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Cover Story: All Hail the King Crunk

Lil Jon heralds a new Southern music movement

It ain't easy being the king of crunk. Folks are always looking at you to get crazy at the drop of a hat, to serve as pied piper of the moving party centered wherever you happen to be, to grit your teeth like a wildman and bare your gleaming platinum-and-diamond-covered fronts each time a camera gets pointed your way.

Lil Jon, however, has perfected the art of crunkery. Even if he wasn't the guy who all-but-invented crunk music, hip-hop's Southern-fried flavor of the year — even if he wasn't the writer, producer, motivator, guest vocalist or primary artist behind every crunk hit in 2003 — he'd still have earned his royal title.

One could argue whether Michael Jackson really is the King of Pop, or if Sting is the King of Pain. But no one will beg to differ if you call Jon the King of Crunk.

"My definition of crunk is Lil Jon," says Kaine of Ying Yang Twins, one of the string of Atlanta acts that rode the crunk train up the pop charts this year.

"Lil Jon paved the way for these records to break," says Jon's former So So Def boss Jermaine Dupri, whose label put out releases by lesser crunkateers Bone Crusher (a Lil Jon disciple) and Youngbloodz (whose hit, "Damn!" was co-written by and features Lil Jon).

Crunk, for anyone who hasn't kept up on recent pop trends, is a hip-hop sub-genre emanating from the clubs of Atlanta. It's music designed specifically to get the testosterone boiling — high energy, headbanger hip-hop, better suited for the mosh pit than the V.I.P. area. Its m.o. mainly revolves around cheap beats and impossibly booming bass, catchy call-and-response chants and ferocious roars.

It's been simmering on a regional level for years, since Lil Jon & the East Side Boyz debuted in '96 with "Who U Wit?," the song that brought the down-South slang "crunk" into hip-hop currency. But crunk, as a genre, went through the roof starting this spring, with a string of national hits: First came Bone Crusher's "Never Scared" and David Banner's "Like a Pimp," followed by Lil Jon & the East Side Boyz's "Get Low" (featuring Ying Yang Twins) and "Damn!," both of which remain in the top five pop singles. And last week at The Source Hip-Hop Music Awards in Miami, crunk got a powerful bit of national recognition when Lil Jon & the East Side Boyz was named group of the year (see sidebar).

"Crunk is street music, it has a different energy from any other kind of rap out there right now," Jon says. "It makes you want to wild out, throw some bows. Crunk is a lifestyle in Atlanta, it's how we grow up. You can be going to the mall on a Saturday and see six motherfuckers in an old-school Chevy, bouncing up and down, swerving. That's being crunk. Everything about young kids' culture in Atlanta is about crunk."

It ain't easy staying crunk, but Jon's able to muster crunkitude even under the most inauspicious conditions. For instance, last August in L.A. he headlined an all-day radio festival — his first-ever West Coast show — at the very un-crunk Universal Amphitheater. Jon and his entourage (including East Side Boyz Lil Bo and Big Sam; protege Lil Scrappy; rapper Krayzie Bone; celebrity pimp Bishop Don "Magic" Juan and his lady friend) arrived armed with studded goblets and a liquor bottle or two per person, for use as crunk accessories as much as for intoxication.

But the guards at the backstage security gate wouldn't let that much alcohol through, so they had to leave most of the bottles behind. Jon took it in stride, but later, after a couple hours spent inside a walk-in closet-sized dressing room, Jon got a little stir crazy. The wait threatened to kill the crunk buzz Jon had cultivated.

So he busted out of the room and led his posse through the backstage hallways in a quest to get to the bottom of the excruciating delay. He found the production office and pushed his way in to find a group of producers, tech crew and radio station flunkies hanging out.

"Damn, give us a TV or something, we're getting bored back there!" Jon ranted. "Why you discriminating against a player?"

He was pissed, but in person, he's nowhere near as intimidating as he looks snarling out from his album covers. Soon, he was kibbitzing with the production staff, teasing and flirting and charming his way to becoming the favorite act they had to deal with all day. Soon enough, he apologized for his outburst. "I was just getting frustrated," he said.

Such is the king of crunk's duality. Jon is ready and willing to play the warrior in tireless pursuit of a crazy-ass party, but behind those shades he's always wearing, behind his leonine dreads and beard, he's by all accounts a pretty sweet guy. And he's all about business.

Jon's brother Willie Smith, a doctor currently doing his residency at Emory, says, "Seeing him on stage and in the videos is totally night and day from what he is as plain old Jonathan Smith. He's much more quiet, laidback, reserved, no where near as loud."

"When you go out, he's wild as hell, you gotta keep your eye on him," says Rob McDowell, Jon's friend since middle school and one of his business partners at BME. "But if he was crunk all the time, either he'd pass the fuck out or be in prison. So he's blessed that he has some sort of medium in there."

Recently, after a rare day off watching DVDs with his fiancee and 5-year-old son in their south DeKalb home, Jon is back at work on a remix for T.I., another of Atlanta's new breed of rap stars (crunk by association if not quite by sound). Purposefully marching into T.I.'s Grand Hustle office, Jon quietly and quickly sizes up the studio and hands out orders like he's a surgeon about to do an emergency operation.

"OK, we'll set up in here," Jon says to one engineer, before turning to an assistant. "We're going to need a couple sixes of beer, and a couple dozen chicken wings."

He's in non-crunk mode now — the same guy, but barely recognizable from his stage persona. He's not even wearing his dark shades. And who would've guessed? The king of crunk has himself some big puppy-dog eyes.

"I'm amazed," he says of the success he's seen this year, and the changes it has brought his life. "No sleep, always working. When you get a little bit of something jumping off, you gotta get it while you can. So anything that comes up I'm trying to do."

In addition to his appearances on all of the records by his aforementioned crunk disciples, Jon shows up on new records by OutKast, Murphy Lee and Nappy Roots, as well as recent releases by Trick Daddy, Too $hort and E-40. BME has two simultaneous label deals — one with TVT Records, to put out Lil Jon & the East Side Boyz, female artists Chyna Whyte and Oobie and a Crunk Christmas CD; one with Warner Bros., for forthcoming releases by Lil Scrappy, Trillville and Bo Hagon. He's finishing up a DVD called Too Crunk For TV, a sort of "Jackass"/"Girls Gone Wild" hybrid 'n da hood. He's appearing as host on a series of porn videos, the first coming out next month. He's also looking at scripts to launch an acting career, while exploring the possibility of doing an adult animated series, "The Adventures of Lil Jon."

Still, says the former party promoter, DJ and A&R man, he never intended on being a pop star when he took the East Side Boyz into the studio to record "Who U Wit?" "I just really want to focus on my producing, but the artist part takes up more time than anything. You've got to do shows, record the album, do interviews. The average producer can sit in his house and just do beats."

As for the fame, his crunk side clearly thrives on it but his milder half can take it or leave it. "People always knew me from DJing, but in the last year it's been fucking my head up. Not being able to walk through certain clubs without being bumrushed. And to go to different cities where you never could get a record played and people running up to you and screaming. Stuff could eventually make your head big, but I got people around me keeping me grounded. My business partners are people who've been in my life since sixth grade."

The future king of crunk, Jonathan Smith, grew up in a middle-class Southeast Atlanta neighborhood. He was the oldest of five kids born to a Lockheed engineer father and a mother in the Army Reserves.

"He was very quiet, he liked to read a lot," recalls his mother, Carrie Smith-Williams. "And he was just a high achiever. He'd finish his work and the teacher kept giving him more work. One day I had to go to school because Jon refused to do any more work. He said, 'I already have an A. If they're going to give me an F, I'll still pass.' I thought he was going to do computer science, or engineering, or something like that."

At Southwest Middle School, Jon befriended Rob "Mac" McDowell, Vince "VP" Phillips and Dwayne "Emperor" Searcy, his partners in BME. Jon was particularly tight with Rob, and in their early teens the two immersed themselves in skateboarding. They used to trek up to Piedmont Park to work at Skate Escape, and they got into the music as well. "Agent Orange, all that," says McDowell. "We were definitely into the slamdancing, just the aggression of it, the anarchy."

Although Jon went off to a magnet school (Frederick Douglas High) to study computers, the four remained close. Jon's youngest brother, Chris Smith, recalls Jon's earliest DJing endeavors with Emperor Searcy, best known these days as a Hot 107.9 radio personality. "When Jon was like 15, 16, he and Searcy used to have house parties every weekend. He used to call them 'Old Eng and Chicken Wing' parties."

By the time he graduated high school, Jon was also DJing at former downtown club The Phoenix and developing a big enough following, particularly for spinning reggae, that the friends founded BME to manage his business. BME soon branched out to do talent shows and manage other artists. Around the same time, Jermaine Dupri approached Jon about doing A&R and street promotions for his fledgling label, So So Def.

Jon's biggest success at the label was putting together the So So Def Bass All-Stars series, seminal compilations that captured the bass music scene that once dominated Southern hip-hop. But in 1996, as the first All-Stars record was on its way to selling more than a half-million copies, Jon was already heading somewhere else musically.

"When bass started to fade out, me and Searcy were DJing at the 559," Jon says. "We saw the crowd go from where they'd want to hear bass the entire night, to where they'd want to hear Master P, Mystikal, 8Ball & MJG. The rowdy shit was what got the club off the chain. And I was thinking, damn, ain't no records just specifically made to get you crunk. 8Ball and them just made a hot song, they didn't expect to necessarily make you get crunk in the club. We said, 'We're going to do a song that's goal is to make people crunk.'"

Lil Bo, a friend of Jon's before he became one of the East Side Boyz, recalls, "One night in the club, everyone was chanting, 'Who you wit?' just feeling good. We'd hang with like 30 of us, find us a corner, be the rowdy crowd in the club. So Lil Jon told us we're going to do a song, 'Who U Wit?' It was just like, 'OK, we'll do a song and that'll be it.' And a couple weeks later they came back and said, 'We want you guys to do an album.' So we did an album, and here we are today."

Given the king of crunk's background, it's not hard to put the pieces together. It's possible to see how combining the raw energy of punk, the melodic chanting of dancehall reggae and the low-end thump of bass music could create a new sound that, circa 2003, would capture the attention of hip-hop fans nationwide. And without the highly motivated, hard-working Jonathan Smith behind his wolfman mask, Lil Jon would never have gotten the chance to howl.

Put all the right elements together at the right time — musical vision, business sense, larger-than-life personality — and you have yourself a natural leader with his own musical movement.

Back at Universal Amphitheater for that radio festival, Lil Jon and the East Side Boyz finally did get on stage and showed the West Coast what a dirty South movement feels like. The crowd went wild. Then, as a triumphant Lil Jon left the amphitheater for a waiting stretch Explorer limousine, a couple of the guards stopped him once again at the gate. They'd kept an eye on all the liquor Jon's entourage had left behind at the start of the night. And there it was, waiting for them.

"Hey, way to look out for a player," Jon said, pulling from his back pocket a $20 bill for each of the guards. And like that, the king of crunk had left the building.

roni.sarig@creativeloafing.com



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Wednesday September 19, 2012 06:55 pm EDT
A-Town as the new Motown, or, how CL realized the South's got something to say | more...
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  string(11551) "The first Atlanta rapper to score anything resembling national, or even regional, success was MC Shy D. He was Atlanta's original b-boy – the guy who likely had more to do with bringing hip-hop to Atlanta, and then spreading it, than any other individual. Born Peter Jones, Shy D grew up in the Bronx River Projects of the 1970s. He lived a couple of buildings down from his cousin Afrika Bambaataa and was witness to hip-hop's seminal moments. When Bam set up a sound system in his ground-floor apartment and stuck his speakers out the window – or DJed across the way in the Bronx River Center – Jones was one of the kids who'd gather around. In 1978, when Jones' family moved to Ellenwood, Ga., near Decatur, he brought with him the knowledge of a subculture that was still forming back home. With his older brother as DJ, and Peter break-dancing, they took their novel act to school playgrounds and talent shows.</
"They were looking at us like, 'Man, these cats, where are they from?'" Shy D recalls. "No one ever heard of it then."</
Within a year of Shy D's arrival in Georgia, "Rapper's Delight" had introduced hip-hop nationally. At Cedar Grove High School, Shy D formed his first rap group, with his best friend Anthony Durham (aka Tony Rock) and two recent arrivals from Philadelphia. "Whenever the teacher would leave, he'd just beat on the desk and be rapping, and everyone'd be clapping," Tony Rock recalls of Shy D. "That was his thing."</
Later in high school, Shy D and Tony formed a group – the Ultimate Krush MCs – with two rappers also originally from the Bronx. By graduation in 1984, the popularity of the movie Beat Street made all things Bronx must-haves on the streets of Atlanta – and Shy D was the real deal. His big sister even dated Cowboy from the Furious Five.</
Shy and Tony earned their biggest success not as rappers, but as dancers in a group called the Break Kings, which performed as an opening act at concerts and competed in talent shows with other dance crews such as the New Rock City Breakers. Tony Rock recalls hanging out backstage at a show, and seeing the video for Gladys Knight and the Pips' "Save the Overtime (For Me)" on TV. The clip showcases the popular New York City Breakers, which fascinated an 11-year-old kid hanging backstage with them.</
"He was watching the video, like, 'How do they do this?' And I'm showing him all these moves. And he's asking, 'How do they do this?' And I'm thinking, 'God, this kid asks a lot of questions.'"</
Just a year later, Tony recalls seeing the new video for Whodini's "Freaks Come Out at Night" and spying that same little kid he'd tutored backstage, Jermaine (Dupri) Mauldin, busting a move in the video. "I see this little kid with a Jheri curl break-dancing, doing all the moves that I taught him. I'm like, 'Oh my god, that's that kid!'" (After years away from music, Tony Rock reinvented himself as Woodchuck, the bass player in the Atlanta live rap-rock group El Pus. In 2005, El Pus released its major-label debut on Virgin Records, where Jermaine Dupri served as president of urban music.)</
When Tony joined the Army after graduation, Shy D became a solo rapper. Soon after, Shy won a contest that enabled him to open up for Run-D.M.C. and Roxanne Shanté at the Omni Arena. There he met Miami rapper Gigolo Tony, who'd made a "Roxanne, Roxanne" answer record called "Parents of Roxanne," and Gigolo Tony's manager. They invited Shy to Miami to record for the seminal bass-music label, 4Sight.</
Though Shy D had been thoroughly oriented toward Bronx-style rap, his two 1985 singles for 4Sight – "Rapp Will Never Die" and "Shy D Is Back" – took on some of the characteristics that defined early Miami hip-hop: 808 beat, novelty hook ("Rapp" sampled "The Pink Panther Theme"; "Back" used the "Sanford and Son" theme). At first, this was no great contradiction – early bass music, after all, took its cues from the Rick Rubin/Def Jam sound. But within two years, as Shy D started spending time in Florida, his music transformed with Miami bass as a whole. Shy fell in with 2 Live Crew's Fresh Kid Ice, who enticed Shy to sign with Luke Records. With Shy's 1987 Luke debut, Gotta Be Tough, the music got faster and the bottom heavier. As he became a full-fledged bass artist, Atlanta began looking to Florida for that original Southern hip-hop flavor. And in 1988, Shy D made Atlanta hip-hop official by repping his city on the track "Atlanta – That's Where I Stay."</
While away in the Army, Tony Rock kept up with his friend Shy D's growing success. When Tony got out in 1988, Shy hooked him up with Luke Records, which released Tony's debut single, "She Put Me in a Trance" backed with "Still Doing It." The single did well enough that 2 Live Crew's Mr. Mixx brought Tony to Miami to make a full record, which Luke released in 1989 as Let Me Take You to the Rock House (the album cover credited "Tony MF Rock," which thereafter became his rap name).</
Rock House not only introduced Atlanta's second bass artist on the national stage, it also marked an ambitious leap in Mr. Mixx's bass production. With samples that ranged from Queen to Average White Band to Yellow Magic Orchestra, the record (along with other Mixx tracks of that period) pointed to bass music's potential to be more than simplistic booty shakers. By Rock House's release, though, Shy D has already broken from Luke Records in a royalty dispute, and Tony would soon follow as label owner Luther Campbell slipped deeper into his legal morass.</
As other rappers – Raheem the Dream, Kizzy Rock, Kilo – followed Shy and Tony into the world of Miami bass music in the late '80s, Atlanta became a sort of colonial outpost of Miami hip-hop. While the Atlanta act Success-N-Effect earned some national notoriety after signing with Miami's On Top Records, acts that stuck with local labels usually remained local. Raheem, for example, was a star in Atlanta clubs such as My Brother's Keeper and Sharan's Showcase, but his records – put out on his own Arvis label beginning around 1988 – never reached very far outside Atlanta.</
More than a decade later, after Tony Rock left music, worked in the accounting department at Georgia Pacific, then took up playing bass and renamed himself Woodchuck, his band, El Pus, performed on a bill with Atlanta soul singer Joi. OutKast's Andre Benjamin had shown up to lend support to his friend Joi and, after watching El Pus' set, approached Woodchuck to ask him for bass lessons.</
"'You look familiar. I know you from somewhere, I can't figure it out,'" Tony recalls Andre said.</
"I said, 'Maybe you know the person I used to be: Tony Rock.'"</
"He was like, 'Oh, shit, Tony MF Rock! You and Shy D made it possible for us. We wouldn't be here without you. You're a legend.'"</
Excerpted from the forthcoming Da Capo Press book Third Coast: OutKast, Timbaland, & How Hip-Hop Became a Southern Thing by Roni Sarig. Copyright © 2007. All rights reserved.</
Editor's note: Both MC Shy D and Tony Rock remain active in Atlanta's music scene. Shy D DJs every Tuesday night at Bigelow's on 2564 Gresham Road in Atlanta (404-241-5777). And Tony Rock, aka Woodchuck, continues to do production work and frequently collaborates with hometown soulster Anthony David. To hear classic Tony MF Rock tracks from his 1989 release Let Me Take You to the Rock House, visit atlanta.creativeloafing.com.

 
??Music Issue 2007

 
                                                            Music Issue                Bradford Cox of Deerhunter: The gift and the curse               Singer takes a stand                                  BY RODNEY CARMICHAEL                                                                                                                                           Music Issue               'You say you wanna revolution'               7-inch vinyl revival puts new spin on ATL rock scene                                  BY RODNEY CARMICHAEL                                                                                                                                           Music Issue               Shy D and Tony MF Rock: Original ATLiens               MC Shy D sowed hip-hop seeds into Georgia red clay                                   BY RONI SARIG                                                                                                                                          Music Issue                Fabo: Ode to a Bankhead hardhead               Rapper dances around critics                                  BY MAURICE G. GARLAND AND RODNEY CARMICHAEL                                                                                                                                           Music Issue               Juju B. Solomon: Labor of love               Juju B. Solomon brings folk home                                  BY CHAD RADFORD                                                                                                                                           Music Issue               Rock around the clock               Working-class musicians toil their way to the top                                                                                                                                           Music Issue               Janelle Monae: Dreamgirl                Singer goes back to the future                                  BY MOSI REEVES                                                                                                                                           Music Issue               Zac Brown: Two thumbs up (a critic's ass)               Singer/guitarist flies under the critical radar — and straight to fans                                  BY LEE VALENTINE SMITH                                                                                                                                           Music Issue               Hear and now               CL critics pick the cream of Atlanta's current crop                                                                                   
??Georgia Music Directory 2007

 
                                                        Music Issue               Setting the stage                Sweetwood invites rising talent to Masquerade                                  BY MOSI REEVES                                                                                                                                           Music Issue               Can't knock the hustle               Unsigned artist masters self-promotion                                  BY RODNEY CARMICHAEL                                                                                                                                           Music Issue               Rockin' the cradle               Why WRAS-FM shows locals love                                  BY RODNEY CARMICHAEL                                                                                                                                           Music Issue               Breaking the band                Band manager gets acts together                                  BY MOSI REEVES                                                                          Music Issue                Georgia Music Directory                 Search for Georgia bands, DJs, musicians and more; or register your own group or service – it's free!              





























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  string(11885) "    MC Shy D sowed hip-hop seeds into Georgia red clay   2007-05-02T08:04:00+00:00 Music Issue - Shy D and Tony MF Rock: Original ATLiens ben.eason@creativeloafing.com Ben Eason Roni Sarig 1223640 2007-05-02T08:04:00+00:00  The first Atlanta rapper to score anything resembling national, or even regional, success was MC Shy D. He was Atlanta's original b-boy – the guy who likely had more to do with bringing hip-hop to Atlanta, and then spreading it, than any other individual. Born Peter Jones, Shy D grew up in the Bronx River Projects of the 1970s. He lived a couple of buildings down from his cousin Afrika Bambaataa and was witness to hip-hop's seminal moments. When Bam set up a sound system in his ground-floor apartment and stuck his speakers out the window – or DJed across the way in the Bronx River Center – Jones was one of the kids who'd gather around. In 1978, when Jones' family moved to Ellenwood, Ga., near Decatur, he brought with him the knowledge of a subculture that was still forming back home. With his older brother as DJ, and Peter break-dancing, they took their novel act to school playgrounds and talent shows.</
"They were looking at us like, 'Man, these cats, where are they from?'" Shy D recalls. "No one ever heard of it then."</
Within a year of Shy D's arrival in Georgia, "Rapper's Delight" had introduced hip-hop nationally. At Cedar Grove High School, Shy D formed his first rap group, with his best friend Anthony Durham (aka Tony Rock) and two recent arrivals from Philadelphia. "Whenever the teacher would leave, he'd just beat on the desk and be rapping, and everyone'd be clapping," Tony Rock recalls of Shy D. "That was his thing."</
Later in high school, Shy D and Tony formed a group – the Ultimate Krush MCs – with two rappers also originally from the Bronx. By graduation in 1984, the popularity of the movie Beat Street made all things Bronx must-haves on the streets of Atlanta – and Shy D was the real deal. His big sister even dated Cowboy from the Furious Five.</
Shy and Tony earned their biggest success not as rappers, but as dancers in a group called the Break Kings, which performed as an opening act at concerts and competed in talent shows with other dance crews such as the New Rock City Breakers. Tony Rock recalls hanging out backstage at a show, and seeing the video for Gladys Knight and the Pips' "Save the Overtime (For Me)" on TV. The clip showcases the popular New York City Breakers, which fascinated an 11-year-old kid hanging backstage with them.</
"He was watching the video, like, 'How do they do this?' And I'm showing him all these moves. And he's asking, 'How do they do this?' And I'm thinking, 'God, this kid asks a lot of questions.'"</
Just a year later, Tony recalls seeing the new video for Whodini's "Freaks Come Out at Night" and spying that same little kid he'd tutored backstage, Jermaine (Dupri) Mauldin, busting a move in the video. "I see this little kid with a Jheri curl break-dancing, doing all the moves that I taught him. I'm like, 'Oh my god, that's that kid!'" (After years away from music, Tony Rock reinvented himself as Woodchuck, the bass player in the Atlanta live rap-rock group El Pus. In 2005, El Pus released its major-label debut on Virgin Records, where Jermaine Dupri served as president of urban music.)</
When Tony joined the Army after graduation, Shy D became a solo rapper. Soon after, Shy won a contest that enabled him to open up for Run-D.M.C. and Roxanne Shanté at the Omni Arena. There he met Miami rapper Gigolo Tony, who'd made a "Roxanne, Roxanne" answer record called "Parents of Roxanne," and Gigolo Tony's manager. They invited Shy to Miami to record for the seminal bass-music label, 4Sight.</
Though Shy D had been thoroughly oriented toward Bronx-style rap, his two 1985 singles for 4Sight – "Rapp Will Never Die" and "Shy D Is Back" – took on some of the characteristics that defined early Miami hip-hop: 808 beat, novelty hook ("Rapp" sampled "The Pink Panther Theme"; "Back" used the "Sanford and Son" theme). At first, this was no great contradiction – early bass music, after all, took its cues from the Rick Rubin/Def Jam sound. But within two years, as Shy D started spending time in Florida, his music transformed with Miami bass as a whole. Shy fell in with 2 Live Crew's Fresh Kid Ice, who enticed Shy to sign with Luke Records. With Shy's 1987 Luke debut, Gotta Be Tough, the music got faster and the bottom heavier. As he became a full-fledged bass artist, Atlanta began looking to Florida for that original Southern hip-hop flavor. And in 1988, Shy D made Atlanta hip-hop official by repping his city on the track "Atlanta – That's Where I Stay."</
While away in the Army, Tony Rock kept up with his friend Shy D's growing success. When Tony got out in 1988, Shy hooked him up with Luke Records, which released Tony's debut single, "She Put Me in a Trance" backed with "Still Doing It." The single did well enough that 2 Live Crew's Mr. Mixx brought Tony to Miami to make a full record, which Luke released in 1989 as Let Me Take You to the Rock House (the album cover credited "Tony MF Rock," which thereafter became his rap name).</
Rock House not only introduced Atlanta's second bass artist on the national stage, it also marked an ambitious leap in Mr. Mixx's bass production. With samples that ranged from Queen to Average White Band to Yellow Magic Orchestra, the record (along with other Mixx tracks of that period) pointed to bass music's potential to be more than simplistic booty shakers. By Rock House's release, though, Shy D has already broken from Luke Records in a royalty dispute, and Tony would soon follow as label owner Luther Campbell slipped deeper into his legal morass.</
As other rappers – Raheem the Dream, Kizzy Rock, Kilo – followed Shy and Tony into the world of Miami bass music in the late '80s, Atlanta became a sort of colonial outpost of Miami hip-hop. While the Atlanta act Success-N-Effect earned some national notoriety after signing with Miami's On Top Records, acts that stuck with local labels usually remained local. Raheem, for example, was a star in Atlanta clubs such as My Brother's Keeper and Sharan's Showcase, but his records – put out on his own Arvis label beginning around 1988 – never reached very far outside Atlanta.</
More than a decade later, after Tony Rock left music, worked in the accounting department at Georgia Pacific, then took up playing bass and renamed himself Woodchuck, his band, El Pus, performed on a bill with Atlanta soul singer Joi. OutKast's Andre Benjamin had shown up to lend support to his friend Joi and, after watching El Pus' set, approached Woodchuck to ask him for bass lessons.</
"'You look familiar. I know you from somewhere, I can't figure it out,'" Tony recalls Andre said.</
"I said, 'Maybe you know the person I used to be: Tony Rock.'"</
"He was like, 'Oh, shit, Tony MF Rock! You and Shy D made it possible for us. We wouldn't be here without you. You're a legend.'"</
Excerpted from the forthcoming Da Capo Press book Third Coast: OutKast, Timbaland, & How Hip-Hop Became a Southern Thing by Roni Sarig. Copyright © 2007. All rights reserved.</
Editor's note: Both MC Shy D and Tony Rock remain active in Atlanta's music scene. Shy D DJs every Tuesday night at Bigelow's on 2564 Gresham Road in Atlanta (404-241-5777). And Tony Rock, aka Woodchuck, continues to do production work and frequently collaborates with hometown soulster Anthony David. To hear classic Tony MF Rock tracks from his 1989 release Let Me Take You to the Rock House, visit atlanta.creativeloafing.com.

 
??Music Issue 2007

 
                                                            Music Issue                Bradford Cox of Deerhunter: The gift and the curse               Singer takes a stand                                  BY RODNEY CARMICHAEL                                                                                                                                           Music Issue               'You say you wanna revolution'               7-inch vinyl revival puts new spin on ATL rock scene                                  BY RODNEY CARMICHAEL                                                                                                                                           Music Issue               Shy D and Tony MF Rock: Original ATLiens               MC Shy D sowed hip-hop seeds into Georgia red clay                                   BY RONI SARIG                                                                                                                                          Music Issue                Fabo: Ode to a Bankhead hardhead               Rapper dances around critics                                  BY MAURICE G. GARLAND AND RODNEY CARMICHAEL                                                                                                                                           Music Issue               Juju B. Solomon: Labor of love               Juju B. Solomon brings folk home                                  BY CHAD RADFORD                                                                                                                                           Music Issue               Rock around the clock               Working-class musicians toil their way to the top                                                                                                                                           Music Issue               Janelle Monae: Dreamgirl                Singer goes back to the future                                  BY MOSI REEVES                                                                                                                                           Music Issue               Zac Brown: Two thumbs up (a critic's ass)               Singer/guitarist flies under the critical radar — and straight to fans                                  BY LEE VALENTINE SMITH                                                                                                                                           Music Issue               Hear and now               CL critics pick the cream of Atlanta's current crop                                                                                   
??Georgia Music Directory 2007

 
                                                        Music Issue               Setting the stage                Sweetwood invites rising talent to Masquerade                                  BY MOSI REEVES                                                                                                                                           Music Issue               Can't knock the hustle               Unsigned artist masters self-promotion                                  BY RODNEY CARMICHAEL                                                                                                                                           Music Issue               Rockin' the cradle               Why WRAS-FM shows locals love                                  BY RODNEY CARMICHAEL                                                                                                                                           Music Issue               Breaking the band                Band manager gets acts together                                  BY MOSI REEVES                                                                          Music Issue                Georgia Music Directory                 Search for Georgia bands, DJs, musicians and more; or register your own group or service – it's free!              





























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Article

Wednesday May 2, 2007 04:04 am EDT
MC Shy D sowed hip-hop seeds into Georgia red clay | more...
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  ["title"]=>
  string(51) "Cover Story: What y'all know about the Dirty Faust?"
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  string(79) "From Miami to Atlanta to Virginia Beach, the South is hip-hop's breeding ground"
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  string(79) "From Miami to Atlanta to Virginia Beach, the South is hip-hop's breeding ground"
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  string(8413) "Chief among the archetypes and apocrypha, myths and cliches that haunt the music of the black South is this one: The ambitious journeyman who disappears into the dark countryside, meets the devil at the crossroads, sells his soul and returns a blues master.

Of course, the devil, having long since come to collect his bill on the blues, moved on to other prizes. The spirit of the music has reincarnated in other Southern inventions, from rock to soul to funk. And today, it's hip-hop — not Southern by birth, but warmly lavished in Southern hospitality and, having been imbued with the region's unique flavor, adopted as family.

And still, the ghost of that blues fable remains very much alive in the best music of the black South. Its residue survives in hip-hop, running through the region's many shades, from bass in Florida to bounce in Louisiana to screw in Texas to crunk in Georgia. The dark countryside where you meet the devil at the crossroads: It's the shadowy code that runs right up through the South's two current magnetic poles of modern urban pop, Atlanta and Virginia Beach.

But what is the black South today? Is it the dark countryside, sufficiently deserted for devils to lurk with impunity? Or is it the crossroads, a conduit leading to and coming from other places? Depends who you ask, and which pole you're at.

Before it was a city, Atlanta was just a crossroads. Back in railroad days, old Terminus was grown from the spot where two lines of track met. Where most cities in the history of world civilization had the sense to plop down on the banks of some great body of water, Atlanta tied its fortunes to land transportation and has been suffering the results of water lust and traffic congestion ever since.

But the crossroads have yielded advantages as well. After the fall, when the fortunes of the South started looking up and the age of the automobile arrived, Atlanta was better positioned than any other city to assert itself as the regional nucleus. Now a crossing of highways instead of rail tracks, the city is still defined by its roads — geographically, politically, culturally, even psychologically. As ever, the city is not some immovable monolith, but a porous organism defined by the constant flow of capital in and out and through. What is Atlanta? It's eager to please — what do you want it to be?

Now, the first rap music to appear down South was not merely a spin-off of the original Boogie Down Bronx style. The common ancestral homeland to all strains of hip-hop was Jamaica, which sprouted the reggae practices of dub (remixing) and toasting (rhythmic chanting over dubs). It first got carried across the Caribbean to these shores during the Carter administration (maybe Ford). By the time it landed in Miami, reggae's latest permutation — the fast-paced, beat-machine-fueled, sexually charged style known as dancehall — had defined itself. Floridians took dancehall's tinny beats, booming low-end and nasty-as-they-wanna-be lyrics, mixed in bits of the rap that had dribbled down from New York (itself an adaptation of reggae's DJ culture), and whoomp, there it was: bass music.

Miami bass' infernal rumble sounded best on four wheels. As much a physical experience as an aural one, bass made your trunk rattle like "two midgets in the backseat wrasslin'." By nature, it traveled. First up I-95 to Jacksonville and across the Sunshine State, it then rumbled quickly northward on I-75 until it hit the crossroads with I-85 and I-20: Atlanta.

But just as bass music blew in from the South and settled down as Atlanta's first local hip-hop sound, other influences began arriving from other directions. This was the late '80s, and in New York, Afrocentric rap was all the rage — in particular, the kinder/gentler brand of Native Tongues crew members De La Soul and A Tribe Called Quest. While the inflated self-esteem otherwise known as boasting has always fueled rap's engine, Afrocentrism made primary a more authentic, earnest brand of identity exhibitionism. The new school recast hip-hop as a forum to assert cultural pride, and it sent ripples way beyond the Afrocentrics (and New York-centrics). Suddenly, you had Irish rappers and Asian rappers, Indian rappers and Jewish rappers, all applying Native Tongues-style odes of self-appreciation to their own ethnicities. And if Southern ain't officially an ethnic group, don't tell the dudes in the SWATS (southwest Atlanta). You might find yourself cleansed from that particular enclave.

And right when the Native Tongues helped awaken Southern pride in Atlanta rappers, Afrocentrism found its currency usurped by a new sound traveling in from way out West. Insanely catchy in its untwisting of P-Funk's maggot-brained melodies, slumping through clouds of reefer smoke, this was the G-funk typified by Dr. Dre's The Chronic. It connected with Atlanta's aspiring hip-hoppers in a way that few other records had. After all, New York was all subway and concrete, while Atlantans could more easily relate to the wide rims, low rides and weekend barbecues being projected out of south L.A.

And so it was just a matter of time before the ATLien alchemists met at the crossroads. They mixed the booming bass coming in along I-75 with the laid-back funk groove pulling up on I-20 and the self-consciousness riding dirty on I-85 to create something new — something distinctly Southern, and yet, something that ultimately transcends region. Call it Southernplayalisticadillac muzik. This was the fission that produced OutKast.

Just one highway leads in and out of Virginia Beach. Interstate 264 heads east toward the coast and suddenly ends, dropping you onto a grid of streets that lines the older part of town. But the new part of town makes up most of Virginia Beach — particularly the parts where the black folks live. The faceless stretch of suburbia was melded together with the original beach town 40 years ago to create a city boasting a population that approaches a half-million. With the beach catering to tourists, the actual heart of Virginia Beach for the locals is this drab, centerless accumulation of avenues. How do you know Virginia Beach when you get there? You don't — there's no there there.

The entire Tidewater area, taken together, is a wonderfully waterlogged network of land masses separated by rivers and harbors, connected by bridges and dotted with majestic ships from the area's many military bases. But its position at the end of a highway makes it a true backwater. You can't just be passing through on your way — it's a place you have to seek out to end up. It's the dark countryside of Southern music mythology, the idle lands that are the devil's playground.

In hip-hop terms, Virginia Beach was a forgotten outpost of an entire lost region. While every corner of the country asserted a local flavor through the late '90s, the stretch of states from Maryland down to the Carolinas remained largely silent. But where circumstance leaves a vacuum, the imagination eventually fills in. In place of any identifiable tradition, and largely untouched by the crosswinds of influence blowing in from other places, a few possessed Virginians conjured a sound-world made entirely from false memory and limitless possibility.

And so, from the place where the highway ends came wholly new sound terrains for hip-hop, served up in tracks credited to producers like Timbaland (with his collaborator Missy Elliott), or Pharrell Williams and Chad Hugo of the Neptunes. Unconnected to region, this is music that was brewed in secret, behind-the-scenes in a place no one would find, then exported and turned into hits for just about anyone. Compositions that carved out the beautifully contoured funk in asymmetrical little chunks, from bits of Indian bling and Chinese twang to Appalachian wail to Miami swing — stuff that wrestled cohesive, catchy slabs of gold from the most unpredictable free-roaming isotopes. And then, to really show how they've just scratched the surface in this game, the Virginians flip it in reverse and run it all back for us.

What is the black South today? Confounding all stereotypes, it's a place where some of the most sophisticated, essential, outward-looking, inward-delving urban pop gets made. Was it ever any different? Indeed, the shadow of legend runs deep.

music@creativeloafing.com
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Of course, the devil, having long since come to collect his bill on the blues, moved on to other prizes. The spirit of the music has reincarnated in other Southern inventions, from rock to soul to funk. And today, it's hip-hop -- not Southern by birth, but warmly lavished in Southern hospitality and, having been imbued with the region's unique flavor, adopted as family.

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But what is the black South today? Is it the dark countryside, sufficiently deserted for devils to lurk with impunity? Or is it the crossroads, a conduit leading to and coming from other places? Depends who you ask, and which pole you're at.

__Before it was a city, __Atlanta was just a crossroads. Back in railroad days, old Terminus was grown from the spot where two lines of track met. Where most cities in the history of world civilization had the sense to plop down on the banks of some great body of water, Atlanta tied its fortunes to land transportation and has been suffering the results of water lust and traffic congestion ever since.

But the crossroads have yielded advantages as well. After the fall, when the fortunes of the South started looking up and the age of the automobile arrived, Atlanta was better positioned than any other city to assert itself as the regional nucleus. Now a crossing of highways instead of rail tracks, the city is still defined by its roads -- geographically, politically, culturally, even psychologically. As ever, the city is not some immovable monolith, but a porous organism defined by the constant flow of capital in and out and through. What is Atlanta? It's eager to please -- what do you want it to be?

Now, the first rap music to appear down South was not merely a spin-off of the original Boogie Down Bronx style. The common ancestral homeland to all strains of hip-hop was Jamaica, which sprouted the reggae practices of dub (remixing) and toasting (rhythmic chanting over dubs). It first got carried across the Caribbean to these shores during the Carter administration (maybe Ford). By the time it landed in Miami, reggae's latest permutation -- the fast-paced, beat-machine-fueled, sexually charged style known as dancehall -- had defined itself. Floridians took dancehall's tinny beats, booming low-end and nasty-as-they-wanna-be lyrics, mixed in bits of the rap that had dribbled down from New York (itself an adaptation of reggae's DJ culture), and whoomp, there it was: bass music.

Miami bass' infernal rumble sounded best on four wheels. As much a physical experience as an aural one, bass made your trunk rattle like "two midgets in the backseat wrasslin'." By nature, it traveled. First up I-95 to Jacksonville and across the Sunshine State, it then rumbled quickly northward on I-75 until it hit the crossroads with I-85 and I-20: Atlanta.

But just as bass music blew in from the South and settled down as Atlanta's first local hip-hop sound, other influences began arriving from other directions. This was the late '80s, and in New York, Afrocentric rap was all the rage -- in particular, the kinder/gentler brand of Native Tongues crew members De La Soul and A Tribe Called Quest. While the inflated self-esteem otherwise known as boasting has always fueled rap's engine, Afrocentrism made primary a more authentic, earnest brand of identity exhibitionism. The new school recast hip-hop as a forum to assert cultural pride, and it sent ripples way beyond the Afrocentrics (and New York-centrics). Suddenly, you had Irish rappers and Asian rappers, Indian rappers and Jewish rappers, all applying Native Tongues-style odes of self-appreciation to their own ethnicities. And if Southern ain't officially an ethnic group, don't tell the dudes in the SWATS (southwest Atlanta). You might find yourself cleansed from that particular enclave.

And right when the Native Tongues helped awaken Southern pride in Atlanta rappers, Afrocentrism found its currency usurped by a new sound traveling in from way out West. Insanely catchy in its untwisting of P-Funk's maggot-brained melodies, slumping through clouds of reefer smoke, this was the G-funk typified by Dr. Dre's ''The Chronic''. It connected with Atlanta's aspiring hip-hoppers in a way that few other records had. After all, New York was all subway and concrete, while Atlantans could more easily relate to the wide rims, low rides and weekend barbecues being projected out of south L.A.

And so it was just a matter of time before the ATLien alchemists met at the crossroads. They mixed the booming bass coming in along I-75 with the laid-back funk groove pulling up on I-20 and the self-consciousness riding dirty on I-85 to create something new -- something distinctly Southern, and yet, something that ultimately transcends region. Call it Southernplayalisticadillac muzik. This was the fission that produced OutKast.

__Just one highway __leads in and out of Virginia Beach. Interstate 264 heads east toward the coast and suddenly ends, dropping you onto a grid of streets that lines the older part of town. But the new part of town makes up most of Virginia Beach -- particularly the parts where the black folks live. The faceless stretch of suburbia was melded together with the original beach town 40 years ago to create a city boasting a population that approaches a half-million. With the beach catering to tourists, the actual heart of Virginia Beach for the locals is this drab, centerless accumulation of avenues. How do you know Virginia Beach when you get there? You don't -- there's no ''there'' there.

The entire Tidewater area, taken together, is a wonderfully waterlogged network of land masses separated by rivers and harbors, connected by bridges and dotted with majestic ships from the area's many military bases. But its position at the end of a highway makes it a true backwater. You can't just be passing through on your way -- it's a place you have to seek out to end up. It's the dark countryside of Southern music mythology, the idle lands that are the devil's playground.

In hip-hop terms, Virginia Beach was a forgotten outpost of an entire lost region. While every corner of the country asserted a local flavor through the late '90s, the stretch of states from Maryland down to the Carolinas remained largely silent. But where circumstance leaves a vacuum, the imagination eventually fills in. In place of any identifiable tradition, and largely untouched by the crosswinds of influence blowing in from other places, a few possessed Virginians conjured a sound-world made entirely from false memory and limitless possibility.

And so, from the place where the highway ends came wholly new sound terrains for hip-hop, served up in tracks credited to producers like Timbaland (with his collaborator Missy Elliott), or Pharrell Williams and Chad Hugo of the Neptunes. Unconnected to region, this is music that was brewed in secret, behind-the-scenes in a place no one would find, then exported and turned into hits for just about anyone. Compositions that carved out the beautifully contoured funk in asymmetrical little chunks, from bits of Indian bling and Chinese twang to Appalachian wail to Miami swing -- stuff that wrestled cohesive, catchy slabs of gold from the most unpredictable free-roaming isotopes. And then, to really show how they've just scratched the surface in this game, the Virginians flip it in reverse and run it all back for us.

__What is the __black South today? Confounding all stereotypes, it's a place where some of the most sophisticated, essential, outward-looking, inward-delving urban pop gets made. Was it ever any different? Indeed, the shadow of legend runs deep.

__[mailto:music@creativeloafing.com|music@creativeloafing.com]__
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  string(8732) "    From Miami to Atlanta to Virginia Beach, the South is hip-hop's breeding ground   2004-04-15T04:04:00+00:00 Cover Story: What y'all know about the Dirty Faust?   Roni Sarig 1223640 2004-04-15T04:04:00+00:00  Chief among the archetypes and apocrypha, myths and cliches that haunt the music of the black South is this one: The ambitious journeyman who disappears into the dark countryside, meets the devil at the crossroads, sells his soul and returns a blues master.

Of course, the devil, having long since come to collect his bill on the blues, moved on to other prizes. The spirit of the music has reincarnated in other Southern inventions, from rock to soul to funk. And today, it's hip-hop — not Southern by birth, but warmly lavished in Southern hospitality and, having been imbued with the region's unique flavor, adopted as family.

And still, the ghost of that blues fable remains very much alive in the best music of the black South. Its residue survives in hip-hop, running through the region's many shades, from bass in Florida to bounce in Louisiana to screw in Texas to crunk in Georgia. The dark countryside where you meet the devil at the crossroads: It's the shadowy code that runs right up through the South's two current magnetic poles of modern urban pop, Atlanta and Virginia Beach.

But what is the black South today? Is it the dark countryside, sufficiently deserted for devils to lurk with impunity? Or is it the crossroads, a conduit leading to and coming from other places? Depends who you ask, and which pole you're at.

Before it was a city, Atlanta was just a crossroads. Back in railroad days, old Terminus was grown from the spot where two lines of track met. Where most cities in the history of world civilization had the sense to plop down on the banks of some great body of water, Atlanta tied its fortunes to land transportation and has been suffering the results of water lust and traffic congestion ever since.

But the crossroads have yielded advantages as well. After the fall, when the fortunes of the South started looking up and the age of the automobile arrived, Atlanta was better positioned than any other city to assert itself as the regional nucleus. Now a crossing of highways instead of rail tracks, the city is still defined by its roads — geographically, politically, culturally, even psychologically. As ever, the city is not some immovable monolith, but a porous organism defined by the constant flow of capital in and out and through. What is Atlanta? It's eager to please — what do you want it to be?

Now, the first rap music to appear down South was not merely a spin-off of the original Boogie Down Bronx style. The common ancestral homeland to all strains of hip-hop was Jamaica, which sprouted the reggae practices of dub (remixing) and toasting (rhythmic chanting over dubs). It first got carried across the Caribbean to these shores during the Carter administration (maybe Ford). By the time it landed in Miami, reggae's latest permutation — the fast-paced, beat-machine-fueled, sexually charged style known as dancehall — had defined itself. Floridians took dancehall's tinny beats, booming low-end and nasty-as-they-wanna-be lyrics, mixed in bits of the rap that had dribbled down from New York (itself an adaptation of reggae's DJ culture), and whoomp, there it was: bass music.

Miami bass' infernal rumble sounded best on four wheels. As much a physical experience as an aural one, bass made your trunk rattle like "two midgets in the backseat wrasslin'." By nature, it traveled. First up I-95 to Jacksonville and across the Sunshine State, it then rumbled quickly northward on I-75 until it hit the crossroads with I-85 and I-20: Atlanta.

But just as bass music blew in from the South and settled down as Atlanta's first local hip-hop sound, other influences began arriving from other directions. This was the late '80s, and in New York, Afrocentric rap was all the rage — in particular, the kinder/gentler brand of Native Tongues crew members De La Soul and A Tribe Called Quest. While the inflated self-esteem otherwise known as boasting has always fueled rap's engine, Afrocentrism made primary a more authentic, earnest brand of identity exhibitionism. The new school recast hip-hop as a forum to assert cultural pride, and it sent ripples way beyond the Afrocentrics (and New York-centrics). Suddenly, you had Irish rappers and Asian rappers, Indian rappers and Jewish rappers, all applying Native Tongues-style odes of self-appreciation to their own ethnicities. And if Southern ain't officially an ethnic group, don't tell the dudes in the SWATS (southwest Atlanta). You might find yourself cleansed from that particular enclave.

And right when the Native Tongues helped awaken Southern pride in Atlanta rappers, Afrocentrism found its currency usurped by a new sound traveling in from way out West. Insanely catchy in its untwisting of P-Funk's maggot-brained melodies, slumping through clouds of reefer smoke, this was the G-funk typified by Dr. Dre's The Chronic. It connected with Atlanta's aspiring hip-hoppers in a way that few other records had. After all, New York was all subway and concrete, while Atlantans could more easily relate to the wide rims, low rides and weekend barbecues being projected out of south L.A.

And so it was just a matter of time before the ATLien alchemists met at the crossroads. They mixed the booming bass coming in along I-75 with the laid-back funk groove pulling up on I-20 and the self-consciousness riding dirty on I-85 to create something new — something distinctly Southern, and yet, something that ultimately transcends region. Call it Southernplayalisticadillac muzik. This was the fission that produced OutKast.

Just one highway leads in and out of Virginia Beach. Interstate 264 heads east toward the coast and suddenly ends, dropping you onto a grid of streets that lines the older part of town. But the new part of town makes up most of Virginia Beach — particularly the parts where the black folks live. The faceless stretch of suburbia was melded together with the original beach town 40 years ago to create a city boasting a population that approaches a half-million. With the beach catering to tourists, the actual heart of Virginia Beach for the locals is this drab, centerless accumulation of avenues. How do you know Virginia Beach when you get there? You don't — there's no there there.

The entire Tidewater area, taken together, is a wonderfully waterlogged network of land masses separated by rivers and harbors, connected by bridges and dotted with majestic ships from the area's many military bases. But its position at the end of a highway makes it a true backwater. You can't just be passing through on your way — it's a place you have to seek out to end up. It's the dark countryside of Southern music mythology, the idle lands that are the devil's playground.

In hip-hop terms, Virginia Beach was a forgotten outpost of an entire lost region. While every corner of the country asserted a local flavor through the late '90s, the stretch of states from Maryland down to the Carolinas remained largely silent. But where circumstance leaves a vacuum, the imagination eventually fills in. In place of any identifiable tradition, and largely untouched by the crosswinds of influence blowing in from other places, a few possessed Virginians conjured a sound-world made entirely from false memory and limitless possibility.

And so, from the place where the highway ends came wholly new sound terrains for hip-hop, served up in tracks credited to producers like Timbaland (with his collaborator Missy Elliott), or Pharrell Williams and Chad Hugo of the Neptunes. Unconnected to region, this is music that was brewed in secret, behind-the-scenes in a place no one would find, then exported and turned into hits for just about anyone. Compositions that carved out the beautifully contoured funk in asymmetrical little chunks, from bits of Indian bling and Chinese twang to Appalachian wail to Miami swing — stuff that wrestled cohesive, catchy slabs of gold from the most unpredictable free-roaming isotopes. And then, to really show how they've just scratched the surface in this game, the Virginians flip it in reverse and run it all back for us.

What is the black South today? Confounding all stereotypes, it's a place where some of the most sophisticated, essential, outward-looking, inward-delving urban pop gets made. Was it ever any different? Indeed, the shadow of legend runs deep.

music@creativeloafing.com
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Article

Thursday April 15, 2004 12:04 am EDT
From Miami to Atlanta to Virginia Beach, the South is hip-hop's breeding ground | more...
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  string(24) "Hard Knox or Scott free?"
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  string(9457) "Friends and family describe Scott Rogers as the kind of guy who hated to go to bed — the one who was constantly leading the charge, creating the plan, promising  that the payoff was just over the next hill.He brought that sort of leadership to his corner of the Atlanta music scene — as lead guitarist for spy-rock instrumentalists the Penetrators, as the creative force behind the popular annual retro-fixated music and movie festival Drive-Invasion, as the designer of album covers, the creator of Internet discussion groups and an ever-present figure among the community of locals whose tastes tend toward classic cars and vintage guitars.So last May, when Rogers died in a car wreck on his way to go jam with a buddy, his loss left a gaping hole in the scene.Almost nine months since the accident, Rogers' friends are hosting a two-fisted benefit this weekend in East Atlanta, simultaneously at the Echo Lounge and The Earl. (Two more will be held Feb. 20 at the Star Bar and Feb. 21 at 9 Lives Saloon.)The shows, however, aren't aimed at raising money to aid Rogers' widow (he wasn't married) or kids (he had none). And they're not designed to create some sort of memorial in Rogers' memory. The benefits, in fact, are for the man who was behind the wheel of the car when Rogers was killed. They're meant to help him raise money for the legal fees he'll accrue in his battle to beat his vehicular homicide rap.Among Scott Rogers' closest friends was Johnny Knox, a respected local rockabilly guitarist and leader of the band HI-TEST. He's also the guy facing one to 15 years in prison for Rogers' death.Knox and Rogers were buddies from the time Rogers first moved to Atlanta from Alabama in the mid-'90s. They shared a love for early rock 'n' roll; Knox occasionally filled in with the Penetrators, and they played together frequently. They also shared a passion for old cars. Rogers drove a 1965 GTO before it got rear-ended by an SUV, and Knox drove a 1963 Ford Galaxie until May.In recent years, their friendship often manifested itself in the form of Knox serving as Rogers' chauffeur. "Seems like I was always carrying his ass around, going to pick up posters or some crazy adventures," Knox says.A decade back, Rogers had cracked his skull falling off a skateboard. He recovered, but doctors said another head injury could ignite serious problems. Sure enough, after Rogers got hurt in a car accident years later, he started having occasional seizures. In recent years, with the possibility of blacking out at any moment, Rogers had stopped driving altogether. He got around pretty well, though, taking cabs or public transportation, and bumming rides with friends.On the night of May 10, 2003, Rogers was hanging out at the Star Bar, walking distance from his home. Local band Gargantua was headlining. Knox had been over at the Echo Lounge checking out L.A. rockabilly band Three Bad Jacks. After that show ended, Knox and some friends hopped over to Little Five Points and joined Rogers at the Star Bar.As the hour pushed 3 a.m. and friends started heading home, Rogers and Knox conspired to go back to Knox's Lakewood-area house to jam. The two jumped into the Galaxie and headed to Knox's house. As they crossed a railroad bridge on McDonough Boulevard, Knox lost control of the wheel. The car hit a railing, the passenger door popped open and both Rogers and Knox were ejected over the bridge onto the ground below. Knox was pretty badly beat up, with a concussion and cracked ribs. Rogers was pronounced dead at the scene.Scott Rogers' mom, Cheri Rogers, happens to serve as a grief recovery counselor at her church in Huntsville, Ala. Though her work provided no easy comfort when it came to dealing with the loss of her own son, she was able to apply some of her professional knowledge in important ways. In particular, she knew that families of those killed in accidents tend to feel an intense need for answers. And if loved ones don't find those answers, they can find themselves stuck in the horror, obsessively racking their brains, unable to move on and cope with the loss.So she made sure to ask a lot of questions right away — to investigating officers and friends who'd been with her son. She quickly reached a conclusion at which few mourning parents would likely arrive: It wasn't the driver's fault."The most amazing thing was there was no struggle within me about whether to forgive Johnny," Cheri Rogers says. "We'd heard Scott talk so fondly for years about Johnny, what a great friend he was. I understood he was happy to be with Johnny that night. And I knew Scott, and he could talk anybody into doing anything. He was the kind to convince Johnny to stay up later than he wanted to. So there just wasn't anything to forgive. Parents always look for somebody to blame and they never look at their own child. I'm not blaming Scott, but I know the way he lived his life. He was never ready to go home."Scott's brother Brian Rogers, also a member of the Penetrators, knows Knox well. After the accident, Brian told his mother that Knox was the safest driver of all Scott's friends. He believes Scott would find the idea of punishing Knox ridiculous."Scott himself was a big proponent of people taking personal responsibility for their actions," Brian says, "and he would tell you he was the one that made the decision not to wear his seat belt."Many of Rogers and Knox's mutual friends have reached the same conclusion: Knox might have fallen asleep at the wheel, but he wasn't driving recklessly or impaired by alcohol."So many people have said they've never seen Johnny drunk in their life," says Clete Reid, who plays with Knox in Cletis and His City Cousins."I've never even seen Johnny drink a whole lot," says Sonoramic Commando bassist Rodney Bell, who was with Knox at the Echo Lounge and Star Bar that night. "And I know Johnny doesn't do drugs. As to what caused the accident, there's really no telling. I would go before a judge and say that Johnny wasn't drunk."Whether or not Johnny Knox was actually drunk, blood tests taken after the accident show alcohol was in his system. So, regardless of what anyone thinks — even the family of the victim — Knox's lawyer believes the Fulton County district attorney will attempt to charge him with DUI.Erik Friedly, spokesman for the district attorney's office, doesn't know anything about Knox's case because it hasn't yet been brought before a grand jury. But his office has dealt with a remarkably similar, and more high profile case involving Atlanta Thrashers star Dany Heatley, whose car crash last September resulted in the death of his passenger, teammate Dan Snyder. Though Snyder's relatives have forgiven Heatley and don't wish him to be punished, the district attorney's office is still investigating how it will pursue that case."While the district attorney always consults with surviving family members and weighs their opinion in making a decision, that in and of itself cannot determine whether or not we prosecute a crime," Friedly says. "For instance, even if you have a rape victim who may not want to go forward, that's just not an option for us because sexual offenders tend to repeat their offense."The Rogers family has taken an active role in supporting Knox as he now faces prosecution. In a letter submitted to the court on Knox's behalf, Cheri Rogers and her husband, John, write, "To punish Johnny in any way ... would only be compounding an unfortunate situation and would unnecessarily penalize Johnny. ... We are overwhelmed by the loss of our son Scott. ... Believe us when we say, to seek some measure of justice against Johnny McGowan Knox's real name would be a travesty as well. His depth of pain and suffering about this situation is exceeded only by ours."Lately, the most excruciating part for Knox has been the uncertainty. He wasn't actually arrested until late October — five months after the accident. He spent two days in jail, posted bail, and has since been waiting for word of when his case might appear before a grand jury."I shouldn't feel depressed, but lately I have been," Knox says. "I'm a make-plans kind of guy, but I can't make plans. I was thinking about going back to school, but I can't make plans. We finished our record five months ago, but I can't get excited about it because I don't know if I'll be around to support it. I feel like there's an ax that Fulton County is holding and at any moment it can fall, so what's the incentive to wake up in the morning?"Knox will likely wait another month or two before the grand jury hears the charges. At that point, assuming there's an indictment, the case would actually get rolling.Already, though, the legal bills have been mounting. An effective defense would cost Knox in the tens of thousands, far more than he could earn between his nighttime gigging and daytime construction work.That's where the benefit shows come into play. While all of them together will likely raise only a fraction of what Knox will need to pay his lawyer, organizers such as Echo Lounge booker Alex Weiss figure every bit helps.Weiss, who sees the benefits as a celebration of Rogers as much as a fundraiser for Knox, says, "Knowing how Scott's family was feeling about the whole thing, and speaking with Johnny and his wife, finding out how much it's going to cost them, it just seems like the right thing to do."roni.sarig@creativeloafing.com"
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  string(9663) "__Friends and family describe__ Scott Rogers as the kind of guy who hated to go to bed -- the one who was constantly leading the charge, creating the plan, promising  that the payoff was just over the next hill.%%%%%%He brought that sort of leadership to his corner of the Atlanta music scene -- as lead guitarist for spy-rock instrumentalists the Penetrators, as the creative force behind the popular annual retro-fixated music and movie festival Drive-Invasion, as the designer of album covers, the creator of Internet discussion groups and an ever-present figure among the community of locals whose tastes tend toward classic cars and vintage guitars.%%%%%%So last May, when Rogers died in a car wreck on his way to go jam with a buddy, his loss left a gaping hole in the scene.%%%%%%Almost nine months since the accident, Rogers' friends are hosting a two-fisted benefit this weekend in East Atlanta, simultaneously at the Echo Lounge and The Earl. (Two more will be held Feb. 20 at the Star Bar and Feb. 21 at 9 Lives Saloon.)%%%%%%The shows, however, aren't aimed at raising money to aid Rogers' widow (he wasn't married) or kids (he had none). And they're not designed to create some sort of memorial in Rogers' memory. The benefits, in fact, are for the man who was behind the wheel of the car when Rogers was killed. They're meant to help him raise money for the legal fees he'll accrue in his battle to beat his vehicular homicide rap.%%%%%%__Among Scott Rogers'__ closest friends was Johnny Knox, a respected local rockabilly guitarist and leader of the band HI-TEST. He's also the guy facing one to 15 years in prison for Rogers' death.%%%%%%Knox and Rogers were buddies from the time Rogers first moved to Atlanta from Alabama in the mid-'90s. They shared a love for early rock 'n' roll; Knox occasionally filled in with the Penetrators, and they played together frequently. They also shared a passion for old cars. Rogers drove a 1965 GTO before it got rear-ended by an SUV, and Knox drove a 1963 Ford Galaxie until May.%%%%%%In recent years, their friendship often manifested itself in the form of Knox serving as Rogers' chauffeur. "Seems like I was always carrying his ass around, going to pick up posters or some crazy adventures," Knox says.%%%%%%A decade back, Rogers had cracked his skull falling off a skateboard. He recovered, but doctors said another head injury could ignite serious problems. Sure enough, after Rogers got hurt in a car accident years later, he started having occasional seizures. In recent years, with the possibility of blacking out at any moment, Rogers had stopped driving altogether. He got around pretty well, though, taking cabs or public transportation, and bumming rides with friends.%%%%%%On the night of May 10, 2003, Rogers was hanging out at the Star Bar, walking distance from his home. Local band Gargantua was headlining. Knox had been over at the Echo Lounge checking out L.A. rockabilly band Three Bad Jacks. After that show ended, Knox and some friends hopped over to Little Five Points and joined Rogers at the Star Bar.%%%%%%As the hour pushed 3 a.m. and friends started heading home, Rogers and Knox conspired to go back to Knox's Lakewood-area house to jam. The two jumped into the Galaxie and headed to Knox's house. As they crossed a railroad bridge on McDonough Boulevard, Knox lost control of the wheel. The car hit a railing, the passenger door popped open and both Rogers and Knox were ejected over the bridge onto the ground below. Knox was pretty badly beat up, with a concussion and cracked ribs. Rogers was pronounced dead at the scene.%%%%%%__Scott Rogers' mom,__ Cheri Rogers, happens to serve as a grief recovery counselor at her church in Huntsville, Ala. Though her work provided no easy comfort when it came to dealing with the loss of her own son, she was able to apply some of her professional knowledge in important ways. In particular, she knew that families of those killed in accidents tend to feel an intense need for answers. And if loved ones don't find those answers, they can find themselves stuck in the horror, obsessively racking their brains, unable to move on and cope with the loss.%%%%%%So she made sure to ask a lot of questions right away -- to investigating officers and friends who'd been with her son. She quickly reached a conclusion at which few mourning parents would likely arrive: It wasn't the driver's fault.%%%%%%"The most amazing thing was there was no struggle within me about whether to forgive Johnny," Cheri Rogers says. "We'd heard Scott talk so fondly for years about Johnny, what a great friend he was. I understood he was happy to be with Johnny that night. And I knew Scott, and he could talk anybody into doing anything. He was the kind to convince Johnny to stay up later than he wanted to. So there just wasn't anything to forgive. Parents always look for somebody to blame and they never look at their own child. I'm not blaming Scott, but I know the way he lived his life. He was never ready to go home."%%%%%%Scott's brother Brian Rogers, also a member of the Penetrators, knows Knox well. After the accident, Brian told his mother that Knox was the safest driver of all Scott's friends. He believes Scott would find the idea of punishing Knox ridiculous.%%%%%%"Scott himself was a big proponent of people taking personal responsibility for their actions," Brian says, "and he would tell you he was the one that made the decision not to wear his seat belt."%%%%%%Many of Rogers and Knox's mutual friends have reached the same conclusion: Knox might have fallen asleep at the wheel, but he wasn't driving recklessly or impaired by alcohol.%%%%%%"So many people have said they've never seen Johnny drunk in their life," says Clete Reid, who plays with Knox in Cletis and His City Cousins.%%%%%%"I've never even seen Johnny drink a whole lot," says Sonoramic Commando bassist Rodney Bell, who was with Knox at the Echo Lounge and Star Bar that night. "And I know Johnny doesn't do drugs. As to what caused the accident, there's really no telling. I would go before a judge and say that Johnny wasn't drunk."%%%%%%__Whether or not__ Johnny Knox was actually drunk, blood tests taken after the accident show alcohol was in his system. So, regardless of what anyone thinks -- even the family of the victim -- Knox's lawyer believes the Fulton County district attorney will attempt to charge him with DUI.%%%%%%Erik Friedly, spokesman for the district attorney's office, doesn't know anything about Knox's case because it hasn't yet been brought before a grand jury. But his office has dealt with a remarkably similar, and more high profile case involving Atlanta Thrashers star Dany Heatley, whose car crash last September resulted in the death of his passenger, teammate Dan Snyder. Though Snyder's relatives have forgiven Heatley and don't wish him to be punished, the district attorney's office is still investigating how it will pursue that case.%%%%%%"While the district attorney always consults with surviving family members and weighs their opinion in making a decision, that in and of itself cannot determine whether or not we prosecute a crime," Friedly says. "For instance, even if you have a rape victim who may not want to go forward, that's just not an option [[for us] because sexual offenders tend to repeat their offense."%%%%%%The Rogers family has taken an active role in supporting Knox as he now faces prosecution. In a letter submitted to the court on Knox's behalf, Cheri Rogers and her husband, John, write, "To punish Johnny in any way ... would only be compounding an unfortunate situation and would unnecessarily penalize Johnny. ... We are overwhelmed by the loss of our son Scott. ... Believe us when we say, to seek some measure of justice against Johnny McGowan [[Knox's real name] would be a travesty as well. His depth of pain and suffering about this situation is exceeded only by ours."%%%%%%Lately, the most excruciating part for Knox has been the uncertainty. He wasn't actually arrested until late October -- five months after the accident. He spent two days in jail, posted bail, and has since been waiting for word of when his case might appear before a grand jury.%%%%%%"I shouldn't feel depressed, but lately I have been," Knox says. "I'm a make-plans kind of guy, but I can't make plans. I was thinking about going back to school, but I can't make plans. We finished our record five months ago, but I can't get excited about it because I don't know if I'll be around to support it. I feel like there's an ax that Fulton County is holding and at any moment it can fall, so what's the incentive to wake up in the morning?"%%%%%%Knox will likely wait another month or two before the grand jury hears the charges. At that point, assuming there's an indictment, the case would actually get rolling.%%%%%%Already, though, the legal bills have been mounting. An effective defense would cost Knox in the tens of thousands, far more than he could earn between his nighttime gigging and daytime construction work.%%%%%%That's where the benefit shows come into play. While all of them together will likely raise only a fraction of what Knox will need to pay his lawyer, organizers such as Echo Lounge booker Alex Weiss figure every bit helps.%%%%%%Weiss, who sees the benefits as a celebration of Rogers as much as a fundraiser for Knox, says, "Knowing how Scott's family was feeling about the whole thing, and speaking with Johnny and his wife, finding out how much it's going to cost them, it just seems like the right thing to do."%%%%%%[mailto:roni.sarig@creativeloafing.com|roni.sarig@creativeloafing.com]"
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  string(9695) "    Atlanta clubs and bands help guitarist fight the law   2004-01-29T05:04:00+00:00 Hard Knox or Scott free?   Roni Sarig 1223640 2004-01-29T05:04:00+00:00  Friends and family describe Scott Rogers as the kind of guy who hated to go to bed — the one who was constantly leading the charge, creating the plan, promising  that the payoff was just over the next hill.He brought that sort of leadership to his corner of the Atlanta music scene — as lead guitarist for spy-rock instrumentalists the Penetrators, as the creative force behind the popular annual retro-fixated music and movie festival Drive-Invasion, as the designer of album covers, the creator of Internet discussion groups and an ever-present figure among the community of locals whose tastes tend toward classic cars and vintage guitars.So last May, when Rogers died in a car wreck on his way to go jam with a buddy, his loss left a gaping hole in the scene.Almost nine months since the accident, Rogers' friends are hosting a two-fisted benefit this weekend in East Atlanta, simultaneously at the Echo Lounge and The Earl. (Two more will be held Feb. 20 at the Star Bar and Feb. 21 at 9 Lives Saloon.)The shows, however, aren't aimed at raising money to aid Rogers' widow (he wasn't married) or kids (he had none). And they're not designed to create some sort of memorial in Rogers' memory. The benefits, in fact, are for the man who was behind the wheel of the car when Rogers was killed. They're meant to help him raise money for the legal fees he'll accrue in his battle to beat his vehicular homicide rap.Among Scott Rogers' closest friends was Johnny Knox, a respected local rockabilly guitarist and leader of the band HI-TEST. He's also the guy facing one to 15 years in prison for Rogers' death.Knox and Rogers were buddies from the time Rogers first moved to Atlanta from Alabama in the mid-'90s. They shared a love for early rock 'n' roll; Knox occasionally filled in with the Penetrators, and they played together frequently. They also shared a passion for old cars. Rogers drove a 1965 GTO before it got rear-ended by an SUV, and Knox drove a 1963 Ford Galaxie until May.In recent years, their friendship often manifested itself in the form of Knox serving as Rogers' chauffeur. "Seems like I was always carrying his ass around, going to pick up posters or some crazy adventures," Knox says.A decade back, Rogers had cracked his skull falling off a skateboard. He recovered, but doctors said another head injury could ignite serious problems. Sure enough, after Rogers got hurt in a car accident years later, he started having occasional seizures. In recent years, with the possibility of blacking out at any moment, Rogers had stopped driving altogether. He got around pretty well, though, taking cabs or public transportation, and bumming rides with friends.On the night of May 10, 2003, Rogers was hanging out at the Star Bar, walking distance from his home. Local band Gargantua was headlining. Knox had been over at the Echo Lounge checking out L.A. rockabilly band Three Bad Jacks. After that show ended, Knox and some friends hopped over to Little Five Points and joined Rogers at the Star Bar.As the hour pushed 3 a.m. and friends started heading home, Rogers and Knox conspired to go back to Knox's Lakewood-area house to jam. The two jumped into the Galaxie and headed to Knox's house. As they crossed a railroad bridge on McDonough Boulevard, Knox lost control of the wheel. The car hit a railing, the passenger door popped open and both Rogers and Knox were ejected over the bridge onto the ground below. Knox was pretty badly beat up, with a concussion and cracked ribs. Rogers was pronounced dead at the scene.Scott Rogers' mom, Cheri Rogers, happens to serve as a grief recovery counselor at her church in Huntsville, Ala. Though her work provided no easy comfort when it came to dealing with the loss of her own son, she was able to apply some of her professional knowledge in important ways. In particular, she knew that families of those killed in accidents tend to feel an intense need for answers. And if loved ones don't find those answers, they can find themselves stuck in the horror, obsessively racking their brains, unable to move on and cope with the loss.So she made sure to ask a lot of questions right away — to investigating officers and friends who'd been with her son. She quickly reached a conclusion at which few mourning parents would likely arrive: It wasn't the driver's fault."The most amazing thing was there was no struggle within me about whether to forgive Johnny," Cheri Rogers says. "We'd heard Scott talk so fondly for years about Johnny, what a great friend he was. I understood he was happy to be with Johnny that night. And I knew Scott, and he could talk anybody into doing anything. He was the kind to convince Johnny to stay up later than he wanted to. So there just wasn't anything to forgive. Parents always look for somebody to blame and they never look at their own child. I'm not blaming Scott, but I know the way he lived his life. He was never ready to go home."Scott's brother Brian Rogers, also a member of the Penetrators, knows Knox well. After the accident, Brian told his mother that Knox was the safest driver of all Scott's friends. He believes Scott would find the idea of punishing Knox ridiculous."Scott himself was a big proponent of people taking personal responsibility for their actions," Brian says, "and he would tell you he was the one that made the decision not to wear his seat belt."Many of Rogers and Knox's mutual friends have reached the same conclusion: Knox might have fallen asleep at the wheel, but he wasn't driving recklessly or impaired by alcohol."So many people have said they've never seen Johnny drunk in their life," says Clete Reid, who plays with Knox in Cletis and His City Cousins."I've never even seen Johnny drink a whole lot," says Sonoramic Commando bassist Rodney Bell, who was with Knox at the Echo Lounge and Star Bar that night. "And I know Johnny doesn't do drugs. As to what caused the accident, there's really no telling. I would go before a judge and say that Johnny wasn't drunk."Whether or not Johnny Knox was actually drunk, blood tests taken after the accident show alcohol was in his system. So, regardless of what anyone thinks — even the family of the victim — Knox's lawyer believes the Fulton County district attorney will attempt to charge him with DUI.Erik Friedly, spokesman for the district attorney's office, doesn't know anything about Knox's case because it hasn't yet been brought before a grand jury. But his office has dealt with a remarkably similar, and more high profile case involving Atlanta Thrashers star Dany Heatley, whose car crash last September resulted in the death of his passenger, teammate Dan Snyder. Though Snyder's relatives have forgiven Heatley and don't wish him to be punished, the district attorney's office is still investigating how it will pursue that case."While the district attorney always consults with surviving family members and weighs their opinion in making a decision, that in and of itself cannot determine whether or not we prosecute a crime," Friedly says. "For instance, even if you have a rape victim who may not want to go forward, that's just not an option for us because sexual offenders tend to repeat their offense."The Rogers family has taken an active role in supporting Knox as he now faces prosecution. In a letter submitted to the court on Knox's behalf, Cheri Rogers and her husband, John, write, "To punish Johnny in any way ... would only be compounding an unfortunate situation and would unnecessarily penalize Johnny. ... We are overwhelmed by the loss of our son Scott. ... Believe us when we say, to seek some measure of justice against Johnny McGowan Knox's real name would be a travesty as well. His depth of pain and suffering about this situation is exceeded only by ours."Lately, the most excruciating part for Knox has been the uncertainty. He wasn't actually arrested until late October — five months after the accident. He spent two days in jail, posted bail, and has since been waiting for word of when his case might appear before a grand jury."I shouldn't feel depressed, but lately I have been," Knox says. "I'm a make-plans kind of guy, but I can't make plans. I was thinking about going back to school, but I can't make plans. We finished our record five months ago, but I can't get excited about it because I don't know if I'll be around to support it. I feel like there's an ax that Fulton County is holding and at any moment it can fall, so what's the incentive to wake up in the morning?"Knox will likely wait another month or two before the grand jury hears the charges. At that point, assuming there's an indictment, the case would actually get rolling.Already, though, the legal bills have been mounting. An effective defense would cost Knox in the tens of thousands, far more than he could earn between his nighttime gigging and daytime construction work.That's where the benefit shows come into play. While all of them together will likely raise only a fraction of what Knox will need to pay his lawyer, organizers such as Echo Lounge booker Alex Weiss figure every bit helps.Weiss, who sees the benefits as a celebration of Rogers as much as a fundraiser for Knox, says, "Knowing how Scott's family was feeling about the whole thing, and speaking with Johnny and his wife, finding out how much it's going to cost them, it just seems like the right thing to do."roni.sarig@creativeloafing.com             13013721 1246044                          Hard Knox or Scott free? "
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Article

Thursday January 29, 2004 12:04 am EST
Atlanta clubs and bands help guitarist fight the law | more...
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  string(27) "Sharp Notes January 29 2004"
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  string(27) "Sharp Notes January 29 2004"
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  string(3544) "PARTING SHOT: I've got some advice to impart to you, the members and followers of Atlanta's local music scene. Yes, of course, you haven't asked for any advice from me. But you'll get it anyway, dammit, because I'm leaving and that's the kind of thing people who are leaving allow themselves to indulge in.

Yes, after five years, three months and a week, give or take a day, I'm taking off my matching skinny-tie-and-suspender-set with the piano-keys design and turning them in to the front office to await my  as-yet-unnamed successor, who will no doubt earn the right to don them at some future date.

What have I learned? Lots. For instance: Any press is good press for bands, particularly when you can slam them in a way that sort of sounds like a compliment on first read. And CDs by defunct local bands cannot even be given away, generally, though infants find them every bit as fun to bite on as your multiplatinum Justin Timberlake disc.

But mostly I've learned that you can pretty well divide local acts into two broad categories: the strivers and the doers.

The strivers are those extremely talented artists who know they have an important message to impart to the world, who ache for the chance to share their very unique musical gifts with the teeming masses who need to hear every bit of it. They're the ones who have secured management and are shopping for a deal, who plan to drop product into the market during the third quarter, and have hired publicity for a full-scale campaign, complete with industry V.I.P. reception, comp'ed drink tickets and band-logo beer coasters. All this even though they're still playing 10 High on a Tuesday night. But their career trajectory is heading straight up, and it's never too early to start preparing for  massive stardom.

And then there are the doers. These are the people who think it might be pretty cool to become a famous rock star, but who are too busy having fun just playing music to get much consumed with that. They're the people motivated less by celebrity than by an even more primal desire: to alleviate boredom. They're folks more concerned with creating entertainment than crafting great art — folks who understand that the purer art is merely an extension of entertainment. These are the local musicians and promoters who create theme nights, theme bands, spectacles and theatrics — or, simply, really fine music performances — not as a career strategy but just because it's fun. They like music, not only as a job possibility, but because, well, it's normal to like music.

I suppose it's inevitable that any music scene will have a certain number of strivers and doers. And it might do us all some good if the doers did a little more striving, since it certainly develops civic pride when our most creative acts attain a larger level of national notoriety.

But ultimately, it's the doers just doing what they do that makes a local music scene thrive.

So my parting advice to the musicians: Be a doer. (And to the music followers: Support the doers.) Stay open to  opportunities, sure, but also keep focused on the bit of wishful thinking that suggests good music doesn't need to be marketed, it finds its own audience (or its audience finds it).

Before it's a job, before it's a spectator sport, before it's a product to be consumed, music is just this weird communication that's as basic to our humanity as language, or as, uh, liking OutKast.

Godspeed you ATLiens and urban cowboys, New South sophisticates and redneck savants. It's been fun."
  ["tracker_field_contentWikiPage_raw"]=>
  string(3545) "__PARTING SHOT:__ I've got some advice to impart to you, the members and followers of Atlanta's local music scene. Yes, of course, you haven't asked for any advice from me. But you'll get it anyway, dammit, because I'm leaving and that's the kind of thing people who are leaving allow themselves to indulge in.

Yes, after five years, three months and a week, give or take a day, I'm taking off my matching skinny-tie-and-suspender-set with the piano-keys design and turning them in to the front office to await my  as-yet-unnamed successor, who will no doubt earn the right to don them at some future date.

What have I learned? Lots. For instance: Any press is good press for bands, particularly when you can slam them in a way that sort of sounds like a compliment on first read. And CDs by defunct local bands cannot even be given away, generally, though infants find them every bit as fun to bite on as your multiplatinum __Justin Timberlake__ disc.

But mostly I've learned that you can pretty well divide local acts into two broad categories: the strivers and the doers.

The strivers are those extremely talented artists who know they have an important message to impart to the world, who ache for the chance to share their very unique musical gifts with the teeming masses who need to hear every bit of it. They're the ones who have secured management and are shopping for a deal, who plan to drop product into the market during the third quarter, and have hired publicity for a full-scale campaign, complete with industry V.I.P. reception, comp'ed drink tickets and band-logo beer coasters. All this even though they're still playing 10 High on a Tuesday night. But their career trajectory is heading straight up, and it's never too early to start preparing for  massive stardom.

And then there are the doers. These are the people who think it might be pretty cool to become a famous rock star, but who are too busy having fun just playing music to get much consumed with that. They're the people motivated less by celebrity than by an even more primal desire: to alleviate boredom. They're folks more concerned with creating entertainment than crafting great art -- folks who understand that the purer art is merely an extension of entertainment. These are the local musicians and promoters who create theme nights, theme bands, spectacles and theatrics -- or, simply, really fine music performances -- not as a career strategy but just because it's fun. They like music, not only as a job possibility, but because, well, it's ''normal'' to like music.

I suppose it's inevitable that any music scene will have a certain number of strivers and doers. And it might do us all some good if the doers did a little more striving, since it certainly develops civic pride when our most creative acts attain a larger level of national notoriety.

But ultimately, it's the doers just doing what they do that makes a local music scene thrive.

So my parting advice to the musicians: Be a doer. (And to the music followers: Support the doers.) Stay open to  opportunities, sure, but also keep focused on the bit of wishful thinking that suggests good music doesn't need to be marketed, it finds its own audience (or its audience finds it).

Before it's a job, before it's a spectator sport, before it's a product to be consumed, music is just this weird communication that's as basic to our humanity as language, or as, uh, liking __OutKast__.

Godspeed you ATLiens and urban cowboys, New South sophisticates and redneck savants. It's been fun."
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  string(3736) "       2004-01-29T05:04:00+00:00 Sharp Notes January 29 2004   Roni Sarig 1223640 2004-01-29T05:04:00+00:00  PARTING SHOT: I've got some advice to impart to you, the members and followers of Atlanta's local music scene. Yes, of course, you haven't asked for any advice from me. But you'll get it anyway, dammit, because I'm leaving and that's the kind of thing people who are leaving allow themselves to indulge in.

Yes, after five years, three months and a week, give or take a day, I'm taking off my matching skinny-tie-and-suspender-set with the piano-keys design and turning them in to the front office to await my  as-yet-unnamed successor, who will no doubt earn the right to don them at some future date.

What have I learned? Lots. For instance: Any press is good press for bands, particularly when you can slam them in a way that sort of sounds like a compliment on first read. And CDs by defunct local bands cannot even be given away, generally, though infants find them every bit as fun to bite on as your multiplatinum Justin Timberlake disc.

But mostly I've learned that you can pretty well divide local acts into two broad categories: the strivers and the doers.

The strivers are those extremely talented artists who know they have an important message to impart to the world, who ache for the chance to share their very unique musical gifts with the teeming masses who need to hear every bit of it. They're the ones who have secured management and are shopping for a deal, who plan to drop product into the market during the third quarter, and have hired publicity for a full-scale campaign, complete with industry V.I.P. reception, comp'ed drink tickets and band-logo beer coasters. All this even though they're still playing 10 High on a Tuesday night. But their career trajectory is heading straight up, and it's never too early to start preparing for  massive stardom.

And then there are the doers. These are the people who think it might be pretty cool to become a famous rock star, but who are too busy having fun just playing music to get much consumed with that. They're the people motivated less by celebrity than by an even more primal desire: to alleviate boredom. They're folks more concerned with creating entertainment than crafting great art — folks who understand that the purer art is merely an extension of entertainment. These are the local musicians and promoters who create theme nights, theme bands, spectacles and theatrics — or, simply, really fine music performances — not as a career strategy but just because it's fun. They like music, not only as a job possibility, but because, well, it's normal to like music.

I suppose it's inevitable that any music scene will have a certain number of strivers and doers. And it might do us all some good if the doers did a little more striving, since it certainly develops civic pride when our most creative acts attain a larger level of national notoriety.

But ultimately, it's the doers just doing what they do that makes a local music scene thrive.

So my parting advice to the musicians: Be a doer. (And to the music followers: Support the doers.) Stay open to  opportunities, sure, but also keep focused on the bit of wishful thinking that suggests good music doesn't need to be marketed, it finds its own audience (or its audience finds it).

Before it's a job, before it's a spectator sport, before it's a product to be consumed, music is just this weird communication that's as basic to our humanity as language, or as, uh, liking OutKast.

Godspeed you ATLiens and urban cowboys, New South sophisticates and redneck savants. It's been fun.             13013731 1246065                          Sharp Notes January 29 2004 "
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Article

Thursday January 29, 2004 12:04 am EST

PARTING SHOT: I've got some advice to impart to you, the members and followers of Atlanta's local music scene. Yes, of course, you haven't asked for any advice from me. But you'll get it anyway, dammit, because I'm leaving and that's the kind of thing people who are leaving allow themselves to indulge in.

Yes, after five years, three months and a week, give or take a day, I'm taking off my...

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