Loading...
 

Talk of the Town - Take me out July 15 2000

Baseball's past and present collide in Atlanta

The sport once known as "America's pastime" now struggles to win viewers against snowboarding and "Antiques Roadshow" reruns. And the national press has once again been asking a familiar question: Could baseball be on the decline? What better time to examine the game's past and future than All-Star week in Atlanta? And what better place to start my investigation than in the lobby of the Atlanta Hilton, where two powerful-looking, 60-something Latino men are arguing over a stack of free T-shirts?

These weren't just any middle-aged Latinos: They were Hall of Famer Orlando Cepeda and one-time Braves batting champ Rico Carty. Eventually, Cepeda managed to negotiate the release of the entire stack of shirts, which was given him by Major League Baseball. But as he scurried off to put them in his room Carty waged a war of public relations, arguing that Cepeda had borrowed hundreds of shirts from him during the late '60s and early '70s, when both were Braves.

Though Carty retired in 1979, he's in great shape at 60, with forearms bulging and a powerful physique. He stays in shape playing on a traveling team of ex-major leaguers that includes Pedro Guerrero, Mariano Duncan and Joaquin Andujar.

"We bring some heat, man," he says of the team, which is based out of Carty's hometown of Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.

"I love baseball. It's like a fever," says the player known during his playing days here as the "Beeg Boy" because of the way he pronounced his own nickname. "I started playing ball at 9 years old. My father was a boxer, and he wanted me to box. My mother was a midwife, and she wanted me to be a doctor. So, I play baseball."

Eventually, Cepeda returned, sporting a Panama hat and one of his new shirts, probably just to spite Carty. And the two hobbled off together, bickering, the way only the best of friends can.

While baseball's past was out and about during the daylight, baseball's future got its groove on after dark. Hours after Sammy Sosa lit up Turner Field during the Home Run Derby, the party got cranking downtown at Karma.

Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter was the first to arrive, sometime just past midnight. He was immediately swarmed by women, many of whom had just departed the Ricky Martin concert across the street at Philips Arena.

"I've been here when we've played the Braves before," he said, "but also, my sister goes to school here, so I visit her every once in a while."

Jeter was soon greeted by Braves center fielder Andruw Jones, who was escorted by two buxom blondes. (Apparently, Jones's spectacular catches aren't limited to the playing field). While Jones concerned himself with his lady friends, Braves pitcher Kevin Millwood did a little dance to entertain a group of friends clad in golf shirts and pleated Dockers.

A little after 1 a.m., Seattle Mariners shortstop Alex Rodriguez stumbled in, the effects of a concussion he sustained last weekend still visible in his glassy-eyed countenance. A-Rod's PR rep led him to the back of the club, where he chatted with Jeter while making eyes at a woman named Molly, who said she was a paralegal.

By 2:30, the club began clearing out, despite rumors of a later appearance by Ricky Martin. When I exited, A-Rod and Jeter were still at the bar — two of the best shortstops in a generation chatting quietly, like old friends — but not quite old enough to bicker yet.

What's up, Atlanta? Hit me up at 404-688-5623 x.1502 or lang@creativeloafing.com.



More By This Writer

array(82) {
  ["title"]=>
  string(19) "Hawks - Dream team?"
  ["modification_date"]=>
  string(25) "2018-06-13T01:00:53+00:00"
  ["creation_date"]=>
  string(25) "2017-12-10T17:21:45+00:00"
  ["contributors"]=>
  array(1) {
    [0]=>
    string(29) "ben.eason@creativeloafing.com"
  }
  ["date"]=>
  string(25) "2002-10-30T05:04:00+00:00"
  ["tracker_status"]=>
  string(1) "o"
  ["tracker_id"]=>
  string(2) "11"
  ["view_permission"]=>
  string(13) "view_trackers"
  ["tracker_field_contentTitle"]=>
  string(19) "Hawks - Dream team?"
  ["tracker_field_contentCreator"]=>
  string(29) "ben.eason@creativeloafing.com"
  ["tracker_field_contentCreator_text"]=>
  string(9) "Ben Eason"
  ["tracker_field_contentByline"]=>
  string(13) "Lang Whitaker"
  ["tracker_field_contentByline_exact"]=>
  string(13) "Lang Whitaker"
  ["tracker_field_contentBylinePerson"]=>
  string(6) "144546"
  ["tracker_field_contentBylinePerson_text"]=>
  string(7) "1223537"
  ["tracker_field_description"]=>
  string(91) "This season could bring relief for long-suffering Hawks fans. But is it wise to get greedy?"
  ["tracker_field_description_raw"]=>
  string(91) "This season could bring relief for long-suffering Hawks fans. But is it wise to get greedy?"
  ["tracker_field_contentDate"]=>
  string(25) "2002-10-30T05:04:00+00:00"
  ["tracker_field_contentWikiPage"]=>
  string(28) "Content:_:Hawks - Dream team"
  ["tracker_field_contentWikiPage_text"]=>
  string(13852) "They don't make it easy on us. They assign us the colors of a fast-food chain, and they hand us a taxidermed aviary trophy for a logo, which they honestly expect us to cling to and rally around. They play in a flashy downtown arena that hasn't yet had time to develop a soul and is generally so empty it holds little advantage.
Bill Campbell, the Olympics and great players have come and gone. But for the Atlanta Hawks, the wins never come when it counts. While the Braves developed into a stunning model of excellence and even the Falcons provided one thrilling sprint to the finish line, the city's NBA franchise has been in a holding pattern of general mediocrity for almost two decades.

Sure, the Hawks have won games. But they've lost them, too — lots of 'em. Since the 1994-'95 season, the first full season in the post-Dominique Wilkins era, the Hawks have gone a combined 311-256, good for Central Division finishes of fifth, fourth, second, fourth, second, seventh, seventh and sixth. The last year the team won a championship, 1958, the franchise was based in St. Louis. Since then, it's been 45 consecutive years and no ring to show for it. Forty-five years.

This season, the Hawks have the most athletically promising, psychologically sound team they've assembled since trading Wilkins (perhaps their greatest player) almost a decade ago. The franchise PR machine has even gone so far as to guarantee a playoff berth this season.

These are our Atlanta Hawks. Your Atlanta Hawks. My Atlanta Hawks.

Forty-five friggin' years.

As online editor of Slam magazine, I spend the entire NBA season in locker rooms and arenas around the country trying to build relationships with players that will benefit the publication. In the off-season, as players often shift into product-pitchman mode, other opportunities present themselves. Recently I had the chance to play NBA Live 2003 against New Jersey Nets point guard (and NBA MVP runner-up) Jason Kidd. Naturally, Kidd decided to play the videogame using his own Nets. I scrolled over to select the Hawks.

"Are you from Atlanta?" Kidd asked.

"Yeah," I said.

"Figured." Kidd responded. "Why else would anyone play with the Hawks?"

That's because the Atlanta Hawks are the Atlanta Hawks, and we — the few, the proud — are screwed. It has been a spectacularly sublime descent into professional sports fan purgatory, as the Hawks have managed to erase themselves from prominence on sports talk radio, window placement at local malls, game-watching parties at Buckhead bars, and any semblance of the excessive local television coverage of the sort in which Bill Hartman flubs players' names.

And until the Hawks prove themselves winners, even diehard fans will remain skeptical.

"I think Atlanta is a basketball-friendly town," says Hawks head coach Lon Kruger. "But people like to follow teams that win, and we haven't done that. The fans are waiting and seeing."

Hawks General Manager Pete Babcock agrees. "People have debated this for decades. I've heard this for years and years: Is it a basketball city?" he asks rhetorically, alluding to the obvious — that the reason people have argued about it for decades is because Atlanta fans haven't fully embraced the Hawks in decades.

It's something Atlanta fans are notorious for doing — and not just with the Hawks. While many franchises in other cities have waiting lists for season tickets, our city has generally treated its teams like recent parolees, watching and waiting to make sure they're what they claim to be before getting involved. Even the Braves, with their 11 division championships, couldn't sell out Turner Field for this season's pivotal Game Five against the Giants.

The most painful thing for a fan is not that the Hawks haven't taken a few risks along the way, it's that they've never really appeared to be giving it their all. The team hasn't come close to winning a championship, which is really all any self-respecting fan cares about. And right now, there's another a problem no one has been able to crack. These days, the road to any NBA Championship is a road to perdition, a one-way street through downtown Los Angeles with officers Shaquille O'Neal and Kobe Bryant standing watch and handing out tickets.

"We have to be realistic," says Babcock. "There's a window of opportunity right now in the Eastern Conference where it's more wide open. We've got to do everything we can to get better as quickly as possible."

That window was closed during most of the '90s, when Michael Jordan and his Bulls were dominating the NBA. That period coincided with the arrival of Babcock, who has held his position since 1990. He is responsible for bringing current Hawks All-Star power forward Shareef Abdur-Rahim back home to Atlanta, and he was responsible for the acquisition of several outstanding players, including Mookie Blaylock, Steve Smith and Dikembe Mutombo. He's also the guy behind several personnel moves that didn't work out so well (see Rider, J.R.; Manning, Danny).

But why not go all the way? Isn't making the playoffs a team's only goal tantamount to a politician coming out and announcing he hopes to make it only to the primary? To any real fan, the phrase "playoff-bound Atlanta Hawks" should be a heartbreaker, ruining any pre-season expectations — no matter how grounded in fantasy — that the team may be the "championship-bound Atlanta Hawks."

Then again, maybe it's wise to start small.

The closest the Hawks came to winning a championship in my lifetime came during the 1987-'88 season, in the heyday of the Dominique Wilkins era. 'Nique came to the Hawks out of the University of Georgia in 1982 with a 47-inch vertical leap. It was the start of the NBA's Golden Age, when the league would begin to box out baseball and become the commerce-driven global force it is today. The league introduced the world to Larry Bird, Magic Johnson and Michael Jordan. In Atlanta, we got 'Nique. He was our superstar.

In a stretch that defined both Wilkins and the Hawks franchise, the team made it to the Eastern Conference Semifinals in '86-'87 and '87-'88. But in the end, they didn't have enough to go all the way. The Hawks briefly assigned blame to coach Mike Fratello, who left town in 1990. Then Bob Weiss was brought in to run the show. And though he compiled a winning record over three seasons (124 wins, 122 losses), Weiss was jettisoned in 1993 in favor of Lenny Wilkens.

Wilkens was going to change everything. He'd won a championship back in the '70s. Fans were repeatedly reminded that he was about to become the winningest coach in league history. He was also one of the losingest coaches in league history. (Because Wilkens has coached so many games, the misconception is that he has the highest winning percentage of all time. But he's actually lost almost as many games as he's won.)

Nonetheless, Wilkens developed a reputation — an aura — that wouldn't allow people to see him as anything but a winner. So, with the Hawks in first place in the Eastern Conference with a 37-16 record at the halfway mark of the 1993-'94 season, 'Nique was traded to the Los Angeles Clippers for Danny Manning, a versatile forward with a reconstructed knee, who was booed at the Omni in his first game as a Hawk.

"I think the public reaction at the time was split about 50-50," Babcock recalls. "Dominique wanted a long-term contract, and we were only offering a one-year deal. People forget that we won more games that season after the trade than before."

Manning's Hawks would go on to lose in the second round of the playoffs, and Manning used free agency to immediately leave town, essentially kicking the organization and its fans in the crotch and running off to Phoenix. The Hawks were still a quality team after Manning left, stringing together six consecutive, if unremarkable, seasons of at least 50 wins. They treaded water until 1996, when Babcock signed 7-foot-2 center Dikembe Mutombo to anchor the Hawks' defense.

By 1999, with Mutombo's patience running out, the organization rolled the proverbial dice and traded for Portland guard Isaiah "J.R. for the Ladies" Rider, less than five months after the NBA handed him a one-game suspension for going into the stands during a game against Golden State. Rider, whose considerable rap sheet was longer than his impressive stat sheet, showed his love for his new hometown by promptly skipping his introductory press conference in Atlanta. To further boost his rep, Rider missed the first day of Hawks practice, and was late to training camp in Chattanooga after refusing to board the small jet he was to fly on, announcing, "I don't ride no crop dusters."

"Up front, we knew what we were getting into," Babcock says of the Rider fiasco. "It was my responsibility. The effort was to create salary cap room, which it did. But it was too painful a move."

Babcock has made as many personnel moves as any NBA general manager, but the Hawks haven't been able to put it all together. Does he feel any of them have come back haunt him?

"I can't really focus too much on that," he says. "I just try and do the best I can do each day."

Lost in the shuffle of the Rider acquisition was the 1999 NBA Draft, in which Babcock managed to stockpile four first-round selections. With those four choices, the Hawks selected Jason Terry, Dion Glover, Cal Bowdler and Jumaine Jones (who was immediately traded to Philadelphia). Now entering their fourth year in the league, these players were expected to play a significant part in the future of the franchise. Early on, they seemed game to help resurrect the Hawks, in spirit if nothing else.

"We realized it doesn't feel good when you go into a restaurant and it's like you're ashamed of being a part of your own city's team," said Glover after his rookie year. "We want to make this where we can go out in public and people will be like, 'Yeah, he plays for the Hawks.'"

Four years later, only Terry and Jones have proven consistent, capable NBA players. (Of course, Jones has done it elsewhere.) Terry finished his third year averaging 19.3 points per game and 5.7 assists per. (By comparison, in his third year, über-point guard John Stockton averaged 7.9 and 8.2.) The amazingly unathletic Bowdler recently signed to play next season for Virtus Kinder Bologna in Italy. And while Glover remains a Hawk and plays superb ball in stretches, there is room for improvement. Last season, Charles Barkley compared Glover's defense to "shooting over a chair."

Babcock has continued to bring in talent. He swapped the aging Mutombo for Theo Ratliff, a young All-Star center; he traded to get All-Star forward Abdur-Rahim. This summer he moved the creaky Toni Kukoc to gain the much-needed perimeter shooting of Glenn "Big Dog" Robinson. And while Kruger was a neophyte to professional basketball coaching and has had his growing pains (last year, one Hawks player privately grumbled to me that playing for Kruger was, at times, "like being back in college") his creative substitutions and steadfast refusal to blame the Hawks' massive losses over the last two seasons on injuries have won serious fans over.

"Last year, with all the injuries we had — unfortunately leading NBA in that category — from Feb. 1 on, we were over .500," says Babcock. "Our players played well, but Lon kept everybody going."

Kruger admits to coming up with the "playoff-bound" mantra, noting, "The interest level was so low, I thought we needed a little bit of a buzz. If people thought we were crazy, at least they were talking about us."

It's worked. The guarantee was picked up on news wires around the world.

Which brings us to this season. For the first time since the Hawks attempted to group Dominique with Moses Malone and Reggie Theus, the team has three capable, proven scorers: Terry, Robinson and Abdur-Rahim. And the Hawks have beefed up their front office, bringing in the well-regarded Billy Knight and former Denver Nuggets scorer Alex English. The talent infusion is drawing raves around the league. A recent NBA.com survey of all the NBA general managers found that almost 48 percent of them pick the Hawks to be the most improved team in the league this season.

Up in Toronto, Vince Carter has returned from injury, but the team has no significant size and, luckily for the rest of the Eastern Conference, is coached by Lenny Wilkens. Milwaukee handed Atlanta its leading scorer, (Robinson) and is guided by George Karl, who took a team of NBA All-Stars to the World Championships and could only manage a sixth-place finish. Indiana has a deep roster, but has thus far been too young. Chicago, Cleveland, Washington, New York and Miami are still in the throes of rebuilding.

Against any one of those teams, the Hawks have a fighting chance. Though the team's bench could be deeper, its starting five is among the NBA's strongest. Also worth noting: Hawks players actually seem to like each other. When reserve guard DerMarr Johnson recently suffered a broken neck in an automobile accident, six of his teammates were at the hospital within hours, and Jason Terry even cancelled a Vegas vacation to stay close by.

So, for now, we must look forward to improvement vs. excellence. And maybe that's OK. After 45 years, what's another two or three?

And by the way, my cyber-Hawks beat Jason Kidd's virtual Nets, 110-104. I had to play tough defense, making Kidd settle for jumpers rather than pass the ball to his better-shooting teammates. But it just goes to show that it can be done.

Guaranteed.

lang@creativeloafing.com



The Hawks play their season opener Wed., Oct. 30, against the Nets in New Jersey, making it home in time to face the Utah Jazz at Philips Arena on Halloween night."
  ["tracker_field_contentWikiPage_raw"]=>
  string(13938) "__They don't __make it easy on us. They assign us the colors of a fast-food chain, and they hand us a taxidermed aviary trophy for a logo, which they honestly expect us to cling to and rally around. They play in a flashy downtown arena that hasn't yet had time to develop a soul and is generally so empty it holds little advantage.
Bill Campbell, the Olympics and great players have come and gone. But for the Atlanta Hawks, the wins never come when it counts. While the Braves developed into a stunning model of excellence and even the Falcons provided one thrilling sprint to the finish line, the city's NBA franchise has been in a holding pattern of general mediocrity for almost two decades.

Sure, the Hawks have won games. But they've lost them, too — lots of 'em. Since the 1994-'95 season, the first full season in the post-Dominique Wilkins era, the Hawks have gone a combined 311-256, good for Central Division finishes of fifth, fourth, second, fourth, second, seventh, seventh and sixth. The last year the team won a championship, 1958, the franchise was based in St. Louis. Since then, it's been 45 consecutive years and no ring to show for it. Forty-five ''years''.

This season, the Hawks have the most athletically promising, psychologically sound team they've assembled since trading Wilkins (perhaps their greatest player) almost a decade ago. The franchise PR machine has even gone so far as to guarantee a playoff berth this season.

These are our Atlanta Hawks. Your Atlanta Hawks. My Atlanta Hawks.

Forty-five friggin' years.

__As online editor __of ''Slam'' magazine, I spend the entire NBA season in locker rooms and arenas around the country trying to build relationships with players that will benefit the publication. In the off-season, as players often shift into product-pitchman mode, other opportunities present themselves. Recently I had the chance to play NBA Live 2003 against New Jersey Nets point guard (and NBA MVP runner-up) Jason Kidd. Naturally, Kidd decided to play the videogame using his own Nets. I scrolled over to select the Hawks.

"Are you from Atlanta?" Kidd asked.

"Yeah," I said.

"Figured." Kidd responded. "Why else would anyone play with the Hawks?"

That's because the Atlanta Hawks are the Atlanta Hawks, and we — the few, the proud — are screwed. It has been a spectacularly sublime descent into professional sports fan purgatory, as the Hawks have managed to erase themselves from prominence on sports talk radio, window placement at local malls, game-watching parties at Buckhead bars, and any semblance of the excessive local television coverage of the sort in which Bill Hartman flubs players' names.

And until the Hawks prove themselves winners, even diehard fans will remain skeptical.

"I think Atlanta is a basketball-friendly town," says Hawks head coach Lon Kruger. "But people like to follow teams that win, and we haven't done that. The fans are waiting and seeing."

Hawks General Manager Pete Babcock agrees. "People have debated this for decades. I've heard this for years and years: Is it a basketball city?" he asks rhetorically, alluding to the obvious — that the reason people have argued about it for decades is because Atlanta fans haven't fully embraced the Hawks in decades.

It's something Atlanta fans are notorious for doing — and not just with the Hawks. While many franchises in other cities have waiting lists for season tickets, our city has generally treated its teams like recent parolees, watching and waiting to make sure they're what they claim to be before getting involved. Even the Braves, with their 11 division championships, couldn't sell out Turner Field for this season's pivotal Game Five against the Giants.

The most painful thing for a fan is not that the Hawks haven't taken a few risks along the way, it's that they've never really appeared to be giving it their all. The team hasn't come close to winning a championship, which is really all any self-respecting fan cares about. And right now, there's another a problem no one has been able to crack. These days, the road to any NBA Championship is a road to perdition, a one-way street through downtown Los Angeles with officers Shaquille O'Neal and Kobe Bryant standing watch and handing out tickets.

"We have to be realistic," says Babcock. "There's a window of opportunity right now in the Eastern Conference where it's more wide open. We've got to do everything we can to get better as quickly as possible."

That window was closed during most of the '90s, when Michael Jordan and his Bulls were dominating the NBA. That period coincided with the arrival of Babcock, who has held his position since 1990. He is responsible for bringing current Hawks All-Star power forward Shareef Abdur-Rahim back home to Atlanta, and he was responsible for the acquisition of several outstanding players, including Mookie Blaylock, Steve Smith and Dikembe Mutombo. He's also the guy behind several personnel moves that didn't work out so well (see Rider, J.R.; Manning, Danny).

But why not go all the way? Isn't making the playoffs a team's only goal tantamount to a politician coming out and announcing he hopes to make it only to the primary? To any real fan, the phrase "playoff-bound Atlanta Hawks" should be a heartbreaker, ruining any pre-season expectations — no matter how grounded in fantasy — that the team may be the "championship-bound Atlanta Hawks."

Then again, maybe it's wise to start small.

__The closest __the Hawks came to winning a championship in my lifetime came during the 1987-'88 season, in the heyday of the Dominique Wilkins era. 'Nique came to the Hawks out of the University of Georgia in 1982 with a 47-inch vertical leap. It was the start of the NBA's Golden Age, when the league would begin to box out baseball and become the commerce-driven global force it is today. The league introduced the world to Larry Bird, Magic Johnson and Michael Jordan. In Atlanta, we got 'Nique. He was our superstar.

In a stretch that defined both Wilkins and the Hawks franchise, the team made it to the Eastern Conference Semifinals in '86-'87 and '87-'88. But in the end, they didn't have enough to go all the way. The Hawks briefly assigned blame to coach Mike Fratello, who left town in 1990. Then Bob Weiss was brought in to run the show. And though he compiled a winning record over three seasons (124 wins, 122 losses), Weiss was jettisoned in 1993 in favor of Lenny Wilkens.

Wilkens was going to change everything. He'd won a championship back in the '70s. Fans were repeatedly reminded that he was about to become the winningest coach in league history. He was also one of the losingest coaches in league history. (Because Wilkens has coached so many games, the misconception is that he has the highest winning percentage of all time. But he's actually lost almost as many games as he's won.)

Nonetheless, Wilkens developed a reputation — an aura — that wouldn't allow people to see him as anything but a winner. So, with the Hawks in first place in the Eastern Conference with a 37-16 record at the halfway mark of the 1993-'94 season, 'Nique was traded to the Los Angeles Clippers for Danny Manning, a versatile forward with a reconstructed knee, who was booed at the Omni in his first game as a Hawk.

"I think the public reaction at the time was split about 50-50," Babcock recalls. "Dominique wanted a long-term contract, and we were only offering a one-year deal. People forget that we won more games [that season] after the trade than before."

Manning's Hawks would go on to lose in the second round of the playoffs, and Manning used free agency to immediately leave town, essentially kicking the organization and its fans in the crotch and running off to Phoenix. The Hawks were still a quality team after Manning left, stringing together six consecutive, if unremarkable, seasons of at least 50 wins. They treaded water until 1996, when Babcock signed 7-foot-2 center Dikembe Mutombo to anchor the Hawks' defense.

By 1999, with Mutombo's patience running out, the organization rolled the proverbial dice and traded for Portland guard Isaiah "J.R. for the Ladies" Rider, less than five months after the NBA handed him a one-game suspension for going into the stands during a game against Golden State. Rider, whose considerable rap sheet was longer than his impressive stat sheet, showed his love for his new hometown by promptly skipping his introductory press conference in Atlanta. To further boost his rep, Rider missed the first day of Hawks practice, and was late to training camp in Chattanooga after refusing to board the small jet he was to fly on, announcing, "I don't ride no crop dusters."

"Up front, we knew what we were getting into," Babcock says of the Rider fiasco. "It was my responsibility. The effort was to create salary cap room, which it did. But it was too painful a move."

Babcock has made as many personnel moves as any NBA general manager, but the Hawks haven't been able to put it all together. Does he feel any of them have come back haunt him?

"I can't really focus too much on that," he says. "I just try and do the best I can do each day."

__Lost in the shuffle __of the Rider acquisition was the 1999 NBA Draft, in which Babcock managed to stockpile four first-round selections. With those four choices, the Hawks selected Jason Terry, Dion Glover, Cal Bowdler and Jumaine Jones (who was immediately traded to Philadelphia). Now entering their fourth year in the league, these players were expected to play a significant part in the future of the franchise. Early on, they seemed game to help resurrect the Hawks, in spirit if nothing else.

"We realized it doesn't feel good when you go into a restaurant and it's like you're ashamed of being a part of your own city's team," said Glover after his rookie year. "We want to make this where we can go out in public and people will be like, 'Yeah, he plays for the Hawks.'"

Four years later, only Terry and Jones have proven consistent, capable NBA players. (Of course, Jones has done it elsewhere.) Terry finished his third year averaging 19.3 points per game and 5.7 assists per. (By comparison, in his third year, über-point guard John Stockton averaged 7.9 and 8.2.) The amazingly unathletic Bowdler recently signed to play next season for Virtus Kinder Bologna in Italy. And while Glover remains a Hawk and plays superb ball in stretches, there is room for improvement. Last season, Charles Barkley compared Glover's defense to "shooting over a chair."

Babcock has continued to bring in talent. He swapped the aging Mutombo for Theo Ratliff, a young All-Star center; he traded to get All-Star forward Abdur-Rahim. This summer he moved the creaky Toni Kukoc to gain the much-needed perimeter shooting of Glenn "Big Dog" Robinson. And while Kruger was a neophyte to professional basketball coaching and has had his growing pains (last year, one Hawks player privately grumbled to me that playing for Kruger was, at times, "like being back in college") his creative substitutions and steadfast refusal to blame the Hawks' massive losses over the last two seasons on injuries have won serious fans over.

"Last year, with all the injuries we had — unfortunately leading NBA in that category — from Feb. 1 on, we were over .500," says Babcock. "Our players played well, but Lon kept everybody going."

Kruger admits to coming up with the "playoff-bound" mantra, noting, "The interest level was so low, I thought we needed a little bit of a buzz. If people thought we were crazy, at least they were talking about us."

It's worked. The guarantee was picked up on news wires around the world.

Which brings us to this season. For the first time since the Hawks attempted to group Dominique with Moses Malone and Reggie Theus, the team has three capable, proven scorers: Terry, Robinson and Abdur-Rahim. And the Hawks have beefed up their front office, bringing in the well-regarded Billy Knight and former Denver Nuggets scorer Alex English. The talent infusion is drawing raves around the league. A recent [http://NBA.com/|NBA.com] survey of all the NBA general managers found that almost 48 percent of them pick the Hawks to be the most improved team in the league this season.

Up in Toronto, Vince Carter has returned from injury, but the team has no significant size and, luckily for the rest of the Eastern Conference, is coached by Lenny Wilkens. Milwaukee handed Atlanta its leading scorer, (Robinson) and is guided by George Karl, who took a team of NBA All-Stars to the World Championships and could only manage a sixth-place finish. Indiana has a deep roster, but has thus far been too young. Chicago, Cleveland, Washington, New York and Miami are still in the throes of rebuilding.

Against any one of those teams, the Hawks have a fighting chance. Though the team's bench could be deeper, its starting five is among the NBA's strongest. Also worth noting: Hawks players actually seem to ''like'' each other. When reserve guard DerMarr Johnson recently suffered a broken neck in an automobile accident, six of his teammates were at the hospital within hours, and Jason Terry even cancelled a Vegas vacation to stay close by.

So, for now, we must look forward to improvement vs. excellence. And maybe that's OK. After 45 years, what's another two or three?

And by the way, my cyber-Hawks beat Jason Kidd's virtual Nets, 110-104. I had to play tough defense, making Kidd settle for jumpers rather than pass the ball to his better-shooting teammates. But it just goes to show that it can be done.

Guaranteed.

[mailto:lang@creativeloafing.com|lang@creativeloafing.com]



''The Hawks play their season opener Wed., Oct. 30, against the Nets in New Jersey, making it home in time to face the Utah Jazz at Philips Arena on Halloween night.''"
  ["tracker_field_contentWikiPage_creation_date"]=>
  string(25) "2018-01-29T01:28:37+00:00"
  ["tracker_field_contentWikiPage_modification_date"]=>
  string(25) "2018-01-29T01:28:37+00:00"
  ["tracker_field_contentCategory"]=>
  array(1) {
    [0]=>
    string(3) "570"
  }
  ["tracker_field_contentCategory_text"]=>
  string(3) "570"
  ["tracker_field_contentControlCategory"]=>
  array(0) {
  }
  ["tracker_field_scene"]=>
  array(0) {
  }
  ["tracker_field_contentNeighborhood"]=>
  array(0) {
  }
  ["tracker_field_contentRelations_multi"]=>
  array(1) {
    [0]=>
    string(0) ""
  }
  ["tracker_field_contentRelatedContent_multi"]=>
  array(1) {
    [0]=>
    string(0) ""
  }
  ["tracker_field_contentRelatedWikiPages_multi"]=>
  array(1) {
    [0]=>
    string(0) ""
  }
  ["tracker_field_contentBASEContentID"]=>
  string(8) "13009749"
  ["tracker_field_contentLegacyContentID"]=>
  string(7) "1239065"
  ["tracker_field_contentBASEAuthorID"]=>
  int(0)
  ["tracker_field_section"]=>
  array(0) {
  }
  ["language"]=>
  string(7) "unknown"
  ["attachments"]=>
  array(0) {
  }
  ["comment_count"]=>
  int(0)
  ["categories"]=>
  array(1) {
    [0]=>
    int(570)
  }
  ["deep_categories"]=>
  array(3) {
    [0]=>
    int(242)
    [1]=>
    int(243)
    [2]=>
    int(570)
  }
  ["categories_under_28"]=>
  array(0) {
  }
  ["deep_categories_under_28"]=>
  array(0) {
  }
  ["categories_under_1"]=>
  array(0) {
  }
  ["deep_categories_under_1"]=>
  array(0) {
  }
  ["categories_under_177"]=>
  array(0) {
  }
  ["deep_categories_under_177"]=>
  array(0) {
  }
  ["categories_under_209"]=>
  array(0) {
  }
  ["deep_categories_under_209"]=>
  array(0) {
  }
  ["categories_under_163"]=>
  array(0) {
  }
  ["deep_categories_under_163"]=>
  array(0) {
  }
  ["categories_under_171"]=>
  array(0) {
  }
  ["deep_categories_under_171"]=>
  array(0) {
  }
  ["categories_under_153"]=>
  array(0) {
  }
  ["deep_categories_under_153"]=>
  array(0) {
  }
  ["categories_under_242"]=>
  array(0) {
  }
  ["deep_categories_under_242"]=>
  array(2) {
    [0]=>
    int(243)
    [1]=>
    int(570)
  }
  ["categories_under_564"]=>
  array(0) {
  }
  ["deep_categories_under_564"]=>
  array(0) {
  }
  ["categories_under_1182"]=>
  array(0) {
  }
  ["deep_categories_under_1182"]=>
  array(0) {
  }
  ["freetags"]=>
  array(0) {
  }
  ["geo_located"]=>
  string(1) "n"
  ["allowed_groups"]=>
  array(2) {
    [0]=>
    string(6) "Admins"
    [1]=>
    string(9) "Anonymous"
  }
  ["allowed_users"]=>
  array(1) {
    [0]=>
    string(29) "ben.eason@creativeloafing.com"
  }
  ["relations"]=>
  array(0) {
  }
  ["relation_objects"]=>
  array(0) {
  }
  ["relation_types"]=>
  array(0) {
  }
  ["relation_count"]=>
  array(0) {
  }
  ["title_initial"]=>
  string(1) "H"
  ["title_firstword"]=>
  string(5) "Hawks"
  ["searchable"]=>
  string(1) "y"
  ["url"]=>
  string(10) "item165009"
  ["object_type"]=>
  string(11) "trackeritem"
  ["object_id"]=>
  string(6) "165009"
  ["contents"]=>
  string(14160) "    This season could bring relief for long-suffering Hawks fans. But is it wise to get greedy?   2002-10-30T05:04:00+00:00 Hawks - Dream team? ben.eason@creativeloafing.com Ben Eason Lang Whitaker 1223537 2002-10-30T05:04:00+00:00  They don't make it easy on us. They assign us the colors of a fast-food chain, and they hand us a taxidermed aviary trophy for a logo, which they honestly expect us to cling to and rally around. They play in a flashy downtown arena that hasn't yet had time to develop a soul and is generally so empty it holds little advantage.
Bill Campbell, the Olympics and great players have come and gone. But for the Atlanta Hawks, the wins never come when it counts. While the Braves developed into a stunning model of excellence and even the Falcons provided one thrilling sprint to the finish line, the city's NBA franchise has been in a holding pattern of general mediocrity for almost two decades.

Sure, the Hawks have won games. But they've lost them, too — lots of 'em. Since the 1994-'95 season, the first full season in the post-Dominique Wilkins era, the Hawks have gone a combined 311-256, good for Central Division finishes of fifth, fourth, second, fourth, second, seventh, seventh and sixth. The last year the team won a championship, 1958, the franchise was based in St. Louis. Since then, it's been 45 consecutive years and no ring to show for it. Forty-five years.

This season, the Hawks have the most athletically promising, psychologically sound team they've assembled since trading Wilkins (perhaps their greatest player) almost a decade ago. The franchise PR machine has even gone so far as to guarantee a playoff berth this season.

These are our Atlanta Hawks. Your Atlanta Hawks. My Atlanta Hawks.

Forty-five friggin' years.

As online editor of Slam magazine, I spend the entire NBA season in locker rooms and arenas around the country trying to build relationships with players that will benefit the publication. In the off-season, as players often shift into product-pitchman mode, other opportunities present themselves. Recently I had the chance to play NBA Live 2003 against New Jersey Nets point guard (and NBA MVP runner-up) Jason Kidd. Naturally, Kidd decided to play the videogame using his own Nets. I scrolled over to select the Hawks.

"Are you from Atlanta?" Kidd asked.

"Yeah," I said.

"Figured." Kidd responded. "Why else would anyone play with the Hawks?"

That's because the Atlanta Hawks are the Atlanta Hawks, and we — the few, the proud — are screwed. It has been a spectacularly sublime descent into professional sports fan purgatory, as the Hawks have managed to erase themselves from prominence on sports talk radio, window placement at local malls, game-watching parties at Buckhead bars, and any semblance of the excessive local television coverage of the sort in which Bill Hartman flubs players' names.

And until the Hawks prove themselves winners, even diehard fans will remain skeptical.

"I think Atlanta is a basketball-friendly town," says Hawks head coach Lon Kruger. "But people like to follow teams that win, and we haven't done that. The fans are waiting and seeing."

Hawks General Manager Pete Babcock agrees. "People have debated this for decades. I've heard this for years and years: Is it a basketball city?" he asks rhetorically, alluding to the obvious — that the reason people have argued about it for decades is because Atlanta fans haven't fully embraced the Hawks in decades.

It's something Atlanta fans are notorious for doing — and not just with the Hawks. While many franchises in other cities have waiting lists for season tickets, our city has generally treated its teams like recent parolees, watching and waiting to make sure they're what they claim to be before getting involved. Even the Braves, with their 11 division championships, couldn't sell out Turner Field for this season's pivotal Game Five against the Giants.

The most painful thing for a fan is not that the Hawks haven't taken a few risks along the way, it's that they've never really appeared to be giving it their all. The team hasn't come close to winning a championship, which is really all any self-respecting fan cares about. And right now, there's another a problem no one has been able to crack. These days, the road to any NBA Championship is a road to perdition, a one-way street through downtown Los Angeles with officers Shaquille O'Neal and Kobe Bryant standing watch and handing out tickets.

"We have to be realistic," says Babcock. "There's a window of opportunity right now in the Eastern Conference where it's more wide open. We've got to do everything we can to get better as quickly as possible."

That window was closed during most of the '90s, when Michael Jordan and his Bulls were dominating the NBA. That period coincided with the arrival of Babcock, who has held his position since 1990. He is responsible for bringing current Hawks All-Star power forward Shareef Abdur-Rahim back home to Atlanta, and he was responsible for the acquisition of several outstanding players, including Mookie Blaylock, Steve Smith and Dikembe Mutombo. He's also the guy behind several personnel moves that didn't work out so well (see Rider, J.R.; Manning, Danny).

But why not go all the way? Isn't making the playoffs a team's only goal tantamount to a politician coming out and announcing he hopes to make it only to the primary? To any real fan, the phrase "playoff-bound Atlanta Hawks" should be a heartbreaker, ruining any pre-season expectations — no matter how grounded in fantasy — that the team may be the "championship-bound Atlanta Hawks."

Then again, maybe it's wise to start small.

The closest the Hawks came to winning a championship in my lifetime came during the 1987-'88 season, in the heyday of the Dominique Wilkins era. 'Nique came to the Hawks out of the University of Georgia in 1982 with a 47-inch vertical leap. It was the start of the NBA's Golden Age, when the league would begin to box out baseball and become the commerce-driven global force it is today. The league introduced the world to Larry Bird, Magic Johnson and Michael Jordan. In Atlanta, we got 'Nique. He was our superstar.

In a stretch that defined both Wilkins and the Hawks franchise, the team made it to the Eastern Conference Semifinals in '86-'87 and '87-'88. But in the end, they didn't have enough to go all the way. The Hawks briefly assigned blame to coach Mike Fratello, who left town in 1990. Then Bob Weiss was brought in to run the show. And though he compiled a winning record over three seasons (124 wins, 122 losses), Weiss was jettisoned in 1993 in favor of Lenny Wilkens.

Wilkens was going to change everything. He'd won a championship back in the '70s. Fans were repeatedly reminded that he was about to become the winningest coach in league history. He was also one of the losingest coaches in league history. (Because Wilkens has coached so many games, the misconception is that he has the highest winning percentage of all time. But he's actually lost almost as many games as he's won.)

Nonetheless, Wilkens developed a reputation — an aura — that wouldn't allow people to see him as anything but a winner. So, with the Hawks in first place in the Eastern Conference with a 37-16 record at the halfway mark of the 1993-'94 season, 'Nique was traded to the Los Angeles Clippers for Danny Manning, a versatile forward with a reconstructed knee, who was booed at the Omni in his first game as a Hawk.

"I think the public reaction at the time was split about 50-50," Babcock recalls. "Dominique wanted a long-term contract, and we were only offering a one-year deal. People forget that we won more games that season after the trade than before."

Manning's Hawks would go on to lose in the second round of the playoffs, and Manning used free agency to immediately leave town, essentially kicking the organization and its fans in the crotch and running off to Phoenix. The Hawks were still a quality team after Manning left, stringing together six consecutive, if unremarkable, seasons of at least 50 wins. They treaded water until 1996, when Babcock signed 7-foot-2 center Dikembe Mutombo to anchor the Hawks' defense.

By 1999, with Mutombo's patience running out, the organization rolled the proverbial dice and traded for Portland guard Isaiah "J.R. for the Ladies" Rider, less than five months after the NBA handed him a one-game suspension for going into the stands during a game against Golden State. Rider, whose considerable rap sheet was longer than his impressive stat sheet, showed his love for his new hometown by promptly skipping his introductory press conference in Atlanta. To further boost his rep, Rider missed the first day of Hawks practice, and was late to training camp in Chattanooga after refusing to board the small jet he was to fly on, announcing, "I don't ride no crop dusters."

"Up front, we knew what we were getting into," Babcock says of the Rider fiasco. "It was my responsibility. The effort was to create salary cap room, which it did. But it was too painful a move."

Babcock has made as many personnel moves as any NBA general manager, but the Hawks haven't been able to put it all together. Does he feel any of them have come back haunt him?

"I can't really focus too much on that," he says. "I just try and do the best I can do each day."

Lost in the shuffle of the Rider acquisition was the 1999 NBA Draft, in which Babcock managed to stockpile four first-round selections. With those four choices, the Hawks selected Jason Terry, Dion Glover, Cal Bowdler and Jumaine Jones (who was immediately traded to Philadelphia). Now entering their fourth year in the league, these players were expected to play a significant part in the future of the franchise. Early on, they seemed game to help resurrect the Hawks, in spirit if nothing else.

"We realized it doesn't feel good when you go into a restaurant and it's like you're ashamed of being a part of your own city's team," said Glover after his rookie year. "We want to make this where we can go out in public and people will be like, 'Yeah, he plays for the Hawks.'"

Four years later, only Terry and Jones have proven consistent, capable NBA players. (Of course, Jones has done it elsewhere.) Terry finished his third year averaging 19.3 points per game and 5.7 assists per. (By comparison, in his third year, über-point guard John Stockton averaged 7.9 and 8.2.) The amazingly unathletic Bowdler recently signed to play next season for Virtus Kinder Bologna in Italy. And while Glover remains a Hawk and plays superb ball in stretches, there is room for improvement. Last season, Charles Barkley compared Glover's defense to "shooting over a chair."

Babcock has continued to bring in talent. He swapped the aging Mutombo for Theo Ratliff, a young All-Star center; he traded to get All-Star forward Abdur-Rahim. This summer he moved the creaky Toni Kukoc to gain the much-needed perimeter shooting of Glenn "Big Dog" Robinson. And while Kruger was a neophyte to professional basketball coaching and has had his growing pains (last year, one Hawks player privately grumbled to me that playing for Kruger was, at times, "like being back in college") his creative substitutions and steadfast refusal to blame the Hawks' massive losses over the last two seasons on injuries have won serious fans over.

"Last year, with all the injuries we had — unfortunately leading NBA in that category — from Feb. 1 on, we were over .500," says Babcock. "Our players played well, but Lon kept everybody going."

Kruger admits to coming up with the "playoff-bound" mantra, noting, "The interest level was so low, I thought we needed a little bit of a buzz. If people thought we were crazy, at least they were talking about us."

It's worked. The guarantee was picked up on news wires around the world.

Which brings us to this season. For the first time since the Hawks attempted to group Dominique with Moses Malone and Reggie Theus, the team has three capable, proven scorers: Terry, Robinson and Abdur-Rahim. And the Hawks have beefed up their front office, bringing in the well-regarded Billy Knight and former Denver Nuggets scorer Alex English. The talent infusion is drawing raves around the league. A recent NBA.com survey of all the NBA general managers found that almost 48 percent of them pick the Hawks to be the most improved team in the league this season.

Up in Toronto, Vince Carter has returned from injury, but the team has no significant size and, luckily for the rest of the Eastern Conference, is coached by Lenny Wilkens. Milwaukee handed Atlanta its leading scorer, (Robinson) and is guided by George Karl, who took a team of NBA All-Stars to the World Championships and could only manage a sixth-place finish. Indiana has a deep roster, but has thus far been too young. Chicago, Cleveland, Washington, New York and Miami are still in the throes of rebuilding.

Against any one of those teams, the Hawks have a fighting chance. Though the team's bench could be deeper, its starting five is among the NBA's strongest. Also worth noting: Hawks players actually seem to like each other. When reserve guard DerMarr Johnson recently suffered a broken neck in an automobile accident, six of his teammates were at the hospital within hours, and Jason Terry even cancelled a Vegas vacation to stay close by.

So, for now, we must look forward to improvement vs. excellence. And maybe that's OK. After 45 years, what's another two or three?

And by the way, my cyber-Hawks beat Jason Kidd's virtual Nets, 110-104. I had to play tough defense, making Kidd settle for jumpers rather than pass the ball to his better-shooting teammates. But it just goes to show that it can be done.

Guaranteed.

lang@creativeloafing.com



The Hawks play their season opener Wed., Oct. 30, against the Nets in New Jersey, making it home in time to face the Utah Jazz at Philips Arena on Halloween night.             13009749 1239065                          Hawks - Dream team? "
  ["score"]=>
  float(0)
  ["_index"]=>
  string(21) "atlantawiki_tiki_main"
  ["objectlink"]=>
  string(201) "Hawks - Dream team?"
  ["photos"]=>
  string(130) "Coming Soon

"
  ["desc"]=>
  string(100) "This season could bring relief for long-suffering Hawks fans. But is it wise to get greedy?"
  ["eventDate"]=>
  string(100) "This season could bring relief for long-suffering Hawks fans. But is it wise to get greedy?"
  ["noads"]=>
  string(10) "y"
}

Article

Wednesday October 30, 2002 12:04 am EST
This season could bring relief for long-suffering Hawks fans. But is it wise to get greedy? | more...
array(78) {
  ["title"]=>
  string(30) "Record Review - 2 June 06 2001"
  ["modification_date"]=>
  string(25) "2018-01-20T17:46:33+00:00"
  ["creation_date"]=>
  string(25) "2017-12-10T19:37:19+00:00"
  ["contributors"]=>
  array(1) {
    [0]=>
    string(29) "ben.eason@creativeloafing.com"
  }
  ["date"]=>
  string(25) "2001-06-06T04:04:00+00:00"
  ["tracker_status"]=>
  string(1) "o"
  ["tracker_id"]=>
  string(2) "11"
  ["view_permission"]=>
  string(13) "view_trackers"
  ["tracker_field_contentTitle"]=>
  string(30) "Record Review - 2 June 06 2001"
  ["tracker_field_contentByline"]=>
  string(13) "Lang Whitaker"
  ["tracker_field_contentByline_exact"]=>
  string(13) "Lang Whitaker"
  ["tracker_field_contentBylinePerson"]=>
  string(6) "144546"
  ["tracker_field_contentBylinePerson_text"]=>
  string(7) "1223537"
  ["tracker_field_contentDate"]=>
  string(25) "2001-06-06T04:04:00+00:00"
  ["tracker_field_contentWikiPage"]=>
  string(40) "Content:_:Record Review - 2 June 06 2001"
  ["tracker_field_contentWikiPage_text"]=>
  string(1359) "Ever since the Wu-Tang Clan first let us into their 36 Chambers, the collective's various members have seemed more interested in dropping solo albums than furthering their own dusty, mythological legend. Enter Cappadonna, who, fittingly, made his debut on Chef Raekwon's solo joint Only Built 4 Cuban Linx. Though Cappadonna has made few appearances on wax with the Wu, the loose association gives him credibility, which, in turn, gives him album sales.

On Cap's sophomore effort, The Yin and the Yang, he strays from the Clan's reach, hooking up with a few ATLiens (Jermaine Dupri, Da Brat), a few Wu-Tangers (Killah Priest, Ghostface Killah) and a few unknowns (Culture, Timbo King), to produce a record that also strays from the Wu. Though Wu mastermind RZA executive produces, Yin lacks the Wu's born-in grit and growl.

Instead, Cappadonna finds a more Southern, bouncy feel on songs like "Shake Dat" and "We Know," as though he's trying to get the party started right. Alternately,  a few songs veer closer to the Wu formula  of addressing social ills and issues ("Supermodel," "Revenge"). Cappadonna's lyrical skills remain impressive, but as he bounces back and forth between genres,  he ultimately shows that sometimes,  finding your yin and yang isn't as peaceful as it's cracked up to be.

Cappadonna performs at EarthLink Live Wed., June 13.??


"
  ["tracker_field_contentWikiPage_raw"]=>
  string(1375) "Ever since the Wu-Tang Clan first let us into their 36 Chambers, the collective's various members have seemed more interested in dropping solo albums than furthering their own dusty, mythological legend. Enter Cappadonna, who, fittingly, made his debut on Chef Raekwon's solo joint ''Only Built 4 Cuban Linx''. Though Cappadonna has made few appearances on wax with the Wu, the loose association gives him credibility, which, in turn, gives him album sales.

On Cap's sophomore effort, ''The Yin and the Yang'', he strays from the Clan's reach, hooking up with a few ATLiens (Jermaine Dupri, Da Brat), a few Wu-Tangers (Killah Priest, Ghostface Killah) and a few unknowns (Culture, Timbo King), to produce a record that also strays from the Wu. Though Wu mastermind RZA executive produces, ''Yin'' lacks the Wu's born-in grit and growl.

Instead, Cappadonna finds a more Southern, bouncy feel on songs like "Shake Dat" and "We Know," as though he's trying to get the party started right. Alternately,  a few songs veer closer to the Wu formula  of addressing social ills and issues ("Supermodel," "Revenge"). Cappadonna's lyrical skills remain impressive, but as he bounces back and forth between genres,  he ultimately shows that sometimes,  finding your yin and yang isn't as peaceful as it's cracked up to be.

''Cappadonna performs at EarthLink Live Wed., June 13.''??


"
  ["tracker_field_contentWikiPage_creation_date"]=>
  string(25) "2018-01-20T17:46:33+00:00"
  ["tracker_field_contentWikiPage_modification_date"]=>
  string(25) "2018-01-20T17:46:33+00:00"
  ["tracker_field_contentCategory"]=>
  array(1) {
    [0]=>
    string(3) "574"
  }
  ["tracker_field_contentCategory_text"]=>
  string(3) "574"
  ["tracker_field_contentControlCategory"]=>
  array(0) {
  }
  ["tracker_field_scene"]=>
  array(0) {
  }
  ["tracker_field_contentNeighborhood"]=>
  array(0) {
  }
  ["tracker_field_contentRelations_multi"]=>
  array(1) {
    [0]=>
    string(0) ""
  }
  ["tracker_field_contentRelatedContent_multi"]=>
  array(1) {
    [0]=>
    string(0) ""
  }
  ["tracker_field_contentRelatedWikiPages_multi"]=>
  array(1) {
    [0]=>
    string(0) ""
  }
  ["tracker_field_contentBASEContentID"]=>
  string(8) "13004548"
  ["tracker_field_contentLegacyContentID"]=>
  string(7) "1231540"
  ["tracker_field_contentBASEAuthorID"]=>
  int(0)
  ["tracker_field_section"]=>
  array(0) {
  }
  ["language"]=>
  string(7) "unknown"
  ["attachments"]=>
  array(0) {
  }
  ["comment_count"]=>
  int(0)
  ["categories"]=>
  array(1) {
    [0]=>
    int(574)
  }
  ["deep_categories"]=>
  array(3) {
    [0]=>
    int(242)
    [1]=>
    int(243)
    [2]=>
    int(574)
  }
  ["categories_under_28"]=>
  array(0) {
  }
  ["deep_categories_under_28"]=>
  array(0) {
  }
  ["categories_under_1"]=>
  array(0) {
  }
  ["deep_categories_under_1"]=>
  array(0) {
  }
  ["categories_under_177"]=>
  array(0) {
  }
  ["deep_categories_under_177"]=>
  array(0) {
  }
  ["categories_under_209"]=>
  array(0) {
  }
  ["deep_categories_under_209"]=>
  array(0) {
  }
  ["categories_under_163"]=>
  array(0) {
  }
  ["deep_categories_under_163"]=>
  array(0) {
  }
  ["categories_under_171"]=>
  array(0) {
  }
  ["deep_categories_under_171"]=>
  array(0) {
  }
  ["categories_under_153"]=>
  array(0) {
  }
  ["deep_categories_under_153"]=>
  array(0) {
  }
  ["categories_under_242"]=>
  array(0) {
  }
  ["deep_categories_under_242"]=>
  array(2) {
    [0]=>
    int(243)
    [1]=>
    int(574)
  }
  ["categories_under_564"]=>
  array(0) {
  }
  ["deep_categories_under_564"]=>
  array(0) {
  }
  ["categories_under_1182"]=>
  array(0) {
  }
  ["deep_categories_under_1182"]=>
  array(0) {
  }
  ["freetags"]=>
  array(0) {
  }
  ["geo_located"]=>
  string(1) "n"
  ["allowed_groups"]=>
  array(2) {
    [0]=>
    string(6) "Admins"
    [1]=>
    string(9) "Anonymous"
  }
  ["allowed_users"]=>
  array(0) {
  }
  ["relations"]=>
  array(0) {
  }
  ["relation_objects"]=>
  array(0) {
  }
  ["relation_types"]=>
  array(0) {
  }
  ["relation_count"]=>
  array(0) {
  }
  ["title_initial"]=>
  string(1) "R"
  ["title_firstword"]=>
  string(6) "Record"
  ["searchable"]=>
  string(1) "y"
  ["url"]=>
  string(10) "item166273"
  ["object_type"]=>
  string(11) "trackeritem"
  ["object_id"]=>
  string(6) "166273"
  ["contents"]=>
  string(1560) "       2001-06-06T04:04:00+00:00 Record Review - 2 June 06 2001   Lang Whitaker 1223537 2001-06-06T04:04:00+00:00  Ever since the Wu-Tang Clan first let us into their 36 Chambers, the collective's various members have seemed more interested in dropping solo albums than furthering their own dusty, mythological legend. Enter Cappadonna, who, fittingly, made his debut on Chef Raekwon's solo joint Only Built 4 Cuban Linx. Though Cappadonna has made few appearances on wax with the Wu, the loose association gives him credibility, which, in turn, gives him album sales.

On Cap's sophomore effort, The Yin and the Yang, he strays from the Clan's reach, hooking up with a few ATLiens (Jermaine Dupri, Da Brat), a few Wu-Tangers (Killah Priest, Ghostface Killah) and a few unknowns (Culture, Timbo King), to produce a record that also strays from the Wu. Though Wu mastermind RZA executive produces, Yin lacks the Wu's born-in grit and growl.

Instead, Cappadonna finds a more Southern, bouncy feel on songs like "Shake Dat" and "We Know," as though he's trying to get the party started right. Alternately,  a few songs veer closer to the Wu formula  of addressing social ills and issues ("Supermodel," "Revenge"). Cappadonna's lyrical skills remain impressive, but as he bounces back and forth between genres,  he ultimately shows that sometimes,  finding your yin and yang isn't as peaceful as it's cracked up to be.

Cappadonna performs at EarthLink Live Wed., June 13.??


             13004548 1231540                          Record Review - 2 June 06 2001 "
  ["score"]=>
  float(0)
  ["_index"]=>
  string(21) "atlantawiki_tiki_main"
  ["objectlink"]=>
  string(212) "Record Review - 2 June 06 2001"
  ["photos"]=>
  string(130) "Coming Soon

"
  ["desc"]=>
  string(32) "No description provided"
  ["eventDate"]=>
  string(32) "No description provided"
  ["noads"]=>
  string(10) "y"
}

Article

Wednesday June 6, 2001 12:04 am EDT
Ever since the Wu-Tang Clan first let us into their 36 Chambers, the collective's various members have seemed more interested in dropping solo albums than furthering their own dusty, mythological legend. Enter Cappadonna, who, fittingly, made his debut on Chef Raekwon's solo joint Only Built 4 Cuban Linx. Though Cappadonna has made few appearances on wax with the Wu, the loose association gives... | more...
array(78) {
  ["title"]=>
  string(29) "Record Review - 4 May 16 2001"
  ["modification_date"]=>
  string(25) "2018-01-20T17:46:33+00:00"
  ["creation_date"]=>
  string(25) "2017-12-10T23:24:53+00:00"
  ["contributors"]=>
  array(1) {
    [0]=>
    string(29) "ben.eason@creativeloafing.com"
  }
  ["date"]=>
  string(25) "2001-05-16T04:04:00+00:00"
  ["tracker_status"]=>
  string(1) "o"
  ["tracker_id"]=>
  string(2) "11"
  ["view_permission"]=>
  string(13) "view_trackers"
  ["tracker_field_contentTitle"]=>
  string(29) "Record Review - 4 May 16 2001"
  ["tracker_field_contentByline"]=>
  string(13) "Lang Whitaker"
  ["tracker_field_contentByline_exact"]=>
  string(13) "Lang Whitaker"
  ["tracker_field_contentBylinePerson"]=>
  string(6) "144546"
  ["tracker_field_contentBylinePerson_text"]=>
  string(7) "1223537"
  ["tracker_field_contentDate"]=>
  string(25) "2001-05-16T04:04:00+00:00"
  ["tracker_field_contentWikiPage"]=>
  string(39) "Content:_:Record Review - 4 May 16 2001"
  ["tracker_field_contentWikiPage_text"]=>
  string(1210) "They took away J.T. Money's group, the Poison Clan, then took away his first solo offer, from LaFace Records. But Money landed on his feet in Atlanta's north side, using ATLiens like Kevin "She'kspere" Briggs and Dallas Austin to produce his rollicking 1999 pimp-u-mentary, Pimpin' on Wax.

Now Money is back with his surprisingly good sophomore effort, Blood, Sweat and Years, eschewing pimping in favor of more general party joints. In the vein of his previous hit "Who Dat!?," Money packs percolating tracks, busy with bass lines and more percussion than a Tito Puente concert.

While no track stands alone, there's plenty of call and response woofing going down on Blood, in songs such as "War," "Hi-Lo" and "Where My Thugs At." Money breaks off some country grammar on "Lil' Charlie," a hokey hip-hop pokey, and gets funkadelic on the reflective "Father to Son," which interpolates Earth, Wind and Fire's classic "That's the Way of the World."

Though party anthems are great and all, what will keep Money on your mind is his great vocal rhythm, the way he layers lines in and around beats while maintaining his engaging passion. Basically, he sounds like he's having fun. And isn't that all we want???


"
  ["tracker_field_contentWikiPage_raw"]=>
  string(1222) "They took away J.T. Money's group, the Poison Clan, then took away his first solo offer, from LaFace Records. But Money landed on his feet in Atlanta's north side, using ATLiens like Kevin "She'kspere" Briggs and Dallas Austin to produce his rollicking 1999 pimp-u-mentary, ''Pimpin' on Wax''.

Now Money is back with his surprisingly good sophomore effort, ''Blood, Sweat and Years'', eschewing pimping in favor of more general party joints. In the vein of his previous hit "Who Dat!?," Money packs percolating tracks, busy with bass lines and more percussion than a Tito Puente concert.

While no track stands alone, there's plenty of call and response woofing going down on ''Blood'', in songs such as "War," "Hi-Lo" and "Where My Thugs At." Money breaks off some country grammar on "Lil' Charlie," a hokey hip-hop pokey, and gets funkadelic on the reflective "Father to Son," which interpolates Earth, Wind and Fire's classic "That's the Way of the World."

Though party anthems are great and all, what will keep Money on your mind is his great vocal rhythm, the way he layers lines in and around beats while maintaining his engaging passion. Basically, he sounds like he's having fun. And isn't that all we want???


"
  ["tracker_field_contentWikiPage_creation_date"]=>
  string(25) "2018-01-20T17:46:33+00:00"
  ["tracker_field_contentWikiPage_modification_date"]=>
  string(25) "2018-01-20T17:46:33+00:00"
  ["tracker_field_contentCategory"]=>
  array(1) {
    [0]=>
    string(3) "574"
  }
  ["tracker_field_contentCategory_text"]=>
  string(3) "574"
  ["tracker_field_contentControlCategory"]=>
  array(0) {
  }
  ["tracker_field_scene"]=>
  array(0) {
  }
  ["tracker_field_contentNeighborhood"]=>
  array(0) {
  }
  ["tracker_field_contentRelations_multi"]=>
  array(1) {
    [0]=>
    string(0) ""
  }
  ["tracker_field_contentRelatedContent_multi"]=>
  array(1) {
    [0]=>
    string(0) ""
  }
  ["tracker_field_contentRelatedWikiPages_multi"]=>
  array(1) {
    [0]=>
    string(0) ""
  }
  ["tracker_field_contentBASEContentID"]=>
  string(8) "13004321"
  ["tracker_field_contentLegacyContentID"]=>
  string(7) "1231188"
  ["tracker_field_contentBASEAuthorID"]=>
  int(0)
  ["tracker_field_section"]=>
  array(0) {
  }
  ["language"]=>
  string(7) "unknown"
  ["attachments"]=>
  array(0) {
  }
  ["comment_count"]=>
  int(0)
  ["categories"]=>
  array(1) {
    [0]=>
    int(574)
  }
  ["deep_categories"]=>
  array(3) {
    [0]=>
    int(242)
    [1]=>
    int(243)
    [2]=>
    int(574)
  }
  ["categories_under_28"]=>
  array(0) {
  }
  ["deep_categories_under_28"]=>
  array(0) {
  }
  ["categories_under_1"]=>
  array(0) {
  }
  ["deep_categories_under_1"]=>
  array(0) {
  }
  ["categories_under_177"]=>
  array(0) {
  }
  ["deep_categories_under_177"]=>
  array(0) {
  }
  ["categories_under_209"]=>
  array(0) {
  }
  ["deep_categories_under_209"]=>
  array(0) {
  }
  ["categories_under_163"]=>
  array(0) {
  }
  ["deep_categories_under_163"]=>
  array(0) {
  }
  ["categories_under_171"]=>
  array(0) {
  }
  ["deep_categories_under_171"]=>
  array(0) {
  }
  ["categories_under_153"]=>
  array(0) {
  }
  ["deep_categories_under_153"]=>
  array(0) {
  }
  ["categories_under_242"]=>
  array(0) {
  }
  ["deep_categories_under_242"]=>
  array(2) {
    [0]=>
    int(243)
    [1]=>
    int(574)
  }
  ["categories_under_564"]=>
  array(0) {
  }
  ["deep_categories_under_564"]=>
  array(0) {
  }
  ["categories_under_1182"]=>
  array(0) {
  }
  ["deep_categories_under_1182"]=>
  array(0) {
  }
  ["freetags"]=>
  array(0) {
  }
  ["geo_located"]=>
  string(1) "n"
  ["allowed_groups"]=>
  array(2) {
    [0]=>
    string(6) "Admins"
    [1]=>
    string(9) "Anonymous"
  }
  ["allowed_users"]=>
  array(0) {
  }
  ["relations"]=>
  array(0) {
  }
  ["relation_objects"]=>
  array(0) {
  }
  ["relation_types"]=>
  array(0) {
  }
  ["relation_count"]=>
  array(0) {
  }
  ["title_initial"]=>
  string(1) "R"
  ["title_firstword"]=>
  string(6) "Record"
  ["searchable"]=>
  string(1) "y"
  ["url"]=>
  string(10) "item166689"
  ["object_type"]=>
  string(11) "trackeritem"
  ["object_id"]=>
  string(6) "166689"
  ["contents"]=>
  string(1409) "       2001-05-16T04:04:00+00:00 Record Review - 4 May 16 2001   Lang Whitaker 1223537 2001-05-16T04:04:00+00:00  They took away J.T. Money's group, the Poison Clan, then took away his first solo offer, from LaFace Records. But Money landed on his feet in Atlanta's north side, using ATLiens like Kevin "She'kspere" Briggs and Dallas Austin to produce his rollicking 1999 pimp-u-mentary, Pimpin' on Wax.

Now Money is back with his surprisingly good sophomore effort, Blood, Sweat and Years, eschewing pimping in favor of more general party joints. In the vein of his previous hit "Who Dat!?," Money packs percolating tracks, busy with bass lines and more percussion than a Tito Puente concert.

While no track stands alone, there's plenty of call and response woofing going down on Blood, in songs such as "War," "Hi-Lo" and "Where My Thugs At." Money breaks off some country grammar on "Lil' Charlie," a hokey hip-hop pokey, and gets funkadelic on the reflective "Father to Son," which interpolates Earth, Wind and Fire's classic "That's the Way of the World."

Though party anthems are great and all, what will keep Money on your mind is his great vocal rhythm, the way he layers lines in and around beats while maintaining his engaging passion. Basically, he sounds like he's having fun. And isn't that all we want???


             13004321 1231188                          Record Review - 4 May 16 2001 "
  ["score"]=>
  float(0)
  ["_index"]=>
  string(21) "atlantawiki_tiki_main"
  ["objectlink"]=>
  string(211) "Record Review - 4 May 16 2001"
  ["photos"]=>
  string(130) "Coming Soon

"
  ["desc"]=>
  string(32) "No description provided"
  ["eventDate"]=>
  string(32) "No description provided"
  ["noads"]=>
  string(10) "y"
}

Article

Wednesday May 16, 2001 12:04 am EDT

They took away J.T. Money's group, the Poison Clan, then took away his first solo offer, from LaFace Records. But Money landed on his feet in Atlanta's north side, using ATLiens like Kevin "She'kspere" Briggs and Dallas Austin to produce his rollicking 1999 pimp-u-mentary, Pimpin' on Wax.

Now Money is back with his surprisingly good sophomore effort, Blood, Sweat and Years, eschewing pimping...

| more...
array(82) {
  ["title"]=>
  string(15) "The stank on ya"
  ["modification_date"]=>
  string(25) "2018-06-16T00:51:04+00:00"
  ["creation_date"]=>
  string(25) "2017-11-24T19:35:13+00:00"
  ["contributors"]=>
  array(1) {
    [0]=>
    string(29) "ben.eason@creativeloafing.com"
  }
  ["date"]=>
  string(25) "2000-11-04T05:04:00+00:00"
  ["tracker_status"]=>
  string(1) "o"
  ["tracker_id"]=>
  string(2) "11"
  ["view_permission"]=>
  string(13) "view_trackers"
  ["tracker_field_contentTitle"]=>
  string(15) "The stank on ya"
  ["tracker_field_contentByline"]=>
  string(13) "Lang Whitaker"
  ["tracker_field_contentByline_exact"]=>
  string(13) "Lang Whitaker"
  ["tracker_field_contentBylinePerson"]=>
  string(7) "1223537"
  ["tracker_field_description"]=>
  string(113) "As OutKast brace for superstardom, their challenging, formula-busting new CD Stankonia may be its own worst enemy"
  ["tracker_field_description_raw"]=>
  string(113) "As OutKast brace for superstardom, their challenging, formula-busting new CD Stankonia may be its own worst enemy"
  ["tracker_field_contentDate"]=>
  string(25) "2000-11-04T05:04:00+00:00"
  ["tracker_field_contentWikiPage"]=>
  string(25) "Content:_:The stank on ya"
  ["tracker_field_contentWikiPage_text"]=>
  string(7187) "Much has been made of the differences between Andre "Dre" Benjamin and Antwan "Big Boi" Patton, the two forces that give OutKast its weight as Atlanta's premier hip-hop act. As Dre, cast as the thoughtful, ascetic vegan, seems more and more like Jimi Hendrix or Prince, Big Boi — viewed as the hard, lecherous player — seems more like a streetwise Hugh Hefner. But it's deep in the chasm between the two where the duo have discovered the territory of Stankonia, OutKast's just-released fourth album and the best hip-hop record so far this millennium.
Over the past seven years, OutKast has risen to the top of Atlanta's hip-hop crop with the help of fellow Dungeon Family cohorts Organized Noize and Goodie Mob and reached a new artistic and commercial height with 1998's double-platinum Aquemini. Stankonia, however, attempts to up the ante on OutKast's stature, with pre-release hype touting them as a major pop crossover waiting to happen. But even as Dre and Big Boi prepare for Stankonia's grand unveiling, they also find themselves in a potentially tricky place. Stankonia, while undeniably tuneful, is so genre-bending and unconventional — so different from anything they've done before — they run the risk of not only alienating their fans, but also of falling between the cracks of radio's tightly formatted airplay.
A week before the release of Stankonia, Dre is trying to relax as the van he rides in zooms down the West Coast, transporting Dre and Big Boi from Seattle to Sacramento. To pump up Stankonia, they're traveling a promotional road that has taken them from New York to Atlanta to France to Seattle, with no immediate end in sight.
"It's like a little frenzy going on right now," yawns Dre. "It's hard, yeah, it's tough. It's like we're on some kind of escalator," he laughs.
Indeed, word of Stankonia's ascent has been heralded by everything from cover stories in hip-hop magazines such as XXL to previews in the mainstream rag Entertainment Weekly, and the group's scintillating advance single, "B.O.B.," has been welcomed by fans, radio and even MTV.
Such a reception bodes well for OutKast since "B.O.B." — shorthand for "Bombs Over Baghdad" — is just the tip of Stankonia's formula-crushing iceberg. Hardly the type of easily palatable opening single meant to ensure healthy first-week album sales, "B.O.B." is about as friendly as a rabid Rottweiler. With a hyper-fast beat that sounds like a hybrid of "Whoomp! There it is!" and an aggressive Roni Size jungle groove, raw guitars, frenetic scratching, a gospel choir and rapid-fire rhymes that compete for attention with a free-flying funk hook.
"Life right now is so fast-paced," Big Boi says of the song, "You know, the youth, the choice of drug has changed from marijuana, which will chill you out, to X or E, and now motherfuckers are all hyper. We're just changing with the pace of what's going on out in the streets. We go out to clubs and see what people move to, so we just do our own interpretation."
It's that willingness to do things their own way rather than regurgitate hip-hop formula that makes Stankonia sound so fresh. At the same time, Stankonia is more melodic, more musical than most current hip-hop, with nods to the layered keyboards and guitar solos of '70s hard funk, and even includes a few "singing" songs with little or no rapping (Dre, though, clarifies that his singing voice is "not like smooth jazz, Luther Vandross-type singing or anything like that").
Where "B.O.B." works as Stankonia's shock troops, sending the message that OutKast is out to break the rules, the record's second single, "Ms. Jackson," typifies their newfound musicality and could very well wind up as OutKast's biggest hit yet. Over a laconic groove, with a lazy piano beating out a sneakily ironic riff from "The Wedding March," OutKast offer what surely must be the first-ever hip-hop apology to baby's mama's mama. "I'm sorry Ms. Jackson," Dre croons, "I am for real! Never meant to make your daughter cry, I apologize a trillion times."
Though Dre says the song isn't addressed to anyone in particular, both Dre and Big Boi know the situation first-hand: Dre, who composed the song's melodic hook, went half on a baby three years ago with well-known R&B diva Erykah Badu. Big Boi, meanwhile, is engaged to the mother of his daughter Jordan, and the couple is currently expecting a second child. A son from another relationship, the 8-month-old Bamboo, was still unborn when Big Boi name-dropped him in "B.O.B."
Even beyond the early singles, Stankonia proves its depth. From the strutting old-school vibe of "So Fresh, So Clean" to the herky-jerky, sprightly romp of "Humble Mumble," to the seductive trip-funk of "Stanklove" to the gritty guitar-grind of "Gasoline Dreams," Stankonia holds up as remarkably consistent in its inconsistency. The group's first release recorded in their own studio, also called Stankonia, the album allowed OutKast the time and freedom to up the level of sophistication and experimentation in the music. "We cut almost the whole thing there," says Big Boi, proudly. "Since we have it 24/7, we can use it whenever we get some inspiration."
But even with the grand achievement that is Stankonia, indications are that OutKast has more exploring to do. They talk of making their next studio album a double CD featuring one-disc solo albums by each. "We're both extremes," Dre says, "and we make a certain chemistry when we do the albums together. It's a compromising sound. But when you do a solo album, it's like your baby. It's an uncompromised sound. The contrast, that is the OutKast sound."
They've also begun to expand their influence, both on the local music industry and on urban music as a whole. Last year, after inking a deal with Elektra Records, Dre and Big Boi set up their own label, Aquemini Records. The label's first release, the single "It's OK" by rapper Slimm Calhoun (co-written by OutKast and featuring Dre) shot directly toward the top of the rap charts, while Calhoun's debut CD, The Skinny, drops early next year.
Having advanced from their early days at the old Tri-Cities High School in Southwest Atlanta, through early albums Southernplayalisticadillacmusic (1994) and ATLiens (1996), to a place at the top of the international hip-hop elite, OutKast remains firmly planted in the rich soil of their hometown. But where once the duo served as Atlanta's hip-hop ambassadors, name-dropping area spots and popularizing the "A-T-L" nickname, Stankonia's relative absence of local color begs the question of whether (like LaFace label head L.A. Reid) OutKast has graduated beyond its hometown. Even "Spaghetti Junction," Stankonia's most glaring local reference, is actually a holdover from the group's ATLiens sessions.
Rather than feeling like they've matured past the confines of the local hip-hop scene, however, Dre and Big Boi actually feel like Atlanta has outgrown them. "Atlanta is the birthplace of OutKast," Dre says, "and we've been giving it its rep from the start. But we figured by this time, everyone knows about Atlanta. Now, man, we just doing our thang."
And what a beautiful thang it is.


"
  ["tracker_field_contentWikiPage_raw"]=>
  string(7245) "Much has been made of the differences between Andre "Dre" Benjamin and Antwan "Big Boi" Patton, the two forces that give OutKast its weight as Atlanta's premier hip-hop act. As Dre, cast as the thoughtful, ascetic vegan, seems more and more like Jimi Hendrix or Prince, Big Boi -- viewed as the hard, lecherous player -- seems more like a streetwise Hugh Hefner. But it's deep in the chasm between the two where the duo have discovered the territory of ''Stankonia'', OutKast's just-released fourth album and the best hip-hop record so far this millennium.
Over the past seven years, OutKast has risen to the top of Atlanta's hip-hop crop with the help of fellow Dungeon Family cohorts Organized Noize and Goodie Mob and reached a new artistic and commercial height with 1998's double-platinum ''Aquemini''. ''Stankonia'', however, attempts to up the ante on OutKast's stature, with pre-release hype touting them as a major pop crossover waiting to happen. But even as Dre and Big Boi prepare for ''Stankonia'''s grand unveiling, they also find themselves in a potentially tricky place. ''Stankonia'', while undeniably tuneful, is so genre-bending and unconventional -- so different from anything they've done before -- they run the risk of not only alienating their fans, but also of falling between the cracks of radio's tightly formatted airplay.
A week before the release of ''Stankonia'', Dre is trying to relax as the van he rides in zooms down the West Coast, transporting Dre and Big Boi from Seattle to Sacramento. To pump up ''Stankonia'', they're traveling a promotional road that has taken them from New York to Atlanta to France to Seattle, with no immediate end in sight.
"It's like a little frenzy going on right now," yawns Dre. "It's hard, yeah, it's tough. It's like we're on some kind of escalator," he laughs.
Indeed, word of ''Stankonia'''s ascent has been heralded by everything from cover stories in hip-hop magazines such as ''XXL'' to previews in the mainstream rag ''Entertainment Weekly'', and the group's scintillating advance single, "B.O.B.," has been welcomed by fans, radio and even MTV.
Such a reception bodes well for OutKast since "B.O.B." -- shorthand for "Bombs Over Baghdad" -- is just the tip of ''Stankonia'''s formula-crushing iceberg. Hardly the type of easily palatable opening single meant to ensure healthy first-week album sales, "B.O.B." is about as friendly as a rabid Rottweiler. With a hyper-fast beat that sounds like a hybrid of "Whoomp! There it is!" and an aggressive Roni Size jungle groove, raw guitars, frenetic scratching, a gospel choir and rapid-fire rhymes that compete for attention with a free-flying funk hook.
"Life right now is so fast-paced," Big Boi says of the song, "You know, the youth, the choice of drug has changed from marijuana, which will chill you out, to X or E, and now motherfuckers are all hyper. We're just changing with the pace of what's going on out in the streets. We go out to clubs and see what people move to, so we just do our own interpretation."
It's that willingness to do things their own way rather than regurgitate hip-hop formula that makes ''Stankonia'' sound so fresh. At the same time, ''Stankonia'' is more melodic, more musical than most current hip-hop, with nods to the layered keyboards and guitar solos of '70s hard funk, and even includes a few "singing" songs with little or no rapping (Dre, though, clarifies that his singing voice is "not like smooth jazz, Luther Vandross-type singing or anything like that").
Where "B.O.B." works as ''Stankonia'''s shock troops, sending the message that OutKast is out to break the rules, the record's second single, "Ms. Jackson," typifies their newfound musicality and could very well wind up as OutKast's biggest hit yet. Over a laconic groove, with a lazy piano beating out a sneakily ironic riff from "The Wedding March," OutKast offer what surely must be the first-ever hip-hop apology to baby's mama's mama. "I'm sorry Ms. Jackson," Dre croons, "I am for real! Never meant to make your daughter cry, I apologize a trillion times."
Though Dre says the song isn't addressed to anyone in particular, both Dre and Big Boi know the situation first-hand: Dre, who composed the song's melodic hook, went half on a baby three years ago with well-known R&B diva Erykah Badu. Big Boi, meanwhile, is engaged to the mother of his daughter Jordan, and the couple is currently expecting a second child. A son from another relationship, the 8-month-old Bamboo, was still unborn when Big Boi name-dropped him in "B.O.B."
Even beyond the early singles, ''Stankonia'' proves its depth. From the strutting old-school vibe of "So Fresh, So Clean" to the herky-jerky, sprightly romp of "Humble Mumble," to the seductive trip-funk of "Stanklove" to the gritty guitar-grind of "Gasoline Dreams," ''Stankonia'' holds up as remarkably consistent in its inconsistency. The group's first release recorded in their own studio, also called Stankonia, the album allowed OutKast the time and freedom to up the level of sophistication and experimentation in the music. "We cut almost the whole thing there," says Big Boi, proudly. "Since we have it 24/7, we can use it whenever we get some inspiration."
But even with the grand achievement that is ''Stankonia'', indications are that OutKast has more exploring to do. They talk of making their next studio album a double CD featuring one-disc solo albums by each. "We're both extremes," Dre says, "and we make a certain chemistry when we do the albums together. It's a compromising sound. But when you do a solo album, it's like your baby. It's an uncompromised sound. The contrast, that is the OutKast sound."
They've also begun to expand their influence, both on the local music industry and on urban music as a whole. Last year, after inking a deal with Elektra Records, Dre and Big Boi set up their own label, Aquemini Records. The label's first release, the single "It's OK" by rapper Slimm Calhoun (co-written by OutKast and featuring Dre) shot directly toward the top of the rap charts, while Calhoun's debut CD, ''The Skinny'', drops early next year.
Having advanced from their early days at the old Tri-Cities High School in Southwest Atlanta, through early albums ''Southernplayalisticadillacmusic'' (1994) and ''ATLiens'' (1996), to a place at the top of the international hip-hop elite, OutKast remains firmly planted in the rich soil of their hometown. But where once the duo served as Atlanta's hip-hop ambassadors, name-dropping area spots and popularizing the "A-T-L" nickname, ''Stankonia'''s relative absence of local color begs the question of whether (like LaFace label head L.A. Reid) OutKast has graduated beyond its hometown. Even "Spaghetti Junction," ''Stankonia'''s most glaring local reference, is actually a holdover from the group's ''ATLiens'' sessions.
Rather than feeling like they've matured past the confines of the local hip-hop scene, however, Dre and Big Boi actually feel like Atlanta has outgrown them. "Atlanta is the birthplace of OutKast," Dre says, "and we've been giving it its rep from the start. But we figured by this time, everyone knows about Atlanta. Now, man, we just doing our thang."
And what a beautiful thang it is.


"
  ["tracker_field_contentWikiPage_creation_date"]=>
  string(25) "2018-01-19T21:17:14+00:00"
  ["tracker_field_contentWikiPage_modification_date"]=>
  string(25) "2018-01-19T21:17:14+00:00"
  ["tracker_field_contentCategory"]=>
  array(1) {
    [0]=>
    string(3) "547"
  }
  ["tracker_field_contentCategory_text"]=>
  string(3) "547"
  ["tracker_field_contentControlCategory"]=>
  array(0) {
  }
  ["tracker_field_scene"]=>
  array(0) {
  }
  ["tracker_field_contentNeighborhood"]=>
  array(0) {
  }
  ["tracker_field_contentRelations_multi"]=>
  array(1) {
    [0]=>
    string(0) ""
  }
  ["tracker_field_contentRelatedContent_multi"]=>
  array(1) {
    [0]=>
    string(0) ""
  }
  ["tracker_field_contentRelatedWikiPages_multi"]=>
  array(1) {
    [0]=>
    string(0) ""
  }
  ["tracker_field_contentBASEContentID"]=>
  string(8) "13001924"
  ["tracker_field_contentLegacyContentID"]=>
  string(7) "1227440"
  ["tracker_field_contentBASEAuthorID"]=>
  int(0)
  ["tracker_field_contentLegacyURL1"]=>
  string(52) "/mediaserver/atlanta/2015-17/vibes_feature-2093.jpeg"
  ["tracker_field_contentLegacyURL1PhotoCredit"]=>
  string(14) "Michael Lavine"
  ["tracker_field_contentLegacyURL1PhotoCaption"]=>
  string(25) "OutKast's Big Boi and Dre"
  ["tracker_field_section"]=>
  array(0) {
  }
  ["language"]=>
  string(7) "unknown"
  ["attachments"]=>
  array(0) {
  }
  ["comment_count"]=>
  int(0)
  ["categories"]=>
  array(1) {
    [0]=>
    int(547)
  }
  ["deep_categories"]=>
  array(3) {
    [0]=>
    int(242)
    [1]=>
    int(243)
    [2]=>
    int(547)
  }
  ["categories_under_28"]=>
  array(0) {
  }
  ["deep_categories_under_28"]=>
  array(0) {
  }
  ["categories_under_1"]=>
  array(0) {
  }
  ["deep_categories_under_1"]=>
  array(0) {
  }
  ["categories_under_177"]=>
  array(0) {
  }
  ["deep_categories_under_177"]=>
  array(0) {
  }
  ["categories_under_209"]=>
  array(0) {
  }
  ["deep_categories_under_209"]=>
  array(0) {
  }
  ["categories_under_163"]=>
  array(0) {
  }
  ["deep_categories_under_163"]=>
  array(0) {
  }
  ["categories_under_171"]=>
  array(0) {
  }
  ["deep_categories_under_171"]=>
  array(0) {
  }
  ["categories_under_153"]=>
  array(0) {
  }
  ["deep_categories_under_153"]=>
  array(0) {
  }
  ["categories_under_242"]=>
  array(0) {
  }
  ["deep_categories_under_242"]=>
  array(2) {
    [0]=>
    int(243)
    [1]=>
    int(547)
  }
  ["categories_under_564"]=>
  array(0) {
  }
  ["deep_categories_under_564"]=>
  array(0) {
  }
  ["categories_under_1182"]=>
  array(0) {
  }
  ["deep_categories_under_1182"]=>
  array(0) {
  }
  ["freetags"]=>
  array(0) {
  }
  ["geo_located"]=>
  string(1) "n"
  ["allowed_groups"]=>
  array(2) {
    [0]=>
    string(6) "Admins"
    [1]=>
    string(9) "Anonymous"
  }
  ["allowed_users"]=>
  array(0) {
  }
  ["relations"]=>
  array(0) {
  }
  ["relation_objects"]=>
  array(0) {
  }
  ["relation_types"]=>
  array(0) {
  }
  ["relation_count"]=>
  array(0) {
  }
  ["title_initial"]=>
  string(1) "T"
  ["title_firstword"]=>
  string(3) "The"
  ["searchable"]=>
  string(1) "y"
  ["url"]=>
  string(10) "item159519"
  ["object_type"]=>
  string(11) "trackeritem"
  ["object_id"]=>
  string(6) "159519"
  ["contents"]=>
  string(7555) "    As OutKast brace for superstardom, their challenging, formula-busting new CD Stankonia may be its own worst enemy   2000-11-04T05:04:00+00:00 The stank on ya   Lang Whitaker  2000-11-04T05:04:00+00:00  Much has been made of the differences between Andre "Dre" Benjamin and Antwan "Big Boi" Patton, the two forces that give OutKast its weight as Atlanta's premier hip-hop act. As Dre, cast as the thoughtful, ascetic vegan, seems more and more like Jimi Hendrix or Prince, Big Boi — viewed as the hard, lecherous player — seems more like a streetwise Hugh Hefner. But it's deep in the chasm between the two where the duo have discovered the territory of Stankonia, OutKast's just-released fourth album and the best hip-hop record so far this millennium.
Over the past seven years, OutKast has risen to the top of Atlanta's hip-hop crop with the help of fellow Dungeon Family cohorts Organized Noize and Goodie Mob and reached a new artistic and commercial height with 1998's double-platinum Aquemini. Stankonia, however, attempts to up the ante on OutKast's stature, with pre-release hype touting them as a major pop crossover waiting to happen. But even as Dre and Big Boi prepare for Stankonia's grand unveiling, they also find themselves in a potentially tricky place. Stankonia, while undeniably tuneful, is so genre-bending and unconventional — so different from anything they've done before — they run the risk of not only alienating their fans, but also of falling between the cracks of radio's tightly formatted airplay.
A week before the release of Stankonia, Dre is trying to relax as the van he rides in zooms down the West Coast, transporting Dre and Big Boi from Seattle to Sacramento. To pump up Stankonia, they're traveling a promotional road that has taken them from New York to Atlanta to France to Seattle, with no immediate end in sight.
"It's like a little frenzy going on right now," yawns Dre. "It's hard, yeah, it's tough. It's like we're on some kind of escalator," he laughs.
Indeed, word of Stankonia's ascent has been heralded by everything from cover stories in hip-hop magazines such as XXL to previews in the mainstream rag Entertainment Weekly, and the group's scintillating advance single, "B.O.B.," has been welcomed by fans, radio and even MTV.
Such a reception bodes well for OutKast since "B.O.B." — shorthand for "Bombs Over Baghdad" — is just the tip of Stankonia's formula-crushing iceberg. Hardly the type of easily palatable opening single meant to ensure healthy first-week album sales, "B.O.B." is about as friendly as a rabid Rottweiler. With a hyper-fast beat that sounds like a hybrid of "Whoomp! There it is!" and an aggressive Roni Size jungle groove, raw guitars, frenetic scratching, a gospel choir and rapid-fire rhymes that compete for attention with a free-flying funk hook.
"Life right now is so fast-paced," Big Boi says of the song, "You know, the youth, the choice of drug has changed from marijuana, which will chill you out, to X or E, and now motherfuckers are all hyper. We're just changing with the pace of what's going on out in the streets. We go out to clubs and see what people move to, so we just do our own interpretation."
It's that willingness to do things their own way rather than regurgitate hip-hop formula that makes Stankonia sound so fresh. At the same time, Stankonia is more melodic, more musical than most current hip-hop, with nods to the layered keyboards and guitar solos of '70s hard funk, and even includes a few "singing" songs with little or no rapping (Dre, though, clarifies that his singing voice is "not like smooth jazz, Luther Vandross-type singing or anything like that").
Where "B.O.B." works as Stankonia's shock troops, sending the message that OutKast is out to break the rules, the record's second single, "Ms. Jackson," typifies their newfound musicality and could very well wind up as OutKast's biggest hit yet. Over a laconic groove, with a lazy piano beating out a sneakily ironic riff from "The Wedding March," OutKast offer what surely must be the first-ever hip-hop apology to baby's mama's mama. "I'm sorry Ms. Jackson," Dre croons, "I am for real! Never meant to make your daughter cry, I apologize a trillion times."
Though Dre says the song isn't addressed to anyone in particular, both Dre and Big Boi know the situation first-hand: Dre, who composed the song's melodic hook, went half on a baby three years ago with well-known R&B diva Erykah Badu. Big Boi, meanwhile, is engaged to the mother of his daughter Jordan, and the couple is currently expecting a second child. A son from another relationship, the 8-month-old Bamboo, was still unborn when Big Boi name-dropped him in "B.O.B."
Even beyond the early singles, Stankonia proves its depth. From the strutting old-school vibe of "So Fresh, So Clean" to the herky-jerky, sprightly romp of "Humble Mumble," to the seductive trip-funk of "Stanklove" to the gritty guitar-grind of "Gasoline Dreams," Stankonia holds up as remarkably consistent in its inconsistency. The group's first release recorded in their own studio, also called Stankonia, the album allowed OutKast the time and freedom to up the level of sophistication and experimentation in the music. "We cut almost the whole thing there," says Big Boi, proudly. "Since we have it 24/7, we can use it whenever we get some inspiration."
But even with the grand achievement that is Stankonia, indications are that OutKast has more exploring to do. They talk of making their next studio album a double CD featuring one-disc solo albums by each. "We're both extremes," Dre says, "and we make a certain chemistry when we do the albums together. It's a compromising sound. But when you do a solo album, it's like your baby. It's an uncompromised sound. The contrast, that is the OutKast sound."
They've also begun to expand their influence, both on the local music industry and on urban music as a whole. Last year, after inking a deal with Elektra Records, Dre and Big Boi set up their own label, Aquemini Records. The label's first release, the single "It's OK" by rapper Slimm Calhoun (co-written by OutKast and featuring Dre) shot directly toward the top of the rap charts, while Calhoun's debut CD, The Skinny, drops early next year.
Having advanced from their early days at the old Tri-Cities High School in Southwest Atlanta, through early albums Southernplayalisticadillacmusic (1994) and ATLiens (1996), to a place at the top of the international hip-hop elite, OutKast remains firmly planted in the rich soil of their hometown. But where once the duo served as Atlanta's hip-hop ambassadors, name-dropping area spots and popularizing the "A-T-L" nickname, Stankonia's relative absence of local color begs the question of whether (like LaFace label head L.A. Reid) OutKast has graduated beyond its hometown. Even "Spaghetti Junction," Stankonia's most glaring local reference, is actually a holdover from the group's ATLiens sessions.
Rather than feeling like they've matured past the confines of the local hip-hop scene, however, Dre and Big Boi actually feel like Atlanta has outgrown them. "Atlanta is the birthplace of OutKast," Dre says, "and we've been giving it its rep from the start. But we figured by this time, everyone knows about Atlanta. Now, man, we just doing our thang."
And what a beautiful thang it is.


             13001924 1227440        /mediaserver/atlanta/2015-17/vibes_feature-2093.jpeg Michael Lavine OutKast's Big Boi and Dre                The stank on ya "
  ["score"]=>
  float(0)
  ["_index"]=>
  string(21) "atlantawiki_tiki_main"
  ["objectlink"]=>
  string(197) "The stank on ya"
  ["photos"]=>
  string(130) "Coming Soon

"
  ["desc"]=>
  string(122) "As OutKast brace for superstardom, their challenging, formula-busting new CD Stankonia may be its own worst enemy"
  ["eventDate"]=>
  string(122) "As OutKast brace for superstardom, their challenging, formula-busting new CD Stankonia may be its own worst enemy"
  ["noads"]=>
  string(10) "y"
}

Article

Saturday November 4, 2000 12:04 am EST
As OutKast brace for superstardom, their challenging, formula-busting new CD Stankonia may be its own worst enemy | more...
array(80) {
  ["title"]=>
  string(55) "Talk of the Town - I'm out -- for now September 16 2000"
  ["modification_date"]=>
  string(25) "2018-06-16T01:39:06+00:00"
  ["creation_date"]=>
  string(25) "2017-12-27T01:23:20+00:00"
  ["contributors"]=>
  array(1) {
    [0]=>
    string(29) "ben.eason@creativeloafing.com"
  }
  ["date"]=>
  string(25) "2000-09-16T04:04:00+00:00"
  ["tracker_status"]=>
  string(1) "o"
  ["tracker_id"]=>
  string(2) "11"
  ["view_permission"]=>
  string(13) "view_trackers"
  ["tracker_field_contentTitle"]=>
  string(55) "Talk of the Town - I'm out -- for now September 16 2000"
  ["tracker_field_contentByline"]=>
  string(13) "Lang Whitaker"
  ["tracker_field_contentByline_exact"]=>
  string(13) "Lang Whitaker"
  ["tracker_field_contentBylinePerson"]=>
  string(6) "144546"
  ["tracker_field_contentBylinePerson_text"]=>
  string(7) "1223537"
  ["tracker_field_description"]=>
  string(17) "Big Apple beckons"
  ["tracker_field_description_raw"]=>
  string(17) "Big Apple beckons"
  ["tracker_field_contentDate"]=>
  string(25) "2000-09-16T04:04:00+00:00"
  ["tracker_field_contentWikiPage"]=>
  string(65) "Content:_:Talk of the Town - I'm out -- for now September 16 2000"
  ["tracker_field_contentWikiPage_text"]=>
  string(3675) "Last Friday, Sept. 8, I turned 27 years old. I lived in Atlanta for that entire time, and I love the ATL. It is  my town. I know all the streets, all the restaurants, all the people. But last week, I moved to New York City to helm the website for Slam magazine, the coolest basketball magazine on the planet. (Shameless plug alert: The address is www.slamonline.com.) It was my choice to leave Atlanta, and it was the hardest choice I've ever had to make.

Atlanta is a town that's easy to be comfortable in. You have your cars and your friends and your haunts. And they don't change. Somehow, over the last 27 years, I was able to go from being a healthy baby born at Piedmont Hospital to being a weekly columnist in Georgia's second-largest newspaper. I was happy and fulfilled, and had no plans to leave.

And then came the offer from Slam, which came at the same time the love of my life, Isabel Gonzalez, got an offer to move to New York and work for Teen People. It took me months to make my choice, and it was the hardest decision I've ever had to make. But ultimately, I thought that I needed a challenge.

So now I get to start all over again in one of the biggest cities in the world. I'm in New York, and I don't know any streets, any restaurants or (hardly) any people. Although I have met a few random celebrities — Kyle McLachlan, Dominick Dunne, Ted Koppel — I don't foresee myself partying at Tavern on the Green with Koppel any time soon.

One of the toughest things about my adjustment to New York has been trying to understand the rhythms and patterns of the Big Apple. For example, in Atlanta I've never seen people who, while walking their dogs, trail the pooches with a plastic grocery sack in their hands. Then, once the dog craps, they pick it up. In their hands! Sure they have the grocery sack there, like some sort of cheap latex glove, but they are still holding dog crap. In their hands.

Transportation is another bizarre aspect of this town. I left my trusty Jeep Wrangler behind so now I'm forced to find alternate modes of transportation, namely a cab or the subway.

Though it is cost-efficient, riding the subway is a test of patience. The stations themselves are dank, underground, dungeon-like structures with no air circulation. The subway cars — well, most of them — do have air conditioning, but by the time I get to work, I've usually sweat through my shirt. I can also take a cab, which costs about $6 each way. The only problem is the Manhattan gridlock, which makes it take about 30 minutes to go 20 blocks.

Cab drivers are a breed of their own. They've tried to rip me off three times by going the wrong direction, but I've caught them each time. Then, last night, my cab driver tailed another car for several blocks, before our cab pulled alongside the guy so the cabbie could yell "Bitch!" out the window at the civilian.

But it's not all negative. A few nights ago I awoke at 4 a.m. with cottonmouth and walked across the street to the deli on the corner to grab a Coke. Amazingly, the streets are just as busy at 4 a.m. as they are at 4 p.m.

So, as I start trying to take my bite of the Big Apple, I'm grateful to the folk I'm leaving behind: my parents and family, my friends and everyone at CL. I'm planning to return to Atlanta one day because as much as I'm enjoying life in the city that never sleeps, I want to get my sleep on, too. Until I do return, all you people take care of each other. And me? I'll take Manhattan. For now, at least.

Hey Atlanta, thanks for everything. Let me know how you're doing. Call me at 404-688-5623 x. 1502, or e-mail me at lang@creativeloafing.com. I'm out.


"
  ["tracker_field_contentWikiPage_raw"]=>
  string(3717) "Last Friday, Sept. 8, I turned 27 years old. I lived in Atlanta for that entire time, and I love the ATL. It is  ''my'' town. I know all the streets, all the restaurants, all the people. But last week, I moved to New York City to helm the website for ''Slam'' magazine, the coolest basketball magazine on the planet. (Shameless plug alert: The address is www.slamonline.com.) It was my choice to leave Atlanta, and it was the hardest choice I've ever had to make.

Atlanta is a town that's easy to be comfortable in. You have your cars and your friends and your haunts. And they don't change. Somehow, over the last 27 years, I was able to go from being a healthy baby born at Piedmont Hospital to being a weekly columnist in Georgia's second-largest newspaper. I was happy and fulfilled, and had no plans to leave.

And then came the offer from ''Slam'', which came at the same time the love of my life, Isabel Gonzalez, got an offer to move to New York and work for ''Teen People''. It took me months to make my choice, and it was the hardest decision I've ever had to make. But ultimately, I thought that I needed a challenge.

So now I get to start all over again in one of the biggest cities in the world. I'm in New York, and I don't know any streets, any restaurants or (hardly) any people. Although I have met a few random celebrities -- Kyle McLachlan, Dominick Dunne, Ted Koppel -- I don't foresee myself partying at Tavern on the Green with Koppel any time soon.

One of the toughest things about my adjustment to New York has been trying to understand the rhythms and patterns of the Big Apple. For example, in Atlanta I've never seen people who, while walking their dogs, trail the pooches with a plastic grocery sack in their hands. Then, once the dog craps, they pick it up. ''In their hands!'' Sure they have the grocery sack there, like some sort of cheap latex glove, but they are still holding dog crap. In their hands.

Transportation is another bizarre aspect of this town. I left my trusty Jeep Wrangler behind so now I'm forced to find alternate modes of transportation, namely a cab or the subway.

Though it is cost-efficient, riding the subway is a test of patience. The stations themselves are dank, underground, dungeon-like structures with no air circulation. The subway cars -- well, most of them -- do have air conditioning, but by the time I get to work, I've usually sweat through my shirt. I can also take a cab, which costs about $6 each way. The only problem is the Manhattan gridlock, which makes it take about 30 minutes to go 20 blocks.

Cab drivers are a breed of their own. They've tried to rip me off three times by going the wrong direction, but I've caught them each time. Then, last night, my cab driver tailed another car for several blocks, before our cab pulled alongside the guy so the cabbie could yell "Bitch!" out the window at the civilian.

But it's not all negative. A few nights ago I awoke at 4 a.m. with cottonmouth and walked across the street to the deli on the corner to grab a Coke. Amazingly, the streets are just as busy at 4 a.m. as they are at 4 p.m.

So, as I start trying to take my bite of the Big Apple, I'm grateful to the folk I'm leaving behind: my parents and family, my friends and everyone at ''CL''. I'm planning to return to Atlanta one day because as much as I'm enjoying life in the city that never sleeps, I want to get my sleep on, too. Until I do return, all you people take care of each other. And me? I'll take Manhattan. For now, at least.

''Hey Atlanta, thanks for everything. Let me know how you're doing. Call me at 404-688-5623 x. 1502, or e-mail me at [mailto:lang@creativeloafing.com|lang@creativeloafing.com]. I'm out.''


"
  ["tracker_field_contentWikiPage_creation_date"]=>
  string(25) "2018-01-19T20:59:24+00:00"
  ["tracker_field_contentWikiPage_modification_date"]=>
  string(25) "2018-01-19T20:59:24+00:00"
  ["tracker_field_contentCategory"]=>
  array(1) {
    [0]=>
    string(3) "626"
  }
  ["tracker_field_contentCategory_text"]=>
  string(3) "626"
  ["tracker_field_contentControlCategory"]=>
  array(0) {
  }
  ["tracker_field_scene"]=>
  array(0) {
  }
  ["tracker_field_contentNeighborhood"]=>
  array(0) {
  }
  ["tracker_field_contentRelations_multi"]=>
  array(1) {
    [0]=>
    string(0) ""
  }
  ["tracker_field_contentRelatedContent_multi"]=>
  array(1) {
    [0]=>
    string(0) ""
  }
  ["tracker_field_contentRelatedWikiPages_multi"]=>
  array(1) {
    [0]=>
    string(0) ""
  }
  ["tracker_field_contentBASEContentID"]=>
  string(8) "13001171"
  ["tracker_field_contentLegacyContentID"]=>
  string(7) "1226361"
  ["tracker_field_contentBASEAuthorID"]=>
  int(0)
  ["tracker_field_section"]=>
  array(0) {
  }
  ["language"]=>
  string(7) "unknown"
  ["attachments"]=>
  array(0) {
  }
  ["comment_count"]=>
  int(0)
  ["categories"]=>
  array(1) {
    [0]=>
    int(626)
  }
  ["deep_categories"]=>
  array(3) {
    [0]=>
    int(242)
    [1]=>
    int(248)
    [2]=>
    int(626)
  }
  ["categories_under_28"]=>
  array(0) {
  }
  ["deep_categories_under_28"]=>
  array(0) {
  }
  ["categories_under_1"]=>
  array(0) {
  }
  ["deep_categories_under_1"]=>
  array(0) {
  }
  ["categories_under_177"]=>
  array(0) {
  }
  ["deep_categories_under_177"]=>
  array(0) {
  }
  ["categories_under_209"]=>
  array(0) {
  }
  ["deep_categories_under_209"]=>
  array(0) {
  }
  ["categories_under_163"]=>
  array(0) {
  }
  ["deep_categories_under_163"]=>
  array(0) {
  }
  ["categories_under_171"]=>
  array(0) {
  }
  ["deep_categories_under_171"]=>
  array(0) {
  }
  ["categories_under_153"]=>
  array(0) {
  }
  ["deep_categories_under_153"]=>
  array(0) {
  }
  ["categories_under_242"]=>
  array(0) {
  }
  ["deep_categories_under_242"]=>
  array(2) {
    [0]=>
    int(248)
    [1]=>
    int(626)
  }
  ["categories_under_564"]=>
  array(0) {
  }
  ["deep_categories_under_564"]=>
  array(0) {
  }
  ["categories_under_1182"]=>
  array(0) {
  }
  ["deep_categories_under_1182"]=>
  array(0) {
  }
  ["freetags"]=>
  array(0) {
  }
  ["geo_located"]=>
  string(1) "n"
  ["allowed_groups"]=>
  array(2) {
    [0]=>
    string(6) "Admins"
    [1]=>
    string(9) "Anonymous"
  }
  ["allowed_users"]=>
  array(0) {
  }
  ["relations"]=>
  array(0) {
  }
  ["relation_objects"]=>
  array(0) {
  }
  ["relation_types"]=>
  array(0) {
  }
  ["relation_count"]=>
  array(0) {
  }
  ["title_initial"]=>
  string(1) "T"
  ["title_firstword"]=>
  string(4) "Talk"
  ["searchable"]=>
  string(1) "y"
  ["url"]=>
  string(10) "item177509"
  ["object_type"]=>
  string(11) "trackeritem"
  ["object_id"]=>
  string(6) "177509"
  ["contents"]=>
  string(3943) "    Big Apple beckons   2000-09-16T04:04:00+00:00 Talk of the Town - I'm out -- for now September 16 2000   Lang Whitaker 1223537 2000-09-16T04:04:00+00:00  Last Friday, Sept. 8, I turned 27 years old. I lived in Atlanta for that entire time, and I love the ATL. It is  my town. I know all the streets, all the restaurants, all the people. But last week, I moved to New York City to helm the website for Slam magazine, the coolest basketball magazine on the planet. (Shameless plug alert: The address is www.slamonline.com.) It was my choice to leave Atlanta, and it was the hardest choice I've ever had to make.

Atlanta is a town that's easy to be comfortable in. You have your cars and your friends and your haunts. And they don't change. Somehow, over the last 27 years, I was able to go from being a healthy baby born at Piedmont Hospital to being a weekly columnist in Georgia's second-largest newspaper. I was happy and fulfilled, and had no plans to leave.

And then came the offer from Slam, which came at the same time the love of my life, Isabel Gonzalez, got an offer to move to New York and work for Teen People. It took me months to make my choice, and it was the hardest decision I've ever had to make. But ultimately, I thought that I needed a challenge.

So now I get to start all over again in one of the biggest cities in the world. I'm in New York, and I don't know any streets, any restaurants or (hardly) any people. Although I have met a few random celebrities — Kyle McLachlan, Dominick Dunne, Ted Koppel — I don't foresee myself partying at Tavern on the Green with Koppel any time soon.

One of the toughest things about my adjustment to New York has been trying to understand the rhythms and patterns of the Big Apple. For example, in Atlanta I've never seen people who, while walking their dogs, trail the pooches with a plastic grocery sack in their hands. Then, once the dog craps, they pick it up. In their hands! Sure they have the grocery sack there, like some sort of cheap latex glove, but they are still holding dog crap. In their hands.

Transportation is another bizarre aspect of this town. I left my trusty Jeep Wrangler behind so now I'm forced to find alternate modes of transportation, namely a cab or the subway.

Though it is cost-efficient, riding the subway is a test of patience. The stations themselves are dank, underground, dungeon-like structures with no air circulation. The subway cars — well, most of them — do have air conditioning, but by the time I get to work, I've usually sweat through my shirt. I can also take a cab, which costs about $6 each way. The only problem is the Manhattan gridlock, which makes it take about 30 minutes to go 20 blocks.

Cab drivers are a breed of their own. They've tried to rip me off three times by going the wrong direction, but I've caught them each time. Then, last night, my cab driver tailed another car for several blocks, before our cab pulled alongside the guy so the cabbie could yell "Bitch!" out the window at the civilian.

But it's not all negative. A few nights ago I awoke at 4 a.m. with cottonmouth and walked across the street to the deli on the corner to grab a Coke. Amazingly, the streets are just as busy at 4 a.m. as they are at 4 p.m.

So, as I start trying to take my bite of the Big Apple, I'm grateful to the folk I'm leaving behind: my parents and family, my friends and everyone at CL. I'm planning to return to Atlanta one day because as much as I'm enjoying life in the city that never sleeps, I want to get my sleep on, too. Until I do return, all you people take care of each other. And me? I'll take Manhattan. For now, at least.

Hey Atlanta, thanks for everything. Let me know how you're doing. Call me at 404-688-5623 x. 1502, or e-mail me at lang@creativeloafing.com. I'm out.


             13001171 1226361                          Talk of the Town - I'm out -- for now September 16 2000 "
  ["score"]=>
  float(0)
  ["_index"]=>
  string(21) "atlantawiki_tiki_main"
  ["objectlink"]=>
  string(242) "Talk of the Town - I'm out -- for now September 16 2000"
  ["photos"]=>
  string(130) "Coming Soon

"
  ["desc"]=>
  string(26) "Big Apple beckons"
  ["eventDate"]=>
  string(26) "Big Apple beckons"
  ["noads"]=>
  string(10) "y"
}

Article

Saturday September 16, 2000 12:04 am EDT
Big Apple beckons | more...
Search for more by Lang Whitaker

[Admin link: Talk of the Town - Take me out July 15 2000]