but the album delivers a disappointing break from the balance of Soundcloud pop-rap they’ve fostered so far. The album features no rap verses, minimal instrumentals, simple lyrics, and dissonant vocals. Unlike previous offerings, which have remained consistently smooth, Danger Reality’s catchier numbers such as “$$$/xoxo,” “Turn Around,” and “Superstars,” hit a sweet spot between electronic music and modern indie hip-hop production. The first single, “Casting Spells,” combines a minimal trap beat over chiming synths and elementary lyrics, such as “Walking fast / Blowing smoke / ATL / Making money moves.” This, along with other songs such as “IRL” and “Let It Out,” are juvenile regressions from the inventive promises of 2016’s Are You Afraid of the Danger Boys? and 2017’s Birds Fly By Night.

The age of SoundCloud rap and internet celebrity has given rise to a tendency to place a higher cultural premium on the cool-factor — social clout — over steady musical talent that remains aware of modern trends while still yielding a new and progressive batch of songs. The Danger Boys fall prey to their own cool cachet, and Danger Reality, misses the mark. ★★☆☆☆

★★★★★ This album will change your life | ★★★★☆ A truly great album | ★★★☆☆ A solid effort, worth a listen | ★★☆☆☆ No thanks | ★☆☆☆☆ Don't bother

     Courtesy Awful Records DANGER REALITY                                   RECORD REVIEW: Danger Incorporated "
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Article

Thursday December 6, 2018 10:57 am EST
'Danger Reality' falls prey to its own cool cachet | more...
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  ["title"]=>
  string(54) "ATLANTA UNTRAPPED: Exiting the Haunted Pink Trap House"
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  string(101) "The trap-themed haunted house from 13 Stories and 2 Chainz offers cheap freights and profound anxiety"
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  string(54) "ATLANTA UNTRAPPED: Exiting the Haunted Pink Trap House"
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  string(6310) "The trap isn’t in the shadows anymore. In 2018, you can take your family out to the trap, pose for photos in front of the trap, and wave to the police ushering you into the parking lot. Because arguably the most visible trap house in the world is safe and sterilized, drug-free and decked in pink — and also one of Atlanta’s premier haunted houses.

Created in partnership between 13 Stories Haunted House and 2 Chainz’ management team, Street Execs Studio, the Haunted Pink Trap House is the latest and weirdest entry in the current outcropping of Atlanta’s trap-themed tourist destinations (see the the Trap Museum and Trap Escape Toom that T.I. recently opened).

While on the surface it’s just another kitschy Halloween attraction among many, the Haunted Pink Trap House is a physical metaphor for the consequences of trap’s rabid commodification, a disorienting walk-through of what remains when the brutal social context of art is stripped away.

Trap music has traveled a long way from home over the past two decades. The trademark trap sound of earth-shattering bass and skittering hi-hats that defined an entire generation of Atlanta rappers has migrated across the globe, spawning countless subgenres along the way. As trap music continues to disseminate through a worldwide game of musical telephone, the genre gets reduced to a few powerful signifiers — bricks of cocaine, ostentatious displays of wealth, and endless partying.

It’s these symbols in which the Haunted Pink Trap House revels. After entering through a replica of the iconic cover from 2 Chainz’ 2017 album Pretty Girls Like Trap Music, visitors walk through a confusing mix of typical haunted house scenes and shabby animatronics before arriving at the trap house in question.

Inside is an unsettling pastiche of these trap symbols weaved together in a maze-like array of different rooms and dimly-lit halls. These markers include, but are definitely not limited to, a grimy kitchen overloaded with cocaine-coated pans, a few massive junkyard dog props, phony cannabis plants, a stripper pole featuring a real dancer, and non-stop blasts of 2 Chainz soundtracking the whole nightmare.

However, the real problematic pièce de résistance comes towards the end, when actors dressed as cops and SWAT team members bark orders at oncoming visitors while sounds of whizzing gunshots echo throughout the area. Immediately after this scene, a live DJ celebrates your survival as you exit into the gift shop and spill back into the parking lot.

This is where all of trap’s, and by extension Atlanta’s, global success, cultural exportation, and frenzied commercialization coalesced into a gut-punch of deep, existential nausea.

The eminence of trap music’s cultural cachet has necessitated the purging of its historical roots. At the Haunted Pink Trap House, the fear of police execution for selling drugs to survive in a society defined by economic exclusion and systemic racism is a crude set piece. Visitors come in, have a fun scare, and go home while so many living in Atlanta’s historically black west and south side communities — the cradle of trap music — don’t have the luxury of exiting their realities.

To the credit of 13 Stories and Street Execs Studio, this effect isn’t exactly as intended. In an interview with Atlanta Magazine, 13 Stories owner Allyn Glover said that he wants the Haunted Pink Trap House,“to not glorify the trap lifestyle, but bring attention to it, and maybe bring about some change… Maybe people will think, ‘This is not for me. Maybe I’ll give to the Boys and Girls Club and try to help out, so people don’t have to live that lifestyle.’”

This idea is already gaining some traction among virtual reality advocates who say that VR visualizations of refugee camps and impoverished neighborhoods can inspire empathy in those who otherwise wouldn’t experience the reality of such environments. On the other hand, these sorts of exercises can also be misguided, giving off an air of absurd poverty tourism, similar to what Mark Zuckerberg was criticized for when he paraded his cartoon avatar around the flooded streets of Puerto Rico.

This isn’t to say that the Haunted Pink Trap House is inherently insidious. As art gets consumed and endlessly recontextualized, it’s inevitable that the creator’s original intent will get lost in the wake of success. And it would be misleading to say all of trap’s original practitioners wanted the genre’s social context to be its guiding characteristic.

The influential Atlanta-bred trap producer Burn One it simply in an interview with Stereogum: “In Atlanta, trap music is strip club music.”

However, during the promotion of his iconic 2003 record Trap Muzik, T.I. clearly wanted listeners to understand what it truly means to be in the trap, often against one’s will.

“Before, trappin’ was cool, but now trappin’ ain’t cool,” he said in an interview with Uproxx. “It’s necessary for some, but no, it ain’t cool – even if you a hustler. All the hustlers I know – sellin’ dope is the last thing they wanna do.”

The real problem the Haunted Pink Trap House symbolizes is the asymmetry between trap music’s rise to international fame and the socioeconomic stagnation of trap’s birthplace in Atlanta neighborhoods such as Vine City and Bankhead.

Maybe watching crowds laugh through a garish funhouse representation of poverty would be less upsetting if, as reported by Curbed Atlanta, the life expectancy of a resident living in the ultra-wealthy, mostly white Buckhead wasn’t 20 years longer than a person living in the predominantly black Bankhead — despite the two neighborhoods being a few miles apart.

But to expect or hope for trap music to recede back into the depths of obscurity would be an offense to the genre and to the people that risked their lives to start it. Other than calling for our leaders to address the racial scars of income inequality that continue to divide Atlanta, there is no easy way out of the Haunted Pink Trap House.

Steer clear of the “Zombie Crackhead Experience.”

The Haunted Pink Trap House closes Sun., Nov. 11. $11-$39. 320 Temple Ave, Newnan, GAwww.hauntedpinktraphouse.com."
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  string(7078) "The trap isn’t in the shadows anymore. In 2018, you can take your family out to the trap, pose for photos in front of the trap, and wave to the police ushering you into the parking lot. Because arguably the most visible trap house in the world is safe and sterilized, drug-free and decked in pink — and also one of Atlanta’s premier haunted houses.

Created in partnership between [https://www.13storieshauntedhouse.com/|13 Stories Haunted House] and 2 Chainz’ management team, [https://www.streetexecsstudios.com/|Street Execs Studio], [https://www.hauntedpinktraphouse.com/|the Haunted Pink Trap House] is the latest and weirdest entry in the current outcropping of Atlanta’s trap-themed tourist destinations (see the the Trap Museum and Trap Escape Toom that T.I. recently opened).

While on the surface it’s just another kitschy Halloween attraction among many, the Haunted Pink Trap House is a physical metaphor for the consequences of trap’s rabid commodification, a disorienting walk-through of what remains when the brutal social context of art is stripped away.

Trap music has traveled a long way from home over the past two decades. The trademark trap sound of earth-shattering bass and skittering hi-hats that defined an entire generation of Atlanta rappers has migrated across the globe, spawning countless subgenres along the way. As trap music continues to disseminate through a worldwide game of musical telephone, the genre gets reduced to a few powerful signifiers — bricks of cocaine, ostentatious displays of wealth, and endless partying.

It’s these symbols in which the Haunted Pink Trap House revels. After entering through a replica of the iconic cover from 2 Chainz’ 2017 album ''Pretty Girls Like Trap Music'', visitors walk through a confusing mix of typical haunted house scenes and shabby animatronics before arriving at the trap house in question.

Inside is an unsettling pastiche of these trap symbols weaved together in a maze-like array of different rooms and dimly-lit halls. These markers include, but are definitely not limited to, a grimy kitchen overloaded with cocaine-coated pans, a few massive junkyard dog props, phony cannabis plants, a stripper pole featuring a real dancer, and non-stop blasts of 2 Chainz soundtracking the whole nightmare.

However, the real problematic pièce de résistance comes towards the end, when actors dressed as cops and SWAT team members bark orders at oncoming visitors while sounds of whizzing gunshots echo throughout the area. Immediately after this scene, a live DJ celebrates your survival as you exit into the gift shop and spill back into the parking lot.

This is where all of trap’s, and by extension Atlanta’s, global success, cultural exportation, and frenzied commercialization coalesced into a gut-punch of deep, existential nausea.

The eminence of trap music’s cultural cachet has necessitated the purging of its historical roots. At the Haunted Pink Trap House, the fear of police execution for selling drugs to survive in a society defined by economic exclusion and systemic racism is a crude set piece. Visitors come in, have a fun scare, and go home while so many living in Atlanta’s historically black west and south side communities — the cradle of trap music — don’t have the luxury of exiting their realities.

To the credit of 13 Stories and Street Execs Studio, this effect isn’t exactly as intended. [https://www.atlantamagazine.com/news-culture-articles/whats-inside-2-chainzs-haunted-pink-trap-house/|In an interview with Atlanta Magazine], 13 Stories owner Allyn Glover said that he wants the Haunted Pink Trap House,“to not glorify the trap lifestyle, but bring attention to it, and maybe bring about some change… Maybe people will think, ‘This is not for me. Maybe I’ll give to the Boys and Girls Club and try to help out, so people don’t have to live that lifestyle.’”

This idea is already gaining some traction among virtual reality advocates who say that [https://www.wired.com/brandlab/2015/11/is-virtual-reality-the-ultimate-empathy-machine|VR visualizations of refugee camps and impoverished neighborhoods can inspire empathy in those who otherwise wouldn’t experience the reality of such environments]. On the other hand, these sorts of exercises can also be misguided, giving off an air of absurd poverty tourism, [https://www.theverge.com/2017/10/9/16450346/zuckerberg-facebook-spaces-puerto-rico-virtual-reality-hurricane|similar to what Mark Zuckerberg was criticized for when he paraded his cartoon avatar around the flooded streets of Puerto Rico].

This isn’t to say that the Haunted Pink Trap House is inherently insidious. As art gets consumed and endlessly recontextualized, it’s inevitable that the creator’s original intent will get lost in the wake of success. And it would be misleading to say all of trap’s original practitioners wanted the genre’s social context to be its guiding characteristic.

The influential Atlanta-bred trap producer Burn One it simply [https://www.stereogum.com/1115091/from-t-i-to-tnght-a-look-at-trap-rave/top-stories/|in an interview with Stereogum]: “In Atlanta, trap music is strip club music.”

However, during the promotion of his iconic 2003 record ''Trap Muzik'', T.I. clearly wanted listeners to understand what it truly means to be in the trap, often against one’s will.

“Before, trappin’ was cool, but now trappin’ ain’t cool,” [https://uproxx.com/hiphop/ti-trap-muzik-retrospective-review-rap-revival-run-it-back/2/|he said in an interview with Uproxx]. “It’s necessary for some, but no, it ain’t cool – even if you a hustler. All the hustlers I know – sellin’ dope is the last thing they wanna do.”

The real problem the Haunted Pink Trap House symbolizes is the asymmetry between trap music’s rise to international fame and the socioeconomic stagnation of trap’s birthplace in Atlanta neighborhoods such as Vine City and Bankhead.

Maybe watching crowds laugh through a garish funhouse representation of poverty would be less upsetting if, [https://atlanta.curbed.com/2018/10/17/17989562/life-expectancy-buckhead-english-avenue-bankhead-income-inequality|as reported by Curbed Atlanta], the life expectancy of a resident living in the ultra-wealthy, mostly white Buckhead wasn’t 20 years longer than a person living in the predominantly black Bankhead — despite the two neighborhoods being a few miles apart.

But to expect or hope for trap music to recede back into the depths of obscurity would be an offense to the genre and to the people that risked their lives to start it. Other than calling for our leaders to address the racial scars of income inequality that continue to divide Atlanta, there is no easy way out of the Haunted Pink Trap House.

Steer clear of the “Zombie Crackhead Experience.”

''[https://www.hauntedpinktraphouse.com/|The Haunted Pink Trap House closes Sun., Nov. 11. $11-$39. 320 Temple Ave, Newnan, GAwww.hauntedpinktraphouse.com.]''"
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  string(6916) " Attach79925 20181107 140854  2018-11-09T21:49:38+00:00 Attach79925_20181107_140854.jpg     The trap-themed haunted house from 13 Stories and 2 Chainz offers cheap freights and profound anxiety 10891  2018-11-09T21:45:20+00:00 ATLANTA UNTRAPPED: Exiting the Haunted Pink Trap House chad.radford@creativeloafing.com Chad Radford Paul DeMerritt  2018-11-09T21:45:20+00:00  The trap isn’t in the shadows anymore. In 2018, you can take your family out to the trap, pose for photos in front of the trap, and wave to the police ushering you into the parking lot. Because arguably the most visible trap house in the world is safe and sterilized, drug-free and decked in pink — and also one of Atlanta’s premier haunted houses.

Created in partnership between 13 Stories Haunted House and 2 Chainz’ management team, Street Execs Studio, the Haunted Pink Trap House is the latest and weirdest entry in the current outcropping of Atlanta’s trap-themed tourist destinations (see the the Trap Museum and Trap Escape Toom that T.I. recently opened).

While on the surface it’s just another kitschy Halloween attraction among many, the Haunted Pink Trap House is a physical metaphor for the consequences of trap’s rabid commodification, a disorienting walk-through of what remains when the brutal social context of art is stripped away.

Trap music has traveled a long way from home over the past two decades. The trademark trap sound of earth-shattering bass and skittering hi-hats that defined an entire generation of Atlanta rappers has migrated across the globe, spawning countless subgenres along the way. As trap music continues to disseminate through a worldwide game of musical telephone, the genre gets reduced to a few powerful signifiers — bricks of cocaine, ostentatious displays of wealth, and endless partying.

It’s these symbols in which the Haunted Pink Trap House revels. After entering through a replica of the iconic cover from 2 Chainz’ 2017 album Pretty Girls Like Trap Music, visitors walk through a confusing mix of typical haunted house scenes and shabby animatronics before arriving at the trap house in question.

Inside is an unsettling pastiche of these trap symbols weaved together in a maze-like array of different rooms and dimly-lit halls. These markers include, but are definitely not limited to, a grimy kitchen overloaded with cocaine-coated pans, a few massive junkyard dog props, phony cannabis plants, a stripper pole featuring a real dancer, and non-stop blasts of 2 Chainz soundtracking the whole nightmare.

However, the real problematic pièce de résistance comes towards the end, when actors dressed as cops and SWAT team members bark orders at oncoming visitors while sounds of whizzing gunshots echo throughout the area. Immediately after this scene, a live DJ celebrates your survival as you exit into the gift shop and spill back into the parking lot.

This is where all of trap’s, and by extension Atlanta’s, global success, cultural exportation, and frenzied commercialization coalesced into a gut-punch of deep, existential nausea.

The eminence of trap music’s cultural cachet has necessitated the purging of its historical roots. At the Haunted Pink Trap House, the fear of police execution for selling drugs to survive in a society defined by economic exclusion and systemic racism is a crude set piece. Visitors come in, have a fun scare, and go home while so many living in Atlanta’s historically black west and south side communities — the cradle of trap music — don’t have the luxury of exiting their realities.

To the credit of 13 Stories and Street Execs Studio, this effect isn’t exactly as intended. In an interview with Atlanta Magazine, 13 Stories owner Allyn Glover said that he wants the Haunted Pink Trap House,“to not glorify the trap lifestyle, but bring attention to it, and maybe bring about some change… Maybe people will think, ‘This is not for me. Maybe I’ll give to the Boys and Girls Club and try to help out, so people don’t have to live that lifestyle.’”

This idea is already gaining some traction among virtual reality advocates who say that VR visualizations of refugee camps and impoverished neighborhoods can inspire empathy in those who otherwise wouldn’t experience the reality of such environments. On the other hand, these sorts of exercises can also be misguided, giving off an air of absurd poverty tourism, similar to what Mark Zuckerberg was criticized for when he paraded his cartoon avatar around the flooded streets of Puerto Rico.

This isn’t to say that the Haunted Pink Trap House is inherently insidious. As art gets consumed and endlessly recontextualized, it’s inevitable that the creator’s original intent will get lost in the wake of success. And it would be misleading to say all of trap’s original practitioners wanted the genre’s social context to be its guiding characteristic.

The influential Atlanta-bred trap producer Burn One it simply in an interview with Stereogum: “In Atlanta, trap music is strip club music.”

However, during the promotion of his iconic 2003 record Trap Muzik, T.I. clearly wanted listeners to understand what it truly means to be in the trap, often against one’s will.

“Before, trappin’ was cool, but now trappin’ ain’t cool,” he said in an interview with Uproxx. “It’s necessary for some, but no, it ain’t cool – even if you a hustler. All the hustlers I know – sellin’ dope is the last thing they wanna do.”

The real problem the Haunted Pink Trap House symbolizes is the asymmetry between trap music’s rise to international fame and the socioeconomic stagnation of trap’s birthplace in Atlanta neighborhoods such as Vine City and Bankhead.

Maybe watching crowds laugh through a garish funhouse representation of poverty would be less upsetting if, as reported by Curbed Atlanta, the life expectancy of a resident living in the ultra-wealthy, mostly white Buckhead wasn’t 20 years longer than a person living in the predominantly black Bankhead — despite the two neighborhoods being a few miles apart.

But to expect or hope for trap music to recede back into the depths of obscurity would be an offense to the genre and to the people that risked their lives to start it. Other than calling for our leaders to address the racial scars of income inequality that continue to divide Atlanta, there is no easy way out of the Haunted Pink Trap House.

Steer clear of the “Zombie Crackhead Experience.”

The Haunted Pink Trap House closes Sun., Nov. 11. $11-$39. 320 Temple Ave, Newnan, GAwww.hauntedpinktraphouse.com.    COURTESY OF ATLPICS HAUNTED AND TRAPPED: The Haunted Pink Trap House offers an unsettling meditation on the consequences of trap’s success.                                   ATLANTA UNTRAPPED: Exiting the Haunted Pink Trap House "
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Friday November 9, 2018 04:45 pm EST
The trap-themed haunted house from 13 Stories and 2 Chainz offers cheap freights and profound anxiety | more...

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  string(3597) "Among the endless sea of sterile music festivals overstuffed with the same set of big-ticket headliners, corporate-sponsored chill-out tents, and dizzying admission prices, Afropunk Fest stands apart. Originally co-founded by Matthew Morgan and filmmaker James Spooner, the music festival has explicitly focused on anti-racist activism and black representation as its core values since its first iteration in 2005. Morgan has helped the festival grow exponentially from its home in Brooklyn to include satellite Afropunk events in Paris, London, Johannesburg, and since 2016, Atlanta.

“Atlanta is very important because it has a history of activism, it’s a gateway of the South, and obviously there’s a large black community, which is really important to us,” Morgan says. “Whether it’s OutKast or Joi, Atlanta has always had an interesting, eclectic, and diverse black music scene that we want to pay homage to.”

While Brooklyn’s Afropunk events are organized in a more traditional festival format spanning multiple days, the Atlanta iterations are more contained and experimental. The inaugural 2016 Afropunk Atlanta, which was slated for a 2015 debut but then canceled after inclement weather from Hurricane Joaquin, wasn’t even billed as a festival, but as the Carnival of Consciousness. The distinction between a carnival and festival may seem spurious given that both feature a variety of bands playing on different stages, but the smaller size of the Atlanta edition gives it a more intimate feel that’s been lost as Afropunk Brooklyn’s attendance has skyrocketed.

Despite the difference in size, Afropunk Fest Atlanta still retains Morgan’s penchant for curating lineups that are unique both in their representations of musicians of color and in the variety of genres. “I read something this morning where someone asked, ‘Where else but Afropunk can you see Trash Talk and Janelle Monae within an hour of one another?’” Morgan says. “Nobody else curates acts quite the same as we do. I don’t believe in genres in that way.”

This year’s Afropunk Fest Atlanta exemplifies that diversity with a range of stellar headliners such as N.E.R.D., Pusha T, Noname, Death Grips, and Joi. Despite the festival’s name, punk only comprises a part of its stylistic portfolio as hip-hop, electronic music, soul, blues, and rock all receive equal weight.

However, Afropunk’s rapid expansion and move away from strictly punk music has invited its fair share of critics who accuse the festival’s organizers of abandoning its DIY roots. Morgan hasn’t shied away from accepting some corporate sponsorship in recent years. He’s also weathered criticism from allowing acts such as Cee-Lo Green on the bill after Green was accused of sexual assault. Despite valid concerns of Afropunk losing its ideological underpinnings, the festival is still one of the only available to Atlantans who want to sprint from seeing experimental R&B singer Kelela on one stage to listening to anti-racist activist Darnell Moore speak at another.

“Our festival is not like any other festival,” Morgan says. “The importance for young kids of color to not only see themselves on the stage but in the audience is very important.”

For those who worry whether large-scale music festivals can still represent something truly subversive in society, Afropunk is a beacon of hope.

Afropunk Fest Atlanta feat. N.E.R.D., Pusha T, Kaytranada, Death Grips, Noname, and more. Sat., Oct. 13-Sun., Oct. 14. 12 p.m. $50-110. 787 Windsor St. Mechanicsville, GA."
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“Atlanta is very important because it has a history of activism, it’s a gateway of the South, and obviously there’s a large black community, which is really important to us,” Morgan says. “Whether it’s OutKast or Joi, [[Atlanta] has always had an interesting, eclectic, and diverse black music scene that we want to pay homage to.”

While Brooklyn’s Afropunk events are organized in a more traditional festival format spanning multiple days, the Atlanta iterations are more contained and experimental. The inaugural 2016 Afropunk Atlanta, which was slated for a 2015 debut but then canceled after inclement weather from Hurricane Joaquin, wasn’t even billed as a festival, but as the Carnival of Consciousness. The distinction between a carnival and festival may seem spurious given that both feature a variety of bands playing on different stages, but the smaller size of the Atlanta edition gives it a more intimate feel that’s been lost as Afropunk Brooklyn’s attendance has skyrocketed.

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This year’s Afropunk Fest Atlanta exemplifies that diversity with a range of stellar headliners such as N.E.R.D., Pusha T, Noname, Death Grips, and Joi. Despite the festival’s name, punk only comprises a part of its stylistic portfolio as hip-hop, electronic music, soul, blues, and rock all receive equal weight.

However, Afropunk’s rapid expansion and move away from strictly punk music has invited its fair share of critics who accuse the festival’s organizers of abandoning its DIY roots. Morgan hasn’t shied away from accepting some corporate sponsorship in recent years. He’s also weathered criticism from allowing acts such as Cee-Lo Green on the bill after Green was accused of sexual assault. Despite valid concerns of Afropunk losing its ideological underpinnings, the festival is still one of the only available to Atlantans who want to sprint from seeing experimental R&B singer Kelela on one stage to listening to anti-racist activist Darnell Moore speak at another.

“Our festival is not like any other festival,” Morgan says. “The importance for young kids of color to not only see themselves on the stage but in the audience is very important.”

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  string(4116) " 6 (2) (2)  2018-10-10T20:50:45+00:00 6 (2) (2).jpg     N.E.R.D., Kaytranada, Death Grips, and more bring diversity in thought and sound for the two-day block party 10005  2018-10-12T06:00:00+00:00 Afropunk Atlanta’s radical potential chad.radford@creativeloafing.com Chad Radford Paul DeMerritt  2018-10-12T06:00:00+00:00  Among the endless sea of sterile music festivals overstuffed with the same set of big-ticket headliners, corporate-sponsored chill-out tents, and dizzying admission prices, Afropunk Fest stands apart. Originally co-founded by Matthew Morgan and filmmaker James Spooner, the music festival has explicitly focused on anti-racist activism and black representation as its core values since its first iteration in 2005. Morgan has helped the festival grow exponentially from its home in Brooklyn to include satellite Afropunk events in Paris, London, Johannesburg, and since 2016, Atlanta.

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While Brooklyn’s Afropunk events are organized in a more traditional festival format spanning multiple days, the Atlanta iterations are more contained and experimental. The inaugural 2016 Afropunk Atlanta, which was slated for a 2015 debut but then canceled after inclement weather from Hurricane Joaquin, wasn’t even billed as a festival, but as the Carnival of Consciousness. The distinction between a carnival and festival may seem spurious given that both feature a variety of bands playing on different stages, but the smaller size of the Atlanta edition gives it a more intimate feel that’s been lost as Afropunk Brooklyn’s attendance has skyrocketed.

Despite the difference in size, Afropunk Fest Atlanta still retains Morgan’s penchant for curating lineups that are unique both in their representations of musicians of color and in the variety of genres. “I read something this morning where someone asked, ‘Where else but Afropunk can you see Trash Talk and Janelle Monae within an hour of one another?’” Morgan says. “Nobody else curates acts quite the same as we do. I don’t believe in genres in that way.”

This year’s Afropunk Fest Atlanta exemplifies that diversity with a range of stellar headliners such as N.E.R.D., Pusha T, Noname, Death Grips, and Joi. Despite the festival’s name, punk only comprises a part of its stylistic portfolio as hip-hop, electronic music, soul, blues, and rock all receive equal weight.

However, Afropunk’s rapid expansion and move away from strictly punk music has invited its fair share of critics who accuse the festival’s organizers of abandoning its DIY roots. Morgan hasn’t shied away from accepting some corporate sponsorship in recent years. He’s also weathered criticism from allowing acts such as Cee-Lo Green on the bill after Green was accused of sexual assault. Despite valid concerns of Afropunk losing its ideological underpinnings, the festival is still one of the only available to Atlantans who want to sprint from seeing experimental R&B singer Kelela on one stage to listening to anti-racist activist Darnell Moore speak at another.

“Our festival is not like any other festival,” Morgan says. “The importance for young kids of color to not only see themselves on the stage but in the audience is very important.”

For those who worry whether large-scale music festivals can still represent something truly subversive in society, Afropunk is a beacon of hope.

Afropunk Fest Atlanta feat. N.E.R.D., Pusha T, Kaytranada, Death Grips, Noname, and more. Sat., Oct. 13-Sun., Oct. 14. 12 p.m. $50-110. 787 Windsor St. Mechanicsville, GA.    Liam MacRae AFROCENTRIC LIVING: Afropunk Atlanta highlights black musicians including electronic artist Kaytranada.                                   Afropunk Atlanta’s radical potential "
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Article

Friday October 12, 2018 02:00 am EDT
N.E.R.D., Kaytranada, Death Grips, and more bring diversity in thought and sound for the two-day block party | more...
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  string(3842) "A stampede erupted during the final hours of what was one of A3C’s most successful years so far. But the annual hip-hop festival and conference organizers say the panic was a false alarm.

Just three songs into rapper Lil Wayne’s Sunday night headlining set, a fight broke out between concertgoers. The audience mistakenly thought guns were involved and ran for safety en masse. Security quickly escorted Lil Wayne off of the stage. Barricades were knocked over, and attendees climbed fences to avoid being trampled during the hasty mass exit.

CL photographer Brandon English, who was in the crowd when the fight broke out, says he heard no gunfire. “When the fight broke out behind me, everything just kind of snowballed,” English says. “It’s hard to say what happened, but people thought someone pulled out a gun and folks started panicking.”

The chaos was defused by the state police who were on site.

An official statement from A3C reads: “Sadly, there was an altercation tonight that ended Lil Wayne’s performance. We are still collecting information to determine exactly what happened and will provide follow-up information as soon as we know more details. Please be assured that the law enforcement officers present have confirmed that there were no weapons involved. This was a very unfortunate way to end what had been an otherwise amazing week of music, friendships, and connections. Thank you to everyone for your amazing support and positive energy all week. We love y’all.”

While no serious injuries have been reported, some attendees who sustained minor injuries during the rush to leave were treated by paramedics.

The incident was a hapless conclusion to the festival and conference, which featured five days of progressive panel discussions, interviews, and the A3C Action Summit, followed by a weekend of live music that included performances by the likes of Deante Hitchcock, J.I.D, the entire Wu-Tang Clan, and more.

While this occurence was the first of its kind during A3C’s 14-year run, the events that unfolded during Lil Wayne’s Sunday night performance will be construed as a hip-hop culture issue. But the crowd’s reaction offers poignant commentary on the modern world, following the 2015 terrorist attack at the Eagles of Death Metal concert at the Bataclan theatre in Paris, France, and the 2017 Las Vegas mass shooting during the Route 91 Harvest music festival. Credit is due to festival and conference organizers for having enough safeguards in place to prevent the situation from becoming worse — a situation that could happen at any such event nowadays.

UPDATE: An Oct. 9 press release issued by A3C Director Mike Walbert offers the following details:

Unfortunately, less than 10 minutes into Lil Wayne’s set two individuals started to fight each other. We have spent the hours between the incident and now assessing the situation, collecting information and ensuring we respond with an accurate account as to what happened to the best of our ability. Several people in the crowd attempted to break up the fight, including a Georgia state trooper who was on-duty providing security. In trying to break up the fight, we understand that the trooper withdrew his Taser, which reportedly omitted a red light. The Taser was not used, but upon seeing the Taser, several members of the crowd yelled “gun,” which caused a panic in the crowd and people started rushing away. Unable to tell exactly what was going on, many people assumed the worst and there became a rapid dash to clear the grounds.

We continue to check on the safety and well-being of our community, friends and family. We have always made safety a top priority, and are thankful that there are no reports of serious injuries.

Stay tuned for more details as they become available."
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  string(4137) "A stampede erupted during the final hours of what was one of [http://www.a3cfestival.com/|A3C]’s most successful years so far. But the annual hip-hop festival and conference organizers say the panic was a false alarm.

Just three songs into rapper Lil Wayne’s Sunday night headlining set, a fight broke out between concertgoers. The audience mistakenly thought guns were involved and ran for safety en masse. Security quickly escorted Lil Wayne off of the stage. Barricades were knocked over, and attendees climbed fences to avoid being trampled during the hasty mass exit.

''CL'' photographer Brandon English, who was in the crowd when the fight broke out, says he heard no gunfire. “When the fight broke out behind me, everything just kind of snowballed,” English says. “It’s hard to say what happened, but people thought someone pulled out a gun and folks started panicking.”

The chaos was defused by the state police who were on site.

An official statement from A3C reads: “Sadly, there was an altercation tonight that ended Lil Wayne’s performance. We are still collecting information to determine exactly what happened and will provide follow-up information as soon as we know more details. Please be assured that the law enforcement officers present have confirmed that there were no weapons involved. This was a very unfortunate way to end what had been an otherwise amazing week of music, friendships, and connections. Thank you to everyone for your amazing support and positive energy all week. We love y’all.”

While no serious injuries have been reported, some attendees who sustained minor injuries during the rush to leave were treated by paramedics.

The incident was a hapless conclusion to the festival and conference, which featured five days of progressive panel discussions, interviews, and the [http://www.a3cfestival.com/action-summit|A3C Action Summit], followed by a weekend of live music that included performances by the likes of [https://creativeloafing.com/content-408139-ATLANTA-UNTRAPPED-Deante-Hitchcock-s-ascension|Deante Hitchcock], [https://creativeloafing.com/content-411287-ATLANTA-UNTRAPPED-Only-J-I-D-can-talk-me-into-watching-an-ASMR-video|J.I.D], the entire Wu-Tang Clan, and more.

While this occurence was the first of its kind during A3C’s 14-year run, the events that unfolded during Lil Wayne’s Sunday night performance will be construed as a hip-hop culture issue. But the crowd’s reaction offers poignant commentary on the modern world, following the 2015 terrorist attack at the Eagles of Death Metal concert at the Bataclan theatre in Paris, France, and the 2017 Las Vegas mass shooting during the Route 91 Harvest music festival. Credit is due to festival and conference organizers for having enough safeguards in place to prevent the situation from becoming worse — a situation that could happen at any such event nowadays.

__UPDATE: An Oct. 9 press release issued by A3C Director Mike Walbert offers the following details:__

''Unfortunately, less than 10 minutes into Lil Wayne’s set two individuals started to fight each other. We have spent the hours between the incident and now assessing the situation, collecting information and ensuring we respond with an accurate account as to what happened to the best of our ability. Several people in the crowd attempted to break up the fight, including a Georgia state trooper who was on-duty providing security. In trying to break up the fight, we understand that the trooper withdrew his Taser, which reportedly omitted a red light. The Taser was not used, but upon seeing the Taser, several members of the crowd yelled “gun,” which caused a panic in the crowd and people started rushing away. Unable to tell exactly what was going on, many people assumed the worst and there became a rapid dash to clear the grounds.''

''We continue to check on the safety and well-being of our community, friends and family. We have always made safety a top priority, and are thankful that there are no reports of serious injuries.''

Stay tuned for more details as they become available."
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  string(5317) " Lilwayne2018 10 07 30  2018-10-08T05:32:59+00:00 lilwayne2018-10-07-30.jpg   Wow....instead of videos of people running wild.....there is someone out there with the video of people being crushed by metal barricades. We stood trapped at the metal barricades 3-4 feet from the stage while "human dominoes" fell backward from the fight in VIP section. The security had been over run by people rushing into the "safety stage area" and security never regained the safe passage area in front of the stage. We took pics of the paramedics bandaging someone with our crew just in case this PR spin and clean- up narrative campaign began. (Now lets see if these "minor injury people" are all revealed because there were 3 females in front of me collapsing along with the gate and Lord knows what else.) Have you actually seen such a video, or are you just saying that you think someone probably caught that footage?   Would be VERY interested to see it...  'This was a very unfortunate way to end what had been an otherwise amazing week of music, friendships, and connections' 9749  2018-10-08T03:28:12+00:00 ATLANTA UNTRAPPED: A3C stampede was a false alarm chad.radford@creativeloafing.com Chad Radford Chad Radford Chad Radford 2018-10-08T03:28:12+00:00  A stampede erupted during the final hours of what was one of A3C’s most successful years so far. But the annual hip-hop festival and conference organizers say the panic was a false alarm.

Just three songs into rapper Lil Wayne’s Sunday night headlining set, a fight broke out between concertgoers. The audience mistakenly thought guns were involved and ran for safety en masse. Security quickly escorted Lil Wayne off of the stage. Barricades were knocked over, and attendees climbed fences to avoid being trampled during the hasty mass exit.

CL photographer Brandon English, who was in the crowd when the fight broke out, says he heard no gunfire. “When the fight broke out behind me, everything just kind of snowballed,” English says. “It’s hard to say what happened, but people thought someone pulled out a gun and folks started panicking.”

The chaos was defused by the state police who were on site.

An official statement from A3C reads: “Sadly, there was an altercation tonight that ended Lil Wayne’s performance. We are still collecting information to determine exactly what happened and will provide follow-up information as soon as we know more details. Please be assured that the law enforcement officers present have confirmed that there were no weapons involved. This was a very unfortunate way to end what had been an otherwise amazing week of music, friendships, and connections. Thank you to everyone for your amazing support and positive energy all week. We love y’all.”

While no serious injuries have been reported, some attendees who sustained minor injuries during the rush to leave were treated by paramedics.

The incident was a hapless conclusion to the festival and conference, which featured five days of progressive panel discussions, interviews, and the A3C Action Summit, followed by a weekend of live music that included performances by the likes of Deante Hitchcock, J.I.D, the entire Wu-Tang Clan, and more.

While this occurence was the first of its kind during A3C’s 14-year run, the events that unfolded during Lil Wayne’s Sunday night performance will be construed as a hip-hop culture issue. But the crowd’s reaction offers poignant commentary on the modern world, following the 2015 terrorist attack at the Eagles of Death Metal concert at the Bataclan theatre in Paris, France, and the 2017 Las Vegas mass shooting during the Route 91 Harvest music festival. Credit is due to festival and conference organizers for having enough safeguards in place to prevent the situation from becoming worse — a situation that could happen at any such event nowadays.

UPDATE: An Oct. 9 press release issued by A3C Director Mike Walbert offers the following details:

Unfortunately, less than 10 minutes into Lil Wayne’s set two individuals started to fight each other. We have spent the hours between the incident and now assessing the situation, collecting information and ensuring we respond with an accurate account as to what happened to the best of our ability. Several people in the crowd attempted to break up the fight, including a Georgia state trooper who was on-duty providing security. In trying to break up the fight, we understand that the trooper withdrew his Taser, which reportedly omitted a red light. The Taser was not used, but upon seeing the Taser, several members of the crowd yelled “gun,” which caused a panic in the crowd and people started rushing away. Unable to tell exactly what was going on, many people assumed the worst and there became a rapid dash to clear the grounds.

We continue to check on the safety and well-being of our community, friends and family. We have always made safety a top priority, and are thankful that there are no reports of serious injuries.

Stay tuned for more details as they become available.    Mike White MR. CARTER: Lil Wayne during Sunday night’s headlining A3C performance, minutes before being escorted off-stage by security.                                   ATLANTA UNTRAPPED: A3C stampede was a false alarm "
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Article

Sunday October 7, 2018 11:28 pm EDT
'This was a very unfortunate way to end what had been an otherwise amazing week of music, friendships, and connections' | more...
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  string(688) "Over the weekend of September 8-9, the ninth annual ONE Musicfest brought more than 20,000 people each day to Central Park in the Fourth Ward West neighborhood near Downtown Atlanta.

The festival, which originally launched in summer of 2010, has expanded to become a two-day event, focusing this year on urban music — rap, hip-hop, neo soul, R&B, and more. Performers featured throughout the fest included T.I., Monica, 2 Chainz, Big Boi with Sleepy Brown and more Dungeon Family alumni, H.E.R., Big Sean, George Clinton and Parliament, and a crunk showcase that brought the weekend to a head.

Photographer Perry Julien was in the pit. Check out a gallery of images below.

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Photographer Perry Julien was in the pit. Check out a gallery of images below.

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  string(1126) " BIG BOI Julien 2  2018-09-30T22:44:55+00:00 BIG BOI_julien 2.jpg     T.I., Big Boi, H.E.R., and more, a look back at 2018 in photos 9353  2018-09-30T22:15:07+00:00 ATLANTA UNTRAPPED: One Musicfest chad.radford@creativeloafing.com Chad Radford Perry Julien  2018-09-30T22:15:07+00:00  Over the weekend of September 8-9, the ninth annual ONE Musicfest brought more than 20,000 people each day to Central Park in the Fourth Ward West neighborhood near Downtown Atlanta.

The festival, which originally launched in summer of 2010, has expanded to become a two-day event, focusing this year on urban music — rap, hip-hop, neo soul, R&B, and more. Performers featured throughout the fest included T.I., Monica, 2 Chainz, Big Boi with Sleepy Brown and more Dungeon Family alumni, H.E.R., Big Sean, George Clinton and Parliament, and a crunk showcase that brought the weekend to a head.

Photographer Perry Julien was in the pit. Check out a gallery of images below.

    Perry Julien A-TOWN'S VERY OWN: Big Boi (left) and Sleepy Brown at One Musicfest.                                   ATLANTA UNTRAPPED: One Musicfest "
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Sunday September 30, 2018 06:15 pm EDT
T.I., Big Boi, H.E.R., and more, a look back at 2018 in photos | more...
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  string(4047) "The first time I met Anthony David was several years ago at Noni’s with a group of mutual friends over garlic and parmesan fries and unfiltered commentary on various industry happenings.

Last week I returned to Edgewood to meet David for an interview at Edgewood Pizza. The Savannah-born singer lives nearby and says it’s one of his go-to spots to grab a drink and a bite to eat. He’s there so much, he’s been in talks with the chef about possibly opening a restaurant together. Although It’s unclear if that will come to fruition, for now, David is preparing for the release of his latest album, Hello Like Before: The Songs Of Bill Withers.

David will perform about three songs from the new project, as well as other songs from throughout his catalog at Mable House on Sept. 22, with Gregory Porter and Avery*Sunshine. He has back-to-back solo shows on the calendar at City Winery Dec. 29-30.

After having his own songs compared to Bill Withers throughout the years, David is tackling some of the legendary singer’s greatest hits and a few deep cuts on Hello Like Before. The album arrived Sept. 21 via Shanachie Records, and is named after one of David’s favorite Withers songs. “He’s just saying some cold shit,” David says.

Hello Like Before was inspired by David’s live covers of Withers’ songs, and by live shows by groups such as ATL Collective who played a tribute to Withers in January. David compared recording the album to acting, saying the beauty in recording music created by someone else is that he didn’t have to dig into his own emotional wounds to create the content.

David met Withers when he was touring with India.Arie early in his career. He doesn’t have a personal relationship with the singer but he says he recently received a note of approval from Wither’s daughter saying she loved Hello Like Before. For David, one of the most rewarding parts of releasing this project now is having the chance to give the 80-year-old Withers props while he’s still alive. As the R&B community continues to grieve the loss of Aretha Franklin, who died in August, the sentiment is especially poignant.



In August, David introduced the album with a cover of “Lovely Day.” While his version of the song features more prominent strings, stylistically, it doesn’t stray too far from the original R&B staple. On “Use Me,” the familiar riff is still in place but David adds a few rap-like adlibs (“aye”) into the mix for good measure. The singer most effectively blends modern and traditional influences on songs such as the opening number “Grandma’s Hands.” The song retains its acoustic feel before percussion and organs kick in. David says he tried to “modernize” his covers without jeopardizing the integrity of the music itself. “I love innovation and I love tradition,” he says.

David and his band recorded the music for album in two days, and it took about two weeks to lay down the vocals for the songs at 800 East Studios. David credits the ease of the project to his relationship with his team, including Eddie “Gypsy” Stokes who has worked with David since working on his first demo. “It felt like the peak of our powers,” David said.

David also went on to say he doesn’t know what he’ll do next once promotion of Hello Like Before is over, although he’s gotten back into acting, appearing on shows like “Greenleaf,” and doing theater in recent years. He’s consulting on his cousin’s charity AWOL, an arts and tech program that teaches life skills to at-risk youth at Wheat Street Baptist Church. David has had a long career as a touring artist and that will likely continue. He’s always working on his own music so, perhaps, fans will get to hear some of that, too.

Whatever it is he works on next, it’s safe to say David won’t stray too far from his Edgewood neighborhood and his favorite hangouts for too long.

Read Jewel Wicker’s Atlanta Untrapped column at www.creativeloafing.com/ATL-Untrapped."
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Last week I returned to Edgewood to meet David for an interview at Edgewood Pizza. The Savannah-born singer lives nearby and says it’s one of his go-to spots to grab a drink and a bite to eat. He’s there so much, he’s been in talks with the chef about possibly opening a restaurant together. Although It’s unclear if that will come to fruition, for now, David is preparing for the release of his latest album, ''Hello Like Before: The Songs Of Bill Withers''.

David will perform about three songs from the new project, as well as other songs from throughout his catalog at Mable House on Sept. __22__, with Gregory Porter and Avery*Sunshine. He has back-to-back solo shows on the calendar at City Winery __Dec. 29-30__.

After having his own songs compared to Bill Withers throughout the years, David is tackling some of the legendary singer’s greatest hits and a few deep cuts on ''Hello Like Before''. The album arrived Sept. 21 via Shanachie Records, and is named after one of David’s favorite Withers songs. “He’s just saying some cold shit,” David says.

''Hello Like Before'' was inspired by David’s live covers of Withers’ songs, and by live shows by groups such as ATL Collective who played a tribute to Withers in January. David compared recording the album to acting, saying the beauty in recording music created by someone else is that he didn’t have to dig into his own emotional wounds to create the content.

David met Withers when he was touring with India.Arie early in his career. He doesn’t have a personal relationship with the singer but he says he recently received a note of approval from Wither’s daughter saying she loved ''Hello Like Before''. For David, one of the most rewarding parts of releasing this project now is having the chance to give the 80-year-old Withers props while he’s still alive. As the R&B community continues to grieve the loss of Aretha Franklin, who died in August, the sentiment is especially poignant.

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In August, David introduced the album with a cover of “Lovely Day.” While his version of the song features more prominent strings, stylistically, it doesn’t stray too far from the original R&B staple. On “Use Me,” the familiar riff is still in place but David adds a few rap-like adlibs (“aye”) into the mix for good measure. The singer most effectively blends modern and traditional influences on songs such as the opening number “Grandma’s Hands.” The song retains its acoustic feel before percussion and organs kick in. David says he tried to “modernize” his covers without jeopardizing the integrity of the music itself. “I love innovation and I love tradition,” he says.

David and his band recorded the music for album in two days, and it took about two weeks to lay down the vocals for the songs at 800 East Studios. David credits the ease of the project to his relationship with his team, including Eddie “Gypsy” Stokes who has worked with David since working on his first demo. “It felt like the peak of our powers,” David said.

David also went on to say he doesn’t know what he’ll do next once promotion of ''Hello Like Before'' is over, although he’s gotten back into acting, appearing on shows like “Greenleaf,” and doing theater in recent years. He’s consulting on his cousin’s charity AWOL, an arts and tech program that teaches life skills to at-risk youth at Wheat Street Baptist Church. David has had a long career as a touring artist and that will likely continue. He’s always working on his own music so, perhaps, fans will get to hear some of that, too.

Whatever it is he works on next, it’s safe to say David won’t stray too far from his Edgewood neighborhood and his favorite hangouts for too long.

''[https://creativeloafing.com/ATL-Untrapped|Read Jewel Wicker’s Atlanta Untrapped column at www.creativeloafing.com/ATL-Untrapped.]''"
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Last week I returned to Edgewood to meet David for an interview at Edgewood Pizza. The Savannah-born singer lives nearby and says it’s one of his go-to spots to grab a drink and a bite to eat. He’s there so much, he’s been in talks with the chef about possibly opening a restaurant together. Although It’s unclear if that will come to fruition, for now, David is preparing for the release of his latest album, Hello Like Before: The Songs Of Bill Withers.

David will perform about three songs from the new project, as well as other songs from throughout his catalog at Mable House on Sept. 22, with Gregory Porter and Avery*Sunshine. He has back-to-back solo shows on the calendar at City Winery Dec. 29-30.

After having his own songs compared to Bill Withers throughout the years, David is tackling some of the legendary singer’s greatest hits and a few deep cuts on Hello Like Before. The album arrived Sept. 21 via Shanachie Records, and is named after one of David’s favorite Withers songs. “He’s just saying some cold shit,” David says.

Hello Like Before was inspired by David’s live covers of Withers’ songs, and by live shows by groups such as ATL Collective who played a tribute to Withers in January. David compared recording the album to acting, saying the beauty in recording music created by someone else is that he didn’t have to dig into his own emotional wounds to create the content.

David met Withers when he was touring with India.Arie early in his career. He doesn’t have a personal relationship with the singer but he says he recently received a note of approval from Wither’s daughter saying she loved Hello Like Before. For David, one of the most rewarding parts of releasing this project now is having the chance to give the 80-year-old Withers props while he’s still alive. As the R&B community continues to grieve the loss of Aretha Franklin, who died in August, the sentiment is especially poignant.



In August, David introduced the album with a cover of “Lovely Day.” While his version of the song features more prominent strings, stylistically, it doesn’t stray too far from the original R&B staple. On “Use Me,” the familiar riff is still in place but David adds a few rap-like adlibs (“aye”) into the mix for good measure. The singer most effectively blends modern and traditional influences on songs such as the opening number “Grandma’s Hands.” The song retains its acoustic feel before percussion and organs kick in. David says he tried to “modernize” his covers without jeopardizing the integrity of the music itself. “I love innovation and I love tradition,” he says.

David and his band recorded the music for album in two days, and it took about two weeks to lay down the vocals for the songs at 800 East Studios. David credits the ease of the project to his relationship with his team, including Eddie “Gypsy” Stokes who has worked with David since working on his first demo. “It felt like the peak of our powers,” David said.

David also went on to say he doesn’t know what he’ll do next once promotion of Hello Like Before is over, although he’s gotten back into acting, appearing on shows like “Greenleaf,” and doing theater in recent years. He’s consulting on his cousin’s charity AWOL, an arts and tech program that teaches life skills to at-risk youth at Wheat Street Baptist Church. David has had a long career as a touring artist and that will likely continue. He’s always working on his own music so, perhaps, fans will get to hear some of that, too.

Whatever it is he works on next, it’s safe to say David won’t stray too far from his Edgewood neighborhood and his favorite hangouts for too long.

Read Jewel Wicker’s Atlanta Untrapped column at www.creativeloafing.com/ATL-Untrapped.    K.T. Terrell LOVELY DAY: Anthony David's 'Hello Like Before' celebrates the music of Bill Withers.                                   ATLANTA UNTRAPPED: Celebrate legends while they’re still alive  "
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Article

Thursday September 27, 2018 12:50 pm EDT
Anthony David’s latest album, ‘Hello Like Before’ covers the songs of Bill Withers | more...
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  string(76) "J. Carter’s festival expands, while honoring urban music’s greatest hits"
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  string(5983) "The inspiration behind the ATL crunk set at this year’s One Musicfest came from an unlikely source: The Tom Joyner Foundation Fantastic Voyage Cruise.

“At first I was like, ‘Ain’t no way in hell there’s a crunk set on that cruise,” says One Musicfest founder Jason Carter, recalling the moment he overheard an acquaintance singing the praises of what sounded like the highlight of the “Tom Joyner Morning Show” host’s Miami-based ocean liner party cruise.

For Carter, the tales of crunk on the high seas sparked memories of Atlanta artists who were determined to break into the mainstream, even if they had to throw a few elbows and bust a few heads to get there. He started thinking deeply about that rich mid-’90s to mid-aughts legacy of booming 808 beats and pep rally chants immortalized by the likes of mainstream hits such as Lil Jon & the East Side Boyz’ “Get Low,” Trillville’s “Neva Eva,” and Ying Yang Twins’ “Salt Shaker.”

“You forget all the music that era and time had,” Carter says.

To create a set that honored the crunk era, Carter enlisted long-standing Atlanta hip-hop fixture DJ Nabs. With decades of experience, including working with Kris Kross, Ciara, and Ludacris and hosting Hot 97.5 FM’s “In The Lab With DJ Nabs” — one of Atlanta’s most popular urban radio shows in history, according to Carter — Nabs wrangled the most influential crunk artists for the set in a “couple of hours.” As a result, One Musicfest’s crunk showcase features performances by the YoungBloodZ, Ying Yang Twins, Trillville, Kilo Ali, and the Eastside Boyz. It’s a show honoring an important part of Atlanta’s musical legacy, though. There’s no telling who else might show up, and surprises are inevitable. During a press conference in August, Nabs said he’s worked to make it the “most amazing Southern hip-hop show you’ve ever seen.”

Carter and Nabs are both well-versed in the many iterations of Atlanta’s ever-evolving rap music scene, from the 1995 Source Awards when André 3000 declared, “The South got something to say,” amid an escalating beef between East Coast and West Coast rappers, to DJs refusing to play Lil Jon and the Eastside Boyz for fear it would incite a riot. Carter says both eras encompass the same underdog spirit. “It was our voice trying to talk over everybody else,” he says. “We were young, and we just had this energy. It felt rebellious.”

The One MusicFest founder went on to say that he believes it’s important to honor the “collective spirit” that helps Atlanta continue to thrive and continually reinvent itself. This has made previous One MusicFest lineups, headlined by the likes of Janelle Monáe’s Wondaland collective in 2015, and the 2016 Dungeon Family reunion so powerful. It’s impressive to think that Carter has just scratched the surface when it comes to honoring Atlanta music. With So So Def heading out on the label’s 25th anniversary Cultural Curren$y reunion tour this year, perhaps the festival will host an encore set for the Atlanta collective in 2019? Carter says there’s a list of artists he’s looking to have on stage, but he’s honest about some of the obstacles he faces when trying to create the perfect lineup. “Some of them just want entirely too much money,” he says. “Maybe we can come to a happy middle ground.”

Below the surface, the Tom Joyner Foundation Fantastic Voyage Cruise and One MusicFest have more in common than one might realize — they both strive to create a stage for a wide range of urban acts. During this year’s two-day One MusicFest, other performers touch on a wide range of styles, from George Clinton and Parliament’s revolutionary R&B to Big Sean’s hook-driven hip-hop anthems. 2 Chainz is also on the lineup, replacing rapper Cardi B, who is still at home adjusting to motherhood. “I could never find a festival that embraced all breadths of urban talent and artistry,” Carter says of his vision for One Musicfest, which boasts the tagline “Unity Through Music.”

According to Carter, attendees range in age from teenagers to 40-year-olds. As the crowd headbangs to Trillville’s “Some Cut,” some spectators may include those whose first introduction to hip-hop happened during this underappreciated era, as well as anyone who was moshing in the pit back in the crunk heyday. Just like 2 Chainz boasts a diverse audience, so do the Eastside Boyz and George Clinton.

Carter sees the festival as an unlikely bridge between these audiences and the other artists on his lineup. “Prejudices slowly start going away, and folks connect with brand-new people and new energies at festivals like One MusicFest,” Carter says.

This year also sees One Musicfest expanding to two days and moving to Central Park in the Fourth Ward West neighborhood. Carter says the festival moved to Lakewood Amphitheater after it outgrew various locations, including King Plow Arts Center, Park Tavern, and Historic Fourth Ward Park. Now, the festival has outgrown Lakewood. In addition to having seats at the main stage, which Carter notes doesn’t have the traditional festival feel, he adds, “You lose a bit of the energy when you put it in a controlled amphitheater space.” .

In addition, the seats alone, Carter says, made expanding to a two-day festival too expensive: People who paid $130 for a seat during the day-long festival would’ve seen their price double to $260 if the festival added an additional day.

Moving to Central Park also plants the festival in the heart of the city. “I think it has a lot of things that will make sense to the consumer financially and geographically,” Carter says. “Hopefully we can make it our home for the next few years.”

Where better for the kings of crunk to reclaim their throne?

Read Jewel Wicker’s Atlanta Untrapped column every week at www.creativeloafing.com/ATL-Untrapped."
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“At first I was like, ‘Ain’t no way in hell there’s a crunk set [[on that cruise],” says One Musicfest founder Jason Carter, recalling the moment he overheard an acquaintance singing the praises of what sounded like the highlight of the “Tom Joyner Morning Show” host’s Miami-based ocean liner party cruise.

For Carter, the tales of crunk on the high seas sparked memories of Atlanta artists who were determined to break into the mainstream, even if they had to throw a few elbows and bust a few heads to get there. He started thinking deeply about that rich mid-’90s to mid-aughts legacy of booming 808 beats and pep rally chants immortalized by the likes of mainstream hits such as Lil Jon & the East Side Boyz’ “Get Low,” Trillville’s “Neva Eva,” and Ying Yang Twins’ “Salt Shaker.”

“You forget all the music that era and time had,” Carter says.

To create a set that honored the crunk era, Carter enlisted long-standing Atlanta hip-hop fixture DJ Nabs. With decades of experience, including working with Kris Kross, Ciara, and Ludacris and hosting Hot 97.5 FM’s “In The Lab With DJ Nabs” — one of Atlanta’s most popular urban radio shows in history, according to Carter — Nabs wrangled the most influential crunk artists for the set in a “couple of hours.” As a result, One Musicfest’s crunk showcase features performances by the YoungBloodZ, Ying Yang Twins, Trillville, Kilo Ali, and the Eastside Boyz. It’s a show honoring an important part of Atlanta’s musical legacy, though. There’s no telling who else might show up, and surprises are inevitable. During a press conference in August, Nabs said he’s worked to make it the “most amazing Southern hip-hop show you’ve ever seen.”

Carter and Nabs are both well-versed in the many iterations of Atlanta’s ever-evolving rap music scene, from the 1995 Source Awards when André 3000 declared, “The South got something to say,” amid an escalating beef between East Coast and West Coast rappers, to DJs refusing to play Lil Jon and the Eastside Boyz for fear it would incite a riot. Carter says both eras encompass the same underdog spirit. “It was our voice trying to talk over everybody else,” he says. “We were young, and we just had this energy. It felt rebellious.”

The One MusicFest founder went on to say that he believes it’s important to honor the “collective spirit” that helps Atlanta continue to thrive and continually reinvent itself. This has made previous One MusicFest lineups, headlined by the likes of Janelle Monáe’s Wondaland collective in 2015, and the 2016 Dungeon Family reunion so powerful. It’s impressive to think that Carter has just scratched the surface when it comes to honoring Atlanta music. With So So Def heading out on the label’s 25th anniversary Cultural Curren$y reunion tour this year, perhaps the festival will host an encore set for the Atlanta collective in 2019? Carter says there’s a list of artists he’s looking to have on stage, but he’s honest about some of the obstacles he faces when trying to create the perfect lineup. “Some of them just want entirely too much money,” he says. “Maybe we can come to a happy middle ground.”

Below the surface, the Tom Joyner Foundation Fantastic Voyage Cruise and One MusicFest have more in common than one might realize — they both strive to create a stage for a wide range of urban acts. During this year’s two-day One MusicFest, other performers touch on a wide range of styles, from George Clinton and Parliament’s revolutionary R&B to Big Sean’s hook-driven hip-hop anthems. 2 Chainz is also on the lineup, replacing rapper Cardi B, who is still at home adjusting to motherhood. “I could never find a festival that embraced all breadths of urban talent and artistry,” Carter says of his vision for One Musicfest, which boasts the tagline “Unity Through Music.”

According to Carter, attendees range in age from teenagers to 40-year-olds. As the crowd headbangs to Trillville’s “Some Cut,” some spectators may include those whose first introduction to hip-hop happened during this underappreciated era, as well as anyone who was moshing in the pit back in the crunk heyday. Just like 2 Chainz boasts a diverse audience, so do the Eastside Boyz and George Clinton.

Carter sees the festival as an unlikely bridge between these audiences and the other artists on his lineup. “Prejudices slowly start going away, and folks connect with brand-new people and new energies at festivals like One MusicFest,” Carter says.

This year also sees One Musicfest expanding to two days and moving to Central Park in the Fourth Ward West neighborhood. Carter says the festival moved to Lakewood Amphitheater after it outgrew various locations, including King Plow Arts Center, Park Tavern, and Historic Fourth Ward Park. Now, the festival has outgrown Lakewood. In addition to having seats at the main stage, which Carter notes doesn’t have the traditional festival feel, he adds, “You lose a bit of the energy when you put it in a controlled amphitheater space.” .

In addition, the seats alone, Carter says, made expanding to a two-day festival too expensive: People who paid $130 for a seat during the day-long festival would’ve seen their price double to $260 if the festival added an additional day.

Moving to Central Park also plants the festival in the heart of the city. “I think it has a lot of things that will make sense to the consumer financially and geographically,” Carter says. “Hopefully we can make it our home for the next few years.”

Where better for the kings of crunk to reclaim their throne?

''[https://creativeloafing.com/ATL-Untrapped|Read Jewel Wicker’s Atlanta Untrapped column every week at www.creativeloafing.com/ATL-Untrapped].''"
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  string(6520) " Music Untrapped2 1 14  2018-09-07T00:27:56+00:00 Music_Untrapped2-1_14.jpg     J. Carter’s festival expands, while honoring urban music’s greatest hits 8815  2018-09-07T00:16:40+00:00 ATLANTA UNTRAPPED: One MusicFest comes back crunk! chad.radford@creativeloafing.com Chad Radford Jewel Wicker  2018-09-07T00:16:40+00:00  The inspiration behind the ATL crunk set at this year’s One Musicfest came from an unlikely source: The Tom Joyner Foundation Fantastic Voyage Cruise.

“At first I was like, ‘Ain’t no way in hell there’s a crunk set on that cruise,” says One Musicfest founder Jason Carter, recalling the moment he overheard an acquaintance singing the praises of what sounded like the highlight of the “Tom Joyner Morning Show” host’s Miami-based ocean liner party cruise.

For Carter, the tales of crunk on the high seas sparked memories of Atlanta artists who were determined to break into the mainstream, even if they had to throw a few elbows and bust a few heads to get there. He started thinking deeply about that rich mid-’90s to mid-aughts legacy of booming 808 beats and pep rally chants immortalized by the likes of mainstream hits such as Lil Jon & the East Side Boyz’ “Get Low,” Trillville’s “Neva Eva,” and Ying Yang Twins’ “Salt Shaker.”

“You forget all the music that era and time had,” Carter says.

To create a set that honored the crunk era, Carter enlisted long-standing Atlanta hip-hop fixture DJ Nabs. With decades of experience, including working with Kris Kross, Ciara, and Ludacris and hosting Hot 97.5 FM’s “In The Lab With DJ Nabs” — one of Atlanta’s most popular urban radio shows in history, according to Carter — Nabs wrangled the most influential crunk artists for the set in a “couple of hours.” As a result, One Musicfest’s crunk showcase features performances by the YoungBloodZ, Ying Yang Twins, Trillville, Kilo Ali, and the Eastside Boyz. It’s a show honoring an important part of Atlanta’s musical legacy, though. There’s no telling who else might show up, and surprises are inevitable. During a press conference in August, Nabs said he’s worked to make it the “most amazing Southern hip-hop show you’ve ever seen.”

Carter and Nabs are both well-versed in the many iterations of Atlanta’s ever-evolving rap music scene, from the 1995 Source Awards when André 3000 declared, “The South got something to say,” amid an escalating beef between East Coast and West Coast rappers, to DJs refusing to play Lil Jon and the Eastside Boyz for fear it would incite a riot. Carter says both eras encompass the same underdog spirit. “It was our voice trying to talk over everybody else,” he says. “We were young, and we just had this energy. It felt rebellious.”

The One MusicFest founder went on to say that he believes it’s important to honor the “collective spirit” that helps Atlanta continue to thrive and continually reinvent itself. This has made previous One MusicFest lineups, headlined by the likes of Janelle Monáe’s Wondaland collective in 2015, and the 2016 Dungeon Family reunion so powerful. It’s impressive to think that Carter has just scratched the surface when it comes to honoring Atlanta music. With So So Def heading out on the label’s 25th anniversary Cultural Curren$y reunion tour this year, perhaps the festival will host an encore set for the Atlanta collective in 2019? Carter says there’s a list of artists he’s looking to have on stage, but he’s honest about some of the obstacles he faces when trying to create the perfect lineup. “Some of them just want entirely too much money,” he says. “Maybe we can come to a happy middle ground.”

Below the surface, the Tom Joyner Foundation Fantastic Voyage Cruise and One MusicFest have more in common than one might realize — they both strive to create a stage for a wide range of urban acts. During this year’s two-day One MusicFest, other performers touch on a wide range of styles, from George Clinton and Parliament’s revolutionary R&B to Big Sean’s hook-driven hip-hop anthems. 2 Chainz is also on the lineup, replacing rapper Cardi B, who is still at home adjusting to motherhood. “I could never find a festival that embraced all breadths of urban talent and artistry,” Carter says of his vision for One Musicfest, which boasts the tagline “Unity Through Music.”

According to Carter, attendees range in age from teenagers to 40-year-olds. As the crowd headbangs to Trillville’s “Some Cut,” some spectators may include those whose first introduction to hip-hop happened during this underappreciated era, as well as anyone who was moshing in the pit back in the crunk heyday. Just like 2 Chainz boasts a diverse audience, so do the Eastside Boyz and George Clinton.

Carter sees the festival as an unlikely bridge between these audiences and the other artists on his lineup. “Prejudices slowly start going away, and folks connect with brand-new people and new energies at festivals like One MusicFest,” Carter says.

This year also sees One Musicfest expanding to two days and moving to Central Park in the Fourth Ward West neighborhood. Carter says the festival moved to Lakewood Amphitheater after it outgrew various locations, including King Plow Arts Center, Park Tavern, and Historic Fourth Ward Park. Now, the festival has outgrown Lakewood. In addition to having seats at the main stage, which Carter notes doesn’t have the traditional festival feel, he adds, “You lose a bit of the energy when you put it in a controlled amphitheater space.” .

In addition, the seats alone, Carter says, made expanding to a two-day festival too expensive: People who paid $130 for a seat during the day-long festival would’ve seen their price double to $260 if the festival added an additional day.

Moving to Central Park also plants the festival in the heart of the city. “I think it has a lot of things that will make sense to the consumer financially and geographically,” Carter says. “Hopefully we can make it our home for the next few years.”

Where better for the kings of crunk to reclaim their throne?

Read Jewel Wicker’s Atlanta Untrapped column every week at www.creativeloafing.com/ATL-Untrapped.    Courtesy One MusicFest DON’T START NO STUFF WON’T BE NO STUFF: YoungbloodZ head up One MusicFest’s crunk showcase.                                   ATLANTA UNTRAPPED: One MusicFest comes back crunk! "
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Thursday September 6, 2018 08:16 pm EDT
J. Carter’s festival expands, while honoring urban music’s greatest hits | more...
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  string(58) "ATLANTA UNTRAPPED: Marzeratti steps from behind the scenes"
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  string(4889) " While not yet a household name, Marzeratti has worked behind the scenes for some of Atlanta’s most prominent artists. Now he’s branching out on his own. The Ear Drummer Records producer’s credits incldue hit songs such as Future’s “Turn on the Lights,” 2 Chainz’s “No Lie” and Kelly Rowland’s “Kisses Down Low.” Most recently, he co-produced The Weeknd’s “Try Me” from the singer’s 2018 EP My Dear Melancholy.
 

CL recently caught up with the Atlanta producer to talk about his work with artists like Rae Sremmurd early in their careers, developing new talent and the inspiration behind his upcoming project.

How did you get into producing and working with Ear Drummer?
I was producing already and I had a mutual friend P-Nasty who had met Mike WiLL Made-It and started working with him. He told Mike about me. Basically, after I had that first conversation with Mike and sent him five of what I felt was my best tracks at the time, we ended up doing a lot of stuff together.

You produced some major songs pretty early in your career, including Future’s “Turn on the Lights.” What was that like as a newcomer?
Now looking back on it it’s like, ‘Man, I really did something monumental for these guys,’ but back then it was just like, ‘Hey, I’m new at this. I’m creating. I really think these artists are dope.” I really thought Future was dope. Being the person who was a part of his biggest single at the time is just so unreal now that I think about it.

And, you worked with Rae Sremmurd early on, too.
I found them through their DJ. His cousin is P Nasty, so he was on us for the longest like, “Hey, you guys check out my boys.” Finally, we checked them out and sent them a beat. We never released it, but they did a song to it. They ended up splitting up for like a year, and when they came back, that’s when we started working on their first album.

What was it about them that stood out to you back then?
They could just rap and sing and go on for hours. Everything they were coming with was just super creative. They would change their voices. Swae Lee was doing English accents. Nobody in our generation was really doing anything like that at the time. Even Slim Jxmmi, his flows...nobody knew but he was actually a singer at the time, too. He ended up being more of a hard rapper, but those two together? Whew.

What’s been one of the standout moments of your career so far?
My favorite moment was being in New York and doing “Beach is Better” with Jay Z. We kept playing records and we came upon “Beach is Better,” and he was like, “Whoa! What’s this?” And Mike basically told him we were giving this to Big Sean but he hadn’t responded. Jay Z was like, “Alright, we’ll give him 5 business days. If he doesn’t reply, I’m going to sew it up.” That next week, the project dropped, “Beach is Better” is on there and it was trending worldwide. That moment was crazy for me.

Did y’all always intend on making “Beach is Better” a short song?
I think we’ve all talked about it being longer and maybe revisiting. I think Jay was like, “Let’s just leave it as it is.”

Who is your dream collaborator?
I’d have to say CeeLo Green. I really love CeeLo. He’s another one of my inspirations. I just met him recently. I froze up. That was one of those moments in my career I was actually starstuck and couldn’t find the words to tell him. 

Any new productions you can tease?
Me and Mike collaborated recently and we have this record coming with School Boy Q and Kendrick Lamar.

You’re also working with a new artist, NR? What can you tell us about him?
I don’t want to compare him to anybody, but I would say he’s like a black Sam Smith. Dude can really sing his ass off. We’ve just been working on this real dope project just to bring the R&B feels back. There’s no rapping going on or rap/singing, it’s just pure R&B, guitars and pianos. We’ve just been locked in for the last two months getting it done. We’re trying to drop the beginning of October, end of September.

You’re also readying your own project. Are you rapping or singing?
Both, but mostly rapping.

Have you always intended to branch out as an artist? 
Definitely. 

Who are some of your influences for your upcoming project?
Rick James, even though he’s not a rapper. Old Dirty Bastard, Busta Rhymes, Mystikal, Andre 3000, Pharrell. Those are a few of the artists who inspired me to put my foot forward and actually venture out into being an artist. 

It sounds like you’re not going with the recent trap trend but something more classic. Is that accurate?
Yeah. Really weird, abstract and eclectic. It’s all over the place.

Read Jewel Wicker’s Atlanta Untrapped column every week at www.creativeloafing.com/ATL-Untrapped."
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  string(5012) " While not yet a household name, Marzeratti has worked behind the scenes for some of Atlanta’s most prominent artists. Now he’s branching out on his own. The Ear Drummer Records producer’s credits incldue hit songs such as Future’s “Turn on the Lights,” 2 Chainz’s “No Lie” and Kelly Rowland’s “Kisses Down Low.” Most recently, he co-produced The Weeknd’s “Try Me” from the singer’s 2018 EP My Dear Melancholy.
 

''CL'' recently caught up with the Atlanta producer to talk about his work with artists like Rae Sremmurd early in their careers, developing new talent and the inspiration behind his upcoming project.

__How did you get into producing and working with Ear Drummer?__
I was producing already and I had a mutual friend [[P-Nasty] who had met Mike [[WiLL Made-It] and started working with him. He told Mike about me. Basically, after I had that first conversation with Mike and sent him five of what I felt was my best tracks at the time, we ended up doing a lot of stuff together.

__You produced some major songs pretty early in your career, including Future’s “Turn on the Lights.” What was that like as a newcomer?__
Now looking back on it it’s like, ‘Man, I really did something monumental for these guys,’ but back then it was just like, ‘Hey, I’m new at this. I’m creating. I really think these artists are dope.” I really thought Future was dope. Being the person who was a part of his biggest single at the time is just so unreal now that I think about it.

__And, you worked with Rae Sremmurd early on, too.__
I found them through their DJ. His cousin is P Nasty, so he was on us for the longest like, “Hey, you guys check out my boys.” Finally, we checked them out and sent them a beat. We never released it, but they did a song to it. They ended up splitting up for like a year, and when they came back, that’s when we started working on their first album.

__What was it about them that stood out to you back then?__
They could just rap and sing and go on for hours. Everything they were coming with was just super creative. They would change their voices. Swae [[Lee] was doing English accents. Nobody in our generation was really doing anything like that at the time. Even [[Slim Jxmmi], his flows...nobody knew but he was actually a singer at the time, too. He ended up being more of a hard rapper, but those two together? Whew.

__What’s been one of the standout moments of your career so far?__
My favorite moment was being in New York and doing “Beach is Better” with Jay Z. We kept [[playing records] and we came upon “Beach is Better,” and he was like, “Whoa! What’s this?” And Mike basically told him we were giving this to Big Sean but he hadn’t responded. [[Jay Z] was like, “Alright, we’ll give him 5 business days. If he doesn’t reply, I’m going to sew it up.” That next week, the project dropped, [[“Beach is Better”] is on there and it was trending worldwide. That moment was crazy for me.

__Did y’all always intend on making “Beach is Better” a short song?__
I think we’ve all talked about it being longer and maybe revisiting. I think Jay was like, “Let’s just leave it as it is.”

__Who is your dream collaborator?__
I’d have to say CeeLo Green. I really love CeeLo. He’s another one of my inspirations. I just met him recently. I froze up. That was one of those moments in my career I was actually starstuck and couldn’t find the words [[to tell him]. 

__Any new productions you can tease?__
Me and Mike collaborated recently and we have this record coming with School Boy Q and Kendrick Lamar.

__You’re also working with a new artist, NR? What can you tell us about him?__
I don’t want to compare him to anybody, but I would say he’s like a black Sam Smith. Dude can really sing his ass off. We’ve just been working on this real dope project just to bring the R&B feels back. There’s no rapping going on or rap/singing, it’s just pure R&B, guitars [[and] pianos. We’ve just been locked in for the last two months getting it done. We’re trying to drop the beginning of October, end of September.

__You’re also readying your own project. Are you rapping or singing?__
Both, but mostly rapping.

__Have you always intended to branch out as an artist?__ 
Definitely. 

__Who are some of your influences for your upcoming project?__
Rick James, even though he’s not a rapper. Old Dirty Bastard, Busta Rhymes, Mystikal, Andre 3000, Pharrell. Those are a few of the artists who inspired me to put my foot forward and actually venture out into being an artist. 

__It sounds like you’re not going with the recent trap trend but something more classic. Is that accurate?__
Yeah. Really weird, abstract and eclectic. It’s all over the place.

''[https://creativeloafing.com/ATL-Untrapped|Read Jewel Wicker’s Atlanta Untrapped column every week at www.creativeloafing.com/ATL-Untrapped.]''"
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  string(5395) " Marzeratti  2018-08-31T16:57:55+00:00 Marzeratti.jpg     The Weeknd, Future and Rae Sremmurd producer readies his own project 8616  2018-08-31T16:44:40+00:00 ATLANTA UNTRAPPED: Marzeratti steps from behind the scenes chad.radford@creativeloafing.com Chad Radford Jewel Wicker  2018-08-31T16:44:40+00:00   While not yet a household name, Marzeratti has worked behind the scenes for some of Atlanta’s most prominent artists. Now he’s branching out on his own. The Ear Drummer Records producer’s credits incldue hit songs such as Future’s “Turn on the Lights,” 2 Chainz’s “No Lie” and Kelly Rowland’s “Kisses Down Low.” Most recently, he co-produced The Weeknd’s “Try Me” from the singer’s 2018 EP My Dear Melancholy.
 

CL recently caught up with the Atlanta producer to talk about his work with artists like Rae Sremmurd early in their careers, developing new talent and the inspiration behind his upcoming project.

How did you get into producing and working with Ear Drummer?
I was producing already and I had a mutual friend P-Nasty who had met Mike WiLL Made-It and started working with him. He told Mike about me. Basically, after I had that first conversation with Mike and sent him five of what I felt was my best tracks at the time, we ended up doing a lot of stuff together.

You produced some major songs pretty early in your career, including Future’s “Turn on the Lights.” What was that like as a newcomer?
Now looking back on it it’s like, ‘Man, I really did something monumental for these guys,’ but back then it was just like, ‘Hey, I’m new at this. I’m creating. I really think these artists are dope.” I really thought Future was dope. Being the person who was a part of his biggest single at the time is just so unreal now that I think about it.

And, you worked with Rae Sremmurd early on, too.
I found them through their DJ. His cousin is P Nasty, so he was on us for the longest like, “Hey, you guys check out my boys.” Finally, we checked them out and sent them a beat. We never released it, but they did a song to it. They ended up splitting up for like a year, and when they came back, that’s when we started working on their first album.

What was it about them that stood out to you back then?
They could just rap and sing and go on for hours. Everything they were coming with was just super creative. They would change their voices. Swae Lee was doing English accents. Nobody in our generation was really doing anything like that at the time. Even Slim Jxmmi, his flows...nobody knew but he was actually a singer at the time, too. He ended up being more of a hard rapper, but those two together? Whew.

What’s been one of the standout moments of your career so far?
My favorite moment was being in New York and doing “Beach is Better” with Jay Z. We kept playing records and we came upon “Beach is Better,” and he was like, “Whoa! What’s this?” And Mike basically told him we were giving this to Big Sean but he hadn’t responded. Jay Z was like, “Alright, we’ll give him 5 business days. If he doesn’t reply, I’m going to sew it up.” That next week, the project dropped, “Beach is Better” is on there and it was trending worldwide. That moment was crazy for me.

Did y’all always intend on making “Beach is Better” a short song?
I think we’ve all talked about it being longer and maybe revisiting. I think Jay was like, “Let’s just leave it as it is.”

Who is your dream collaborator?
I’d have to say CeeLo Green. I really love CeeLo. He’s another one of my inspirations. I just met him recently. I froze up. That was one of those moments in my career I was actually starstuck and couldn’t find the words to tell him. 

Any new productions you can tease?
Me and Mike collaborated recently and we have this record coming with School Boy Q and Kendrick Lamar.

You’re also working with a new artist, NR? What can you tell us about him?
I don’t want to compare him to anybody, but I would say he’s like a black Sam Smith. Dude can really sing his ass off. We’ve just been working on this real dope project just to bring the R&B feels back. There’s no rapping going on or rap/singing, it’s just pure R&B, guitars and pianos. We’ve just been locked in for the last two months getting it done. We’re trying to drop the beginning of October, end of September.

You’re also readying your own project. Are you rapping or singing?
Both, but mostly rapping.

Have you always intended to branch out as an artist? 
Definitely. 

Who are some of your influences for your upcoming project?
Rick James, even though he’s not a rapper. Old Dirty Bastard, Busta Rhymes, Mystikal, Andre 3000, Pharrell. Those are a few of the artists who inspired me to put my foot forward and actually venture out into being an artist. 

It sounds like you’re not going with the recent trap trend but something more classic. Is that accurate?
Yeah. Really weird, abstract and eclectic. It’s all over the place.

Read Jewel Wicker’s Atlanta Untrapped column every week at www.creativeloafing.com/ATL-Untrapped.    Myles Harris TURN ON THE LIGHTS: Marzeratti worked with Future and Rae Sremmurd early in their careers.                                   ATLANTA UNTRAPPED: Marzeratti steps from behind the scenes "
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Article

Friday August 31, 2018 12:44 pm EDT
The Weeknd, Future and Rae Sremmurd producer readies his own project | more...
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  string(63) "Demo Taped spreads love and positivity through electronic music"
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  string(4260) "“Insecure,” the opening number on Momentary, the latest EP from singer/songwriter Demo Taped (born Adam Alexander), sounds as though it were conceived for an urban youth choir. The organ arrangements and lyrics such as “You claim your love is pure/You try to reassure me lately/I think I've been going crazy” wouldn’t raise an eyebrow in any black church. It’s no surprise the song was written by a preacher’s grandkid.
Alexander’s grandfather, Dr. Cameron Madison Alexander, is the longtime pastor of Antioch Baptist Church North, which was founded by eight former slaves in 1877. The church is an Atlanta landmark, one that requires a pastor with both an understanding of Christianity and charisma enough to captivate a dedicated congregation. Growing up, Demo Taped studied his grandfather’s ability to capture people’s attention. He watched his father lead a band and play bass. He led solos in the choir, a responsibility he once resisted but now considers his entry into performing live.
The 20-year-old singer is a refreshingly positive voice in electronic music, offering honest reflections on topics such as anxiety and masculinity over bouncy productions. While readying a new single and working on a new EP, Demo Taped took a few minutes to talk about how he hopes to bring attention to Atlanta’s DIY music scene, the influence of growing up in Atlanta, and where he sees himself going from here.

You grew up in a musical city in an era when Atlanta wasn’t known for gospel music. How did that influence you?

I still have a lot of friends that are rappers or rap producers, and I grew up around a lot of people who liked different stuff than me. Now I’m into hip-hop and rap, but for a while I really wasn’t. I was into Jimi Hendrix and psychedelic rock. I would get kidded because I wasn’t listening to what everyone else was listening to. At first I felt alienated, but when you’re doing your own thing, it doesn’t matter. I got into electronic music, and that’s when I found my voice.

Do you get nervous when releasing music that’s tied to personal experiences?
I was kind of afraid of that but I got over it. Now, when it comes to personal stuff I think it’s just my duty as an artist to be as open and to reach as many people as possible.

What high school did you go to?
I went to a couple different ones. I went to North Springs for my first year of high school. I did online school for a little bit, and then I went to Galloway. Galloway was my last school, and they told me to leave because they said I should be pursuing music.

__Did you pay attention or just brush it off? 







__
I’d been an all A’s student my entire school career. After I released my first project in 11th grade and saw the traction it was gaining, I was like, “OK. Time to invest fully in music.” I stopped doing high school stuff. We were allowed to have computers at Galloway, and I’d literally just have headphones on, making a new song while the teacher was talking. After a while they said maybe you should pursue music. It doesn’t happen often that an educational institution encourages you to go the creative route. That was really cool. That was like the defining moment. 

What does the rest of 2018 look like for you?
I’m working on another EP right now, and I’m really digging deep for this one. I’m doing a lot of thinking and writing. I want this to be really special. The last album was more a stream-of-consciousness project. That’s how I went about writing for it. I wrote all these things I liked and disliked and things I loved. I wrote it all out and corralled it into a project. This upcoming project, I’m thinking more ahead of it. I’m really planning it out. 

To what do you attribute your optimistic outlook?
I want to see more positivity in the world. I think it’s important for me to use whatever voice I have to spread love and good energy because that’s needed. It’s important for young black kids to see a smiling black male living a carefree life. I think it’s really important to put that out there to show it’s possible. 

Read Jewel Wicker’s Atlanta Untrapped column every week at www.creativeloafing.com/ATL-Untrapped. "
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Alexander’s grandfather, Dr. Cameron Madison Alexander, is the longtime pastor of Antioch Baptist Church North, which was founded by eight former slaves in 1877. The church is an Atlanta landmark, one that requires a pastor with both an understanding of Christianity and charisma enough to captivate a dedicated congregation. Growing up, Demo Taped studied his grandfather’s ability to capture people’s attention. He watched his father lead a band and play bass. He led solos in the choir, a responsibility he once resisted but now considers his entry into performing live.
The 20-year-old singer is a refreshingly positive voice in electronic music, offering honest reflections on topics such as anxiety and masculinity over bouncy productions. While readying a new single and working on a new EP, Demo Taped took a few minutes to talk about how he hopes to bring attention to Atlanta’s DIY music scene, the influence of growing up in Atlanta, and where he sees himself going from here.

__You grew up in a musical city in an era when Atlanta wasn’t known for gospel music. How did that influence you?__

I still have a lot of friends that are rappers or rap producers, and I grew up around a lot of people who liked different stuff than me. Now I’m into hip-hop and rap, but for a while I really wasn’t. I was into Jimi Hendrix and psychedelic rock. I would get kidded because I wasn’t listening to what everyone else was listening to. At first I felt alienated, but when you’re doing your own thing, it doesn’t matter. I got into electronic music, and that’s when I found my voice.

__Do you get nervous when releasing music that’s tied to personal experiences?__
I was kind of afraid of that but I got over it. Now, when it comes to personal stuff I think it’s just my duty as an artist to be as open and to reach as many people as possible.

__What high school did you go to?__
I went to a couple different ones. I went to North Springs for my first year of high school. I did online school for a little bit, and then I went to Galloway. Galloway was my last school, and they told me to leave because they said I should be pursuing music.

__Did you pay attention or just brush it off? 
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__
__I’d been an all A’s student my entire school career. After I released my first project in 11th grade and saw the traction it was gaining, I was like, “OK. Time to invest fully in music.” I stopped doing high school stuff. We were allowed to have computers at Galloway, and I’d literally just have headphones on, making a new song while the teacher was talking. After a while they said maybe you should pursue music. It doesn’t happen often that an educational institution encourages you to go the creative route. That was really cool. That was like the defining moment. __

What does the rest of 2018 look like for you?
__I’m working on another EP right now, and I’m really digging deep for this one. I’m doing a lot of thinking and writing. I want this to be really special. The last album was more a stream-of-consciousness project. That’s how I went about writing for it. I wrote all these things I liked and disliked and things I loved. I wrote it all out and corralled it into a project. This upcoming project, I’m thinking more ahead of it. I’m really planning it out. __

To what do you attribute your optimistic outlook?
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__''[https://creativeloafing.com/ATL-Untrapped|Read Jewel Wicker’s Atlanta Untrapped column every week at www.creativeloafing.com/ATL-Untrapped.]'' __"
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  string(4806) " 1200px Demo Taped  2018-08-16T20:36:42+00:00 1200px-Demo_Taped.jpg     Demo Taped spreads love and positivity through electronic music 8247  2018-08-20T05:00:00+00:00 ATLANTA UNTRAPPED: There’s more to Atlanta music than trap chad.radford@creativeloafing.com Chad Radford Jewel Wicker  2018-08-20T05:00:00+00:00  “Insecure,” the opening number on Momentary, the latest EP from singer/songwriter Demo Taped (born Adam Alexander), sounds as though it were conceived for an urban youth choir. The organ arrangements and lyrics such as “You claim your love is pure/You try to reassure me lately/I think I've been going crazy” wouldn’t raise an eyebrow in any black church. It’s no surprise the song was written by a preacher’s grandkid.
Alexander’s grandfather, Dr. Cameron Madison Alexander, is the longtime pastor of Antioch Baptist Church North, which was founded by eight former slaves in 1877. The church is an Atlanta landmark, one that requires a pastor with both an understanding of Christianity and charisma enough to captivate a dedicated congregation. Growing up, Demo Taped studied his grandfather’s ability to capture people’s attention. He watched his father lead a band and play bass. He led solos in the choir, a responsibility he once resisted but now considers his entry into performing live.
The 20-year-old singer is a refreshingly positive voice in electronic music, offering honest reflections on topics such as anxiety and masculinity over bouncy productions. While readying a new single and working on a new EP, Demo Taped took a few minutes to talk about how he hopes to bring attention to Atlanta’s DIY music scene, the influence of growing up in Atlanta, and where he sees himself going from here.

You grew up in a musical city in an era when Atlanta wasn’t known for gospel music. How did that influence you?

I still have a lot of friends that are rappers or rap producers, and I grew up around a lot of people who liked different stuff than me. Now I’m into hip-hop and rap, but for a while I really wasn’t. I was into Jimi Hendrix and psychedelic rock. I would get kidded because I wasn’t listening to what everyone else was listening to. At first I felt alienated, but when you’re doing your own thing, it doesn’t matter. I got into electronic music, and that’s when I found my voice.

Do you get nervous when releasing music that’s tied to personal experiences?
I was kind of afraid of that but I got over it. Now, when it comes to personal stuff I think it’s just my duty as an artist to be as open and to reach as many people as possible.

What high school did you go to?
I went to a couple different ones. I went to North Springs for my first year of high school. I did online school for a little bit, and then I went to Galloway. Galloway was my last school, and they told me to leave because they said I should be pursuing music.

__Did you pay attention or just brush it off? 







__
I’d been an all A’s student my entire school career. After I released my first project in 11th grade and saw the traction it was gaining, I was like, “OK. Time to invest fully in music.” I stopped doing high school stuff. We were allowed to have computers at Galloway, and I’d literally just have headphones on, making a new song while the teacher was talking. After a while they said maybe you should pursue music. It doesn’t happen often that an educational institution encourages you to go the creative route. That was really cool. That was like the defining moment. 

What does the rest of 2018 look like for you?
I’m working on another EP right now, and I’m really digging deep for this one. I’m doing a lot of thinking and writing. I want this to be really special. The last album was more a stream-of-consciousness project. That’s how I went about writing for it. I wrote all these things I liked and disliked and things I loved. I wrote it all out and corralled it into a project. This upcoming project, I’m thinking more ahead of it. I’m really planning it out. 

To what do you attribute your optimistic outlook?
I want to see more positivity in the world. I think it’s important for me to use whatever voice I have to spread love and good energy because that’s needed. It’s important for young black kids to see a smiling black male living a carefree life. I think it’s really important to put that out there to show it’s possible. 

Read Jewel Wicker’s Atlanta Untrapped column every week at www.creativeloafing.com/ATL-Untrapped.     Savana Ogburn CHURCH CHAT: Demo Taped learned to be comfortable in front of crowds while performing at his grandfather’s church.                                   ATLANTA UNTRAPPED: There’s more to Atlanta music than trap "
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Article

Monday August 20, 2018 01:00 am EDT
Demo Taped spreads love and positivity through electronic music | more...
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  ["title"]=>
  string(57) "ATLANTA UNTRAPPED: Janelle Monáe’s Dirty Computer Tour"
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  string(100) "The Atlanta provocateur wielded her most defiant act yet by creating a world where everyone belongs"
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  string(100) "The Atlanta provocateur wielded her most defiant act yet by creating a world where everyone belongs"
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  string(3438) "Back in May, when David Byrne listed off the names of black victims of police brutality and racial injustice at the Shaky Knees Festival, I stopped in my tracks. It was the end of his set and I was walking away from the stage, along with the rest of the crowd. Byrne’s cover of Janelle Monáe and Wondaland’s “Hell You Talmbout” made me emotional because I didn’t expect to hear it in that setting. It’s comforting to hear black artists speak out about racial issues, but when white artists do it, it feels like they’re taking away some of the burden and spreading the message to people who look like them in a way that black people sometimes cannot and, frankly, do not always feel an obligation to do so.  

Although Monáe didn’t perform this protest song when I saw her at the Tabernacle on Aug. 4, a few months later, I still felt like I was at a political rally, surrounded by people fighting for equality, and celebrating their differences. Monáe’s music has always been rooted in social and political criticism, but The Dirty Computer Tour is her most defiant act yet. 

Monáe brought an energetic presence to the stage for two sold-out shows at the Tabernacle Aug. 3-4. If lyrics such as, “We gone start a motherfucking pussy riot or we gone have to put them on a pussy diet” felt like an empty threat on her latest album, hearing the Tabernacle full of people screaming the words back certainly heightened the impact. Monáe’s political raps were the highlights of the show. During “Django Jane,” her dancers brought out the throne from the music video and a black panther was projected onto a giant screen. After a performance of Dirty Computer’s standout number “Screwed,” she led the crowd in a chant of “Say it out / I’m dirty, I’m proud” to the tune of James Brown’s 1968 black pride anthem “Say It Loud – I'm Black and I'm Proud.” During the outro of “American,” Monáe’s dancers knelt to statements from the song such as, “Until black people can come home from a police stop without being shot in the head, this is not my America.” 

Even Monáe’s 2013 single “Primetime” was an ode to loving freely and openly, no matter your sexual orientation.

Monáe has always been a voice for the voiceless. Although her single “Cold War” was released in 2010, her performance of the emotionally-charged song was a highlight of the show. “I’m trying to find my peace/ I was made to believe there’s something wrong with me,” she sang, somehow creating an intimate feeling in a venue that can hold more than 2,500 people. 

Towards the end of her set, during a performance of “I Got the Juice,” Monáe called a diverse group of fans up onto the stage to dance. Kids and adults of various backgrounds doing viral dances such as the Shoot dance or just twisting their hips back and forth were surrounded by Monáe’s band and dancers. At the end of the performance, Monae ushered a young man in a wheelchair to the middle of the stage, welcoming him to do whatever dance made him happiest. As the crowd cheered him on, he moved his arms from side to side before lifting the front of his wheelchair in the air. 

In this moment, during this extended dance break, it felt like we just might live in a world where everyone is free. 

Read Jewel Wicker’s Atlanta Untrapped column every week at www.creativeloafing.com/ATL-Untrapped."
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  string(3494) "Back in May, when David Byrne listed off the names of black victims of police brutality and racial injustice at the Shaky Knees Festival, I stopped in my tracks. It was the end of his set and I was walking away from the stage, along with the rest of the crowd. Byrne’s cover of Janelle Monáe and Wondaland’s “Hell You Talmbout” made me emotional because I didn’t expect to hear it in that setting. It’s comforting to hear black artists speak out about racial issues, but when white artists do it, it feels like they’re taking away some of the burden and spreading the message to people who look like them in a way that black people sometimes cannot and, frankly, do not always feel an obligation to do so.  

Although Monáe didn’t perform this protest song when I saw her at the Tabernacle on Aug. 4, a few months later, I still felt like I was at a political rally, surrounded by people fighting for equality, and celebrating their differences. Monáe’s music has always been rooted in social and political criticism, but The ''Dirty Computer'' Tour is her most defiant act yet. 

Monáe brought an energetic presence to the stage for two sold-out shows at the Tabernacle Aug. 3-4. If lyrics such as, “We gone start a motherfucking pussy riot or we gone have to put them on a pussy diet” felt like an empty threat on her latest album, hearing the Tabernacle full of people screaming the words back certainly heightened the impact. Monáe’s political raps were the highlights of the show. During “Django Jane,” her dancers brought out the throne from the music video and a black panther was projected onto a giant screen. After a performance of ''Dirty Computer''’s standout number “Screwed,” she led the crowd in a chant of “Say it out / I’m dirty, I’m proud” to the tune of James Brown’s 1968 black pride anthem “Say It Loud – I'm Black and I'm Proud.” During the outro of “American,” Monáe’s dancers knelt to statements from the song such as, “Until black people can come home from a police stop without being shot in the head, this is not my America.” 

Even Monáe’s 2013 single “Primetime” was an ode to loving freely and openly, no matter your sexual orientation.

Monáe has always been a voice for the voiceless. Although her single “Cold War” was released in 2010, her performance of the emotionally-charged song was a highlight of the show. “I’m trying to find my peace/ I was made to believe there’s something wrong with me,” she sang, somehow creating an intimate feeling in a venue that can hold more than 2,500 people. 

Towards the end of her set, during a performance of “I Got the Juice,” Monáe called a diverse group of fans up onto the stage to dance. Kids and adults of various backgrounds doing viral dances such as the Shoot dance or just twisting their hips back and forth were surrounded by Monáe’s band and dancers. At the end of the performance, Monae ushered a young man in a wheelchair to the middle of the stage, welcoming him to do whatever dance made him happiest. As the crowd cheered him on, he moved his arms from side to side before lifting the front of his wheelchair in the air. 

In this moment, during this extended dance break, it felt like we just might live in a world where everyone is free. 

''[https://creativeloafing.com/ATL-Untrapped|Read Jewel Wicker’s Atlanta Untrapped column every week at www.creativeloafing.com/ATL-Untrapped.]''"
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  string(4039) " Janelle Monae Press Photo 1 JUCO  2018-08-13T14:11:48+00:00 Janelle-Monae-Press-Photo-1-JUCO.jpg     The Atlanta provocateur wielded her most defiant act yet by creating a world where everyone belongs 8111  2018-08-13T14:01:48+00:00 ATLANTA UNTRAPPED: Janelle Monáe’s Dirty Computer Tour chad.radford@creativeloafing.com Chad Radford Jewel Wicker  2018-08-13T14:01:48+00:00  Back in May, when David Byrne listed off the names of black victims of police brutality and racial injustice at the Shaky Knees Festival, I stopped in my tracks. It was the end of his set and I was walking away from the stage, along with the rest of the crowd. Byrne’s cover of Janelle Monáe and Wondaland’s “Hell You Talmbout” made me emotional because I didn’t expect to hear it in that setting. It’s comforting to hear black artists speak out about racial issues, but when white artists do it, it feels like they’re taking away some of the burden and spreading the message to people who look like them in a way that black people sometimes cannot and, frankly, do not always feel an obligation to do so.  

Although Monáe didn’t perform this protest song when I saw her at the Tabernacle on Aug. 4, a few months later, I still felt like I was at a political rally, surrounded by people fighting for equality, and celebrating their differences. Monáe’s music has always been rooted in social and political criticism, but The Dirty Computer Tour is her most defiant act yet. 

Monáe brought an energetic presence to the stage for two sold-out shows at the Tabernacle Aug. 3-4. If lyrics such as, “We gone start a motherfucking pussy riot or we gone have to put them on a pussy diet” felt like an empty threat on her latest album, hearing the Tabernacle full of people screaming the words back certainly heightened the impact. Monáe’s political raps were the highlights of the show. During “Django Jane,” her dancers brought out the throne from the music video and a black panther was projected onto a giant screen. After a performance of Dirty Computer’s standout number “Screwed,” she led the crowd in a chant of “Say it out / I’m dirty, I’m proud” to the tune of James Brown’s 1968 black pride anthem “Say It Loud – I'm Black and I'm Proud.” During the outro of “American,” Monáe’s dancers knelt to statements from the song such as, “Until black people can come home from a police stop without being shot in the head, this is not my America.” 

Even Monáe’s 2013 single “Primetime” was an ode to loving freely and openly, no matter your sexual orientation.

Monáe has always been a voice for the voiceless. Although her single “Cold War” was released in 2010, her performance of the emotionally-charged song was a highlight of the show. “I’m trying to find my peace/ I was made to believe there’s something wrong with me,” she sang, somehow creating an intimate feeling in a venue that can hold more than 2,500 people. 

Towards the end of her set, during a performance of “I Got the Juice,” Monáe called a diverse group of fans up onto the stage to dance. Kids and adults of various backgrounds doing viral dances such as the Shoot dance or just twisting their hips back and forth were surrounded by Monáe’s band and dancers. At the end of the performance, Monae ushered a young man in a wheelchair to the middle of the stage, welcoming him to do whatever dance made him happiest. As the crowd cheered him on, he moved his arms from side to side before lifting the front of his wheelchair in the air. 

In this moment, during this extended dance break, it felt like we just might live in a world where everyone is free. 

Read Jewel Wicker’s Atlanta Untrapped column every week at www.creativeloafing.com/ATL-Untrapped.    Courtesy Atlantic Records DIRTY POLITICS: Janelle Monáe’s music has always been rooted in social and political criticism.                                   ATLANTA UNTRAPPED: Janelle Monáe’s Dirty Computer Tour "
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Monday August 13, 2018 10:01 am EDT
The Atlanta provocateur wielded her most defiant act yet by creating a world where everyone belongs | more...
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  string(69) "ATLANTA UNTRAPPED: Only J.I.D can talk me into watching an ASMR video"
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  string(86) "The ‘Never’ rapper whispers, eats wings, and squeezes grapes in ‘Mind Massage’"
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  string(2864) "Few things make me feel out of touch like watching a child search  YouTube for content. I adore kids. I don’t have any of my own and don’t plan to have any for the foreseeable future, but sometimes I watch the kids of family friends. This is usually how I find out about the latest viral trend, such as ASMR, or autonomous sensory meridian response videos.

“It’s strangely satisfying,” a nine-year-old girl told me after opting to watch ASMR videos on her iPad instead of watching TV. I didn’t get it. The videos, which garner millions of views despite being fairly simplistic, show people doing things I typically find irritating: whispering, flipping through books, chewing. Apparently, some people … Well, a lot of people, find these sounds pleasurable. 

Now, there’s a whole subgenre of the movement where celebrities get in on the fun. 

Atlanta rapper J.I.D recently filmed an ASMR video for Fuse, and it’s just as bizarre as the others. It’s also pretty hilarious, and it showcases the rapper’s personality and reveals interesting details about his life. Gems await if you can get past the awkward whispering.



The rapper, who recently secured a spot on the 2018 XXL Freshman List and was praised for his potential “G.O.A.T.” status by his Dreamville boss J.Cole, revealed plans to release his highly anticipated mixtape “soon.” The rapper has been garnering praise from his peers, too, including rapper Denzel Curry who said J.I.D inspired him to rewrite his "SIRENS | Z1RENZ" verse.



Named after the famous actor Leonardo Dicaprio, J.I.D promises the forthcoming mixtape Dicaprio 2 will be like a movie. If it’s anything like 2017’s The Never Story, it will certainly help cement the East Atlanta rapper as one of the most promising hip-hop artists to come from this city in recent years. 

Elsewhere in the video, J.I.D shares his perspective on growing up in Atlanta. He whispers about how growing up in a city such as Atlanta and going to a historically black college kept him sheltered from the fact that most of the world is not majority black. He also plays with a stack of one dollar bills, a nod to the city’s strip clubs. Then, eating a box of wings from Atlanta chain J.R. Crickets, the Dreamville rapper says he doesn’t know the name of “flats” but he knows for sure they’re superior to drums. 

“I’m just messing up this chicken, it’s kind of disrespectful,” J.I.D says as he tears off pieces of chicken before chewing directly into the microphone. 

J.I.D knows a thing or two about wings, and he’s showcasing another side of the Atlanta rap scene, which has been known for trap in recent years. Those two things are more than enough to make me a fan.

Read Jewel Wicker’s Atlanta Untrapped column every week at www.creativeloafing.com/ATL-Untrapped.''"
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“It’s strangely satisfying,” a nine-year-old girl told me after opting to watch ASMR videos on her iPad instead of watching TV. I didn’t get it. The videos, which garner millions of views despite being fairly simplistic, show people doing things I typically find irritating: whispering, flipping through books, chewing. Apparently, some people … Well, a lot of people, find these sounds pleasurable. 

Now, there’s a whole subgenre of the movement where celebrities get in on the fun. 

Atlanta rapper J.I.D recently filmed an ASMR video for [https://fuse.tv/|Fuse], and it’s just as bizarre as the others. It’s also pretty hilarious, and it showcases the rapper’s personality and reveals interesting details about his life. Gems await if you can get past the awkward whispering.

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The rapper, who recently secured a spot on the 2018 XXL Freshman List and was praised for his potential “G.O.A.T.” status by his Dreamville boss J.Cole, revealed plans to release his highly anticipated mixtape “soon.” The rapper has been garnering praise from his peers, too, including rapper Denzel Curry who said J.I.D inspired him to rewrite his "SIRENS | Z1RENZ" verse.

{youtube movie="8TCrqTL5STg" width="640" height="395" quality="high" allowFullScreen="y"}

Named after the famous actor Leonardo Dicaprio, J.I.D promises the forthcoming mixtape ''Dicaprio 2'' will be like a movie. If it’s anything like 2017’s ''[https://soundcloud.com/jidsv/sets/the-never-story|The Never Story]'', it will certainly help cement the East Atlanta rapper as one of the most promising hip-hop artists to come from this city in recent years. 

Elsewhere in the video, J.I.D shares his perspective on growing up in Atlanta. He whispers about how growing up in a city such as Atlanta and going to a historically black college kept him sheltered from the fact that most of the world is not majority black. He also plays with a stack of one dollar bills, a nod to the city’s strip clubs. Then, eating a box of wings from Atlanta chain J.R. Crickets, the Dreamville rapper says he doesn’t know the name of “flats” but he knows for sure they’re superior to drums. 

“I’m just messing up this chicken, it’s kind of disrespectful,” J.I.D says as he tears off pieces of chicken before chewing directly into the microphone. 

J.I.D knows a thing or two about wings, and he’s showcasing another side of the Atlanta rap scene, which has been known for trap in recent years. Those two things are more than enough to make me a fan.

''Read Jewel Wicker’s Atlanta Untrapped column every week at www.creativeloafing.com/ATL-Untrapped.''"
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  string(3690) " JID 1200  2018-08-17T19:54:11+00:00 JID_1200.jpg     The ‘Never’ rapper whispers, eats wings, and squeezes grapes in ‘Mind Massage’ 8260  2018-08-09T11:00:00+00:00 ATLANTA UNTRAPPED: Only J.I.D can talk me into watching an ASMR video chad.radford@creativeloafing.com Chad Radford Jewel Wicker  2018-08-09T11:00:00+00:00 Only @JIDsv can talk me into watching an ASMR video: The ‘Never’ rapper whispers, eats wings, and squeezes grapes in ‘Mind Massage’ https://creativeloafing.com/content-411287-ATLANTA-UNTRAPPED-Only-J-I-D-can-talk-me-into-watching-an-ASMR-video Few things make me feel out of touch like watching a child search  YouTube for content. I adore kids. I don’t have any of my own and don’t plan to have any for the foreseeable future, but sometimes I watch the kids of family friends. This is usually how I find out about the latest viral trend, such as ASMR, or autonomous sensory meridian response videos.

“It’s strangely satisfying,” a nine-year-old girl told me after opting to watch ASMR videos on her iPad instead of watching TV. I didn’t get it. The videos, which garner millions of views despite being fairly simplistic, show people doing things I typically find irritating: whispering, flipping through books, chewing. Apparently, some people … Well, a lot of people, find these sounds pleasurable. 

Now, there’s a whole subgenre of the movement where celebrities get in on the fun. 

Atlanta rapper J.I.D recently filmed an ASMR video for Fuse, and it’s just as bizarre as the others. It’s also pretty hilarious, and it showcases the rapper’s personality and reveals interesting details about his life. Gems await if you can get past the awkward whispering.



The rapper, who recently secured a spot on the 2018 XXL Freshman List and was praised for his potential “G.O.A.T.” status by his Dreamville boss J.Cole, revealed plans to release his highly anticipated mixtape “soon.” The rapper has been garnering praise from his peers, too, including rapper Denzel Curry who said J.I.D inspired him to rewrite his "SIRENS | Z1RENZ" verse.



Named after the famous actor Leonardo Dicaprio, J.I.D promises the forthcoming mixtape Dicaprio 2 will be like a movie. If it’s anything like 2017’s The Never Story, it will certainly help cement the East Atlanta rapper as one of the most promising hip-hop artists to come from this city in recent years. 

Elsewhere in the video, J.I.D shares his perspective on growing up in Atlanta. He whispers about how growing up in a city such as Atlanta and going to a historically black college kept him sheltered from the fact that most of the world is not majority black. He also plays with a stack of one dollar bills, a nod to the city’s strip clubs. Then, eating a box of wings from Atlanta chain J.R. Crickets, the Dreamville rapper says he doesn’t know the name of “flats” but he knows for sure they’re superior to drums. 

“I’m just messing up this chicken, it’s kind of disrespectful,” J.I.D says as he tears off pieces of chicken before chewing directly into the microphone. 

J.I.D knows a thing or two about wings, and he’s showcasing another side of the Atlanta rap scene, which has been known for trap in recent years. Those two things are more than enough to make me a fan.

Read Jewel Wicker’s Atlanta Untrapped column every week at www.creativeloafing.com/ATL-Untrapped.''    Courtesy the Lippin Group VIRAL SENSATION: J.I.D's 'Mind Massage' brings the world of strange fetish videos to Atlanta trap and hip-hop.                                   ATLANTA UNTRAPPED: Only J.I.D can talk me into watching an ASMR video "
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Thursday August 9, 2018 07:00 am EDT
The ‘Never’ rapper whispers, eats wings, and squeezes grapes in ‘Mind Massage’ | more...

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In May, Key! and Kenny Beats released a joint album, titled 777. Although it hasn’t received the same hype as other recent hip-hop collabs such as Quavo and Travis Scott’s Huncho Jack, Jack Huncho and Big Sean and Metro Boomin’s Double or Nothing, it’s the soundtrack to my summer — easily my favorite hip-hop album of 2018.

The Atlanta rapper, Key!, and the Los Angeles-based producer, Kenny Beats, say they’ve recorded at least 60 songs together, 15 of which makeup 777. From beginning to end, never once does a song go on for more than three minutes, and that’s OK. The short song lengths stand as testament to Key! and Kenny Beats’ shared ability to edit their production and rhymes to the core, drawing out the essential parts to deliver only what’s absolutely necessary for the song — no filler needed.

In a recent interview with XXL, the pair talked about working together on the project. Key!, a founding member of Atlanta rap collective Two-9 who was previously known as FatManKey, opened up about his ability to create songs dealing with more serious topics, such as 777’s “It Gets Better,” while still making fun music.

“I'm an adult now, so I got a real responsibility,” Key! told XXL. “When I was young and everything was more party-based, you don't be wanting to tell everybody about what's going on with you. I was just getting more open because I'm getting older and I know how to express myself now. Finding ways to express the shit I wouldn't usually express.” 

In the same story, Kenny Beats went on to say that “It Gets Better” came from: “two hours of us sitting there, both sad as hell about shit we have going on in our respective lives — with our families, with money, with whatever — and we're sitting there, mad.” 

The album’s highlights, such as the deceptively upbeat “Love On Ice,” a song about a tumultuous relationship, follow the introspective “It Gets Better.” “Kristi Yamaguchi, your love got me goofy,” Key! raps over over synths before diving into “Dig It,” an ominous ode to a time when Key! was committing home invasions while his peers were busy watching “Run’s House,” the MTV reality show that followed the lives of Run D.M.C’s Rev Run and his family, including his son Diggy. 

Braggadocious cut “Hater” stands out with Key!’s brash lyrics, the booming bass that necessitates involuntary head nodding, and the simple but effective hook, “you my biggest hater.” 

777 arrives on a long list of new releases from Atlanta rappers in recent months. Young Bans, Lil Reek, and Lil Baby all released solid projects that proved they’re artists worth watching, and Future returned with the Zaytoven-assisted Beast Mode 2. However, my favorite thing about Key!’s project is its unassuming nature. The album is vulnerable. It’s fun. It’s uninterested in fitting squarely into any current rap conventions, even if that means falling short of the viral or chart success of their peers.

Play 777 for anyone and I promise it’ll go just as hard as the aforementioned projects. It’s the perfect companion to the remaining summer nights and all of the uncertainty the season might bring. 

Read Jewel Wicker’s Atlanta Untrapped column every week at www.creativeloafing.com/ATL-Untrapped."
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~~#000000:In May, Key! and Kenny Beats released a joint album, titled ''777''. Although it hasn’t received the same hype as other recent hip-hop collabs such as Quavo and Travis Scott’s ''Huncho Jack, Jack Huncho'' and Big Sean and Metro Boomin’s ''Double or Nothing'', it’s the soundtrack to my summer — easily my favorite hip-hop album of 2018.~~

~~#000000:The Atlanta rapper, Key!, and the Los Angeles-based producer, Kenny Beats, say they’ve recorded at least 60 songs together, 15 of which makeup ''777.'' From beginning to end, never once does a song go on for more than three minutes, and that’s OK. The short song lengths stand as testament to Key! and Kenny Beats’ shared ability to edit their production and rhymes to the core, drawing out the essential parts to deliver only what’s absolutely necessary for the song — no filler needed.~~

~~#000000:In a recent interview with ''XXL'', the pair talked about working together on the project. Key!, a founding member of Atlanta rap collective Two-9 who was previously known as FatManKey, opened up about his ability to create songs dealing with more serious topics, such as ''777''’s “It Gets Better,” while still making fun music.~~

~~#000000:“I'm an adult now, so I got a real responsibility,” Key! told ''XXL''. “When I was young and everything was more party-based, you don't be wanting to tell everybody about what's going on with you. I was just getting more open because I'm getting older and I know how to express myself now. Finding ways to express the shit I wouldn't usually express.” ~~

~~#000000:In the same story, Kenny Beats went on to say that “It Gets Better” came from: “two hours of us sitting there, both sad as hell about shit we have going on in our respective lives — with our families, with money, with whatever — and we're sitting there, mad.” ~~

~~#000000:The album’s highlights, such as the deceptively upbeat “Love On Ice,” a song about a tumultuous relationship, follow the introspective “It Gets Better.” “Kristi Yamaguchi, your love got me goofy,” Key! raps over over synths before diving into “Dig It,” an ominous ode to a time when Key! was committing home invasions while his peers were busy watching “Run’s House,” the MTV reality show that followed the lives of Run D.M.C’s Rev Run and his family, including his son Diggy. ~~

~~#000000:Braggadocious cut “Hater” stands out with Key!’s brash lyrics, the booming bass that necessitates involuntary head nodding, and the simple but effective hook, “you my biggest hater.” ~~

~~#000000:''777'' arrives on a long list of new releases from Atlanta rappers in recent months. Young Bans, Lil Reek, and Lil Baby all released solid projects that proved they’re artists worth watching, and Future returned with the Zaytoven-assisted ''Beast Mode 2''. However, my favorite thing about Key!’s project is its unassuming nature. The album is vulnerable. It’s fun. It’s uninterested in fitting squarely into any current rap conventions, even if that means falling short of the viral or chart success of their peers.~~

~~#000000:Play ''777'' for anyone and I promise it’ll go just as hard as the aforementioned projects. It’s the perfect companion to the remaining summer nights and all of the uncertainty the season might bring. ~~

~~#000000:''[https://creativeloafing.com/ATL-Untrapped|Read Jewel Wicker’s Atlanta Untrapped column every week at www.creativeloafing.com/ATL-Untrapped.]''~~"
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In May, Key! and Kenny Beats released a joint album, titled 777. Although it hasn’t received the same hype as other recent hip-hop collabs such as Quavo and Travis Scott’s Huncho Jack, Jack Huncho and Big Sean and Metro Boomin’s Double or Nothing, it’s the soundtrack to my summer — easily my favorite hip-hop album of 2018.

The Atlanta rapper, Key!, and the Los Angeles-based producer, Kenny Beats, say they’ve recorded at least 60 songs together, 15 of which makeup 777. From beginning to end, never once does a song go on for more than three minutes, and that’s OK. The short song lengths stand as testament to Key! and Kenny Beats’ shared ability to edit their production and rhymes to the core, drawing out the essential parts to deliver only what’s absolutely necessary for the song — no filler needed.

In a recent interview with XXL, the pair talked about working together on the project. Key!, a founding member of Atlanta rap collective Two-9 who was previously known as FatManKey, opened up about his ability to create songs dealing with more serious topics, such as 777’s “It Gets Better,” while still making fun music.

“I'm an adult now, so I got a real responsibility,” Key! told XXL. “When I was young and everything was more party-based, you don't be wanting to tell everybody about what's going on with you. I was just getting more open because I'm getting older and I know how to express myself now. Finding ways to express the shit I wouldn't usually express.” 

In the same story, Kenny Beats went on to say that “It Gets Better” came from: “two hours of us sitting there, both sad as hell about shit we have going on in our respective lives — with our families, with money, with whatever — and we're sitting there, mad.” 

The album’s highlights, such as the deceptively upbeat “Love On Ice,” a song about a tumultuous relationship, follow the introspective “It Gets Better.” “Kristi Yamaguchi, your love got me goofy,” Key! raps over over synths before diving into “Dig It,” an ominous ode to a time when Key! was committing home invasions while his peers were busy watching “Run’s House,” the MTV reality show that followed the lives of Run D.M.C’s Rev Run and his family, including his son Diggy. 

Braggadocious cut “Hater” stands out with Key!’s brash lyrics, the booming bass that necessitates involuntary head nodding, and the simple but effective hook, “you my biggest hater.” 

777 arrives on a long list of new releases from Atlanta rappers in recent months. Young Bans, Lil Reek, and Lil Baby all released solid projects that proved they’re artists worth watching, and Future returned with the Zaytoven-assisted Beast Mode 2. However, my favorite thing about Key!’s project is its unassuming nature. The album is vulnerable. It’s fun. It’s uninterested in fitting squarely into any current rap conventions, even if that means falling short of the viral or chart success of their peers.

Play 777 for anyone and I promise it’ll go just as hard as the aforementioned projects. It’s the perfect companion to the remaining summer nights and all of the uncertainty the season might bring. 

Read Jewel Wicker’s Atlanta Untrapped column every week at www.creativeloafing.com/ATL-Untrapped.    Courtesy Hello!/D.O.T.S. HEAVENLY DAZE: The Atlanta rapper, Key!, and the Los Angeles-based producer, Kenny Beats looked deep within themselves to create '777.'                                   ATLANTA UNTRAPPED: Why ‘777’ is the hit of the summer "
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Monday July 30, 2018 09:41 am EDT
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Caleb’s demeanor shouldn’t be mistaken for lack of interest. When I met the Baton Rouge native before the listening session began he was quite excited and humbled by the turnout. The self-titled EP, he says, serves as a “rebranding” of sorts. Caleb’s reticence comes from having confidence in his place as an artist. The weed he smokes while listeners nod along to his rhymes helps, too.

“I know enough to know I don’t know too much,” the rapper offered at the beginning of the listening session. Still, he says Brown features his stories. A collaboration with Atlanta-based producer Sonny Digital, the EP begins with the lead single and standout track “Die a Legend.” “I cannot relate to your Range Rover. Nigga, I’m still in a Camry,” Caleb raps over a woozy bassline and rattling hi-hats. This type of candor is commonplace in the rapper’s songs, as fans familiar with his work can attest. 

On the lyrics website Genius, Brown says he wrote 2016’s “W$GT$” to uplift people in Baton Rouge after the police shooting resulting in the death of Alton Sterling. “I wrote this song while I was still working my job at Raising Cane’s making $7.75 an hour,” he said online. “I wrote the song on my off day, and as soon as I got paid, I took most of the money and went half with one of my homies to pay for a studio session and bought the beat exclusively from CMPLX.”

Caleb teams up with Spacejam Bo, the Alabama rapper signed to LVRN, for “Mobb,” a sinister cut with one of the project’s catchiest hooks — “Put all the cash in the bag” — before delivering a song for the strip clubs (“When that ass stops then the cash stops”). On “American Bulldog” he rejects conventional (and healthier) means of healing, opting instead for convenience.  “I’m cool on the therapy, give me ounces of brown,” he raps. “The Hennessy's great, but I’m OK with the Crown Royal.” 

Older fans of the rapper will likely enjoy Brown, and so will listeners experiencing him for the first time. Sonny Digital wasn’t in attendance at the listening party because, according to Caleb, he was working on a major project, but his production definitely elevates Caleb’s sound and, gives him legitimacy as he moves through the Atlanta rap scene. The producer hasn’t had a hit as big as Future’s “Same Damn Time,” Y.C.’s “Racks” or ILoveMakonnen’s “Tuesday” in a few years, but it would certainly be a mistake to count him out.  

Brown is an enjoyable EP from an artist who is still exploring his identity. His perspective and vulnerability about his experiences growing up, including the injustices surrounding him, are the most alluring aspects of his music.

Read Jewel Wicker’s Atlanta Untrapped column every week at www.creativeloafing.com/ATL-Untrapped."
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~~#000000:Caleb’s demeanor shouldn’t be mistaken for lack of interest. When I met the Baton Rouge native before the listening session began he was quite excited and humbled by the turnout. The self-titled EP, he says, serves as a “rebranding” of sorts. Caleb’s reticence comes from having confidence in his place as an artist. The weed he smokes while listeners nod along to his rhymes helps, too.~~

~~#000000:“I know enough to know I don’t know too much,” the rapper offered at the beginning of the listening session. Still, he says ''Brown'' features ''his'' stories. A collaboration with Atlanta-based producer Sonny Digital, the EP begins with the lead single and standout track “Die a Legend.” “I cannot relate to your ~~[[Range]~~#000000: Rover. Nigga, I’m still in a Camry,” Caleb raps over a woozy bassline and rattling hi-hats. This type of candor is commonplace in the rapper’s songs, as fans familiar with his work can attest. ~~

~~#000000:On the lyrics website Genius, Brown says he wrote 2016’s “W$GT$” to uplift people in Baton Rouge after the police shooting resulting in the death of Alton Sterling. “I wrote this song while ~~[[I]~~#000000: was still working my job at Raising Cane’s making $7.75 an hour,” he said online. “I wrote the song on my off day, and as soon as I got paid, I took most of the money and went half with one of my homies to pay for a studio session and bought the beat exclusively from CMPLX.”~~

~~#000000:Caleb teams up with Spacejam Bo, the Alabama rapper signed to LVRN, for “Mobb,” a sinister cut with one of the project’s catchiest hooks — “Put all the cash in the bag” — before delivering a song for the strip clubs (“When that ass stops then the cash stops”). On “American Bulldog” he rejects conventional (and healthier) means of healing, opting instead for convenience.  “I’m cool on the therapy, give me ounces of brown,” he raps. “The Hennessy's great, but I’m OK with the Crown ~~[[Royal]~~#000000:.” ~~

~~#000000:Older fans of the rapper will likely enjoy ''Brown,'' and so will listeners experiencing him for the first time. Sonny Digital wasn’t in attendance at the listening party because, according to Caleb, he was working on a major project, but his production definitely elevates Caleb’s sound and, gives him legitimacy as he moves through the Atlanta rap scene. The producer hasn’t had a hit as big as Future’s “Same Damn Time,” Y.C.’s “Racks” or ILoveMakonnen’s “Tuesday” in a few years, but it would certainly be a mistake to count him out.  ~~

~~#000000:''Brown'' is an enjoyable EP from an artist who is still exploring his identity. His perspective and vulnerability about his experiences growing up, including the injustices surrounding him, are the most alluring aspects of his music.~~

~~#000000:''[https://creativeloafing.com/ATL-Untrapped|Read Jewel Wicker’s Atlanta Untrapped column every week at www.creativeloafing.com/ATL-Untrapped.]''~~"
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  string(3776) " 180524 CalebBrown Die A Legend 01  2018-07-23T19:21:52+00:00 180524-CalebBrown-die-a-legend_01.jpeg     The Atlanta rapper doesn't pretend to have it all figured out, but listen to what he has to say 7651  2018-07-23T19:17:50+00:00 ATLANTA UNTRAPPED: Caleb Brown teams up with Sonny Digital chad.radford@creativeloafing.com Chad Radford Jewel Wicker  2018-07-23T19:17:50+00:00  The 19-year old Atlanta-based rapper Caleb Brown sits quietly in the corner of a dark studio near Howell Mill Road. He’s cool, calm, and collected, even though everyone in the room is there to judge his work. As a small group gathers for a first listen to his fifth and latest EP, Brown, he smokes, staring aimlessly around the room.

Caleb’s demeanor shouldn’t be mistaken for lack of interest. When I met the Baton Rouge native before the listening session began he was quite excited and humbled by the turnout. The self-titled EP, he says, serves as a “rebranding” of sorts. Caleb’s reticence comes from having confidence in his place as an artist. The weed he smokes while listeners nod along to his rhymes helps, too.

“I know enough to know I don’t know too much,” the rapper offered at the beginning of the listening session. Still, he says Brown features his stories. A collaboration with Atlanta-based producer Sonny Digital, the EP begins with the lead single and standout track “Die a Legend.” “I cannot relate to your Range Rover. Nigga, I’m still in a Camry,” Caleb raps over a woozy bassline and rattling hi-hats. This type of candor is commonplace in the rapper’s songs, as fans familiar with his work can attest. 

On the lyrics website Genius, Brown says he wrote 2016’s “W$GT$” to uplift people in Baton Rouge after the police shooting resulting in the death of Alton Sterling. “I wrote this song while I was still working my job at Raising Cane’s making $7.75 an hour,” he said online. “I wrote the song on my off day, and as soon as I got paid, I took most of the money and went half with one of my homies to pay for a studio session and bought the beat exclusively from CMPLX.”

Caleb teams up with Spacejam Bo, the Alabama rapper signed to LVRN, for “Mobb,” a sinister cut with one of the project’s catchiest hooks — “Put all the cash in the bag” — before delivering a song for the strip clubs (“When that ass stops then the cash stops”). On “American Bulldog” he rejects conventional (and healthier) means of healing, opting instead for convenience.  “I’m cool on the therapy, give me ounces of brown,” he raps. “The Hennessy's great, but I’m OK with the Crown Royal.” 

Older fans of the rapper will likely enjoy Brown, and so will listeners experiencing him for the first time. Sonny Digital wasn’t in attendance at the listening party because, according to Caleb, he was working on a major project, but his production definitely elevates Caleb’s sound and, gives him legitimacy as he moves through the Atlanta rap scene. The producer hasn’t had a hit as big as Future’s “Same Damn Time,” Y.C.’s “Racks” or ILoveMakonnen’s “Tuesday” in a few years, but it would certainly be a mistake to count him out.  

Brown is an enjoyable EP from an artist who is still exploring his identity. His perspective and vulnerability about his experiences growing up, including the injustices surrounding him, are the most alluring aspects of his music.

Read Jewel Wicker’s Atlanta Untrapped column every week at www.creativeloafing.com/ATL-Untrapped.    Rostrum Records DIE A LEGEND: 19-year-old Caleb Brown came to Atlanta after being raised in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.                                   ATLANTA UNTRAPPED: Caleb Brown teams up with Sonny Digital "
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Monday July 23, 2018 03:17 pm EDT
The Atlanta rapper doesn't pretend to have it all figured out, but listen to what he has to say | more...
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  string(52) "ATLANTA UNTRAPPED: Cam Kirk captures hip-hop culture"
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  string(5137) "Cam Kirk has captured some of the most notable photos of Atlanta rappers, including those shots of Gucci Mane holding a (fake) rifle from the Trap House III. Kirk was behind the “Trap God” exhibition showcasing never-before-seen photos of the rapper in an East Atlanta church converted to a mock trap house in 2015.

Kirk didn’t set out to become the go-to photographer for Atlanta rappers, but his work with Gucci Mane, Migos, Young Thug, and more has landed his work on billboards, in publications such as Rolling Stone, and in campaigns for Nike and Beats By Dre. A recent campaign with Saks Fifth Avenue and clothing designer G-Star RAW helped place Kirk’s photos of Gunna and Hoodrich Pablo Juan in Phipps Plaza for a month.

I recently caught up with the rapper to talk about the one-year anniversary of his Cam Kirk Photography Studios, his favorite up-and-coming Atlanta rappers, and more. 

On cultivating and fostering trust in Atlanta’s hip-hop community ...
I’m the guy who has been around since the beginning. I‘ve never been a photographer that pops up only when your name is buzzing. I seek out talent at an early age and early stages of people’s careers. I was there at the beginning of Young Scooter, Young Thug, Metro Boomin, Migos, and all of these people’s careers. They remember me as the same person and treating them the same way I do now as when they first started out.

On staying in the know with emerging artists…
When I approach a new artist I don’t look at them as “How much are you going to pay for this shoot?” I look at them purely off of energy. If they’re authentic, that makes me want to work with them. Not to mention, I’ve been blessed to be around artists like Metro Boomin who is always ahead of the curve in terms of artists with whom he works. He’s put me on to so many artists by us being friends and our relationships working together. Now that I have my own studio in Atlanta, I employ a lot of teenagers and young adults and we do a monthly playlist where they pick three songs a piece. That’s keeping me in the loop with so many artists that I’ve never heard of, just based off our playlist and conversations in the studio. It keeps me on my toes. It keeps me relevant and current.

On the next up-and-coming Atlanta artists …
There’s an artist by the name of Lil Gnar and he’s approaching the game a little differently. He’s much more in the pocket of the newer rappers who really understand how to use the internet and resources like that. I think he’s going to be a really big artist. There’s an artist by the name of Young Bandz. He’s connected now with Future’s label Freebandz. His movement is going to be really strong. He’s another guy who is approaching the game a little differently.  An artist by the name of Chip — I think he’s starting to really catch some momentum and waves with his music and really getting into a groove with what he has going on. With his songwriting capabilities and his melodies and consistencies, I think he’s going to be really big.

On diversity in Atlanta hip-hop …
I never felt like we had a lot of internet rappers. I always felt like we had a lot of street rappers. Not to say it’s one-dimensional, but it can be at times. It’s fun to see the next generation of artists coming out of Atlanta bring something different to the game and bring their take on fashion and the internet and social media. They’re following a little of what Lil Yachty laid out a platform for.

On being a music photographer … 
When I first started photography there weren’t too many living examples of somebody, especially somebody of color, who can say they made a career just shooting music artists. My parents would even tell me to get a real job. My dad has said that to me as recently as two years ago. I feel like I laid the foundation to show people that you can make a career out of things that you’re passionate about. You just have to be open and willing to go with the bumps and bruises that come with it.

On training the next generation of photographers …
I started a school in Atlanta where, for eight weeks, I had five students that worked with me three days a week in a real curriculum class setting. One of my students is now Young Jeezy’s photographer. It’s really dope to see the power of my work and how it can change the lives of others. 

On his favorite work to date …
I would say my favorite photo to date is probably the Migos raindrop photo that I did for Rolling Stone. Being able to catch that moment while “Bad & Boujee” was No. 1 on the charts. To be able to catch a photo of the Migos with real raindrops falling … It was just so relevant and so impactful to me. It’s one of those things that was iconic. Rolling Stone actually passed on that photo. It didn’t fit their editorial scheme. I remember thinking, it’s a blessing in disguise because now I get to be the one who delivers this photo. It worked in my favor.

Read Jewel Wicker’s Atlanta Untrapped column every week at www.creativeloafing.com/ATL-Untrapped."
  ["tracker_field_contentWikiPage_raw"]=>
  string(5429) "~~#000000:Cam Kirk has captured some of the most notable photos of Atlanta rappers, including those shots of Gucci Mane holding a (fake) rifle from the Trap House III. Kirk was behind the “Trap God” exhibition showcasing never-before-seen photos of the rapper in an East Atlanta church converted to a mock trap house in 2015.~~

~~#000000:Kirk didn’t set out to become the go-to photographer for Atlanta rappers, but his work with Gucci Mane, Migos, Young Thug, and more has landed his work on billboards, in publications such as Rolling Stone, and in campaigns for Nike and Beats By Dre. A recent campaign with Saks Fifth Avenue and clothing designer G-Star RAW helped place Kirk’s photos of Gunna and Hoodrich Pablo Juan in Phipps Plaza for a month.~~

~~#000000:I recently caught up with the rapper to talk about the one-year anniversary of his Cam Kirk Photography Studios, his favorite up-and-coming Atlanta rappers, and more. ~~

~~#000000:__On cultivating and fostering trust in Atlanta’s hip-hop community ...__~~
~~#000000:I’m the guy who has been around since the beginning. I‘ve never been a photographer that pops up only when your name is buzzing. I seek out talent at an early age and early stages of people’s careers. I was there at the beginning of Young Scooter, Young Thug, Metro Boomin, Migos, and all of these people’s careers. They remember me as the same person and treating them the same way I do now as when they first started out.~~

~~#000000:__On staying in the know with emerging artists…__~~
~~#000000:When I approach a new artist I don’t look at them as “How much are you going to pay for this shoot?” I look at them purely off of energy. If they’re authentic, that makes me want to work with them. Not to mention, I’ve been blessed to be around artists like Metro Boomin who is always ahead of the curve in terms of artists with whom he works. He’s put me on to so many artists by us being friends and our relationships working together. Now that I have my own studio in Atlanta, I employ a lot of teenagers and young adults and we do a monthly playlist where they pick three songs a piece. That’s keeping me in the loop with so many artists that I’ve never heard of, just based off our playlist and conversations in the studio. It keeps me on my toes. It keeps me relevant and current.~~

~~#000000:__On the next up-and-coming Atlanta artists …__~~
~~#000000:There’s an artist by the name of Lil Gnar and he’s approaching the game a little differently. He’s much more in the pocket of the newer rappers who really understand how to use the internet and resources like that. I think he’s going to be a really big artist. There’s an artist by the name of Young Bandz. He’s connected now with Future’s label Freebandz. His movement is going to be really strong. He’s another guy who is approaching the game a little differently.  An artist by the name of Chip — I think he’s starting to really catch some momentum and waves with his music and really getting into a groove with what he has going on. With his songwriting capabilities and his melodies and consistencies, I think he’s going to be really big.~~

~~#000000:__On diversity in Atlanta hip-hop …__~~
~~#000000:I never felt like we had a lot of internet rappers. I always felt like we had a lot of street rappers. Not to say it’s one-dimensional, but it can be at times. It’s fun to see the next generation of artists coming out of Atlanta bring something different to the game and bring their take on fashion and the internet and social media. They’re following a little of what Lil Yachty laid out a platform for.~~

~~#000000:__On being a music photographer … __~~
~~#000000:When I first started photography there weren’t too many living examples of somebody, especially somebody of color, who can say they made a career just shooting music artists. My parents would even tell me to get a real job. My dad has said that to me as recently as two years ago. I feel like I laid the foundation to show people that you can make a career out of things that you’re passionate about. You just have to be open and willing to go with the bumps and bruises that come with it.~~

~~#000000:__On training the next generation of photographers …__~~
~~#000000:I started a school in Atlanta where, for eight weeks, I had five students that worked with me three days a week in a real curriculum class setting. One of my students is now Young Jeezy’s photographer. It’s really dope to see the power of my work and how it can change the lives of others. ~~

~~#000000:__On his favorite work to date …__~~
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~~#000000:''[https://creativeloafing.com/ATL-Untrapped|Read Jewel Wicker’s Atlanta Untrapped column every week at www.creativeloafing.com/ATL-Untrapped.]''~~"
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  string(5570) " Cam Kirk  2018-07-16T16:19:10+00:00 cam kirk.jpeg     The photographer reveals which rappers should be on your radar 7484  2018-07-16T10:00:00+00:00 ATLANTA UNTRAPPED: Cam Kirk captures hip-hop culture lilyjguthrie@gmail.com lilyjguthrie Jewel Wicker  2018-07-16T10:00:00+00:00  Cam Kirk has captured some of the most notable photos of Atlanta rappers, including those shots of Gucci Mane holding a (fake) rifle from the Trap House III. Kirk was behind the “Trap God” exhibition showcasing never-before-seen photos of the rapper in an East Atlanta church converted to a mock trap house in 2015.

Kirk didn’t set out to become the go-to photographer for Atlanta rappers, but his work with Gucci Mane, Migos, Young Thug, and more has landed his work on billboards, in publications such as Rolling Stone, and in campaigns for Nike and Beats By Dre. A recent campaign with Saks Fifth Avenue and clothing designer G-Star RAW helped place Kirk’s photos of Gunna and Hoodrich Pablo Juan in Phipps Plaza for a month.

I recently caught up with the rapper to talk about the one-year anniversary of his Cam Kirk Photography Studios, his favorite up-and-coming Atlanta rappers, and more. 

On cultivating and fostering trust in Atlanta’s hip-hop community ...
I’m the guy who has been around since the beginning. I‘ve never been a photographer that pops up only when your name is buzzing. I seek out talent at an early age and early stages of people’s careers. I was there at the beginning of Young Scooter, Young Thug, Metro Boomin, Migos, and all of these people’s careers. They remember me as the same person and treating them the same way I do now as when they first started out.

On staying in the know with emerging artists…
When I approach a new artist I don’t look at them as “How much are you going to pay for this shoot?” I look at them purely off of energy. If they’re authentic, that makes me want to work with them. Not to mention, I’ve been blessed to be around artists like Metro Boomin who is always ahead of the curve in terms of artists with whom he works. He’s put me on to so many artists by us being friends and our relationships working together. Now that I have my own studio in Atlanta, I employ a lot of teenagers and young adults and we do a monthly playlist where they pick three songs a piece. That’s keeping me in the loop with so many artists that I’ve never heard of, just based off our playlist and conversations in the studio. It keeps me on my toes. It keeps me relevant and current.

On the next up-and-coming Atlanta artists …
There’s an artist by the name of Lil Gnar and he’s approaching the game a little differently. He’s much more in the pocket of the newer rappers who really understand how to use the internet and resources like that. I think he’s going to be a really big artist. There’s an artist by the name of Young Bandz. He’s connected now with Future’s label Freebandz. His movement is going to be really strong. He’s another guy who is approaching the game a little differently.  An artist by the name of Chip — I think he’s starting to really catch some momentum and waves with his music and really getting into a groove with what he has going on. With his songwriting capabilities and his melodies and consistencies, I think he’s going to be really big.

On diversity in Atlanta hip-hop …
I never felt like we had a lot of internet rappers. I always felt like we had a lot of street rappers. Not to say it’s one-dimensional, but it can be at times. It’s fun to see the next generation of artists coming out of Atlanta bring something different to the game and bring their take on fashion and the internet and social media. They’re following a little of what Lil Yachty laid out a platform for.

On being a music photographer … 
When I first started photography there weren’t too many living examples of somebody, especially somebody of color, who can say they made a career just shooting music artists. My parents would even tell me to get a real job. My dad has said that to me as recently as two years ago. I feel like I laid the foundation to show people that you can make a career out of things that you’re passionate about. You just have to be open and willing to go with the bumps and bruises that come with it.

On training the next generation of photographers …
I started a school in Atlanta where, for eight weeks, I had five students that worked with me three days a week in a real curriculum class setting. One of my students is now Young Jeezy’s photographer. It’s really dope to see the power of my work and how it can change the lives of others. 

On his favorite work to date …
I would say my favorite photo to date is probably the Migos raindrop photo that I did for Rolling Stone. Being able to catch that moment while “Bad & Boujee” was No. 1 on the charts. To be able to catch a photo of the Migos with real raindrops falling … It was just so relevant and so impactful to me. It’s one of those things that was iconic. Rolling Stone actually passed on that photo. It didn’t fit their editorial scheme. I remember thinking, it’s a blessing in disguise because now I get to be the one who delivers this photo. It worked in my favor.

Read Jewel Wicker’s Atlanta Untrapped column every week at www.creativeloafing.com/ATL-Untrapped.    Cam Kirk TRAP GOD: Cam Kirk's photo studio turns one in July.                                   ATLANTA UNTRAPPED: Cam Kirk captures hip-hop culture "
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Article

Monday July 16, 2018 06:00 am EDT
The photographer reveals which rappers should be on your radar | more...
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  string(105) "Chris Brown’s Heartbreak On A Full Moon Tour and the consequences of protesting controversial artists"
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  string(4084) "I’ve been a fan of 6lack’s work since meeting him and hearing Free 6lack in 2016, but I missed his two sold-out shows at the Tabernacle and didn’t get to see him open up for the Weekend in 2017. I made a vow to catch his next Atlanta show, but took pause when I found out he was opening for Chris Brown on the “Heartbreak on a Full Moon” Tour. 

In the era of fans trying to separate the art from the artist, I haven’t struggled much with the decision when it comes to Brown. For me, he stopped making music I was interested in years ago. I’m not sure I’d be much of a fan even if he didn’t have a volatile personal history, which includes an arrest this week for felony battery warrant in Florida. I was adamant about not going to the July 3 show at Cellairis Amphitheatre at Lakewood. However, after an editor and a friend asked me to attend, I decided to go just to check out the opening acts. 

Sitting in the lawn at Lakewood, I reflected on the sheer number of people who are affected by a protest of one man’s actions. Jacquees, Rich the Kid, and H.E.R. were also among the list of opening acts for the concert, with the latter performing the most memorable set. In addition to releasing one of my favorite R&B albums of the last year, 2017’s self-titled release for RCA, H.E.R.’s Gabriella “Gabi” Wilson put on an intriguing show, leaning on her own presence, rather than background dancers and an elaborate set. She played the keyboard, acoustic and electric guitars, and delivered impressive vocals as the crowd sang along to her most popular songs. This was no-doubt a great moment for H.E.R., showcasing Wilson’s talents to a group of fans that might not have paid to see her solo shows. 

6lack’s performance on Tuesday night was strong, but it certainly wasn’t my favorite set of his. The crowd wasn’t into it and I preferred his more intimate set at Terminal West earlier in his career. Throughout his set, 6lack kept the arrangements of songs such as “Never Know” and “Cutting Ties” true to the studio versions with the help of a live band. The crowd was the most engaged during the singer’s performance of his breakout single “PRBLMS” and “Ex Calling.” 

During the show I met a teenager who travelled from South Carolina to meet him. In a video from a meet and greet, she’s hysterical as 6lack tries to calm her down. It made me remember that all recent discussion of fandom, whether about the unwavering support the late rapper XXXTentacion received or the threats Nicki Minaj’s fans have sent her critics, centers around these young, impressionable fans. Sure, some of these fans are adults, but a lot of them are teenagers clinging to a connection with artists who make them feel seen. As a society, we’re creating a world where these teen fans feel free to value that over actual human experiences.  

Like me, 6lack’s teenage fan from South Carolina left the venue less than five minutes into Brown’s set, although perhaps she didn’t do so in protest of Brown. Maybe she just wanted to get an early start on heading back home. As a reporter, I didn’t pay any money to see the show, but the experience made me wonder how much we can judge all of those who did. I watch the Starz drama “Power,” despite the show being attached to problematic executive producer 50 Cent, because I’m still grappling with the want to support the show’s actors in spite of the rapper’s involvement.   

In the critically acclaimed Netflix special “Nanette,” Hannah Gadsby questions whether we can separate the art from the artist, reflecting on famous men from Picasso to Harvey Weinstein. She concludes that no art is more important than human suffering, and I wholeheartedly agree with her. I believe we have to dismantle this system which created misogyny and allows its perpetrators to flourish. But we have to be aware of the fact that there will be collateral damage. 

Read Jewel Wicker’s Atlanta Untrapped column every week at www.creativeloafing.com/ATL-Untrapped."
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~~#000000:In the era of fans trying to separate the art from the artist, I haven’t struggled much with the decision when it comes to Brown. For me, he stopped making music I was interested in years ago. I’m not sure I’d be much of a fan even if he didn’t have a volatile personal history, which [https://people.com/music/chris-brown-arrested-florida/|includes an arrest this week for felony battery warrant in Florida]. I was adamant about not going to the July 3 show at Cellairis Amphitheatre at Lakewood. However, after an editor and a friend asked me to attend, I decided to go just to check out the opening acts. ~~

~~#000000:Sitting in the lawn at Lakewood, I reflected on the sheer number of people who are affected by a protest of one man’s actions. Jacquees, Rich the Kid, and H.E.R. were also among the list of opening acts for the concert, with the latter performing the most memorable set. In addition to releasing one of my favorite R&B albums of the last year, 2017’s self-titled release for RCA, H.E.R.’s Gabriella “Gabi” Wilson put on an intriguing show, leaning on her own presence, rather than background dancers and an elaborate set. She played the keyboard, acoustic and electric guitars, and delivered impressive vocals as the crowd sang along to her most popular songs. This was no-doubt a great moment for H.E.R., showcasing Wilson’s talents to a group of fans that might not have paid to see her solo shows. ~~

~~#000000:6lack’s performance on Tuesday night was strong, but it certainly wasn’t my favorite set of his. The crowd wasn’t into it and I preferred his more intimate set at Terminal West earlier in his career. Throughout his set, 6lack kept the arrangements of songs such as “Never Know” and “Cutting Ties” true to the studio versions with the help of a live band. The crowd was the most engaged during the singer’s performance of his breakout single “PRBLMS” and “Ex Calling.” ~~

~~#000000:During the show I met a teenager who travelled from South Carolina to meet him. In a video from a meet and greet, she’s hysterical as 6lack tries to calm her down. It made me remember that all recent discussion of fandom, whether about the unwavering support the late rapper XXXTentacion received or the threats Nicki Minaj’s fans have sent her critics, centers around these young, impressionable fans. Sure, some of these fans are adults, but a lot of them are teenagers clinging to a connection with artists who make them feel seen. As a society, we’re creating a world where these teen fans feel free to value that over actual human experiences.  ~~

~~#000000:Like me, 6lack’s teenage fan from South Carolina left the venue less than five minutes into Brown’s set, although perhaps she didn’t do so in protest of Brown. Maybe she just wanted to get an early start on heading back home. As a reporter, I didn’t pay any money to see the show, but the experience made me wonder how much we can judge all of those who did. I watch the Starz drama “Power,” despite the show being attached to [http://www.tmz.com/2018/06/26/terry-crews-50-cent-high-road-sexual-assault/|problematic executive producer 50 Cent], because I’m still grappling with the want to support the show’s actors in spite of the rapper’s involvement.   ~~

~~#000000:In the critically acclaimed Netflix special “Nanette,” Hannah Gadsby questions whether we can separate the art from the artist, reflecting on famous men from Picasso to Harvey Weinstein. She concludes that no art is more important than human suffering, and I wholeheartedly agree with her. I believe we have to dismantle this system which created misogyny and allows its perpetrators to flourish. But we have to be aware of the fact that there will be collateral damage. ~~

~~#000000:''[https://creativeloafing.com/ATL-Untrapped|Read Jewel Wicker’s Atlanta Untrapped column every week at www.creativeloafing.com/ATL-Untrapped.]''~~"
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  string(4627) " 6LACK  2018-07-09T19:37:33+00:00 6LACK.jpg     Chris Brown’s Heartbreak On A Full Moon Tour and the consequences of protesting controversial artists 7178  2018-07-12T04:01:00+00:00 ATLANTA UNTRAPPED: 6lack, Chris Brown, and Collateral Damage chad.radford@creativeloafing.com Chad Radford Jewel Wicker  2018-07-12T04:01:00+00:00  I’ve been a fan of 6lack’s work since meeting him and hearing Free 6lack in 2016, but I missed his two sold-out shows at the Tabernacle and didn’t get to see him open up for the Weekend in 2017. I made a vow to catch his next Atlanta show, but took pause when I found out he was opening for Chris Brown on the “Heartbreak on a Full Moon” Tour. 

In the era of fans trying to separate the art from the artist, I haven’t struggled much with the decision when it comes to Brown. For me, he stopped making music I was interested in years ago. I’m not sure I’d be much of a fan even if he didn’t have a volatile personal history, which includes an arrest this week for felony battery warrant in Florida. I was adamant about not going to the July 3 show at Cellairis Amphitheatre at Lakewood. However, after an editor and a friend asked me to attend, I decided to go just to check out the opening acts. 

Sitting in the lawn at Lakewood, I reflected on the sheer number of people who are affected by a protest of one man’s actions. Jacquees, Rich the Kid, and H.E.R. were also among the list of opening acts for the concert, with the latter performing the most memorable set. In addition to releasing one of my favorite R&B albums of the last year, 2017’s self-titled release for RCA, H.E.R.’s Gabriella “Gabi” Wilson put on an intriguing show, leaning on her own presence, rather than background dancers and an elaborate set. She played the keyboard, acoustic and electric guitars, and delivered impressive vocals as the crowd sang along to her most popular songs. This was no-doubt a great moment for H.E.R., showcasing Wilson’s talents to a group of fans that might not have paid to see her solo shows. 

6lack’s performance on Tuesday night was strong, but it certainly wasn’t my favorite set of his. The crowd wasn’t into it and I preferred his more intimate set at Terminal West earlier in his career. Throughout his set, 6lack kept the arrangements of songs such as “Never Know” and “Cutting Ties” true to the studio versions with the help of a live band. The crowd was the most engaged during the singer’s performance of his breakout single “PRBLMS” and “Ex Calling.” 

During the show I met a teenager who travelled from South Carolina to meet him. In a video from a meet and greet, she’s hysterical as 6lack tries to calm her down. It made me remember that all recent discussion of fandom, whether about the unwavering support the late rapper XXXTentacion received or the threats Nicki Minaj’s fans have sent her critics, centers around these young, impressionable fans. Sure, some of these fans are adults, but a lot of them are teenagers clinging to a connection with artists who make them feel seen. As a society, we’re creating a world where these teen fans feel free to value that over actual human experiences.  

Like me, 6lack’s teenage fan from South Carolina left the venue less than five minutes into Brown’s set, although perhaps she didn’t do so in protest of Brown. Maybe she just wanted to get an early start on heading back home. As a reporter, I didn’t pay any money to see the show, but the experience made me wonder how much we can judge all of those who did. I watch the Starz drama “Power,” despite the show being attached to problematic executive producer 50 Cent, because I’m still grappling with the want to support the show’s actors in spite of the rapper’s involvement.   

In the critically acclaimed Netflix special “Nanette,” Hannah Gadsby questions whether we can separate the art from the artist, reflecting on famous men from Picasso to Harvey Weinstein. She concludes that no art is more important than human suffering, and I wholeheartedly agree with her. I believe we have to dismantle this system which created misogyny and allows its perpetrators to flourish. But we have to be aware of the fact that there will be collateral damage. 

Read Jewel Wicker’s Atlanta Untrapped column every week at www.creativeloafing.com/ATL-Untrapped.    The Come Up Show PRBLMS: East Atlanta rapper 6lack opened for Chris Brown’s Heartbreak On A Full Moon Tour.                                   ATLANTA UNTRAPPED: 6lack, Chris Brown, and Collateral Damage "
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Article

Thursday July 12, 2018 12:01 am EDT
Chris Brown’s Heartbreak On A Full Moon Tour and the consequences of protesting controversial artists | more...
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  string(3612) "I’ve long credited my love for music to growing up in a Southern Baptist mega church. I grew up enraptured by the melodies, harmonies, and melismas. Even today my favorite singers are a reflection on the gospel influences with which I grew up. 

My story isn’t unique. This is the story of many black people’s relationship with music. When Zaytoven was known globally for creating beats for artists like Gucci Mane, Young Dolph, and Future, he was also serving as an organist for a church in Conyers. Just two years ago Hot New Hip-Hop, interviewed the popular trap producer, known for incorporating keys into his beats (hence his name, a play on Beethoven), who was still playing for the church three days a week. 

“When I play the keys, I’m playing ‘em almost like I’m at church,” he said. “It’s no structure to it. I’m just freestyling. I’m playing by ear. What I learned in this music is there’s no rules to it or there’s no way that it has to go. So I might play and hit a wrong note and leave it in there. If we’re talking about street music or trap music, everything can’t be perfect and all mixed and all well put together — it takes the edge off the music.”

It’s no surprise, then, that the prolific producer has teamed up with another Atlanta rapper for another project about the trap, although this one is different than his work with Gucci Mane and Migos. LeCrae and Zaytoven’s Let the Trap Say Amen flips trap music's tropes and with tales of redemption. 

The album's opening number, “Get Back Right,” features a cadence and background adlibs that would’ve fit right in on Migos’ Culture albums. But where the Atlanta trio has a song called “Get Right Witcha” with the lyrics that read, “Bad bitches, fuck them then dismiss them,” Lecrae delivers a religious version of beef. “You and your squad versus me and my God, look bruh you ain’t finna win that,” he raps. 

Zaytoven’s signature keys appear early on in the project on standout production “Preach.” “I got the Jesus PEACE. I got the God in me. Don’t need the ice or the chain,” Lecrae raps on the hook. 

The rapper enlists Waka Flocka Flame and KSO James for “2 Sides to the Game,” a song about dope boys who make the fast life and money look enticing without showcasing the downfall that often follows. “You get rich off of dope, if you let them tell it,” he raps. “There’s two sides to the game and they ain’t gone tell it.” It’s a peculiar feature considering the subject matter of Waka’s hits, but it shows that no one is above rewriting their story. 

“Plugged In” is a standout example of the greatness that Zaytoven and Lecrae are capable of together. “My plug come through every time and I ain’t never seen a drought,” the rapper says over melodic keys and hi-hats. 

Ultimately, Let the Trap Say Amen suffers many of the same pitfalls as most similarly thematic albums: The production is repetitive. LeCrae’s raps, which often serve the theme more than anything else, come off as trite and labored. On “Holy Water” he raps, “116 and we been in the kitchen cooking up a chicken you can listen to.”

Still, the Atlanta rapper continues to show that he’s willing to step outside of conventional gospel narratives in order to spread his message, even if it invites criticism from trap music purists.

Let the Trap Say Amen is further proof that the rapper is more than just a gospel act.

Read Jewel Wicker’s Atlanta Untrapped column every week at www.creativeloafing.com/ATL-Untrapped."
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  string(3676) "I’ve long credited my love for music to growing up in a Southern Baptist mega church. I grew up enraptured by the melodies, harmonies, and melismas. Even today my favorite singers are a reflection on the gospel influences with which I grew up. 

My story isn’t unique. This is the story of many black people’s relationship with music. When Zaytoven was known globally for creating beats for artists like Gucci Mane, Young Dolph, and Future, he was also serving as an organist for a church in Conyers. Just two years ago Hot New Hip-Hop, interviewed the popular trap producer, known for incorporating keys into his beats (hence his name, a play on Beethoven), who was still playing for the church three days a week. 

“When I play the keys, I’m playing ‘em almost like I’m at church,” he said. “It’s no structure to it. I’m just freestyling. I’m playing by ear. What I learned in this music is there’s no rules to it or there’s no way that it has to go. So I might play and hit a wrong note and leave it in there. If we’re talking about street music or trap music, everything can’t be perfect and all mixed and all well put together — it takes the edge off the music.”

It’s no surprise, then, that the prolific producer has teamed up with another Atlanta rapper for another project about the trap, although this one is different than his work with Gucci Mane and Migos. LeCrae and Zaytoven’s ''Let the Trap Say Amen'' flips trap music's tropes and with tales of redemption. 

The album's opening number, “Get Back Right,” features a cadence and background adlibs that would’ve fit right in on Migos’ ''Culture'' albums. But where the Atlanta trio has a song called “Get Right Witcha” with the lyrics that read, “Bad bitches, fuck them then dismiss them,” Lecrae delivers a religious version of beef. “You and your squad versus me and my God, look bruh you ain’t finna win that,” he raps. 

Zaytoven’s signature keys appear early on in the project on standout production “Preach.” “I got the Jesus PEACE. I got the God in me. Don’t need the ice or the chain,” Lecrae raps on the hook. 

The rapper enlists Waka Flocka Flame and KSO James for “2 Sides to the Game,” a song about dope boys who make the fast life and money look enticing without showcasing the downfall that often follows. “You get rich off of dope, if you let them tell it,” he raps. “There’s two sides to the game and they ain’t gone tell it.” It’s a peculiar feature considering the subject matter of Waka’s hits, but it shows that no one is above rewriting their story. 

“Plugged In” is a standout example of the greatness that Zaytoven and Lecrae are capable of together. “My plug come through every time and I ain’t never seen a drought,” the rapper says over melodic keys and hi-hats. 

Ultimately, ''Let the Trap Say Amen'' suffers many of the same pitfalls as most similarly thematic albums: The production is repetitive. LeCrae’s raps, which often serve the theme more than anything else, come off as trite and labored. On “Holy Water” he raps, “116 and we been in the kitchen cooking up a chicken you can listen to.”

Still, the Atlanta rapper continues to show that he’s willing to step outside of conventional gospel narratives in order to spread his message, even if it invites criticism from trap music purists.

''Let the Trap Say Amen'' is further proof that the rapper is more than just a gospel act.

''Read Jewel Wicker’s Atlanta Untrapped column every week at [https://creativeloafing.com/ATL-Untrapped|www.creativeloafing.com/ATL-Untrapped].''"
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  string(4119) " Trap Say Amen 2  2018-06-29T16:05:25+00:00 trap-say-amen-2.jpg   What does the author mean when referring to LeCrea as "more than just a gospel act?"  ‘Let the Trap Say Amen’ flips tropes with tales of redemption 6945  2018-06-29T16:01:44+00:00 LeCrae and Zaytoven bring religion to the trap chad.radford@creativeloafing.com Chad Radford Jewel Wicker  2018-06-29T16:01:44+00:00  I’ve long credited my love for music to growing up in a Southern Baptist mega church. I grew up enraptured by the melodies, harmonies, and melismas. Even today my favorite singers are a reflection on the gospel influences with which I grew up. 

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“When I play the keys, I’m playing ‘em almost like I’m at church,” he said. “It’s no structure to it. I’m just freestyling. I’m playing by ear. What I learned in this music is there’s no rules to it or there’s no way that it has to go. So I might play and hit a wrong note and leave it in there. If we’re talking about street music or trap music, everything can’t be perfect and all mixed and all well put together — it takes the edge off the music.”

It’s no surprise, then, that the prolific producer has teamed up with another Atlanta rapper for another project about the trap, although this one is different than his work with Gucci Mane and Migos. LeCrae and Zaytoven’s Let the Trap Say Amen flips trap music's tropes and with tales of redemption. 

The album's opening number, “Get Back Right,” features a cadence and background adlibs that would’ve fit right in on Migos’ Culture albums. But where the Atlanta trio has a song called “Get Right Witcha” with the lyrics that read, “Bad bitches, fuck them then dismiss them,” Lecrae delivers a religious version of beef. “You and your squad versus me and my God, look bruh you ain’t finna win that,” he raps. 

Zaytoven’s signature keys appear early on in the project on standout production “Preach.” “I got the Jesus PEACE. I got the God in me. Don’t need the ice or the chain,” Lecrae raps on the hook. 

The rapper enlists Waka Flocka Flame and KSO James for “2 Sides to the Game,” a song about dope boys who make the fast life and money look enticing without showcasing the downfall that often follows. “You get rich off of dope, if you let them tell it,” he raps. “There’s two sides to the game and they ain’t gone tell it.” It’s a peculiar feature considering the subject matter of Waka’s hits, but it shows that no one is above rewriting their story. 

“Plugged In” is a standout example of the greatness that Zaytoven and Lecrae are capable of together. “My plug come through every time and I ain’t never seen a drought,” the rapper says over melodic keys and hi-hats. 

Ultimately, Let the Trap Say Amen suffers many of the same pitfalls as most similarly thematic albums: The production is repetitive. LeCrae’s raps, which often serve the theme more than anything else, come off as trite and labored. On “Holy Water” he raps, “116 and we been in the kitchen cooking up a chicken you can listen to.”

Still, the Atlanta rapper continues to show that he’s willing to step outside of conventional gospel narratives in order to spread his message, even if it invites criticism from trap music purists.

Let the Trap Say Amen is further proof that the rapper is more than just a gospel act.

Read Jewel Wicker’s Atlanta Untrapped column every week at www.creativeloafing.com/ATL-Untrapped.    Reach Records 'Let the Trap Say Amen'                                   LeCrae and Zaytoven bring religion to the trap "
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Friday June 29, 2018 12:01 pm EDT
‘Let the Trap Say Amen’ flips tropes with tales of redemption | more...
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  string(5222) "On June 18 XXXTentacion, a rapper whose real name was Jahseh Onfroy, was shot and killed in Deerfield Beach, Florida, sparking days of debates regarding the controversial life he led and the way his death should be covered.

Before confirmation of his death, a nauseating video of the rapper's seemingly lifeless body, was disseminated via social media. The shooting was senseless. No one should be shot dead in the street or have images of their body spread across the internet. This was overshadowed, though, by the varying opinions people had about how the Florida rapper lived. XXXTentacion rose to fame amid accusations that he abused his pregnant girlfriend. The gruesome details revealed in court documents were more than enough for reporters and critics to wonder how the rapper’s young fans could continue supporting him. Still, young fans clinged to the rapper, relating to his tales of depression and the vulnerability he displayed in his music. Where his flippant responses were off-putting to critics, his fans admired his nonchalant demeanor.

“Sad,” XXXTentacion’s hit single with an earworm hook during which he threatens suicide if his love interest leaves him, peaked at no. 7 on the Billboard Hot 100. Before his death, the single had more than 270 million streams on Spotify; the streaming service removed the rapper’s music from playlists as a result of a “hateful conduct” policy before reversing the decision. Since his death, Spotify has promoted his work.

It’s hard to imagine myself not latching on to such an undeniably powerful song as an angsty teenager. And I sympathise with young people who are forced to reconcile the personal decisions of an idol with the way his music made them feel less alone in the world.

We’ve seen this occur recently with Bill Cosby among adults, too, as people have struggled to reconcile the legacy of "The Cosby Show" and America’s Dad from the real-life human being who was convicted of three counts of sexual assault. Similarly, many teenagers, young adults, and even some celebrities are grieving for XXXTentacion, despite the charges he faced. Kanye West and J. Cole both tweeted messages about the rapper’s talent following his death. Jidenna sent out a controversial tweet likening XXXTentacion to a young Malcolm X: “For those who are so woke that their compassion is asleep, remember this ... if Malcolm X was killed at the age of 20, he would have died an abuser, a thief, an addict, and a narrow-minded depressed & violent criminal. So, I believe in change for the young.”

Jidenna later walked back on this ill-conceived tweet, but to be clear, this mode of thinking wouldn’t have helped reform XXXTentacion even if he were still alive. Malcolm X wasn’t a 20-year-old with a record deal worth millions, a devoted legion of young fans, and an entourage who benefited from his continued success. Humans are certainly capable of reform, but circumstances play a role in this and it's reasonable to ask if the rapper’s lifestyle encouraged reform.

VerySmartBrothas editor-in-chief Damon Young refers to statements from the aforementioned artists as “performative mourning.” He writes: “If these artists truly gave a shit about him, they wouldn’t have enabled him with continual co-signs and shoutouts,” he writes. “They knew, as we all know now, about the total destruction he reportedly inflicted on XXXTentacion’s alleged victim Geneva Ayala during his short life (and still inflicts in death, as his fans will undoubtedly continue to stalk and harass her and perhaps even worse). And they surely must have known that support from industry titans provides to be no disincentive. Why would he change if he was getting multimillion-dollar record deals and love from his elders?”

Other reporters have pointed out the performative nature of these responses, too. Very few of the people sending such tweets also sent public statements supporting Ayala when the gruesome details of her alleged assault were released. When an intern at Miami New Times tracked down XXXTentacion, and profiled him by finding his address on a speeding ticket, very few people tweeted their thoughts about the nauseating details within the article.

To be clear, I’m not suggesting we shouldn’t mourn talent. I’m not even suggesting we ignore it in the face of controversy. Still, in recent months I’ve spent a significant amount of time reflecting and attempting to reconcile the idea that, for me, art is an expression of humanity. Because of that, its importance should never supercede the importance of people’s well beings. As a society, we have long needed to reflect on the ways in which we devalue the worth of women, especially black women, by diminishing the abusive and violent acts inflicted upon them as “flaws” for men to mature out of and overcome. None of this negates the tragic circumstances by which XXXTentacion died or the feelings of his fans, obviously. But, people who are struggling to look beyond the rapper’s violent past shouldn’t he villainized, either.

Read Jewel Wicker’s Atlanta Untrapped column every week at www.creativeloafing.com/ATL-Untrapped."
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~~#000000:Before confirmation of his death, a nauseating video of the rapper's seemingly lifeless body, was disseminated via social media. The shooting was senseless. No one should be shot dead in the street or have images of their body spread across the internet. This was overshadowed, though, by the varying opinions people had about how the Florida rapper lived. XXXTentacion rose to fame amid accusations that he abused his pregnant girlfriend. The gruesome details revealed in court documents were more than enough for reporters and critics to wonder how the rapper’s young fans could continue supporting him. Still, young fans clinged to the rapper, relating to his tales of depression and the vulnerability he displayed in his music. Where his flippant responses were off-putting to critics, his fans admired his nonchalant demeanor.~~

~~#000000:“Sad,” XXXTentacion’s hit single with an earworm hook during which he threatens suicide if his love interest leaves him, peaked at no. 7 on the ''Billboard'' Hot 100. Before his death, the single had more than 270 million streams on Spotify; the streaming service ~~[https://www.spin.com/2018/06/spotify-xxxtentacion-playlists-death/|~~#000000:removed the rapper’s music from playlists as a result of a “hateful conduct” policy~~]~~#000000: before reversing the decision. Since his death, Spotify has promoted his work.~~

~~#000000:It’s hard to imagine myself not latching on to such an undeniably powerful song as an angsty teenager. And I sympathise with young people who are forced to reconcile the personal decisions of an idol with the way his music made them feel less alone in the world.~~

~~#000000:We’ve seen this occur recently with Bill Cosby among adults, too, as people have struggled to reconcile the legacy of "The Cosby Show" and America’s Dad from the real-life human being who was convicted of three counts of sexual assault. Similarly, many teenagers, young adults, and even some celebrities are grieving for XXXTentacion, despite the charges he faced. Kanye West and J. Cole both tweeted messages about the rapper’s talent following his death. ~~[https://twitter.com/Jidenna/status/1008850412668153856|~~#000000:Jidenna sent out a controversial tweet likening XXXTentacion to a young Malcolm X~~]~~#000000:: “For those who are so woke that their compassion is asleep, remember this ... if Malcolm X was killed at the age of 20, he would have died an abuser, a thief, an addict, and a narrow-minded depressed & violent criminal. So, I believe in change for the young.”~~

~~#000000:Jidenna later walked back on this ill-conceived tweet, but to be clear, this mode of thinking wouldn’t have helped reform XXXTentacion even if he were still alive. Malcolm X wasn’t a 20-year-old with a record deal worth millions, a devoted legion of young fans, and an entourage who benefited from his continued success. Humans are certainly capable of reform, but circumstances play a role in this and it's reasonable to ask if the rapper’s lifestyle encouraged reform.~~

''[https://verysmartbrothas.theroot.com/stop-pretending-you-actually-gave-a-shit-about-xxxtenta-1826952372|~~#000000:VerySmartBrothas~~]''~~#000000: editor-in-chief Damon Young refers to statements from the aforementioned artists as “performative mourning.” He writes: “If ~~[[these artists]~~#000000: truly gave a shit about him, they wouldn’t have enabled him with continual co-signs and shoutouts,” he writes. “They knew, as we all know now, about the total destruction he reportedly inflicted on ~~[[XXXTentacion’s alleged victim]~~#000000: Geneva Ayala during his short life (and still inflicts in death, as his fans will undoubtedly continue to stalk and harass her and perhaps even worse). And they surely must have known that support from industry titans provides to be no disincentive. Why would he change if he was getting multimillion-dollar record deals and love from his elders?”~~

~~#000000:Other reporters have pointed out the performative nature of these responses, too. Very few of the people sending such tweets also sent public statements supporting Ayala when the gruesome details of her alleged assault were released. ~~[http://www.miaminewtimes.com/music/the-real-story-of-rapper-xxxtentacion-10410980|~~#000000:When an intern at Miami New Times tracked down XXXTentacion, and profiled him by finding his address on a speeding ticket~~]~~#000000:, very few people tweeted their thoughts about the nauseating details within the article.~~

~~#000000:To be clear, I’m not suggesting we shouldn’t mourn talent. I’m not even suggesting we ignore it in the face of controversy. Still, in recent months I’ve spent a significant amount of time reflecting and attempting to reconcile the idea that, for me, art is an expression of humanity. Because of that, its importance should never supercede the importance of people’s well beings. As a society, we have long needed to reflect on the ways in which we devalue the worth of women, especially black women, by diminishing the abusive and violent acts inflicted upon them as “flaws” for men to mature out of and overcome. None of this negates the tragic circumstances by which XXXTentacion died or the feelings of his fans, obviously. But, people who are struggling to look beyond the rapper’s violent past shouldn’t he villainized, either.~~

''~~#000000:Read Jewel Wicker’s Atlanta Untrapped column every week at ~~[http://www.creativeloafing.com/ATL-Untrapped.|~~#000000:www.creativeloafing.com/ATL-Untrapped.~~]''"
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  string(5755) " XXXTentacionFebruary2018  2018-06-22T05:29:57+00:00 XXXTentacionFebruary2018.png     Following news that the rapper had been gunned down, reactions varied 6777  2018-06-22T05:02:55+00:00 ATLANTA UNTRAPPED: Don’t tell anyone how to process XXXTentacion’s life and death chad.radford@creativeloafing.com Chad Radford Jewel Wicker  2018-06-22T05:02:55+00:00  On June 18 XXXTentacion, a rapper whose real name was Jahseh Onfroy, was shot and killed in Deerfield Beach, Florida, sparking days of debates regarding the controversial life he led and the way his death should be covered.

Before confirmation of his death, a nauseating video of the rapper's seemingly lifeless body, was disseminated via social media. The shooting was senseless. No one should be shot dead in the street or have images of their body spread across the internet. This was overshadowed, though, by the varying opinions people had about how the Florida rapper lived. XXXTentacion rose to fame amid accusations that he abused his pregnant girlfriend. The gruesome details revealed in court documents were more than enough for reporters and critics to wonder how the rapper’s young fans could continue supporting him. Still, young fans clinged to the rapper, relating to his tales of depression and the vulnerability he displayed in his music. Where his flippant responses were off-putting to critics, his fans admired his nonchalant demeanor.

“Sad,” XXXTentacion’s hit single with an earworm hook during which he threatens suicide if his love interest leaves him, peaked at no. 7 on the Billboard Hot 100. Before his death, the single had more than 270 million streams on Spotify; the streaming service removed the rapper’s music from playlists as a result of a “hateful conduct” policy before reversing the decision. Since his death, Spotify has promoted his work.

It’s hard to imagine myself not latching on to such an undeniably powerful song as an angsty teenager. And I sympathise with young people who are forced to reconcile the personal decisions of an idol with the way his music made them feel less alone in the world.

We’ve seen this occur recently with Bill Cosby among adults, too, as people have struggled to reconcile the legacy of "The Cosby Show" and America’s Dad from the real-life human being who was convicted of three counts of sexual assault. Similarly, many teenagers, young adults, and even some celebrities are grieving for XXXTentacion, despite the charges he faced. Kanye West and J. Cole both tweeted messages about the rapper’s talent following his death. Jidenna sent out a controversial tweet likening XXXTentacion to a young Malcolm X: “For those who are so woke that their compassion is asleep, remember this ... if Malcolm X was killed at the age of 20, he would have died an abuser, a thief, an addict, and a narrow-minded depressed & violent criminal. So, I believe in change for the young.”

Jidenna later walked back on this ill-conceived tweet, but to be clear, this mode of thinking wouldn’t have helped reform XXXTentacion even if he were still alive. Malcolm X wasn’t a 20-year-old with a record deal worth millions, a devoted legion of young fans, and an entourage who benefited from his continued success. Humans are certainly capable of reform, but circumstances play a role in this and it's reasonable to ask if the rapper’s lifestyle encouraged reform.

VerySmartBrothas editor-in-chief Damon Young refers to statements from the aforementioned artists as “performative mourning.” He writes: “If these artists truly gave a shit about him, they wouldn’t have enabled him with continual co-signs and shoutouts,” he writes. “They knew, as we all know now, about the total destruction he reportedly inflicted on XXXTentacion’s alleged victim Geneva Ayala during his short life (and still inflicts in death, as his fans will undoubtedly continue to stalk and harass her and perhaps even worse). And they surely must have known that support from industry titans provides to be no disincentive. Why would he change if he was getting multimillion-dollar record deals and love from his elders?”

Other reporters have pointed out the performative nature of these responses, too. Very few of the people sending such tweets also sent public statements supporting Ayala when the gruesome details of her alleged assault were released. When an intern at Miami New Times tracked down XXXTentacion, and profiled him by finding his address on a speeding ticket, very few people tweeted their thoughts about the nauseating details within the article.

To be clear, I’m not suggesting we shouldn’t mourn talent. I’m not even suggesting we ignore it in the face of controversy. Still, in recent months I’ve spent a significant amount of time reflecting and attempting to reconcile the idea that, for me, art is an expression of humanity. Because of that, its importance should never supercede the importance of people’s well beings. As a society, we have long needed to reflect on the ways in which we devalue the worth of women, especially black women, by diminishing the abusive and violent acts inflicted upon them as “flaws” for men to mature out of and overcome. None of this negates the tragic circumstances by which XXXTentacion died or the feelings of his fans, obviously. But, people who are struggling to look beyond the rapper’s violent past shouldn’t he villainized, either.

Read Jewel Wicker’s Atlanta Untrapped column every week at www.creativeloafing.com/ATL-Untrapped.    Samuel Kenwright XXXTentacion in February 2018.                                   ATLANTA UNTRAPPED: Don’t tell anyone how to process XXXTentacion’s life and death "
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Article

Friday June 22, 2018 01:02 am EDT
Following news that the rapper had been gunned down, reactions varied | more...
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  string(3754) "If you only focus on the headliners for this year’s ONE Musicfest, you’ll miss the most exciting part of the lineup. Cardi B is certainly a win for the homegrown urban music fest, and repeat headliner Nas who’s performing at the same festival as his ex-wife, who recently accused him of being abusive, will make for heated internet fodder. R&B singer Miguel also receives top billing at the two-day festival, which has moved from Lakewood Amphitheatre to Central Park.

But none of this is more important than The ATL Crunk Set at the bottom of the announcement. Skim the announcement and you might miss it. 

Atlanta hip-hop DJ Nabs will host the set, which includes YoungBloodZ, Ying Yang Twins, Eastside Boyz, Trillville, and Kilo Ali. Similar to 2016’s Dungeon Family set, this lineup pays homage to acts that have long contributed to Atlanta, which remains a cultural hub for urban music. Like the 2016 set, there are sure to be countless guest appearances during this festival. In addition to the “ATL Crunk Set,” Jeezy and T.I. will also perform during the festival, as will Wondaland duo St. Beauty.

This festival isn’t just a win for local rap fans, though. Hip-hop artists Common, Big Sean, and Big K.R.I.T. are expected to perform, as are funk legends George Clinton & Parliament, R&B staples Brandy and Teedra Moses, and new favorites DVSN and Jessie Reyez. 

It’s no secret that I’m not fond of festivals. I cover them because it’s my job but, personally, I rarely come across a festival lineup that justifies spending a day (or two or three) in a dusty field huddled together with people I don’t know. I covered Shaky Knees last month and a man literally whipped his penis out and peed next to me in the crowd during Jack White. Festivals are almost always a hard pass for me, unless I’m being paid to attend them.

But, I wouldn’t miss this ONE MusicFest lineup for anything. This lineup, specifically the “ATL Crunk Set,” is a nostalgic moment for me that can’t easily be parallelled. When I think of the 2000s and the success that Atlanta’s crunk artists enjoyed, it reminds me of the time when I was developing my own taste as a music enthusiast. 

My early love for music stemmed from the music my mom and older relatives listened to. As much as I would have loved to be around in the heyday of LaFace and Freaknik, I wasn’t old enough to be part of the excitement. I did my favorite childhood dance, the “Bankhead Bounce,” because my cousins made it look cool. The peak of crunk music, the time when the artists featured in ONE Musicfest’s lineup reigned over Atlanta music and beyond, was one of my earliest memories, forming my own love for music outside older influencers. Attending school in Southwest Atlanta, these artists and their music were a source of pride for me. It didn’t dawn on me until much later in life that everyone didn’t grow up having music videos filmed in their neighborhoods (YoungBloodZ “Damn” was filmed outside of the now defunct Abdullah the Butcher on Campbellton, a restaurant my family often frequented) or having celebrities so accessible. I attribute my love for hip-hop and music in general to growing up in Atlanta around this time, and I assume, people who are older than me feel just as strongly, if not stronger, about this music as I do. 

If you miss this festival, you might want to turn off your phone in the days that follow. It’s sure to be the topic of discussion on social media and in group chats for ATLiens.

One Musicfest. $110 + Sept. 8-9. Central Park, 400 Merritts Ave. NE. www.onemusicfest.com.

Read Jewel Wicker’s Atlanta Untrapped column every week at www.creativeloafing.com/ATL-Untrapped."
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''[https://onemusicfest.com/|~~#000000:One Musicfest. $110 + Sept. 8-9. Central Park, 400 Merritts Ave. NE. www.onemusicfest.com.~~]''

''[https://creativeloafing.com/ATL-Untrapped|~~#000000:Read Jewel Wicker’s Atlanta Untrapped column every week at www.creativeloafing.com/ATL-Untrapped.~~]''"
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  string(4249) " YinYangTwins  2018-06-13T16:46:47+00:00 YinYangTwins.jpg     The headliners aren’t the most exciting part of this homegrown throwdown 6549  2018-06-13T16:43:04+00:00 ATLANTA UNTRAPPED: ONE Musicfest gets crunk chad.radford@creativeloafing.com Chad Radford Jewel Wicker  2018-06-13T16:43:04+00:00  If you only focus on the headliners for this year’s ONE Musicfest, you’ll miss the most exciting part of the lineup. Cardi B is certainly a win for the homegrown urban music fest, and repeat headliner Nas who’s performing at the same festival as his ex-wife, who recently accused him of being abusive, will make for heated internet fodder. R&B singer Miguel also receives top billing at the two-day festival, which has moved from Lakewood Amphitheatre to Central Park.

But none of this is more important than The ATL Crunk Set at the bottom of the announcement. Skim the announcement and you might miss it. 

Atlanta hip-hop DJ Nabs will host the set, which includes YoungBloodZ, Ying Yang Twins, Eastside Boyz, Trillville, and Kilo Ali. Similar to 2016’s Dungeon Family set, this lineup pays homage to acts that have long contributed to Atlanta, which remains a cultural hub for urban music. Like the 2016 set, there are sure to be countless guest appearances during this festival. In addition to the “ATL Crunk Set,” Jeezy and T.I. will also perform during the festival, as will Wondaland duo St. Beauty.

This festival isn’t just a win for local rap fans, though. Hip-hop artists Common, Big Sean, and Big K.R.I.T. are expected to perform, as are funk legends George Clinton & Parliament, R&B staples Brandy and Teedra Moses, and new favorites DVSN and Jessie Reyez. 

It’s no secret that I’m not fond of festivals. I cover them because it’s my job but, personally, I rarely come across a festival lineup that justifies spending a day (or two or three) in a dusty field huddled together with people I don’t know. I covered Shaky Knees last month and a man literally whipped his penis out and peed next to me in the crowd during Jack White. Festivals are almost always a hard pass for me, unless I’m being paid to attend them.

But, I wouldn’t miss this ONE MusicFest lineup for anything. This lineup, specifically the “ATL Crunk Set,” is a nostalgic moment for me that can’t easily be parallelled. When I think of the 2000s and the success that Atlanta’s crunk artists enjoyed, it reminds me of the time when I was developing my own taste as a music enthusiast. 

My early love for music stemmed from the music my mom and older relatives listened to. As much as I would have loved to be around in the heyday of LaFace and Freaknik, I wasn’t old enough to be part of the excitement. I did my favorite childhood dance, the “Bankhead Bounce,” because my cousins made it look cool. The peak of crunk music, the time when the artists featured in ONE Musicfest’s lineup reigned over Atlanta music and beyond, was one of my earliest memories, forming my own love for music outside older influencers. Attending school in Southwest Atlanta, these artists and their music were a source of pride for me. It didn’t dawn on me until much later in life that everyone didn’t grow up having music videos filmed in their neighborhoods (YoungBloodZ “Damn” was filmed outside of the now defunct Abdullah the Butcher on Campbellton, a restaurant my family often frequented) or having celebrities so accessible. I attribute my love for hip-hop and music in general to growing up in Atlanta around this time, and I assume, people who are older than me feel just as strongly, if not stronger, about this music as I do. 

If you miss this festival, you might want to turn off your phone in the days that follow. It’s sure to be the topic of discussion on social media and in group chats for ATLiens.

One Musicfest. $110 + Sept. 8-9. Central Park, 400 Merritts Ave. NE. www.onemusicfest.com.

Read Jewel Wicker’s Atlanta Untrapped column every week at www.creativeloafing.com/ATL-Untrapped.    Courtesy Big Hassle SALT SHAKER: The Ying Yang Twins' Kaine (from left) and D-Roc are Atlanta crunk ambassadors.                                   ATLANTA UNTRAPPED: ONE Musicfest gets crunk "
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Article

Wednesday June 13, 2018 12:43 pm EDT
The headliners aren’t the most exciting part of this homegrown throwdown | more...
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  string(47) "ATLANTA UNTRAPPED: Deante Hitchcock's ascension"
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  string(55) "The Atlanta rapper is preparing to take over the summer"
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  string(55) "The Atlanta rapper is preparing to take over the summer"
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  string(4090) "The first time I met Deante Hitchcock in person was at the listening party for St. Beauty’s Running To the Sun. Hitchcock, who’d secured a spot on the album rapping a verse on the seductive “Tides,” wasn’t tucked behind the DJ booth. As St. Beauty and the Wondaland crew stood alongside Janelle Monáe, quietly and proudly listening to the fruits of his labor, Hitchcock was in the crowd dancing and eliciting cheers. 

This wasn’t the type of dancing that rappers such as Dem Franchize Boyz became famous for incorporating into their music in the early 2000s, dances that involve a few simple moves and can be done by even the rhythmically challenged. This wasn’t the Bankhead Bounce. Hitchcock was spinning on the floor, breakdance-style.

I asked the 25-year-old rapper about this moment when I met with him recently at Hodgepodge Coffeehouse and Gallery in East Atlanta. Trying to down several gallons of water and recovering from a night of celebrating a friend’s birthday with shots, he said he had no recollection of that moment at St. Beauty’s release party. He blamed Hennessey. But he also said what I observed was indicative of how he is at most parties: “If I’m lit, I’m probably dancing.” 

An RCA Records-signee, Hitchcock’s talent and the support he’s garnered suggest he’s on his way to becoming one of Atlanta’s next stars. But for now, he’s still grinding, like many of Atlanta’s most creative artists on the cusp of greatness. When we met up, he’d just returned from Washington, D.C., where he was filming a video with labelmate Goldlink. RCA is gearing up to push “Wide Open,” a track that samples Maxwell’s “Bad Habits,” as Hitchcock’s first big label release. Hitchcock describes it as a love song that “isn’t corny.” The video is scheduled for a summer release. 

“Wide Open” comes from 2017’s So Much for Good Luck EP. Released last October, the project shows off Hitchcock’s range as a rapper and finds him reflecting on his struggles just as much as he brags about his success. “Thinking back when I lived with my mama /  hold up wait I still live with my mama,” he raps on “Ascension.” 

Hitchcock lived near Greenbriar Mall until he was around eight years old. He spent most of his childhood in Riverdale and credits the area with developing his love for everything from drawing and dancing to skating. As a kid, he was more interested in going to Sparkles Family Fun Center than going to the studio. Around this time, though he was inspired by artists such as Soulja Boy to take up dancing, Hitchcock says he had no interest in rapping until his uncle put him in a group called the Tainted Clique at the age of 11. He started out as a face for the music, rapping the words written by his uncle. It wasn’t until he was discovered on Instagram by RCA executive Mark Pitts that his career began to take off. While participating in the #SoGoneChallenge, where stars such as Chance the Rapper revitalized a throwback Monica hit, Hitchcock, rapping about Black Lives Matter, caught the attention of rap fans and industry leaders. He says it took two messages from Pitts before he believed he wasn’t being trolled. 

“I went to his page and he had a lot of followers. I thought someone was trying to play me so I didn’t answer,” he says. “When I finally answered he had us on a plane within a week or two to New York.”

As mainstream Atlanta rappers dominate the trap sound, Hitchcock is looking for a way to showcase his various interests artistically without coming across as inauthentic. He hopes his music can reflect his love for artists such as J. Cole and Kendrick just as much as his appreciation for rappers like Young Thug. He wants to rap about real life issues, but he also wants to dance and make club music. “I want to do both,” he says, before stopping to correct himself. “Fuck what anybody is talking about, I’m going to do both.”

Read Jewel Wicker’s Atlanta Untrapped column every week at www.creativeloafing.com/ATL-Untrapped."
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  string(4225) "~~#000000:The first time I met Deante Hitchcock in person was at the listening party for St. Beauty’s ''Running To the Sun''. Hitchcock, who’d secured a spot on the album rapping a verse on the seductive “Tides,” wasn’t tucked behind the DJ booth. As St. Beauty and the Wondaland crew stood alongside Janelle Monáe, quietly and proudly listening to the fruits of his labor, Hitchcock was in the crowd dancing and eliciting cheers. ~~

~~#000000:This wasn’t the type of dancing that rappers such as Dem Franchize Boyz became famous for incorporating into their music in the early 2000s, dances that involve a few simple moves and can be done by even the rhythmically challenged. This wasn’t the Bankhead Bounce. Hitchcock was spinning on the floor, breakdance-style.~~

~~#000000:I asked the 25-year-old rapper about this moment when I met with him recently at Hodgepodge Coffeehouse and Gallery in East Atlanta. Trying to down several gallons of water and recovering from a night of celebrating a friend’s birthday with shots, he said he had no recollection of that moment at St. Beauty’s release party. He blamed Hennessey. But he also said what I observed was indicative of how he is at most parties: “If I’m lit, I’m probably dancing.” ~~

~~#000000:An RCA Records-signee, Hitchcock’s talent and the support he’s garnered suggest he’s on his way to becoming one of Atlanta’s next stars. But for now, he’s still grinding, like many of Atlanta’s most creative artists on the cusp of greatness. When we met up, he’d just returned from Washington, D.C., where he was filming a video with labelmate Goldlink. RCA is gearing up to push “Wide Open,” a track that samples Maxwell’s “Bad Habits,” as Hitchcock’s first big label release. Hitchcock describes it as a love song that “isn’t corny.” The video is scheduled for a summer release. ~~

~~#000000:“Wide Open” comes from 2017’s ''So Much for Good Luck'' EP. Released last October, the project shows off Hitchcock’s range as a rapper and finds him reflecting on his struggles just as much as he brags about his success. “Thinking back when I lived with my mama /  hold up wait I still live with my mama,” he raps on “Ascension.” ~~

~~#000000:Hitchcock lived near Greenbriar Mall until he was around eight years old. He spent most of his childhood in Riverdale and credits the area with developing his love for everything from drawing and dancing to skating. As a kid, he was more interested in going to Sparkles Family Fun Center than going to the studio. Around this time, though he was inspired by artists such as Soulja Boy to take up dancing, Hitchcock says he had no interest in rapping until his uncle put him in a group called the Tainted Clique at the age of 11. He started out as a face for the music, rapping the words written by his uncle. It wasn’t until he was discovered on Instagram by RCA executive Mark Pitts that his career began to take off. While participating in the #SoGoneChallenge, where stars such as Chance the Rapper revitalized a throwback Monica hit, Hitchcock, rapping about Black Lives Matter, caught the attention of rap fans and industry leaders. He says it took two messages from Pitts before he believed he wasn’t being trolled. ~~

~~#000000:“I went to his page and he had a lot of followers. I thought someone was trying to play me so I didn’t answer,” he says. “~~[[When I finally answered]~~#000000: he had us on a plane within a week or two to New York.”~~

~~#000000:As mainstream Atlanta rappers dominate the trap sound, Hitchcock is looking for a way to showcase his various interests artistically without coming across as inauthentic. He hopes his music can reflect his love for artists such as J. Cole and Kendrick just as much as his appreciation for rappers like Young Thug. He wants to rap about real life issues, but he also wants to dance and make club music. “I want to do both,” he says, before stopping to correct himself. “Fuck what anybody is talking about, I’m going to do both.”~~

''~~#000000:Read Jewel Wicker’s Atlanta Untrapped column every week at www.creativeloafing.com/ATL-Untrapped.~~''"
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  string(4557) " Deante  2018-06-07T17:21:48+00:00 Deante     The Atlanta rapper is preparing to take over the summer 6358  2018-06-07T17:21:21+00:00 ATLANTA UNTRAPPED: Deante Hitchcock's ascension lilyjguthrie@gmail.com lilyjguthrie Jewel Wicker  2018-06-07T17:21:21+00:00  The first time I met Deante Hitchcock in person was at the listening party for St. Beauty’s Running To the Sun. Hitchcock, who’d secured a spot on the album rapping a verse on the seductive “Tides,” wasn’t tucked behind the DJ booth. As St. Beauty and the Wondaland crew stood alongside Janelle Monáe, quietly and proudly listening to the fruits of his labor, Hitchcock was in the crowd dancing and eliciting cheers. 

This wasn’t the type of dancing that rappers such as Dem Franchize Boyz became famous for incorporating into their music in the early 2000s, dances that involve a few simple moves and can be done by even the rhythmically challenged. This wasn’t the Bankhead Bounce. Hitchcock was spinning on the floor, breakdance-style.

I asked the 25-year-old rapper about this moment when I met with him recently at Hodgepodge Coffeehouse and Gallery in East Atlanta. Trying to down several gallons of water and recovering from a night of celebrating a friend’s birthday with shots, he said he had no recollection of that moment at St. Beauty’s release party. He blamed Hennessey. But he also said what I observed was indicative of how he is at most parties: “If I’m lit, I’m probably dancing.” 

An RCA Records-signee, Hitchcock’s talent and the support he’s garnered suggest he’s on his way to becoming one of Atlanta’s next stars. But for now, he’s still grinding, like many of Atlanta’s most creative artists on the cusp of greatness. When we met up, he’d just returned from Washington, D.C., where he was filming a video with labelmate Goldlink. RCA is gearing up to push “Wide Open,” a track that samples Maxwell’s “Bad Habits,” as Hitchcock’s first big label release. Hitchcock describes it as a love song that “isn’t corny.” The video is scheduled for a summer release. 

“Wide Open” comes from 2017’s So Much for Good Luck EP. Released last October, the project shows off Hitchcock’s range as a rapper and finds him reflecting on his struggles just as much as he brags about his success. “Thinking back when I lived with my mama /  hold up wait I still live with my mama,” he raps on “Ascension.” 

Hitchcock lived near Greenbriar Mall until he was around eight years old. He spent most of his childhood in Riverdale and credits the area with developing his love for everything from drawing and dancing to skating. As a kid, he was more interested in going to Sparkles Family Fun Center than going to the studio. Around this time, though he was inspired by artists such as Soulja Boy to take up dancing, Hitchcock says he had no interest in rapping until his uncle put him in a group called the Tainted Clique at the age of 11. He started out as a face for the music, rapping the words written by his uncle. It wasn’t until he was discovered on Instagram by RCA executive Mark Pitts that his career began to take off. While participating in the #SoGoneChallenge, where stars such as Chance the Rapper revitalized a throwback Monica hit, Hitchcock, rapping about Black Lives Matter, caught the attention of rap fans and industry leaders. He says it took two messages from Pitts before he believed he wasn’t being trolled. 

“I went to his page and he had a lot of followers. I thought someone was trying to play me so I didn’t answer,” he says. “When I finally answered he had us on a plane within a week or two to New York.”

As mainstream Atlanta rappers dominate the trap sound, Hitchcock is looking for a way to showcase his various interests artistically without coming across as inauthentic. He hopes his music can reflect his love for artists such as J. Cole and Kendrick just as much as his appreciation for rappers like Young Thug. He wants to rap about real life issues, but he also wants to dance and make club music. “I want to do both,” he says, before stopping to correct himself. “Fuck what anybody is talking about, I’m going to do both.”

Read Jewel Wicker’s Atlanta Untrapped column every week at www.creativeloafing.com/ATL-Untrapped.    Courtesy Deante Hitchcock SO MUCH FOR GOOD LUCK: Deante Hitchcock raps about real-life issues, to the tune of club music.                                   ATLANTA UNTRAPPED: Deante Hitchcock's ascension "
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Article

Thursday June 7, 2018 01:21 pm EDT
The Atlanta rapper is preparing to take over the summer | more...
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Article

Tuesday June 5, 2018 11:22 am EDT
Progressive urban music fest brings impressive new line-up to Central Park | more...
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There’s nothing particularly extraordinary or novel about Lil Baby but he’s not exactly boring either. He just is.

On his debut album Harder Than Ever southwest Atlanta the rapper presents his music in a matter of fact style. Either you like it or you don’t. “Real dope boy I ain’t nothing like the weirdos,” he raps on the album’s opener, “Intro.” It’s refreshing to see a rapper delivering rhymes without the flash. We’re in an era where eccentricity sells. But there’s something strangely rebellious about Lil Baby’s nonchalant, autotuned delivery.

Born Dominique Jones, Lil Baby is still pretty early in his career and there’s certainly promise in his artistry. The 23-year-old Quality Control signee has only been rapping for a little more than a year, releasing four mixtapes ahead of his label debut earlier this month. 
On Harder Than Ever, released in May, the newcomer teamed up with everyone from Drake to Atlanta’s Gunna and fellow QC artist Offset. On “Yes Indeed,” the Drake collaboration, Lil Baby delivers one of the catchiest hooks of the project, as well as one of the most hilariously absurd lyrics (“wah wah wah, bitch I’m the baby”).

On the hook for “Cash,” he mimics the melodic styling of his friend, Young Thug. On other songs, he displays a vulnerability that helps fans understand his motivations as a new artist.

On the Young Thug-assisted “Right Now,” he raps “I’ve been having nightmares about going back to jail, so I wake up. Drankin' all this lean, poppin' Adderall so I can stay up.” On “Leaked,” he reflects on his relationship with a love interest (“How you gone be in your feelings when I’m in my feelings? We both can’t be in our feelings”).

Quay Global, the young producer who has worked with rappers such as Young Thug and Migos, lands several placements on this project, and his beats are one of the most compelling things about Harder Than Ever. In an interview in January, the Atlanta producer revealed his dedication to music. “I don’t even have a bed. I sleep on a futon. My room is a full blown studio,” he said. “I’m in the studio 24 hours a day."

Quay Global was the producer behind “My Dawg,” the hit single that was released months into Lil Baby’s career as a rapper last year. Over a repetitive keyboard melody, the rapper, who had recently been released from a two year stint in prison, talks about loyalty before the simple but effective hook (“That’s my dawg fa sho. That’s my dawg.”) comes in.

In a Genius annotation for the song, Lil Baby says “I don’t have a writing process. I just go in the booth and say something and leave. Just working and punch in.” 
His work style and his dedication to loyalty was shown again on another earlier release, “Freestyle.” This laid-back style will either be to the rapper’s advantage or lead to his downfall. But, with the powerful Quality Control brand behind him and Lil Baby’s determination to make a name for himself in a new world, it’ll likely be the former rather than the latter.

Read Jewel Wicker’s Atlanta Untrapped column every week at www.creativeloafing.com/ATL-Untrapped."
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~~#000000:There’s nothing particularly extraordinary or novel about ~~[https://soundcloud.com/lil-baby-4pf|~~#000000:Lil Baby~~]~~#000000: but he’s not exactly boring either. He just is.~~

~~#000000:On his debut album ''Harder Than Ever'' southwest Atlanta the rapper presents his music in a matter of fact style. Either you like it or you don’t. “Real dope boy I ain’t nothing like the weirdos,” he raps on the album’s opener, “Intro.” It’s refreshing to see a rapper delivering rhymes without the flash. We’re in an era where eccentricity sells. But there’s something strangely rebellious about Lil Baby’s nonchalant, autotuned delivery.~~

~~#000000:Born Dominique Jones, Lil Baby is still pretty early in his career and there’s certainly promise in his artistry. The 23-year-old Quality Control signee has only been rapping for a little more than a year, releasing four mixtapes ahead of his label debut earlier this month. ~~
~~#000000:On ''Harder Than Ever'', released in May, the newcomer teamed up with everyone from Drake to Atlanta’s Gunna and fellow QC artist Offset. On “Yes Indeed,” the Drake collaboration, Lil Baby delivers one of the catchiest hooks of the project, as well as one of the most hilariously absurd lyrics (“wah wah wah, bitch I’m the baby”).~~

~~#000000:On the hook for “Cash,” he mimics the melodic styling of his friend, Young Thug. On other songs, he displays a vulnerability that helps fans understand his motivations as a new artist.~~

~~#000000:On the Young Thug-assisted “Right Now,” he raps “I’ve been having nightmares about going back to jail, so I wake up. Drankin' all this lean, poppin' Adderall so I can stay up.” On “Leaked,” he reflects on his relationship with a love interest (“How you gone be in your feelings when I’m in my feelings? We both can’t be in our feelings”).~~

~~#000000:Quay Global, the young producer who has worked with rappers such as Young Thug and Migos, lands several placements on this project, and his beats are one of the most compelling things about ''Harder Than Ever''. In an interview in January, the Atlanta producer revealed his dedication to music. “I don’t even have a bed. I sleep on a futon. My room is a full blown studio,” he said. “I’m in the studio 24 hours a day."~~

~~#000000:Quay Global was the producer behind “My Dawg,” the hit single that was released months into Lil Baby’s career as a rapper last year. Over a repetitive keyboard melody, the rapper, who had recently been released from a two year stint in prison, talks about loyalty before the simple but effective hook (“That’s my dawg fa sho. That’s my dawg.”) comes in.~~

~~#000000:In a [https://genius.com/artists/Lil-baby|Genius annotation] for the song, Lil Baby says “I don’t have a writing process. I just go in the booth and say something and leave. Just working and punch in.” ~~
~~#000000:His work style and his dedication to loyalty was shown again on another earlier release, “Freestyle.” This laid-back style will either be to the rapper’s advantage or lead to his downfall. But, with the powerful Quality Control brand behind him and Lil Baby’s determination to make a name for himself in a new world, it’ll likely be the former rather than the latter.~~

''[https://creativeloafing.com/ATL-Untrapped|Read Jewel Wicker’s Atlanta Untrapped column every week at www.creativeloafing.com/ATL-Untrapped.]''"
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  string(3825) " Music SummerJams21 7 11  2018-06-01T17:01:36+00:00 Music_SummerJams21-7_11.jpg     ‘Harder Than Ever’ isn’t extraordinary, but the Atlanta rapper is destined for success 6101  2018-06-01T16:55:22+00:00 ATLANTA UNTRAPPED: Lil Baby is Quality Control’s next big star chad.radford@creativeloafing.com Chad Radford Jewel Wicker  2018-06-01T16:55:22+00:00   

There’s nothing particularly extraordinary or novel about Lil Baby but he’s not exactly boring either. He just is.

On his debut album Harder Than Ever southwest Atlanta the rapper presents his music in a matter of fact style. Either you like it or you don’t. “Real dope boy I ain’t nothing like the weirdos,” he raps on the album’s opener, “Intro.” It’s refreshing to see a rapper delivering rhymes without the flash. We’re in an era where eccentricity sells. But there’s something strangely rebellious about Lil Baby’s nonchalant, autotuned delivery.

Born Dominique Jones, Lil Baby is still pretty early in his career and there’s certainly promise in his artistry. The 23-year-old Quality Control signee has only been rapping for a little more than a year, releasing four mixtapes ahead of his label debut earlier this month. 
On Harder Than Ever, released in May, the newcomer teamed up with everyone from Drake to Atlanta’s Gunna and fellow QC artist Offset. On “Yes Indeed,” the Drake collaboration, Lil Baby delivers one of the catchiest hooks of the project, as well as one of the most hilariously absurd lyrics (“wah wah wah, bitch I’m the baby”).

On the hook for “Cash,” he mimics the melodic styling of his friend, Young Thug. On other songs, he displays a vulnerability that helps fans understand his motivations as a new artist.

On the Young Thug-assisted “Right Now,” he raps “I’ve been having nightmares about going back to jail, so I wake up. Drankin' all this lean, poppin' Adderall so I can stay up.” On “Leaked,” he reflects on his relationship with a love interest (“How you gone be in your feelings when I’m in my feelings? We both can’t be in our feelings”).

Quay Global, the young producer who has worked with rappers such as Young Thug and Migos, lands several placements on this project, and his beats are one of the most compelling things about Harder Than Ever. In an interview in January, the Atlanta producer revealed his dedication to music. “I don’t even have a bed. I sleep on a futon. My room is a full blown studio,” he said. “I’m in the studio 24 hours a day."

Quay Global was the producer behind “My Dawg,” the hit single that was released months into Lil Baby’s career as a rapper last year. Over a repetitive keyboard melody, the rapper, who had recently been released from a two year stint in prison, talks about loyalty before the simple but effective hook (“That’s my dawg fa sho. That’s my dawg.”) comes in.

In a Genius annotation for the song, Lil Baby says “I don’t have a writing process. I just go in the booth and say something and leave. Just working and punch in.” 
His work style and his dedication to loyalty was shown again on another earlier release, “Freestyle.” This laid-back style will either be to the rapper’s advantage or lead to his downfall. But, with the powerful Quality Control brand behind him and Lil Baby’s determination to make a name for himself in a new world, it’ll likely be the former rather than the latter.

Read Jewel Wicker’s Atlanta Untrapped column every week at www.creativeloafing.com/ATL-Untrapped.    Courtesy Quality Control/Motown Records/Capitol Records HARDER THAN EVER: Southwest Atlanta rapper Lil Baby released his debut album in May.                                   ATLANTA UNTRAPPED: Lil Baby is Quality Control’s next big star "
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Friday June 1, 2018 12:55 pm EDT
‘Harder Than Ever’ isn’t extraordinary, but the Atlanta rapper is destined for success | more...
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  ["title"]=>
  string(84) "ATLANTA UNTRAPPED: As companies distance themselves from R. Kelly, fans remain loyal"
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  string(74) "The disgraced rapper’s streaming numbers are no incentive to #MuteRKelly"
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  string(74) "The disgraced rapper’s streaming numbers are no incentive to #MuteRKelly"
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  string(5594) "Two weeks after Spotify announced new policies that would affect artists who create “hate content” or demonstrate hateful conduct in their personal lives, we still have more questions than we have answers. And, the conversation surrounding how we as a society should handle claims of sexual misconduct remains as polarizing as ever. 
The questions posed by Spotify’s new policy are good, necessary questions, even if the rollout was poorly executed. Companies should be grappling with whether or not they have a responsibility to the public when it comes to the people and content they’re promoting. But, in a world where violating women isn’t always taken seriously by the public, creating a policy that distances itself from artists accused of crimes against women is challenging. For example, in the case of R. Kelly, there is no conviction to prove that he is guilty of the decades of accusations of sexual misconduct from women, but there is proof that he married a 15-year-old when he was 27.
Even with its flaws (including the valid question of whether or not the policy will affect controversial musicians outside of urban music genres), the policy is beginning a conversation that leaders within the industry should’ve begun having years ago. 
Earlier this month Spotify reacted to public outcry (#MuteRKelly) surrounding repeated sexual misconduct accusations against R. Kelly by announcing new policies that banned him from their playlists.
The new company policies stated that the streaming service would refrain from promoting artists who have participated in conduct that was especially harmful or hateful. 
“We work with and support artists in different ways — we make their music available on Spotify and help connect them to new and existing fans, we program and promote their music, and we collaborate with them to create content,” a press announcement reads. “While we don’t believe in censoring content because of an artist’s or creator’s behavior, we want our editorial decisions — what we choose to program — to reflect our values. So, in some circumstances, when an artist or creator does something that is especially harmful or hateful (for example, violence against children and sexual violence), it may affect the ways we work with or support that artist or creator.”
The policy has affected R. Kelly, removing him from popular playlists that could potentially drive fans to stream more of his content. The Verge reports other services such as Apple Music and Pandora have also quietly removed Kelly from playlists. Weeks after the policy was announced and XXXTentacion’s music was removed from playlists, Spotify has begun to program his content again following outrage from people throughout the industry. It’s important to remember throughout all of this that Spotify is still partially owned by major labels. Its stakeholders likely want to know that their artists personal lives won’t affect their bottom lines.
But, new reports released this week suggest that hasn’t deterred some people from seeking out the music on their own. According to the Associated Press, R. Kelly’s Spotify streams have been unaffected by him being pulled from curated playlists. The news agency says “before the announcement, he averaged 6,584,000 weekly streams for the year. But from May 10 to May 16 he garnered 6,676,000 streams for the week, according to Nielsen Music.” 
One look at R. Kelly’s social feed shows that many of the musician’s fans are as loyal as ever. When Kelly posted screenshots of an article from Complex about his recent streaming numbers, some fans were quick to shower him with praise. 
“When @spotify closes the door, God opens the windows and when @Spotify closes the windows God opens the whole roof and Kells will fly like an eagle, rise Kells rise,” one Twitter user says. 
“We wasn't gone mute Our Kelly. We love you mane,” another person says. 
Slate recently pointed out that while Kelly’s music might have been removed from playlists, the artist has a long history of producing and writing for other artists and those songs appear to be unaffected. For instance, “Back & Forth,” a song Kelly created with singer Aaliyah remains on popular curated playlists. Kelly famously married Aaliyah when she was 15 and he was 27. The marriage was annulled. 
Essentially, the policy was a strong social play on Spotify’s part, although the company’s announcement that it won’t be announcing every artist that is affected certainly raises questions regarding whether or not the policy will be fairly implemented. 
In the end, Kelly has emerged unscathed. As usual. Spotify’s policy wasn’t necessarily seeking to harm artists, although not appearing on playlists certainly could be damaging to a newer artists’ career.
While I certainly think more companies should implement policies that don’t uplift the voices of abusers (and not just abusers of color), R. Kelly’s streaming numbers this week are proof of why many companies won’t. It would be nice if companies did the right thing and decided that they weren’t interested in doing business with someone who has a long history of being a predator, but expecting capitalists to take the moral high ground will always be a major risk. It’s more likely that the entertainment industry will continue to back abusers as long as consumers continue to prove that doing so is lucrative.​​​​​​

Read Jewel Wicker’s Atlanta Untrapped column every week at www.creativeloafing.com/ATL-Untrapped."
  ["tracker_field_contentWikiPage_raw"]=>
  string(6153) "Two weeks after Spotify announced new policies that would affect artists who create “hate content” or demonstrate hateful conduct in their personal lives, we still have more questions than we have answers. And, the conversation surrounding how we as a society should handle claims of sexual misconduct remains as polarizing as ever. 
The questions posed by Spotify’s new policy are good, necessary questions, even if the rollout was poorly executed. Companies should be grappling with whether or not they have a responsibility to the public when it comes to the people and content they’re promoting. But, in a world where violating women isn’t always taken seriously by the public, creating a policy that distances itself from artists accused of crimes against women is challenging. For example, in the case of R. Kelly, there is no conviction to prove that he is guilty of the decades of accusations of sexual misconduct from women, but there is proof that he married a 15-year-old when he was 27.
Even with its flaws [https://www.billboard.com/articles/business/8456668/spotify-conduct-policy-fallout-streams-drop-artist-industry-concern|(including the valid question of whether or not the policy will affect controversial musicians outside of urban music genres)], the policy is beginning a conversation that leaders within the industry should’ve begun having years ago. 
Earlier this month Spotify reacted to public outcry (#MuteRKelly) surrounding repeated sexual misconduct accusations against R. Kelly by announcing new policies that banned him from their playlists.
The new company policies stated that the streaming service would refrain from promoting artists who have participated in conduct that was especially harmful or hateful. 
“We work with and support artists in different ways — we make their music available on Spotify and help connect them to new and existing fans, we program and promote their music, and we collaborate with them to create content,” a press announcement reads. “While we don’t believe in censoring content because of an artist’s or creator’s behavior, we want our editorial decisions — what we choose to program — to reflect our values. So, in some circumstances, when an artist or creator does something that is especially harmful or hateful (for example, violence against children and sexual violence), it may affect the ways we work with or support that artist or creator.”
The policy has affected R. Kelly, removing him from popular playlists that could potentially drive fans to stream more of his content. ''[https://www.theverge.com/2018/5/12/17347664/apple-music-pandora-spotify-r-kelly-promoted-curated-playlists-bad-behavior|The Verge]'' reports other services such as Apple Music and Pandora have also quietly removed Kelly from playlists. Weeks after the policy was announced and XXXTentacion’s music was removed from playlists, Spotify has begun to program his content again following outrage from people throughout the industry. It’s important to remember throughout all of this that Spotify is still partially owned by major labels. Its stakeholders likely want to know that their artists personal lives won’t affect their bottom lines.
But, new reports released this week suggest that hasn’t deterred some people from seeking out the music on their own. According to [https://apnews.com/8c761eb0721d48b2b75ac63580b529cf/Despite-Spotify-change,-R.-Kelly's-streams-still-intact|the Associated Press], R. Kelly’s Spotify streams have been unaffected by him being pulled from curated playlists. The news agency says “before the announcement, he averaged 6,584,000 weekly streams for the year. But from May 10 to May 16 he garnered 6,676,000 streams for the week, according to Nielsen Music.” 
One look at R. Kelly’s social feed shows that many of the musician’s fans are as loyal as ever. When Kelly posted screenshots of an article from Complex about his recent streaming numbers, some fans were quick to shower him with praise. 
“When @spotify closes the door, God opens the windows and when @Spotify closes the windows God opens the whole roof and Kells will fly like an eagle, rise Kells rise,” [https://twitter.com/khalil_moyo/status/999356781888450566|one Twitter user says]. 
“We wasn't gone mute Our Kelly. We love you mane,” another person says. 
''[https://slate.com/culture/2018/05/spotify-removes-r-kelly-music-from-it-playlists.html|Slate]'' recently pointed out that while Kelly’s music might have been removed from playlists, the artist has a long history of producing and writing for other artists and those songs appear to be unaffected. For instance, “Back & Forth,” a song Kelly created with singer Aaliyah remains on popular curated playlists. Kelly famously married Aaliyah when she was 15 and he was 27. The marriage was annulled. 
Essentially, the policy was a strong social play on Spotify’s part, although the company’s announcement that it won’t be announcing every artist that is affected certainly raises questions regarding whether or not the policy will be fairly implemented. 
In the end, Kelly has emerged unscathed. As usual. Spotify’s policy wasn’t necessarily seeking to harm artists, although not appearing on playlists certainly could be damaging to a newer artists’ career.
While I certainly think more companies should implement policies that don’t uplift the voices of abusers (and not just abusers of color), R. Kelly’s streaming numbers this week are proof of why many companies won’t. It would be nice if companies did the right thing and decided that they weren’t interested in doing business with someone who has a long history of being a predator, but expecting capitalists to take the moral high ground will always be a major risk. It’s more likely that the entertainment industry will continue to back abusers as long as consumers continue to prove that doing so is lucrative.​​​​​​

''[https://creativeloafing.com/ATL-Untrapped|Read Jewel Wicker’s Atlanta Untrapped column every week at www.creativeloafing.com/ATL-Untrapped.]''"
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  string(6097) " R Kelly  2018-05-29T05:55:29+00:00 R Kelly.jpg     The disgraced rapper’s streaming numbers are no incentive to #MuteRKelly 5993  2018-05-29T09:00:00+00:00 ATLANTA UNTRAPPED: As companies distance themselves from R. Kelly, fans remain loyal chad.radford@creativeloafing.com Chad Radford Jewel Wicker  2018-05-29T09:00:00+00:00  Two weeks after Spotify announced new policies that would affect artists who create “hate content” or demonstrate hateful conduct in their personal lives, we still have more questions than we have answers. And, the conversation surrounding how we as a society should handle claims of sexual misconduct remains as polarizing as ever. 
The questions posed by Spotify’s new policy are good, necessary questions, even if the rollout was poorly executed. Companies should be grappling with whether or not they have a responsibility to the public when it comes to the people and content they’re promoting. But, in a world where violating women isn’t always taken seriously by the public, creating a policy that distances itself from artists accused of crimes against women is challenging. For example, in the case of R. Kelly, there is no conviction to prove that he is guilty of the decades of accusations of sexual misconduct from women, but there is proof that he married a 15-year-old when he was 27.
Even with its flaws (including the valid question of whether or not the policy will affect controversial musicians outside of urban music genres), the policy is beginning a conversation that leaders within the industry should’ve begun having years ago. 
Earlier this month Spotify reacted to public outcry (#MuteRKelly) surrounding repeated sexual misconduct accusations against R. Kelly by announcing new policies that banned him from their playlists.
The new company policies stated that the streaming service would refrain from promoting artists who have participated in conduct that was especially harmful or hateful. 
“We work with and support artists in different ways — we make their music available on Spotify and help connect them to new and existing fans, we program and promote their music, and we collaborate with them to create content,” a press announcement reads. “While we don’t believe in censoring content because of an artist’s or creator’s behavior, we want our editorial decisions — what we choose to program — to reflect our values. So, in some circumstances, when an artist or creator does something that is especially harmful or hateful (for example, violence against children and sexual violence), it may affect the ways we work with or support that artist or creator.”
The policy has affected R. Kelly, removing him from popular playlists that could potentially drive fans to stream more of his content. The Verge reports other services such as Apple Music and Pandora have also quietly removed Kelly from playlists. Weeks after the policy was announced and XXXTentacion’s music was removed from playlists, Spotify has begun to program his content again following outrage from people throughout the industry. It’s important to remember throughout all of this that Spotify is still partially owned by major labels. Its stakeholders likely want to know that their artists personal lives won’t affect their bottom lines.
But, new reports released this week suggest that hasn’t deterred some people from seeking out the music on their own. According to the Associated Press, R. Kelly’s Spotify streams have been unaffected by him being pulled from curated playlists. The news agency says “before the announcement, he averaged 6,584,000 weekly streams for the year. But from May 10 to May 16 he garnered 6,676,000 streams for the week, according to Nielsen Music.” 
One look at R. Kelly’s social feed shows that many of the musician’s fans are as loyal as ever. When Kelly posted screenshots of an article from Complex about his recent streaming numbers, some fans were quick to shower him with praise. 
“When @spotify closes the door, God opens the windows and when @Spotify closes the windows God opens the whole roof and Kells will fly like an eagle, rise Kells rise,” one Twitter user says. 
“We wasn't gone mute Our Kelly. We love you mane,” another person says. 
Slate recently pointed out that while Kelly’s music might have been removed from playlists, the artist has a long history of producing and writing for other artists and those songs appear to be unaffected. For instance, “Back & Forth,” a song Kelly created with singer Aaliyah remains on popular curated playlists. Kelly famously married Aaliyah when she was 15 and he was 27. The marriage was annulled. 
Essentially, the policy was a strong social play on Spotify’s part, although the company’s announcement that it won’t be announcing every artist that is affected certainly raises questions regarding whether or not the policy will be fairly implemented. 
In the end, Kelly has emerged unscathed. As usual. Spotify’s policy wasn’t necessarily seeking to harm artists, although not appearing on playlists certainly could be damaging to a newer artists’ career.
While I certainly think more companies should implement policies that don’t uplift the voices of abusers (and not just abusers of color), R. Kelly’s streaming numbers this week are proof of why many companies won’t. It would be nice if companies did the right thing and decided that they weren’t interested in doing business with someone who has a long history of being a predator, but expecting capitalists to take the moral high ground will always be a major risk. It’s more likely that the entertainment industry will continue to back abusers as long as consumers continue to prove that doing so is lucrative.​​​​​​

Read Jewel Wicker’s Atlanta Untrapped column every week at www.creativeloafing.com/ATL-Untrapped.    Christian Lantry TRAPPED IN THE CLOSET: R. Kelly                                   ATLANTA UNTRAPPED: As companies distance themselves from R. Kelly, fans remain loyal "
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Article

Tuesday May 29, 2018 05:00 am EDT
The disgraced rapper’s streaming numbers are no incentive to #MuteRKelly | more...
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  string(51) "ATLANTA UNTRAPPED: Raury returns to ‘The Woods’"
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  string(2999) "Stone Mountain wonderkid Raury was on a path to stardom just four years ago. Now, the artist has all but disappeared from the scene.

Following a series of business changes, Raury is back where he started, leaking songs, hoping to generate buzz. In April, the 21-year-old songwriter, born Raury Deshawn Tullis, released 22 new songs via Soundcloud. Collectively known as The Woods, the atmospheric project features guest appearances by artists such as Jaixx and Corinne Bailey Rae. Sonically and lyrically, the collection recalls Raury’s early acoustic songs such as “Bloom” and “Sunshine.” In the standout number, “In Due Time,” Raury offers what might be a clue to the recent break when he sings, “Didn’t mean to lose control.”

Raury rose to prominence alongside LVRN, the creative agency and management team based in West Midtown. Back then, the collective was just a group of former party promoters from Georgia State University hoping to break into music. The popularity of their first artist, then 18-year-old Raury, seemed organic, beginning with a series of songs leaked in conjunction with the teen’s senior prom. Co-signs from Andre 3000 of OutKast and Erykah Badu garnered even more attention for the burgeoning artist. Rumors on social media suggested Rauray was backed by a label early on, but his team has always maintained that the popularity of his Indigo Child mixtape, and songs such as “God’s Whisper,” were the impetus for his record deal.

Regardless, by the time Raury released his debut album, All We Are, much of the hype had died. The album underperformed, and eventually Raury parted ways with LVRN and Columbia.

Earlier this year, he tweeted at his former management team, saying, in part:

Thanks for getting me to where u got me @LVRN Justice Junia Carlon Sean Jimmy Gotti Trevon Sean P. Michael Holt Kipper Hilson. 4evrfamily. Truth is we just were never the same from day one and I was always destined for something else, and so are y'all…But yeah ... truth is spirit didn't align y'all to be the one that manage raury you could never an would never get my purpose.

Raury is still finding his voice while fighting to be heard within the industry. What remains as clear as it was the first time I heard Raury is that he is passionate about creating music that expresses the freedom he is seeking in his own life.

In an interview with DJBooth earlier this year, Raury said he’d rather “die than be controlled,” when asked about parting ways with Columbia. “I would rather take my career on a path where I can play with my friends, stay with family, and remain physically, psychologically, and spiritually well.”

As an independent artist, he’s hosted a series of free shows in hopes of creating a sense of intimacy with fans, but it’s still unclear how he plans to make this sustainable long-term.

 

Read Jewel Wicker’s Atlanta Untrapped column each week at www.creativeloafing.com/ATL-Untrapped."
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  string(3650) "~~#000000:Stone Mountain wonderkid Raury was on a path to stardom just four years ago. Now, the artist has all but disappeared from the scene.~~

~~#000000:Following a series of business changes, Raury is back where he started, leaking songs, hoping to generate buzz. In April, the 21-year-old songwriter, born Raury Deshawn Tullis, released 22 new songs via Soundcloud. Collectively known as ~~''[https://soundcloud.com/raury/sets/the-woods|~~#000000:The Woods~~]''~~#000000:, the atmospheric project features guest appearances by artists such as Jaixx and Corinne Bailey Rae. Sonically and lyrically, the collection recalls Raury’s early acoustic songs such as “Bloom” and “Sunshine.” In the standout number, “In Due Time,” Raury offers what might be a clue to the recent break when he sings, “Didn’t mean to lose control.”~~

~~#000000:Raury rose to prominence alongside LVRN, the creative agency and management team based in West Midtown. Back then, the collective was just a group of former party promoters from Georgia State University hoping to break into music. The popularity of their first artist, then 18-year-old Raury, seemed organic, beginning with a series of songs leaked in conjunction with the teen’s senior prom. Co-signs from Andre 3000 of OutKast and Erykah Badu garnered even more attention for the burgeoning artist. Rumors on social media suggested Rauray was backed by a label early on, but his team has always maintained that the popularity of his ''Indigo Child'' mixtape, and songs such as “God’s Whisper,” were the impetus for his record deal.~~

~~#000000:Regardless, by the time Raury released his debut album, ''All We Are'', much of the hype had died. The album underperformed, and eventually Raury parted ways with LVRN and Columbia.~~

~~#000000:Earlier this year, he tweeted at his former management team, saying, in part:~~

''~~#000000:Thanks for getting me to where u got me ~~[https://twitter.com/LVRN|~~#000000:@LVRN~~]~~#000000: Justice Junia Carlon Sean Jimmy Gotti Trevon Sean P. Michael Holt Kipper Hilson. 4evrfamily. Truth is we just were never the same from day one and I was always destined for something else, and so are y'all…But yeah ... truth is spirit didn't align y'all to be the one that manage raury you could never an would never get my purpose.~~''

~~#000000:Raury is still finding his voice while fighting to be heard within the industry. What remains as clear as it was the first time I heard Raury is that he is passionate about creating music that expresses the freedom he is seeking in his own life.~~

~~#000000:In an interview with ~~[https://djbooth.net/features/2018-01-08-raury-interview|~~#000000:DJBooth~~]~~#000000: earlier this year, Raury said he’d rather “die than be controlled,” when asked about parting ways with Columbia. “I would rather take my career on a path where I can play with my friends, stay with family, and remain physically, psychologically, and spiritually well.”~~

~~#000000:As an independent artist, he’s hosted a series of free shows in hopes of creating a sense of intimacy with fans, but it’s still unclear how he plans to make this sustainable long-term.~~

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''[https://creativeloafing.com/ATL-Untrapped|~~#000000:Read Jewel Wicker’s Atlanta Untrapped column each week at www.creativeloafing.com/ATL-Untrapped.~~]''"
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  string(3515) " Music Untrapped13 1 10  2018-05-16T12:10:50+00:00 Music_Untrapped13-1_10.jpeg     The Stone Mountain native has parted ways with LVRN and Columbia Records 5613  2018-05-16T11:59:11+00:00 ATLANTA UNTRAPPED: Raury returns to ‘The Woods’ chad.radford@creativeloafing.com Chad Radford Jewel Wicker  2018-05-16T11:59:11+00:00  Stone Mountain wonderkid Raury was on a path to stardom just four years ago. Now, the artist has all but disappeared from the scene.

Following a series of business changes, Raury is back where he started, leaking songs, hoping to generate buzz. In April, the 21-year-old songwriter, born Raury Deshawn Tullis, released 22 new songs via Soundcloud. Collectively known as The Woods, the atmospheric project features guest appearances by artists such as Jaixx and Corinne Bailey Rae. Sonically and lyrically, the collection recalls Raury’s early acoustic songs such as “Bloom” and “Sunshine.” In the standout number, “In Due Time,” Raury offers what might be a clue to the recent break when he sings, “Didn’t mean to lose control.”

Raury rose to prominence alongside LVRN, the creative agency and management team based in West Midtown. Back then, the collective was just a group of former party promoters from Georgia State University hoping to break into music. The popularity of their first artist, then 18-year-old Raury, seemed organic, beginning with a series of songs leaked in conjunction with the teen’s senior prom. Co-signs from Andre 3000 of OutKast and Erykah Badu garnered even more attention for the burgeoning artist. Rumors on social media suggested Rauray was backed by a label early on, but his team has always maintained that the popularity of his Indigo Child mixtape, and songs such as “God’s Whisper,” were the impetus for his record deal.

Regardless, by the time Raury released his debut album, All We Are, much of the hype had died. The album underperformed, and eventually Raury parted ways with LVRN and Columbia.

Earlier this year, he tweeted at his former management team, saying, in part:

Thanks for getting me to where u got me @LVRN Justice Junia Carlon Sean Jimmy Gotti Trevon Sean P. Michael Holt Kipper Hilson. 4evrfamily. Truth is we just were never the same from day one and I was always destined for something else, and so are y'all…But yeah ... truth is spirit didn't align y'all to be the one that manage raury you could never an would never get my purpose.

Raury is still finding his voice while fighting to be heard within the industry. What remains as clear as it was the first time I heard Raury is that he is passionate about creating music that expresses the freedom he is seeking in his own life.

In an interview with DJBooth earlier this year, Raury said he’d rather “die than be controlled,” when asked about parting ways with Columbia. “I would rather take my career on a path where I can play with my friends, stay with family, and remain physically, psychologically, and spiritually well.”

As an independent artist, he’s hosted a series of free shows in hopes of creating a sense of intimacy with fans, but it’s still unclear how he plans to make this sustainable long-term.

 

Read Jewel Wicker’s Atlanta Untrapped column each week at www.creativeloafing.com/ATL-Untrapped.    Josiah Rundles BACK TO THE BASICS: Raury is back where he started, leaking songs to generate buzz.                                   ATLANTA UNTRAPPED: Raury returns to ‘The Woods’ "
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Article

Wednesday May 16, 2018 07:59 am EDT
The Stone Mountain native has parted ways with LVRN and Columbia Records | more...
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In 2014, I was disappointed when Childish Gambino was announced as the opening act for OutKast’s ATLast three-day run of final shows in Centennial Olympic Park. As an Atlanta native, I’d been waiting for OutKast to announce a hometown show during that year’s festival run. When they did, I expected to see a lineup of epic proportions.

In the end, they delivered just that. Anyone who attended day 3 of the fest got to see a Southern rap odyssey featuring B.o.B, Killer Mike, 8Ball and MJG, Bun B, K Camp, Devin the Dude, Kilo, Gipp, and DJ Unk. Those who attended the on first night got to see the ATL home team featuring Janelle Monáe, Future, and 2 Chainz. In the middle, however, second-day attendees who’d bought tickets before ATLast evolved into a three-day event, got the worst lineup: Kid Cudi, Childish Gambino, and Raury.

To be fair, I was a huge fan of Kid Cudi and I liked newcomer Raury. It wasn’t that I didn’t want to see both artists, but the other lineups fell more in line with the blowout Atlanta festival I’d envisioned. Kid Cudi obviously noticed the crowd wasn’t thrilled by his set because he threw a fit before leaving the stage early. Just like Raury, rapper Donald Glover, a.k.a. Childish Gambino, is from Stone Mountain. But at the time, I didn’t consider him an artist who represented Atlanta culture.

I thought he was weird. He had some catchy songs, but I didn’t get his appeal. In 2016, I started understanding Glover’s appeal, when the first season of “Atlanta” premiered on FX.

As someone who has covered the TV show for two seasons, I’ve grown to appreciate Glover’s perspective on both blackness and Atlanta. I’m fascinated that someone who at one point didn’t seem to represent Atlanta culture at all has carved out a lane in television based on black life in this city. Even when you take into account critiques that Glover’s “Atlanta” caters to a white audience, or doesn’t have enough female representation, it’s still one of the most compelling shows currently on TV.

Glover pulls this off while juggling a music career, under the moniker Childish Gambino, which earned him a Grammy earlier this year.

Back in 2014, if you would’ve told me that Donald Glover would become a “new black hottie”, I wouldn’t have believed you. Just like I wouldn’t have believed that Kanye West had liposuction, one of the same surgeries that led to his mother’s death, or that he’d suggest that slavery was a choice.

West recently commented to TMZ, "When you hear about slavery for 400 years ... For 400 years? That sounds like a choice."

In light of West’s recent antics, I was hoping people would learn a lesson about the pitfalls of placing celebrities on a pedestal. Even genius artists are capable of making awful decisions that disappoint their fans. No one is perfect.

Unfortunately, Glover’s hosting of “SNL” and the subsequent release of the video for his new song “This is America” seems to prove that we as a society still haven’t quite learned this lesson.

Following the video’s release, my social media feed was filled with tweets calling “This Is America” one of the best visuals of our generation, and referring to Glover as a genius. These statements aren’t problematic within themselves. But it is clear that people hold Glover to a standard that will be impossible for him — or anyone — to sustain.

In a recent essay for The Atlantic, Ta-Nehisi Coates wrote about the unfair burden we often place on black artists, including iconic figures such as Michael Jackson and West.

“The gift can never wholly belong to a singular artist, free of expectation and scrutiny, because the gift is no more solely theirs than the suffering that produced it. Michael Jackson did not invent the moonwalk,” Coates writes. “When West raps, “And I basically know now, we get racially profiled/Cuffed up and hosed down, pimped up and ho’d down,” the we is instructive.”

In perhaps one of the most poignant portions of the essay, he continues:

“What Kanye West seeks is what Michael Jackson sought — liberation from the dictates of that we. In his visit with West, the rapper T.I. was stunned to find that West, despite his endorsement of Trump, had never heard of the travel ban. ‘He don’t know the things that we know because he’s removed himself from society to a point where it don’t reach him,’ T.I. said. West calls his struggle the right to be a ‘free thinker,’ and he is, indeed, championing a kind of freedom — a white freedom, freedom without consequence, freedom without criticism, freedom to be proud and ignorant; freedom to profit off a people in one moment and abandon them in the next; a Stand Your Ground freedom, freedom without responsibility, without hard memory; a Monticello without slavery, a Confederate freedom, the freedom of John C. Calhoun, not the freedom of Harriet Tubman, which calls you to risk your own; not the freedom of Nat Turner, which calls you to give even more, but a conqueror’s freedom, freedom of the strong built on antipathy or indifference to the weak, the freedom of rape buttons, pussy grabbers, and fuck you anyway, bitch; freedom of oil and invisible wars, the freedom of suburbs drawn with red lines, the white freedom of Calabasas.”


The burden of the black artist is not one that can be minimized, and it is one that we as consumers must consider more often.

Former CL Culture Writer Rodney Carmichael recently talked about Glover’s “This is America” and his identity as a black artist on NPR’s “All Things Considered.”

"We're really kind of grappling with what our entertainers at that level do with the spotlight they have on them; what kind of message are they projecting out into the world," Carmichael said. "I think with Glover, he wants to be putting out the concerns of black folk, of folks who are voiceless in this world. And I think he wants to present it in a way where it's as challenging to his audience as it is to those outside on a mass scale."

The video is challenging to watch. Glover switches between performing traditional African dances and viral moves before picking up guns and committing violent murders. In one scene, an apparent nod to the Charleston church massacre, Glover shoots and kills several members a church choir. He then gently places the rifle he used on a red cloth before resuming his dancing. The video suggests that society gawks at the violence inflicted upon black bodies with the same level of interest and intrigue that they do viral dance videos that exude black joy. No matter the effects on the individual or the community as a whole, black bodies are often used as a source of entertainment.

This is an important point to make, and one might argue that it must be done in a shocking and controversial way to be effective. As many people have pointed out, it’s unfair and even harmful to expect black people to bear witness to this type of violence all over again.

I’ve never appreciated Glover more than I do today. That appreciation is heightened by my original skepticism of him. I’m happy to have him painting the image of blackness for the masses, even if it’s one that could be more holistic. Still, I recognize that Glover is human and, though he is extremely talented, that means he won’t always get it right. He is one black man who pulls from his own experiences, and from the experiences of those around him. Based on this year’s New Yorker profile, brilliantly titled “Donald Glover Can’t Save You”, he lives a life of isolation that is indicative of many people who have achieved his level of success.

Putting Glover on a pedestal and expecting him to be a perfect representation, as we tend to do with black artists, doesn’t help anyone.

Read Jewel Wicker’s Atlanta Untrapped column every week at www.creativeloafing.com/ATL-Untrapped.

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Article

Wednesday May 9, 2018 01:32 pm EDT
We have to stop holding artists to impossible standards | more...