Vinyl Record: A. Leon Craft, Spaced Out

Spaced Out”“

Excuse second-generation ATLien A. Leon Craft if he sounds slightly obsessed with outer space. His lyrical mix of metaphysics and earthly indulgence finds him with one foot stuck in the firmament, and the other firmly planted in his native Decatur. Before Craft’s solo excursion, he was a Southern rap star on the rise. His and partner Sho Nuff’s bubbly duo Da Backwudz signed with Dallas Austin several years ago. But record label speed bumps and his involvement with Da Backwudz spin-off Labratz hsa since fueled his growth as an independent performer. Lately, he’s been holed up in the studio with producer Sol Messiah and other collaborators including “Spaced Out” producers SMKA Productions as he puts the finishing touches on his solo release, Mothership Decatur, due in late ’09.
— Rodney Carmichael

I remember when Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik came out, I was at Miller Grove Middle School. Back then, we were just listening to booty-shake music and N.W.A. and stuff like that. Most of the music that was coming out of the South was more dance type, but when OutKast came out just rapping, we were like, “Aww man.” It was so fresh and new, we just loved it. Then they came back with ATLiens and that just padlocked it. They just started raising us through music. I remember I used to go to sleep listening to the ATLiens album every night in the little tape deck.

It’s something in the water, man. Like Atlantis, it was an underwater city that they say spaceships flew around in. It was like a civilization that was underwater. I don’t know if Dre and Big brainwashed us or what, but I just feel like there’s a lot of talent down here. That’s no dis to anywhere else in the world, but the music that comes out of Atlanta, you can’t put a label on it. I’m talking about from the underground cats to the commercial cats to the people who are already established in the game. When you blend all of that together, it’s like you can’t put it in a category — and I’m just talking about all the rap dudes. It ain’t street. It ain’t back-packish. It ain’t this, it ain’t that. It’s just different. And it makes us different. That’s why we feel like we alien. We on some other shit.