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From Common, with love

Prior to his ASO performance this weekend, the Chicago artist discusses “HER Love,” beef, and human connection

Common Headshot A
Photo credit: Courtesy Common
LET LOVE: The veteran MC spreads positivity in his new memoir and forthcoming studio album.

Veterans of any industry risk becoming a shadow of their former selves by staying in the game too long. In hip-hop, only a handful of acts have been able to age gracefully, with many careers thwarted by tragedy or being derailed by irrelevance in the genre’s ever-changing landscape.

Common, 27 years removed from his debut album, has transcended multiple hip-hop eras through growth, awareness, and passion. Having released Let Love Have the Last Word, a New York Times bestselling memoir, earlier this year, his 12th studio album, Let Love is on the horizon.

Mid-June, the Chicago artist released the album’s lead single “HER Love,” a touching third installment in his series of love letters to hip-hop that started with 1994’s “I Used to Love H.E.R.” A nod to rap’s current torch bearers and boasting a slick lyrical flex, the soulful cut features Canadian R&B standout Daniel Caesar, who delivers the heartwarming hook: “Who knew? Who knew that we would take it this far?/I, I love you, so just be who you are.”

Common hits the Cadence Bank Amphitheatre at Chastain Park on Saturday for a special concert with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, when attendees will be able to hear unreleased cuts from Let Love. On the heels of his performance this weekend, one of hip-hop’s most respected MCs discusses his new music, younger generations of rappers, love, and growth.
 
Although no release date has been revealed for Let Love, what can you tell listeners about the record?

This album is really a picture into my soul. I’m talking about my personal life and things that I’ve felt and experienced in a Marvin Gaye-ish type way, where you’re examining yourself and really being open. The music has a spiritual aspect to it. It has the soul, but it also has the raw element that I love about hip-hop. It’s a hybrid of music that’s just about feeling. I believe it moved forward for me because of the way that I was digging into the layers of myself.

That sentiment is reminiscent of Jay Z’s 4:44, which is interesting because you mention that he can still make the song cry on “HER Love.” Do you think your lyricism has grown and improved as you’ve gotten older?

I try to take in everything, be present, and truly live my life. When I do that, I’m able to express whatever I see or feel in that moment or whoever I’ve been influenced or inspired by. And I also  work at the craft of music, the craft of emceeing, so all those elements are helping me too. Writing the book helped me. Because I was writing a book, it made me open up about things, things about myself that I hadn’t dealt with.

That evolution comes the more I learn about myself, the more I get into mindfulness, the more I build my relationship with God, or the more I connect with people. The more I listen and learn from people, the better my music and my writing becomes. Even acting helps me, because it helps me to be free and open and see things in different ways. So yeah, I feel like as long as I continue to grow as a person, I can grow as an artist.

What can you tell younger artists who are trying to reach that same level of consciousness?

I think it’s important for any young artist to really find what their voice is. Like what am I doing this for? What is my purpose? Ask yourself those questions, then seek out those answers. I was 21, 22 when I started really rapping about what I was going though, but I was finding myself in my voice at that time. I think any young artist should be able to be open to tapping into what they truly feel and finding their unique way to express it.

Make sure it’s aligned with what you want your vision of yourself to be, and not like whatever this or that artist sounds like because you see they have success. I think the beauty about when we get great artists, the individual brings their soul to the forefront, their art and their voice. And I think that’s one of the most important things that a young artist can do. Find your voice.

You touch on plenty of newer artists who have made their mark in “HER Love.” You also mention entrepreneurship in hip-hop, like movies and other opportunities. Where do you think new artists can go from here?

Hip-hop artists have already established lanes like clothing, so I don’t think you always have to reinvent the wheel when you do it. But then, in the context of inventing the new wheel, I think artists definitely have an opportunity to get into design and tech and open up companies that are dealing with creative programs and apps. There’s a lot of businesses for them.

I’m getting into theater work. That’s something I’m really looking forward to doing, creating and writing in that way. I think artists can use their voices for writing films, scripts, and even commercials. I started to realize as a writer I could write in different arenas. It doesn’t have to be only in hip-hop, man. That’s another avenue that new artists could definitely explore, using your writing towards an outlet that you may not have even imagined it would be valuable.

Speaking of commercials, you start yours off with Microsoft by saying, “Today, right now, you have more power at your fingertips than entire generations that came before you.” How do you relate that powerful statement to your album?

I have access to so much music, so many forms of information and art that I honestly went back to the human connection. The artists and producers that I’ve worked with, they gave me access because of how they access their sounds. All this music is played live, but some of it feels sampled. At my fingertips, I have all the tools and resources to create some of the best art.

But I think the commercial was also meant to empower individuals to use their gifts and their access to do good. To do good in the world, to do good for your community, and to do good for yourself. I believe that this album is an example of me saying, “I’m going to use this platform, and whatever gifts I have to tell my story to, God willing, inspire others to be better within themselves.”

You’re hitting Atlanta for a show with the ASO. We’ve seen Kanye West and Migos perform with orchestras, so what made you decide to get into it?

I was first approached to do it by the Kennedy Center National Symphony Orchestra. It was something that the Kennedy Center was doing with hip hop. They did one with Nas, I believe, and I think they did one with Kendrick Lamar. Then I was next on the list. Performing live with the Orchestra was really a next-level incredible experience.

The meeting of the two worlds, the sound you get and the presentation are what I love. As an actor, I want to put a lot of theatre into my performance. What I mean by that is having narration and having different scenes. I like the drama of presenting songs sometimes, so the symphony just added to that dimension.

It just shows you how music is all-encompassing because they’re two different factions of music. Hip-hop is so free. It’s rebel music, and the symphony has order to it. When I perform live with my band, we can go on for five extra minutes on a song. But with the symphony, I gotta follow that structure because the length of the song is written. They need to know what’s next. It’s a lot more musicians you’re playing with, so it teaches you how to work within a construct and still be yourself.

Your album and book are both centered around love, but as an MC, you’ve had beef and went hard when it was necessary, most notably on “The Bitch in Yoo.” My last question for you: Can you beef with love?

Great question, great question. So do you mean: Can you beef with love, or be in a beef and have love?

I guess both.

Okay. So for the first question, beefing with love, the thought of love: Yes. You can beef with it because you sometimes are hurt or in pain because a love was broken. So you have a certain angst towards it, a feeling where you don't want to be in love anymore because you've been hurt by it. But that's when love has to go deeper, and it just has[has to| ]to reach out even more. You overcome that pain and you defeat that fear, and that's when love really prevails. So that's that.

Now, I would say that you can't have beef with and have love. You can battle someone and still have love, but beef is a continuous action. Angela Davis, the Black Panthers, Harry Belafonte — they were fighting with love, you know what I mean. But beef is, "I don't like you, so I'm about to destroy you in any way possible." And that ain't done with love.

Common plays the Cadence Bank Amphitheatre at Chastain Park with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra. Saturday, June 29. $29-$187+. 8 p.m.



More By This Writer

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  string(5666) "I often forget that I am perpetually not safe, but events in the country that I live in remind me. In middle school, George Zimmerman reminded me. In high school, Darren Wilson did the same. A month prior to my first semester at Georgia State University, Jeronimo Yanez carried the torch. Now, as a young Black man living on my own, I struggle with the news of Ahmaud Arbery and the two white men in my home state continuing this inhumane practice.

In response to past tragedies like these, I’ve looked to hip-hop — for consolation, for reassurance, and for guidance. Perhaps my most vivid memories of sociopolitical rap was the stretch from late 2014 to early 2015. On March 15, 2015, Kendrick Lamar’s To Pimp a Butterfly was released, and it was truly an album of the times. Its themes of race, politics, violence, and empowerment showed me — even after many uncomfortable listens — that there was light at the end of this dark and seemingly never-ending tunnel.

But honestly, it was J. Cole who prepared me for that behemoth of an album. His “Be Free,” released within days of the public lynching of Michael Brown, was the first song to give me chills, erect the hairs on my body, and bring tears to my eyes. Where To Pimp a Butterfly was the powerful and much-needed response to months of nonstop brutality, “Be Free” was an in-the-moment call to grieve. Cole said what I thought, and he sang how I felt. The song stripped me of my pent-up emotions so that Kendrick’s album could build me back up.

As Ahmaud Arbery’s case has been thrust into the public eye, I find myself feeling stripped of the confidence and hope given to me by To Pimp a Butterfly and revisiting “Be Free.” Although Brunswick, the Georgia coastal city where Travis and Gregory McMichael’s hunting of Aubrey resulted in the jogger’s death, is four hours from metro Atlanta, it feels too dangerously close to home. Wanting to make sense of the senseless, seeking some light in a dark tunnel of my psyche, I looked to Atlanta’s hip-hop artists to make a profound statement — and to help combat this overwhelming feeling of powerlessness. I’ve been met with a disturbing silence.

Sure, when Andre 3000 exclaimed, “The South got something to say!” at the 1995 Source Awards, he wasn’t exactly referring to the conscious messages embedded in Southern hip-hop. However, the sentiment that Southern, and specifically Atlanta, rap should be taken seriously rings truer today than in 1995, considering the city’s current domination of the music charts. So, why doesn’t the South have much — if anything — to say about what’s happening mere hours away from the current hip-hop capital of the world?

Originally, that was my angle. To question why many of this city’s most prominent voices are saying little to nothing at all felt right. To criticize artists who are sacrificing their right to speak out on injustice for a larger number of streams during highly-publicized rollouts of long-awaited records, felt appropriate. Yet, after more consideration, I don’t think either of those approaches are fair.

Instead, I question whether Atlanta’s artists have a responsibility to speak out about current events and the trauma that has overcome us once again — a trauma which directly affects a bulk of their listenership. As a non-recording artist, the work of criticizing the musical output of others tends to fall under my editorial umbrella, but defining an artist’s responsibilities feels entirely out of bounds.

For many artists, how a single or full-length record is received can determine whether or not they are able to eat in the coming months. Consumers and critics alike are finicky and fickle with their sonic expectations of an artist as it is; it’s easy to understand why artists wouldn’t want to possibly alienate them with their own political and social views. Both Kanye West’s  “that sounds like a choice” and Michael Jordan’s “Republicans buy sneakers, too” comments have tarnished their respective legacies, evidence that fans and consumers can be less than forgiving when a public figure speaks out.

One wrong misstep, inside or outside of the booth, can undo a lot of the progress that an artist makes over their career. Any stand that an artist takes should be theirs and theirs alone — not something prompted by a 20-something journalist with a mightier-than-thou complex.

Nonetheless, it’s hard for me to absolve artists of social responsibility. To have experienced firsthand the power that “Be Free” and To Pimp a Butterfly had on my coming of age, I have to question why today’s hip-hop and rap artists aren’t speaking out. Where is some light in this ever-darkening tunnel? Where are the words to help this generation escape the hopelessness that they no doubt feel, just as I did? I would be remiss not to question the absence of songs and records for this generation that would give a voice to the perpetually not safe.

The debate boils down to choice. Regardless of whether critics and consumers considered it J. Cole and Kendrick Lamar’s responsibility to respond to the string of murders of unarmed Black people in 2014 and 2015, it was their choice to do so. Now, Atlanta artists have a decision to make: how they will respond to the killing of Ahmaud Arbery.

More importantly, you and I have a choice. We can look to our favorite artists to be the ones brave enough to spread awareness about the issues that bring turmoil, destruction, and grief to our communities, or we can look inward and decide to do something about it ourselves. —CL—"
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In response to past tragedies like these, I’ve looked to hip-hop — for consolation, for reassurance, and for guidance. Perhaps my most vivid memories of sociopolitical rap was the stretch from late 2014 to early 2015. On March 15, 2015, Kendrick Lamar’s ''To Pimp a Butterfly'' was released, and it was truly an album of the times. Its themes of race, politics, violence, and empowerment showed me — even after many uncomfortable listens — that there was light at the end of this dark and seemingly never-ending tunnel.

But honestly, it was J. Cole who prepared me for that behemoth of an album. His “Be Free,” released within days of the public lynching of Michael Brown, was the first song to give me chills, erect the hairs on my body, and bring tears to my eyes. Where ''To Pimp a Butterfly'' was the powerful and much-needed response to months of nonstop brutality, “Be Free” was an in-the-moment call to grieve. Cole said what I thought, and he sang how I felt. The song stripped me of my pent-up emotions so that Kendrick’s album could build me back up.

As Ahmaud Arbery’s case has been thrust into the public eye, I find myself feeling stripped of the confidence and hope given to me by ''To Pimp a Butterfly'' and revisiting “Be Free.” Although Brunswick, the Georgia coastal city where Travis and Gregory McMichael’s hunting of Aubrey resulted in the jogger’s death, is four hours from metro Atlanta, it feels too dangerously close to home. Wanting to make sense of the senseless, seeking some light in a dark tunnel of my psyche, I looked to Atlanta’s hip-hop artists to make a profound statement — and to help combat this overwhelming feeling of powerlessness. I’ve been met with a disturbing silence.

Sure, when Andre 3000 exclaimed, “The South got something to say!” at the 1995 Source Awards, he wasn’t exactly referring to the conscious messages embedded in Southern hip-hop. However, the sentiment that Southern, and specifically Atlanta, rap should be taken seriously rings truer today than in 1995, considering the city’s current domination of the music charts. So, why doesn’t the South have much — if anything — to say about what’s happening mere hours away from the current hip-hop capital of the world?

Originally, that was my angle. To question why many of this city’s most prominent voices are saying little to nothing at all felt right. To criticize artists who are sacrificing their right to speak out on injustice for a larger number of streams during highly-publicized rollouts of long-awaited records, felt appropriate. Yet, after more consideration, I don’t think either of those approaches are fair.

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For many artists, how a single or full-length record is received can determine whether or not they are able to eat in the coming months. Consumers and critics alike are finicky and fickle with their sonic expectations of an artist as it is; it’s easy to understand why artists wouldn’t want to possibly alienate them with their own political and social views. Both Kanye West’s  “that sounds like a choice” and Michael Jordan’s “Republicans buy sneakers, too” comments have tarnished their respective legacies, evidence that fans and consumers can be less than forgiving when a public figure speaks out.

One wrong misstep, inside or outside of the booth, can undo a lot of the progress that an artist makes over their career. Any stand that an artist takes should be theirs and theirs alone — not something prompted by a 20-something journalist with a mightier-than-thou complex.

Nonetheless, it’s hard for me to absolve artists of social responsibility. To have experienced firsthand the power that “Be Free” and ''To Pimp a Butterfly'' had on my coming of age, I have to question why today’s hip-hop and rap artists aren’t speaking out. Where is some light in this ever-darkening tunnel? Where are the words to help this generation escape the hopelessness that they no doubt feel, just as I did? I would be remiss not to question the absence of songs and records for this generation that would give a voice to the perpetually not safe.

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In response to past tragedies like these, I’ve looked to hip-hop — for consolation, for reassurance, and for guidance. Perhaps my most vivid memories of sociopolitical rap was the stretch from late 2014 to early 2015. On March 15, 2015, Kendrick Lamar’s To Pimp a Butterfly was released, and it was truly an album of the times. Its themes of race, politics, violence, and empowerment showed me — even after many uncomfortable listens — that there was light at the end of this dark and seemingly never-ending tunnel.

But honestly, it was J. Cole who prepared me for that behemoth of an album. His “Be Free,” released within days of the public lynching of Michael Brown, was the first song to give me chills, erect the hairs on my body, and bring tears to my eyes. Where To Pimp a Butterfly was the powerful and much-needed response to months of nonstop brutality, “Be Free” was an in-the-moment call to grieve. Cole said what I thought, and he sang how I felt. The song stripped me of my pent-up emotions so that Kendrick’s album could build me back up.

As Ahmaud Arbery’s case has been thrust into the public eye, I find myself feeling stripped of the confidence and hope given to me by To Pimp a Butterfly and revisiting “Be Free.” Although Brunswick, the Georgia coastal city where Travis and Gregory McMichael’s hunting of Aubrey resulted in the jogger’s death, is four hours from metro Atlanta, it feels too dangerously close to home. Wanting to make sense of the senseless, seeking some light in a dark tunnel of my psyche, I looked to Atlanta’s hip-hop artists to make a profound statement — and to help combat this overwhelming feeling of powerlessness. I’ve been met with a disturbing silence.

Sure, when Andre 3000 exclaimed, “The South got something to say!” at the 1995 Source Awards, he wasn’t exactly referring to the conscious messages embedded in Southern hip-hop. However, the sentiment that Southern, and specifically Atlanta, rap should be taken seriously rings truer today than in 1995, considering the city’s current domination of the music charts. So, why doesn’t the South have much — if anything — to say about what’s happening mere hours away from the current hip-hop capital of the world?

Originally, that was my angle. To question why many of this city’s most prominent voices are saying little to nothing at all felt right. To criticize artists who are sacrificing their right to speak out on injustice for a larger number of streams during highly-publicized rollouts of long-awaited records, felt appropriate. Yet, after more consideration, I don’t think either of those approaches are fair.

Instead, I question whether Atlanta’s artists have a responsibility to speak out about current events and the trauma that has overcome us once again — a trauma which directly affects a bulk of their listenership. As a non-recording artist, the work of criticizing the musical output of others tends to fall under my editorial umbrella, but defining an artist’s responsibilities feels entirely out of bounds.

For many artists, how a single or full-length record is received can determine whether or not they are able to eat in the coming months. Consumers and critics alike are finicky and fickle with their sonic expectations of an artist as it is; it’s easy to understand why artists wouldn’t want to possibly alienate them with their own political and social views. Both Kanye West’s  “that sounds like a choice” and Michael Jordan’s “Republicans buy sneakers, too” comments have tarnished their respective legacies, evidence that fans and consumers can be less than forgiving when a public figure speaks out.

One wrong misstep, inside or outside of the booth, can undo a lot of the progress that an artist makes over their career. Any stand that an artist takes should be theirs and theirs alone — not something prompted by a 20-something journalist with a mightier-than-thou complex.

Nonetheless, it’s hard for me to absolve artists of social responsibility. To have experienced firsthand the power that “Be Free” and To Pimp a Butterfly had on my coming of age, I have to question why today’s hip-hop and rap artists aren’t speaking out. Where is some light in this ever-darkening tunnel? Where are the words to help this generation escape the hopelessness that they no doubt feel, just as I did? I would be remiss not to question the absence of songs and records for this generation that would give a voice to the perpetually not safe.

The debate boils down to choice. Regardless of whether critics and consumers considered it J. Cole and Kendrick Lamar’s responsibility to respond to the string of murders of unarmed Black people in 2014 and 2015, it was their choice to do so. Now, Atlanta artists have a decision to make: how they will respond to the killing of Ahmaud Arbery.

More importantly, you and I have a choice. We can look to our favorite artists to be the ones brave enough to spread awareness about the issues that bring turmoil, destruction, and grief to our communities, or we can look inward and decide to do something about it ourselves. —CL—       0,0,16    atluntrapped untrapped                             ATL UNTRAPPED: Should the South have something to say? "
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Thursday June 4, 2020 10:03 am EDT
Weighing the pain of recent events against the responsibility of artists to speak out | more...
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  string(6614) "By squealing “CORONAVIRUS!” in an Instagram video on March 10, Cardi B became the unofficial celebrity spokesperson for informing everyone that shit had really hit the fan. In  addition to inspiring a viral — and Billboard-charting — remix of her original post, she ushered in an era of disbelief and uncertainty that deepened when the World Health Organization declared the global outbreak to be a pandemic one day later.

News of a novel virus overseas was quickly eclipsed by stateside fear as cases started being reported in several states. Atlanta, while not hit as hard as other major cities across the country, was hit nonetheless, and life has since changed dramatically for healthcare professionals, bartenders, and everyone in between as nonessential businesses close and essential businesses intensify. 

The music industry is no exception, leaving local artists in an unexpected position. Not being able to earn money from performing at venues and possibly having to refrain from recording music are both legitimate concerns, yet instead of conceding defeat to COVID-19, Atlanta’s hip-hop community is fighting back with creativity. Here’s a snapshot of four artists who, despite social distancing, are still connecting and interacting with their listeners.

Quanna

Savannah native Quanna (pictured, bottom right) regularly shuffles between Atlanta and Brooklyn, but due to the outbreak in New York, she has been quarantined in the latter since March. While there, her hustle has gone completely digital, and over the past month, Quanna has reinvigorated the promotion of her 2019 project Miss Thang and lobbied, albeit unsuccessfully, for entry to Tory Lanez’s “Quarantine Radio.” Her longest-running effort, however, was the “Like Me (Remix)” Challenge, in which she tasked hungry producers to recreate and modernize the beat to one of her fan-favorites.

“Every time I perform, I do “Like Me,” my first song ever, and people love it,” Quanna says. “I think it’s dated, though, so I decided to do a beat challenge to give it a refresher of sorts.”

Unlike the TikTok and freestyle challenges flooding social media, Quanna’s challenge has put the spotlight on young producers and given her listeners the opportunity to be a part of her upcoming project, which will feature the top-voted remix to “Like Me.” Work on the project was unfortunately halted due to New York’s shelter-in-place order, but for the time being Quanna is dedicated to fostering a connection with listeners through social media.

ProtéJay 

The son of New York legend Half-A-Mill and a decorated multihyphenate with music- and television-related accomplishments under his belt, ProtéJay (pictured, right) is a man of routine, and one of his major challenges with adapting to life during COVID-19 is the disruption to his nonstop work ethic. He admits to struggling with a forced change of pace, as well as having to reconsider major plans for 2020, but he isn’t letting this slump stop his drive.

“Our plan coming into this year was to drop four projects — one for each quarter,” ProtéJay says, “so we can’t back out on that. We’ve gotta do what we said we were gonna do.”

Sure enough, he dropped the eight-track project, Your World, on March 27, and the week after he started a live streamed concert series with local producer 88Jay, called Sound Disorder. Powered by We Get It Media Productions, their weekly acoustic set now airs every Thursday evening at 6 p.m. on his Instagram account. With newfound structure and an additional creative outlet at his disposal, ProtéJay is re-energized and motivated to lift the spirits of everyone who tunes in.

“With all this shit going on, those little glimpses give people a break from reality,” he says. “We’re just tryna have fun and get our minds off of the situation.” 

Zaia

Artists like Zaia (pictured, left) are pushing through the only way they know how — by releasing new music. Nearly a year removed from signing with Sony Records and releasing his stellar RESET EP, Zaia is done with waiting. On April 1, he unleashed “DEMONS,” the first single from his upcoming project. The bass-rattling earworm hijacks a simple refrain and infiltrates its surroundings with sharp lyricism and monstrous vocal effects to create a beast of a record. Complimenting the single is an equally villainous music video, directed by Patrick Tohill and The Misunderstoods.

Luckily, “DEMONS” is only the appetizer for what Zaia has in store for listeners. While COVID-19 hasn’t delayed the release of his anticipated follow-up to RESET, the project’s rollout has suffered from canceled photoshoots and other unfinished supplementary content. Zaia powers on nevertheless.

“I’m not waiting until corona ends to release music,” he says. “I’m not going to let monetary projections right now affect when the music can come out or when people can hear it. The people that need to hear my music are gonna hear my music at the right time.”

Rashford

While many artists have found solace in innovative strategies and sheer grit, plenty are grappling with financial hardships and simply being unable to do what they love. In the wake of venue cancellations and shelter-in-place orders, Rashford (pictured, top) was one of those artists. As a rapper and the event planner behind Atlanta’s burgeoning We Gotta Make It concert series, he takes performing seriously, both as a passion and as a way for artists to eat.

“It’s definitely depressing, like, ‘Damn. What am I gonna do now?’” Rashford says. “That connection that happens at shows, you can’t really replace that. I depend on my craft for happiness.”

To rediscover that creative satisfaction and maintain a connection with his listeners, he recently announced a new web series titled “Just Because.” The show will feature a loose direction, solely centered around what his fanbase wants to watch him discuss, and it will also serve as a way for him to tease upcoming music, akin to how one would tease new music at a concert. Whether or not it works, Rashford realizes that taking risks, regardless of the looming pandemic, will always be a part of his craft.

“This pandemic is something we’re not sure of,” he says. “We’re not sure how life is gonna be in the summer or fall or even next year. Yeah, I can hold back on my music because we’re not sure, but I can also just go forward — because when have we ever been sure anyways?”

This too shall pass. —CL—"
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  string(6658) "By squealing “CORONAVIRUS!” in an Instagram video on March 10, Cardi B became the unofficial celebrity spokesperson for informing everyone that shit had really hit the fan. In  addition to inspiring a viral — and ''Billboard''-charting — remix of her original post, she ushered in an era of disbelief and uncertainty that deepened when the World Health Organization declared the global outbreak to be a pandemic one day later.

News of a novel virus overseas was quickly eclipsed by stateside fear as cases started being reported in several states. Atlanta, while not hit as hard as other major cities across the country, was hit nonetheless, and life has since changed dramatically for healthcare professionals, bartenders, and everyone in between as nonessential businesses close and essential businesses intensify. 

The music industry is no exception, leaving local artists in an unexpected position. Not being able to earn money from performing at venues and possibly having to refrain from recording music are both legitimate concerns, yet instead of conceding defeat to COVID-19, Atlanta’s hip-hop community is fighting back with creativity. Here’s a snapshot of four artists who, despite social distancing, are still connecting and interacting with their listeners.

__Quanna__

Savannah native Quanna (pictured, bottom right) regularly shuffles between Atlanta and Brooklyn, but due to the outbreak in New York, she has been quarantined in the latter since March. While there, her hustle has gone completely digital, and over the past month, Quanna has reinvigorated the promotion of her 2019 project ''Miss Thang'' and lobbied, albeit unsuccessfully, for entry to Tory Lanez’s “Quarantine Radio.” Her longest-running effort, however, was the “Like Me (Remix)” Challenge, in which she tasked hungry producers to recreate and modernize the beat to one of her fan-favorites.

“Every time I perform, I do “Like Me,” my first song ever, and people love it,” Quanna says. “I think it’s dated, though, so I decided to do a beat challenge to give it a refresher of sorts.”

Unlike the TikTok and freestyle challenges flooding social media, Quanna’s challenge has put the spotlight on young producers and given her listeners the opportunity to be a part of her upcoming project, which will feature the top-voted remix to “Like Me.” Work on the project was unfortunately halted due to New York’s shelter-in-place order, but for the time being Quanna is dedicated to fostering a connection with listeners through social media.

__ProtéJay__ 

The son of New York legend Half-A-Mill and a decorated multihyphenate with music- and television-related accomplishments under his belt, ProtéJay (pictured, right) is a man of routine, and one of his major challenges with adapting to life during COVID-19 is the disruption to his nonstop work ethic. He admits to struggling with a forced change of pace, as well as having to reconsider major plans for 2020, but he isn’t letting this slump stop his drive.

“Our plan coming into this year was to drop four projects — one for each quarter,” ProtéJay says, “so we can’t back out on that. We’ve gotta do what we said we were gonna do.”

Sure enough, he dropped the eight-track project, ''Your World'', on March 27, and the week after he started a live streamed concert series with local producer 88Jay, called Sound Disorder. Powered by We Get It Media Productions, their weekly acoustic set now airs every Thursday evening at 6 p.m. on his Instagram account. With newfound structure and an additional creative outlet at his disposal, ProtéJay is re-energized and motivated to lift the spirits of everyone who tunes in.

“With all this shit going on, those little glimpses give people a break from reality,” he says. “We’re just tryna have fun and get our minds off of the situation.” 

__Zaia__

Artists like Zaia (pictured, left) are pushing through the only way they know how — by releasing new music. Nearly a year removed from signing with Sony Records and releasing his stellar ''RESET'' EP, Zaia is done with waiting. On April 1, he unleashed “DEMONS,” the first single from his upcoming project. The bass-rattling earworm hijacks a simple refrain and infiltrates its surroundings with sharp lyricism and monstrous vocal effects to create a beast of a record. Complimenting the single is an equally villainous music video, directed by Patrick Tohill and The Misunderstoods.

Luckily, “DEMONS” is only the appetizer for what Zaia has in store for listeners. While COVID-19 hasn’t delayed the release of his anticipated follow-up to ''RESET'', the project’s rollout has suffered from canceled photoshoots and other unfinished supplementary content. Zaia powers on nevertheless.

“I’m not waiting until corona ends to release music,” he says. “I’m not going to let monetary projections right now affect when the music can come out or when people can hear it. The people that need to hear my music are gonna hear my music at the right time.”

__Rashford__

While many artists have found solace in innovative strategies and sheer grit, plenty are grappling with financial hardships and simply being unable to do what they love. In the wake of venue cancellations and shelter-in-place orders, Rashford (pictured, top) was one of those artists. As a rapper and the event planner behind Atlanta’s burgeoning We Gotta Make It concert series, he takes performing seriously, both as a passion and as a way for artists to eat.

“It’s definitely depressing, like, ‘Damn. What am I gonna do now?’” Rashford says. “That connection that happens at shows, you can’t really replace that. I depend on my craft for happiness.”

To rediscover that creative satisfaction and maintain a connection with his listeners, he recently announced a new web series titled “Just Because.” The show will feature a loose direction, solely centered around what his fanbase wants to watch him discuss, and it will also serve as a way for him to tease upcoming music, akin to how one would tease new music at a concert. Whether or not it works, Rashford realizes that taking risks, regardless of the looming pandemic, will always be a part of his craft.

“This pandemic is something we’re not sure of,” he says. “We’re not sure how life is gonna be in the summer or fall or even next year. Yeah, I can hold back on my music because we’re not sure, but I can also just go forward — because when have we ever been sure anyways?”

''This too shall pass.'' __—CL—__"
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  string(7183) " ATL UNT Website  2020-05-11T20:58:18+00:00 ATL_UNT_Website.jpg    atlu Local artists react and adjust to COVID-19 31023  2020-05-01T04:17:00+00:00 ATL UNTRAPPED: Socially distanced, musically connected jim.harris@creativeloafing.com Jim Harris Joshua Robinson  2020-05-01T04:17:00+00:00  By squealing “CORONAVIRUS!” in an Instagram video on March 10, Cardi B became the unofficial celebrity spokesperson for informing everyone that shit had really hit the fan. In  addition to inspiring a viral — and Billboard-charting — remix of her original post, she ushered in an era of disbelief and uncertainty that deepened when the World Health Organization declared the global outbreak to be a pandemic one day later.

News of a novel virus overseas was quickly eclipsed by stateside fear as cases started being reported in several states. Atlanta, while not hit as hard as other major cities across the country, was hit nonetheless, and life has since changed dramatically for healthcare professionals, bartenders, and everyone in between as nonessential businesses close and essential businesses intensify. 

The music industry is no exception, leaving local artists in an unexpected position. Not being able to earn money from performing at venues and possibly having to refrain from recording music are both legitimate concerns, yet instead of conceding defeat to COVID-19, Atlanta’s hip-hop community is fighting back with creativity. Here’s a snapshot of four artists who, despite social distancing, are still connecting and interacting with their listeners.

Quanna

Savannah native Quanna (pictured, bottom right) regularly shuffles between Atlanta and Brooklyn, but due to the outbreak in New York, she has been quarantined in the latter since March. While there, her hustle has gone completely digital, and over the past month, Quanna has reinvigorated the promotion of her 2019 project Miss Thang and lobbied, albeit unsuccessfully, for entry to Tory Lanez’s “Quarantine Radio.” Her longest-running effort, however, was the “Like Me (Remix)” Challenge, in which she tasked hungry producers to recreate and modernize the beat to one of her fan-favorites.

“Every time I perform, I do “Like Me,” my first song ever, and people love it,” Quanna says. “I think it’s dated, though, so I decided to do a beat challenge to give it a refresher of sorts.”

Unlike the TikTok and freestyle challenges flooding social media, Quanna’s challenge has put the spotlight on young producers and given her listeners the opportunity to be a part of her upcoming project, which will feature the top-voted remix to “Like Me.” Work on the project was unfortunately halted due to New York’s shelter-in-place order, but for the time being Quanna is dedicated to fostering a connection with listeners through social media.

ProtéJay 

The son of New York legend Half-A-Mill and a decorated multihyphenate with music- and television-related accomplishments under his belt, ProtéJay (pictured, right) is a man of routine, and one of his major challenges with adapting to life during COVID-19 is the disruption to his nonstop work ethic. He admits to struggling with a forced change of pace, as well as having to reconsider major plans for 2020, but he isn’t letting this slump stop his drive.

“Our plan coming into this year was to drop four projects — one for each quarter,” ProtéJay says, “so we can’t back out on that. We’ve gotta do what we said we were gonna do.”

Sure enough, he dropped the eight-track project, Your World, on March 27, and the week after he started a live streamed concert series with local producer 88Jay, called Sound Disorder. Powered by We Get It Media Productions, their weekly acoustic set now airs every Thursday evening at 6 p.m. on his Instagram account. With newfound structure and an additional creative outlet at his disposal, ProtéJay is re-energized and motivated to lift the spirits of everyone who tunes in.

“With all this shit going on, those little glimpses give people a break from reality,” he says. “We’re just tryna have fun and get our minds off of the situation.” 

Zaia

Artists like Zaia (pictured, left) are pushing through the only way they know how — by releasing new music. Nearly a year removed from signing with Sony Records and releasing his stellar RESET EP, Zaia is done with waiting. On April 1, he unleashed “DEMONS,” the first single from his upcoming project. The bass-rattling earworm hijacks a simple refrain and infiltrates its surroundings with sharp lyricism and monstrous vocal effects to create a beast of a record. Complimenting the single is an equally villainous music video, directed by Patrick Tohill and The Misunderstoods.

Luckily, “DEMONS” is only the appetizer for what Zaia has in store for listeners. While COVID-19 hasn’t delayed the release of his anticipated follow-up to RESET, the project’s rollout has suffered from canceled photoshoots and other unfinished supplementary content. Zaia powers on nevertheless.

“I’m not waiting until corona ends to release music,” he says. “I’m not going to let monetary projections right now affect when the music can come out or when people can hear it. The people that need to hear my music are gonna hear my music at the right time.”

Rashford

While many artists have found solace in innovative strategies and sheer grit, plenty are grappling with financial hardships and simply being unable to do what they love. In the wake of venue cancellations and shelter-in-place orders, Rashford (pictured, top) was one of those artists. As a rapper and the event planner behind Atlanta’s burgeoning We Gotta Make It concert series, he takes performing seriously, both as a passion and as a way for artists to eat.

“It’s definitely depressing, like, ‘Damn. What am I gonna do now?’” Rashford says. “That connection that happens at shows, you can’t really replace that. I depend on my craft for happiness.”

To rediscover that creative satisfaction and maintain a connection with his listeners, he recently announced a new web series titled “Just Because.” The show will feature a loose direction, solely centered around what his fanbase wants to watch him discuss, and it will also serve as a way for him to tease upcoming music, akin to how one would tease new music at a concert. Whether or not it works, Rashford realizes that taking risks, regardless of the looming pandemic, will always be a part of his craft.

“This pandemic is something we’re not sure of,” he says. “We’re not sure how life is gonna be in the summer or fall or even next year. Yeah, I can hold back on my music because we’re not sure, but I can also just go forward — because when have we ever been sure anyways?”

This too shall pass. —CL—    Demetri Stefan Burke TRYNA GET AWAY: Atlanta Hip Hop is distancing itself from the horrors of the ongoing pandemic (Clockwise, from top: Rashford, ProtéJay, Quanna, and Zaia).  0,0,10    ATLU                             ATL UNTRAPPED: Socially distanced, musically connected "
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  string(5202) "TICK. TICK. TICK. TICK. TICK. TICK. TICK. TICK.

For the first six seconds of LoKii AD’s latest single, “Juug,” the sound of a clock is all that reverberates throughout an otherwise empty soundscape. Time is ticking, setting a tone of urgency that builds as soon as the 20-year-old artist delivers the cold opening lines — “I got folks in the 6, folks in the 1/Bro in the 3 hit the coast like Lebron/Big bro in the hills, lil bro in the slums/They down to pull up whenever I want.”

A nod to the scamming, robbing, and finessing that LoKii witnessed while growing up in DeKalb County, “Juug” perfectly captures the frantic energy of its subject matter and features an exuberant hook that channels a bittersweet fondness for what many listeners know all too well.

“I remember when I was four or five years old, I was outside when somebody literally walked up and stole someone’s AC unit,” he says, laughing. “I was just watching it happen until my uncle finally told me to go back inside.”

No longer the  naive bystander of his childhood in Redan, LoKii embodies the chaos around him on his latest single, sharing stories over its sinister synths. Tongue-twisting wordplay parallels the expositions about his studies at Georgia Tech and time spent working at UPS with sly references to guns and drug dealing. Initially, LoKii appears to be a good kid trapped in a mad city, but after meeting with him, it’s clear that he’s actually the one facilitating the stickup. What he wants is your immediate attention and support.

Born Antonio Lucas, LoKii AD is a producer, singer, rapper, and songwriter who specializes in creating trap-inspired R&B and lyrically robust hip-hop. Inspired by both his low-key nature as well as the Norse god Loki, his stage name is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the duality that characterizes his existence as an artist and a young man.

“I kind of relate to the god of mischief because my mellow attitude is deceiving,” LoKii says. “If you see me in public and go back and listen to some of my tracks, you’ll think, ‘Dang, is this the same dude?’”

Yet somehow, it is the same dude. LoKii studies mechanical engineering at Georgia Tech while simultaneously knocking out performances at events featuring well-known rising hip-hop and R&B acts such as Wave Chapelle, Melodik, and Josh Waters. It’s incredible how his warring worlds intersect so gracefully, but LoKii has a lot of experience in code-switching.

Throughout his primary and secondary education, he sidestepped the typical school-to-school pipeline that most of his classmates followed. He attended elementary school at Eldridge L. Miller, middle school at Stephenson, and high school at Arabia Mountain. As a result, he became comfortable being the new kid.

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Applying those tactics to his music, he began to approach his diverging interests in rap and R&B as if they were different languages, ultimately separating the two sides of his musical identity in his output. Although he had built a buzz on his Instagram by posting well-received freestyle videos, LoKii opted to release the R&B-laden record M T last summer. The project didn’t feature any rapping from the Redan-bred artist, but it gained steam nevertheless.

“After I put out M T, I was really just putting out R&B for about six months,” he says. “I told myself that I’ve gotta go back to all of who I am.”

Now — due to the mischievous satisfaction he gets from twisting the expectations of his listeners, an inward yearning to show off his lyrical chops, and the turn of a new decade — LoKii has embraced his duality as a singer and a rapper in “Juug,” his first statement of 2020. The explosive two-minute single, delivered alongside a companion music video, amassed over 13,000 views in the first month.

The brainchild of LoKii and his cousin Khalid Johnson, the video showcases the  20-year-old’s deep cultural roots in DeKalb and experiences attending college at Georgia Tech. Clips of Glenwood Road and a Mrs. Winners restaurant add character to the visual just as much as the scenes shot on Tech’s campus, with pop-culture references to Pulp Fiction and King Vader’s viral videos adding welcome doses of comedy and stylistic flare.

For the Eastside artist, now is not the time to rest. Hard at work on his most versatile project yet, LoKii is eyeing a fall release for the upcoming record but reveals that additional singles are scheduled to release over the coming weeks and months.

An artist who envisions platinum plaques and Grammy nominations on the horizon, LoKii AD’s set-up is clear when he recites the final line of “Juug”: “We finna hit, I got a hunch.” Whether or not you’re cool with it, he’s taking your streams, your views, and everything you’ve got to help him reach his dreams.

Give it up — the clock is ticking."
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For the first six seconds of LoKii AD’s latest single, “Juug,” the sound of a clock is all that reverberates throughout an otherwise empty soundscape. Time is ticking, setting a tone of urgency that builds as soon as the 20-year-old artist delivers the cold opening lines — “I got folks in the 6, folks in the 1/Bro in the 3 hit the coast like Lebron/Big bro in the hills, lil bro in the slums/They down to pull up whenever I want.”

A nod to the scamming, robbing, and finessing that LoKii witnessed while growing up in DeKalb County, “Juug” perfectly captures the frantic energy of its subject matter and features an exuberant hook that channels a bittersweet fondness for what many listeners know all too well.

“I remember when I was four or five years old, I was outside when somebody literally walked up and stole someone’s AC unit,” he says, laughing. “I was just watching it happen until my uncle finally told me to go back inside.”

No longer the  naive bystander of his childhood in Redan, LoKii embodies the chaos around him on his latest single, sharing stories over its sinister synths. Tongue-twisting wordplay parallels the expositions about his studies at Georgia Tech and time spent working at UPS with sly references to guns and drug dealing. Initially, LoKii appears to be a good kid trapped in a mad city, but after meeting with him, it’s clear that he’s actually the one facilitating the stickup. What he wants is your immediate attention and support.

Born Antonio Lucas, LoKii AD is a producer, singer, rapper, and songwriter who specializes in creating trap-inspired R&B and lyrically robust hip-hop. Inspired by both his low-key nature as well as the Norse god Loki, his stage name is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the duality that characterizes his existence as an artist and a young man.

“I kind of relate to the god of mischief because my mellow attitude is deceiving,” LoKii says. “If you see me in public and go back and listen to some of my tracks, you’ll think, ‘Dang, is this the same dude?’”

Yet somehow, it is the same dude. LoKii studies mechanical engineering at Georgia Tech while simultaneously knocking out performances at events featuring well-known rising hip-hop and R&B acts such as Wave Chapelle, Melodik, and Josh Waters. It’s incredible how his warring worlds intersect so gracefully, but LoKii has a lot of experience in code-switching.

Throughout his primary and secondary education, he sidestepped the typical school-to-school pipeline that most of his classmates followed. He attended elementary school at Eldridge L. Miller, middle school at Stephenson, and high school at Arabia Mountain. As a result, he became comfortable being the new kid.

“All my life I’ve been used to starting over,” LoKii admits. “Every single time, I had to make completely brand-new friends. I had to readjust and adapt [[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[in order] to try and find a way to mesh with new people.”

Applying those tactics to his music, he began to approach his diverging interests in rap and R&B as if they were different languages, ultimately separating the two sides of his musical identity in his output. Although he had built a buzz on his Instagram by posting well-received freestyle videos, LoKii opted to release the R&B-laden record ''M T'' last summer. The project didn’t feature any rapping from the Redan-bred artist, but it gained steam nevertheless.

“After I put out ''M T'', I was really just putting out R&B for about six months,” he says. “I told myself that I’ve gotta go back to all of who I am.”

Now — due to the mischievous satisfaction he gets from twisting the expectations of his listeners, an inward yearning to show off his lyrical chops, and the turn of a new decade — LoKii has embraced his duality as a singer and a rapper in “Juug,” his first statement of 2020. The explosive two-minute single, delivered alongside a companion music video, amassed over 13,000 views in the first month.

The brainchild of LoKii and his cousin Khalid Johnson, the video showcases the  20-year-old’s deep cultural roots in DeKalb and experiences attending college at Georgia Tech. Clips of Glenwood Road and a Mrs. Winners restaurant add character to the visual just as much as the scenes shot on Tech’s campus, with pop-culture references to ''Pulp Fiction'' and King Vader’s viral videos adding welcome doses of comedy and stylistic flare.

For the Eastside artist, now is not the time to rest. Hard at work on his most versatile project yet, LoKii is eyeing a fall release for the upcoming record but reveals that additional singles are scheduled to release over the coming weeks and months.

An artist who envisions platinum plaques and Grammy nominations on the horizon, LoKii AD’s set-up is clear when he recites the final line of “Juug”: “We finna hit, I got a hunch.” Whether or not you’re cool with it, he’s taking your streams, your views, and everything you’ve got to help him reach his dreams.

Give it up — the clock is ticking."
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For the first six seconds of LoKii AD’s latest single, “Juug,” the sound of a clock is all that reverberates throughout an otherwise empty soundscape. Time is ticking, setting a tone of urgency that builds as soon as the 20-year-old artist delivers the cold opening lines — “I got folks in the 6, folks in the 1/Bro in the 3 hit the coast like Lebron/Big bro in the hills, lil bro in the slums/They down to pull up whenever I want.”

A nod to the scamming, robbing, and finessing that LoKii witnessed while growing up in DeKalb County, “Juug” perfectly captures the frantic energy of its subject matter and features an exuberant hook that channels a bittersweet fondness for what many listeners know all too well.

“I remember when I was four or five years old, I was outside when somebody literally walked up and stole someone’s AC unit,” he says, laughing. “I was just watching it happen until my uncle finally told me to go back inside.”

No longer the  naive bystander of his childhood in Redan, LoKii embodies the chaos around him on his latest single, sharing stories over its sinister synths. Tongue-twisting wordplay parallels the expositions about his studies at Georgia Tech and time spent working at UPS with sly references to guns and drug dealing. Initially, LoKii appears to be a good kid trapped in a mad city, but after meeting with him, it’s clear that he’s actually the one facilitating the stickup. What he wants is your immediate attention and support.

Born Antonio Lucas, LoKii AD is a producer, singer, rapper, and songwriter who specializes in creating trap-inspired R&B and lyrically robust hip-hop. Inspired by both his low-key nature as well as the Norse god Loki, his stage name is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the duality that characterizes his existence as an artist and a young man.

“I kind of relate to the god of mischief because my mellow attitude is deceiving,” LoKii says. “If you see me in public and go back and listen to some of my tracks, you’ll think, ‘Dang, is this the same dude?’”

Yet somehow, it is the same dude. LoKii studies mechanical engineering at Georgia Tech while simultaneously knocking out performances at events featuring well-known rising hip-hop and R&B acts such as Wave Chapelle, Melodik, and Josh Waters. It’s incredible how his warring worlds intersect so gracefully, but LoKii has a lot of experience in code-switching.

Throughout his primary and secondary education, he sidestepped the typical school-to-school pipeline that most of his classmates followed. He attended elementary school at Eldridge L. Miller, middle school at Stephenson, and high school at Arabia Mountain. As a result, he became comfortable being the new kid.

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Applying those tactics to his music, he began to approach his diverging interests in rap and R&B as if they were different languages, ultimately separating the two sides of his musical identity in his output. Although he had built a buzz on his Instagram by posting well-received freestyle videos, LoKii opted to release the R&B-laden record M T last summer. The project didn’t feature any rapping from the Redan-bred artist, but it gained steam nevertheless.

“After I put out M T, I was really just putting out R&B for about six months,” he says. “I told myself that I’ve gotta go back to all of who I am.”

Now — due to the mischievous satisfaction he gets from twisting the expectations of his listeners, an inward yearning to show off his lyrical chops, and the turn of a new decade — LoKii has embraced his duality as a singer and a rapper in “Juug,” his first statement of 2020. The explosive two-minute single, delivered alongside a companion music video, amassed over 13,000 views in the first month.

The brainchild of LoKii and his cousin Khalid Johnson, the video showcases the  20-year-old’s deep cultural roots in DeKalb and experiences attending college at Georgia Tech. Clips of Glenwood Road and a Mrs. Winners restaurant add character to the visual just as much as the scenes shot on Tech’s campus, with pop-culture references to Pulp Fiction and King Vader’s viral videos adding welcome doses of comedy and stylistic flare.

For the Eastside artist, now is not the time to rest. Hard at work on his most versatile project yet, LoKii is eyeing a fall release for the upcoming record but reveals that additional singles are scheduled to release over the coming weeks and months.

An artist who envisions platinum plaques and Grammy nominations on the horizon, LoKii AD’s set-up is clear when he recites the final line of “Juug”: “We finna hit, I got a hunch.” Whether or not you’re cool with it, he’s taking your streams, your views, and everything you’ve got to help him reach his dreams.

Give it up — the clock is ticking.    Joshua Robinson QUIET & BOLD: The subdued multi-hyphenate is a creative force to be reckoned with.  0,0,10    atluntrapped                             ATL UNTRAPPED: LoKii AD is taking everything you’ve got "
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Monday April 6, 2020 01:37 pm EDT
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  string(15213) "!!THURSDAY, MARCH 5

TRIGGER HIPPY, Aisle 5. Returning soon after their December 2019 appearance, the revamped Trigger Hippy features ex-Black Crowes drummer Steve Gorman (who recently penned a book about his time and misadventures with the band) and Nashville bassist Nick Govrik, now joined by lead singer and occasional sax player Amber Woodhouse. The result is soulful, bluesy, and occasionally funky Southern rock not far from Wet Willie or a scaled-down Tedeschi Trucks Band. — Hal Horowitz

::::

!!FRIDAY, MARCH 6
KRISTEN ENGLENZ, Eddie’s Attic. This CD-release show celebrates hometown girl (now in Nashville) Englenz’s new ingénue'' debut. The singer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist’s (hopefully she’ll display her French horn talents) disc was produced by ex-Wilco drummer Ken Coomer and features Englenz’s sultry voice on swampy, Southern folk rockers that find an elusive soulful groove. — HH
WILL HOGE/JULIE GRIBBLE, Gypsy Rose — Marietta. Get up close and personal with roots rocker Hoge in this intimate venue as he unloads on the current administration with songs from 2018’s socio-political My American Dream EP. Indie singer/songwriter Gribble’s tough and tender voice and her emotional, introspective songs make a solid opener for a sure sellout. — HH
TRUE BLOSSOM, NICHOLAS MALLIS, LAVEDA, DELOREAN GRAY — Mammal Gallery Sit back and relax in the neon lit atmosphere created by True Blossom, where a girl with magenta lips whispers sweet nothings into your ear. The East Atlanta band formed in 2017 during the rise of the Atlanta synth pop scene, and is making waves with its alluring juxtapositions of sounds: comforting, yet stirring; soft, yet punchy; minimalistic, yet engaging. Singer Sophie Cox and guitarist Chandler Kelley started recording their first few songs while still in high school, and by 2019 put out their first album, Heater, with the addition of Adam Weisberg (drummer), Nadav Flax (bassist), and Jamison Murphy (synths.) The album combines influences of studio formalism, sophisti-pop, and Stereolab. Now, True Blossom are working towards their next album as well as on tour promoting this new record with dancey and mesmerizing shows. Join them at Mammal Gallery for a candy-coated night of dream pop — first they’re sweet, then they’re sour! $8-$10. 9 p.m. — Narah Landress 

!!SATURDAY MARCH 7
STURGILL SIMPSON/TYLER CHILDERS, Infinite Energy Center. How Simpson will incorporate his new album’s synth-pop heavy sound with the more organic country and singer/songwriter approach of his older albums is as unclear as how many of his old fans are on board for his rather drastic artistic transformation. No such problems for opener Kentucky born and bred Childers, whose second disc firmly built on the unvarnished country debut that made him a medium-sized venue headliner. — HH 

SUNDAY MARCH 8 
KATIE TOUPIN, Eddie’s Attic. Toupin’s unique two-person lineup — she and incredibly talented co-musician Michael Chavez play loops, synths, and organic instruments — will make you think there is a full band on stage as Toupin sings dark, bluesy pop with luminous, sultry vocals. The singer/songwriter’s 2019 Magnetic Moves solo debut (she used to be in the band Houndmouth) should have been more widely heard, since it was a highlight of the year. — HH

WEDNESDAY MARCH 11 
THEM DIRTY ROSES, Eddie’s Attic. This whisky soaked Alabama quartet’s record collection seems to start and stop with the Georgia Satellites’ original trilogy from the mid-late ’80s. But since Dan Baird’s current lineup isn’t playing tonight, this is the next best thing as the Roses’ guitars crash and twang with robust red clay rocking. — HH

!!THURSDAY, MARCH 12
MARTY STUART & THE FABULOUS SUPERLATIVES – Variety Playhouse If any one performer encapsulates all the great things about country music, it is Marty Stuart. From his teen years in Lester Flatt’s band, to his time with Johnny Cash, and up through his ongoing reign as one of the most authentic and talented purveyors of the genre, Stuart continues to do it all. His commitment to promoting and maintaining the deep roots and traditions of the music shine brightly the moment he steps on stage. Touring in support of the reissue of The Pilgrim, his incredible concept album, Stuart and his amazing band of Superlatives will make it a night to remember. $35-$249. 8 p.m. — James Kelly

!!FRIDAY, MARCH 13
ERYKAH BADU, COMMON — State Farm Arena Erykah Badu and Common have a storied past together, and there is no denying their infectious chemistry on wax. Common’s soulful lyrics are the perfect compliment to Badu’s eclectic funk, and the sweet serenade of their Grammy-winning song “Love of my Life (An Ode to Hip-Hop)” showcases how well the two work and sound together. Seeing a neo-soul legend and a hip-hop pioneer in a stadium setting is an opportunity you shouldn’t pass up — this is one for the books. $59-$250+. 8 p.m. — Joshua Robinson
KEVN KINNEY, Hunt House — Marietta. The Drivin N Cryin frontman/founder is even more engaging when unplugged and solo than when he’s tearing it up with his veteran band. You never know where he’s going musically (although you can usually bet on hearing “Straight to Hell”) and his between-song chatter is also unpredictable but always witty and charming. SOLD OUT. — HH

!!SATURDAY MARCH 14
MARC BROUSSARD, Variety Playhouse. Louisiana roots/soul/blues belter Broussard has been touring and releasing albums for over 15 years, and knows how to deliver a riveting performance. His catalog is wildly eclectic, ranging from a recent children’s album of lullabies to covers of R&B classics and live acoustic sets, so you never know what you’ll get. But you can count on a professional show and him killing it on “Lonely Night in Georgia.” — HH

!!MONDAY MARCH 16 
Walter Trout, Terminal West. The title of electrifying blues rocker Trout’s latest is Survivor Blues, and that’s an understatement. He’s had a series of health scares since a liver transplant in 2014, so the fact that he’s back touring and grinding out one-nighters at his age (late 60s) is pretty remarkable. Better yet, his blistering guitar hasn’t lost a step throughout the ordeal. — HH

!!WEDNESDAY MARCH 18
John Moreland/Justin Peter Kinkel-Schuster, Terminal West. Oklahoma folk/country/Americana singer/songwriter Moreland has a gruff voice that brings out the bluesy undercurrents of his emotional songs. He’ll be playing tracks from his new, swampy LP5 set, arguably his finest yet. Arrive early for opener Kinkel-Schuster, whose reserved yet ringing folk rockers are expressive and powerful. — HH

!!THURSDAY, MARCH 19
CRIS JACOBS BAND, Eddie’s Attic. His name might not be well known but Jacobs and his taut, groove-oriented band will blow the roof off Eddie’s with their combination of tough, Petty-styled Americana, country rocking, and jaw-dropping instrumental chops. His recent Color Where You Are album is just a teaser for what this talented band can do live. He won’t be playing places this intimate for long, so catch him now. — HH
WAYLON PAYNE, DOUG SEEGERS, GARRETT WHEELER — Smith’s Olde Bar The second generation of country music royalty is among us, and Waylon Payne (son of singer Sammi Smith and guitarist Jody Payne) does not need his parent’s laurels to define his place in the industry. An incredibly talented songwriter, musician, and actor, Payne has his own impeccable credentials to trumpet. While the contemporary Nashville songwriting machines may crank out pointless ditties, Payne’s work is on a different level, much more intelligent and thoughtful than the mainstream radio drivel. With fellow singer-songwriters Doug Seegers and Atlanta’s Garrett Wheeler on hand, you can expect some heartfelt and insightful tunes. $15. 6:30 p.m. (doors) — JK

!!FRIDAY, MARCH 20
RARE CREATURES, THE HAILS, LITTLE BIRD — Smith’s Olde Bar Formed by guitarist and vocalist Jay Hurtt and guitarist James Rubush in Annapolis in 2014, pop funk band Little Bird plays ambient soul music with sensual crooning and lively beats. Their jazzy new release, Familiar, delivers a genre bending, funky experience to what can otherwise be a repetitive indie scene, with surfy guitar riffs, sparkling synths, fluttering piano, and steady beats. Each song sounds as if it’s echoing across the walls of a dimly lit basement. In concert, Little Bird creates a similarly raw and intimate experience from the stage. $10-$13. 8  p.m. — NL 
POST ANIMAL, TWEN — Masquerade (Purgatory) Imagine punk rock married to psychedelia, but having an open relationship with electronic, hard rock, and glam rock, and you get Post Animal, a psyche rock group from Chicago whose range within each album is nearly as expansive as the range between albums. Formed in 2014, they released their debut record, The Garden Series, in 2016. Their newest album, Forward Motion Godyssey (2020), takes a darker turn into the matrix of music. Mellow tempos alternate with thrashing guitar riffs, carried by electronic bleeps and dings and punk style vocals, in dark ebbs and flows that invoke themes of the nature of grief and life itself. $15. 7 p.m. — NL 

!!SATURDAY MARCH 21
MICHELLE MALONE, Eddie’s Attic. Two shows 7 & 9 p.m. She’s a local icon as she somewhat reluctantly admits, but Moanin’ Malone doesn’t take her status for granted. Her taut, swampy rock, blues, and soul is steeped in a Southern sensibility, and when she tears into a slide guitar solo, it all comes together in a perfect storm of tough and tender rocking. — HH
NATHANIEL RATELIFF, Tabernacle. Soul/bluesman Rateliff cracked the big time with his booming, horn-infused rocking Night Sweats band. But he started as a low-key folk singer, which is where he returns on his new, mostly acoustic And It’s Still Alright release. How fans will react to this kinder, gentler, more sensitive, reflective, and ballad-oriented Rateliff is unclear, but since he’s playing a relatively large venue, he probably has some tricks up his sleeve. — HH

!!SATURDAY MARCH 21 and SUNDAY MARCH 22
CHICKEN RAID BLUES FESTIVAL, Waller’s Coffee Shop. See feature in Blues & Beyond. — HH

!!MONDAY MARCH 23
LEGENDARY SHACKSHAKERS with SLIM CESSNA’S AUTO CLUB, The EARL. Other than frontman and founding multitalented (banjo, harmonica, author, illustrator) wildman Colonel J.D. Wilkes, it’s hard to say who else is currently in the band he has led intermittently since 2001. Their latest album of unhinged swampy bluegrass, blues, and rockabilly was recorded live at Sun Studios, which should give you a good indication of the raw, rollicking sound. Hopefully local guitarist Rod Hamdallah, who has played in various Wilkes’ bands, will be along for this ride. — HH
 
::::
 
!!WEDNESDAY, MARCH 25
CHARLOTTE DOS SANTOS, YANG, FLWR CHYLD — 529 Less than two weeks after dropping her Harvest Time EP, Brazilian-Norwegian artist Charlotte Dos Santos makes the trek to Atlanta for a jazzy evening of music. The show serves as the penultimate stop of her first North American Tour, and local talents Yang and Flwr Chyld are slated as openers. With such a talented bunch of songwriters and composers, the night is sure to be soulful and instrumentally rich. $12. 9 p.m. — JR

!!THURSDAY MARCH 26
BOTTLEROCKETS, Eddie’s Attic. After nearly 30 years of one-nighters and over a dozen rocking Americana albums, it’s a mystery why this Brian Henneman-led quartet isn’t more popular. Henneman’s literate, never pretentious songs capture the frustration of the working class with insight and sometimes surprising humor, and the band always tears it up live. If you haven’t experienced the Bottlerockets yet, now’s your chance to see what you’ve been missing for the past three decades. — HH

!!FRIDAY, MARCH 27
THE QUEENDOM — Mammal Gallery Rocket Rhonnie and AUDIADASOUND, this month’s stars of ATL Untrapped, have many major performances this month, and their upcoming show at Mammal Gallery is more than a one-off gig. The Queendom is set to perform at My Illegal Body II, a benefit concert for the Latino Community Fund. After a run at Ad•verse Fest in Athens and SXSW in Austin, Texas, the ladies return to the city for a homecoming show that means something. $10-$20. 9 p.m. — JR

!!SATURDAY, MARCH 28
DABABY, LIL BABY, WALE — State Farm Arena V103 has announced the powerhouse line-up to their upcoming V103 Live event, and it promises to be lit no matter which Baby you prefer — DaBaby or Lil Baby. In addition to the babies, veteran hip-hop poet Wale, Edgewood’s own Trouble, and social media starlet Kayla Nicole round out the bill. Even though Babyfest would have been a hilarious and apropos name for the star-studded event, it’s all good because the show is an extremely cost-efficient way to see two of the biggest rappers in music right now. $63-$124+. 8 p.m. — JR
KERMIT RUFFINS, City Winery. Ruffins is a colorful New Orleans veteran whose brash, bold trumpet and vocals encompass the history of jazz and blues in that storied music mecca. He doesn’t play here often, so take advantage of this gig to get in on a little post-Mardi Gras fun. — HH

!!TUESDAY, MARCH 31
RODNEY CROWELL — City Winery The total package of being a singer-songwriter AND a great performer is a gift, and Rodney Crowell has been delivering it for five decades. He seems to reinvent himself with each new album, and stage time with Emmylou Harris, and his ex, Rosanne Cash, have sharpened his wit and relationship with his audience. Some people simply observe and reflect the toils of life, and some prove that they have actually lived it. With a ton of great material (and a new album, Texas) to choose from, Crowell guarantees a wonderful and insightful evening, with equal parts laughter and tears. SOLD OUT. 8 p.m. — JK

!!WEDNESDAY APRIL 1
KENNY WAYNE SHEPPARD BAND/SAMANTHA FISH, Center Stage. This dynamic double bill of youngish but established blues rockers matches the serious guitar chops of Shepherd and Fish with solid, mostly original material. Both are touring behind well-received 2019 albums that display their prowess as songwriters as well as guitar slingers. Hopefully they will share the stage together, which in itself should be worth the price of admission. — HH

!!FRIDAY APRIL 3
The Music of Cream plays Disraeli Gears, Center Stage. The son of Ginger Baker (drummer Kofi Baker) with Eric Clapton’s nephew guitarist Will Johns are as close as we’ll get to the original power trio these days. Along with Sean McNabb (bass, vocals) and Chris Shutters (guitar, keyboards, vocals), they’re touring to reproduce Cream’s 1969 classic Disraeli Gears, arguably the band’s finest and most cohesive studio set. But since that album is barely a half hour long, expect plenty of other Cream gems and of course a lengthy drum solo, to expand the set. Bring your own air guitar. No, Jack Bruce’s son Malcolm Bruce is not along for the 2020 tour. — HH ''"
  ["tracker_field_contentWikiPage_raw"]=>
  string(15744) "!!__THURSDAY, MARCH 5__

__TRIGGER HIPPY, Aisle 5.__ Returning soon after their December 2019 appearance, the revamped Trigger Hippy features ex-Black Crowes drummer Steve Gorman (who recently penned a book about his time and misadventures with the band) and Nashville bassist Nick Govrik, now joined by lead singer and occasional sax player Amber Woodhouse. The result is soulful, bluesy, and occasionally funky Southern rock not far from Wet Willie or a scaled-down Tedeschi Trucks Band. __— Hal Horowitz__

::{img fileId="29698" desc="desc" styledesc="text-align: left;" max="900px"}::

!!__FRIDAY, MARCH 6__
__KRISTEN ENGLENZ, Eddie’s Attic.__ This CD-release show celebrates hometown girl (now in Nashville) Englenz’s new ''ingénue'''' debut. The singer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist’s (hopefully she’ll display her French horn talents) disc was produced by ex-Wilco drummer Ken Coomer and features Englenz’s sultry voice on swampy, Southern folk rockers that find an elusive soulful groove. __— HH__
__WILL HOGE/JULIE GRIBBLE, Gypsy Rose — Marietta.__ Get up close and personal with roots rocker Hoge in this intimate venue as he unloads on the current administration with songs from 2018’s socio-political ''My American Dream'' EP. Indie singer/songwriter Gribble’s tough and tender voice and her emotional, introspective songs make a solid opener for a sure sellout. __— HH__
__TRUE BLOSSOM, NICHOLAS MALLIS, LAVEDA, DELOREAN GRAY — Mammal Gallery__ Sit back and relax in the neon lit atmosphere created by True Blossom, where a girl with magenta lips whispers sweet nothings into your ear. The East Atlanta band formed in 2017 during the rise of the Atlanta synth pop scene, and is making waves with its alluring juxtapositions of sounds: comforting, yet stirring; soft, yet punchy; minimalistic, yet engaging. Singer Sophie Cox and guitarist Chandler Kelley started recording their first few songs while still in high school, and by 2019 put out their first album, ''Heater'', with the addition of Adam Weisberg (drummer), Nadav Flax (bassist), and Jamison Murphy (synths.) The album combines influences of studio formalism, sophisti-pop, and Stereolab. Now, True Blossom are working towards their next album as well as on tour promoting this new record with dancey and mesmerizing shows. Join them at Mammal Gallery for a candy-coated night of dream pop — first they’re sweet, then they’re sour! $8-$10. 9 p.m. __— Narah Landress__ 

!!__SATURDAY MARCH 7__
__STURGILL SIMPSON/TYLER CHILDERS, Infinite Energy Center.__ How Simpson will incorporate his new album’s synth-pop heavy sound with the more organic country and singer/songwriter approach of his older albums is as unclear as how many of his old fans are on board for his rather drastic artistic transformation. No such problems for opener Kentucky born and bred Childers, whose second disc firmly built on the unvarnished country debut that made him a medium-sized venue headliner. __— HH__ 

__SUNDAY MARCH 8 __
__KATIE TOUPIN, Eddie’s Attic.__ Toupin’s unique two-person lineup — she and incredibly talented co-musician Michael Chavez play loops, synths, and organic instruments — will make you think there is a full band on stage as Toupin sings dark, bluesy pop with luminous, sultry vocals. The singer/songwriter’s 2019 Magnetic Moves solo debut (she used to be in the band Houndmouth) should have been more widely heard, since it was a highlight of the year. __— HH__

__WEDNESDAY MARCH 11 __
__THEM DIRTY ROSES, Eddie’s Attic.__ This whisky soaked Alabama quartet’s record collection seems to start and stop with the Georgia Satellites’ original trilogy from the mid-late ’80s. But since Dan Baird’s current lineup isn’t playing tonight, this is the next best thing as the Roses’ guitars crash and twang with robust red clay rocking. __— HH__

!!__THURSDAY, MARCH 12__
__MARTY STUART & THE FABULOUS SUPERLATIVES – Variety Playhouse__ If any one performer encapsulates all the great things about country music, it is Marty Stuart. From his teen years in Lester Flatt’s band, to his time with Johnny Cash, and up through his ongoing reign as one of the most authentic and talented purveyors of the genre, Stuart continues to do it all. His commitment to promoting and maintaining the deep roots and traditions of the music shine brightly the moment he steps on stage. Touring in support of the reissue of ''The Pilgrim'', his incredible concept album, Stuart and his amazing band of Superlatives will make it a night to remember. $35-$249. 8 p.m. __— James Kelly__

!!__FRIDAY, MARCH 13__
__ERYKAH BADU, COMMON — State Farm Arena__ Erykah Badu and Common have a storied past together, and there is no denying their infectious chemistry on wax. Common’s soulful lyrics are the perfect compliment to Badu’s eclectic funk, and the sweet serenade of their Grammy-winning song “Love of my Life (An Ode to Hip-Hop)” showcases how well the two work and sound together. Seeing a neo-soul legend and a hip-hop pioneer in a stadium setting is an opportunity you shouldn’t pass up — this is one for the books. $59-$250+. 8 p.m. __— Joshua Robinson__
__KEVN KINNEY, Hunt House — Marietta.__ The Drivin N Cryin frontman/founder is even more engaging when unplugged and solo than when he’s tearing it up with his veteran band. You never know where he’s going musically (although you can usually bet on hearing “Straight to Hell”) and his between-song chatter is also unpredictable but always witty and charming. SOLD OUT. __— HH__

!!__SATURDAY MARCH 14__
__MARC BROUSSARD, Variety Playhouse.__ Louisiana roots/soul/blues belter Broussard has been touring and releasing albums for over 15 years, and knows how to deliver a riveting performance. His catalog is wildly eclectic, ranging from a recent children’s album of lullabies to covers of R&B classics and live acoustic sets, so you never know what you’ll get. But you can count on a professional show and him killing it on “Lonely Night in Georgia.” __— HH__

!!__MONDAY MARCH 16 __
__Walter Trout, Terminal West.__ The title of electrifying blues rocker Trout’s latest is ''Survivor Blues'', and that’s an understatement. He’s had a series of health scares since a liver transplant in 2014, so the fact that he’s back touring and grinding out one-nighters at his age (late 60s) is pretty remarkable. Better yet, his blistering guitar hasn’t lost a step throughout the ordeal. __— HH__

!!__WEDNESDAY MARCH 18__
__John Moreland/Justin Peter Kinkel-Schuster, Terminal West.__ Oklahoma folk/country/Americana singer/songwriter Moreland has a gruff voice that brings out the bluesy undercurrents of his emotional songs. He’ll be playing tracks from his new, swampy LP5 set, arguably his finest yet. Arrive early for opener Kinkel-Schuster, whose reserved yet ringing folk rockers are expressive and powerful. __— HH__

!!__THURSDAY, MARCH 19__
__CRIS JACOBS BAND, Eddie’s Attic.__ His name might not be well known but Jacobs and his taut, groove-oriented band will blow the roof off Eddie’s with their combination of tough, Petty-styled Americana, country rocking, and jaw-dropping instrumental chops. His recent ''Color Where You Are'' album is just a teaser for what this talented band can do live. He won’t be playing places this intimate for long, so catch him now. __— HH__
__WAYLON PAYNE, DOUG SEEGERS, GARRETT WHEELER — Smith’s Olde Bar__ The second generation of country music royalty is among us, and Waylon Payne (son of singer Sammi Smith and guitarist Jody Payne) does not need his parent’s laurels to define his place in the industry. An incredibly talented songwriter, musician, and actor, Payne has his own impeccable credentials to trumpet. While the contemporary Nashville songwriting machines may crank out pointless ditties, Payne’s work is on a different level, much more intelligent and thoughtful than the mainstream radio drivel. With fellow singer-songwriters Doug Seegers and Atlanta’s Garrett Wheeler on hand, you can expect some heartfelt and insightful tunes. $15. 6:30 p.m. (doors) __— JK__

!!__FRIDAY, MARCH 20__
__RARE CREATURES, THE HAILS, LITTLE BIRD — Smith’s Olde Bar__ Formed by guitarist and vocalist Jay Hurtt and guitarist James Rubush in Annapolis in 2014, pop funk band Little Bird plays ambient soul music with sensual crooning and lively beats. Their jazzy new release, ''Familiar'', delivers a genre bending, funky experience to what can otherwise be a repetitive indie scene, with surfy guitar riffs, sparkling synths, fluttering piano, and steady beats. Each song sounds as if it’s echoing across the walls of a dimly lit basement. In concert, Little Bird creates a similarly raw and intimate experience from the stage. $10-$13. 8  p.m. __— NL__ 
__POST ANIMAL, TWEN — Masquerade (Purgatory)__ Imagine punk rock married to psychedelia, but having an open relationship with electronic, hard rock, and glam rock, and you get Post Animal, a psyche rock group from Chicago whose range within each album is nearly as expansive as the range between albums. Formed in 2014, they released their debut record, ''The Garden Series'', in 2016. Their newest album, ''Forward Motion Godyssey'' (2020), takes a darker turn into the matrix of music. Mellow tempos alternate with thrashing guitar riffs, carried by electronic bleeps and dings and punk style vocals, in dark ebbs and flows that invoke themes of the nature of grief and life itself. $15. 7 p.m. __— NL __

!!__SATURDAY MARCH 21__
__MICHELLE MALONE, Eddie’s Attic. Two shows 7 & 9 p.m.__ She’s a local icon as she somewhat reluctantly admits, but Moanin’ Malone doesn’t take her status for granted. Her taut, swampy rock, blues, and soul is steeped in a Southern sensibility, and when she tears into a slide guitar solo, it all comes together in a perfect storm of tough and tender rocking. __— HH__
__NATHANIEL RATELIFF, Tabernacle.__ Soul/bluesman Rateliff cracked the big time with his booming, horn-infused rocking Night Sweats band. But he started as a low-key folk singer, which is where he returns on his new, mostly acoustic ''And It’s Still Alright'' release. How fans will react to this kinder, gentler, more sensitive, reflective, and ballad-oriented Rateliff is unclear, but since he’s playing a relatively large venue, he probably has some tricks up his sleeve. __— HH__

!!__SATURDAY MARCH 21 and SUNDAY MARCH 22__
__CHICKEN RAID BLUES FESTIVAL, Waller’s Coffee Shop.__ See feature in Blues & Beyond. __— HH__

!!__MONDAY MARCH 23__
__LEGENDARY SHACKSHAKERS with SLIM CESSNA’S AUTO CLUB, The EARL.__ Other than frontman and founding multitalented (banjo, harmonica, author, illustrator) wildman Colonel J.D. Wilkes, it’s hard to say who else is currently in the band he has led intermittently since 2001. Their latest album of unhinged swampy bluegrass, blues, and rockabilly was recorded live at Sun Studios, which should give you a good indication of the raw, rollicking sound. Hopefully local guitarist Rod Hamdallah, who has played in various Wilkes’ bands, will be along for this ride. __— HH__
 
::{img fileId="29693" desc="desc" styledesc="text-align: left;" max="900px"}::
 
!!__WEDNESDAY, MARCH 25__
__CHARLOTTE DOS SANTOS, YANG, FLWR CHYLD — 529__ Less than two weeks after dropping her ''Harvest Time'' EP, Brazilian-Norwegian artist Charlotte Dos Santos makes the trek to Atlanta for a jazzy evening of music. The show serves as the penultimate stop of her first North American Tour, and local talents Yang and Flwr Chyld are slated as openers. With such a talented bunch of songwriters and composers, the night is sure to be soulful and instrumentally rich. $12. 9 p.m. __— JR__

!!__THURSDAY MARCH 26__
__BOTTLEROCKETS, Eddie’s Attic.__ After nearly 30 years of one-nighters and over a dozen rocking Americana albums, it’s a mystery why this Brian Henneman-led quartet isn’t more popular. Henneman’s literate, never pretentious songs capture the frustration of the working class with insight and sometimes surprising humor, and the band always tears it up live. If you haven’t experienced the Bottlerockets yet, now’s your chance to see what you’ve been missing for the past three decades. __— HH__

!!__FRIDAY, MARCH 27__
__THE QUEENDOM — Mammal Gallery__ Rocket Rhonnie and AUDIADASOUND, this month’s stars of ATL Untrapped, have many major performances this month, and their upcoming show at Mammal Gallery is more than a one-off gig. The Queendom is set to perform at My Illegal Body II, a benefit concert for the Latino Community Fund. After a run at Ad•verse Fest in Athens and SXSW in Austin, Texas, the ladies return to the city for a homecoming show that means something. $10-$20. 9 p.m. __— JR__

!!__SATURDAY, MARCH 28__
__DABABY, LIL BABY, WALE — State Farm Arena__ V103 has announced the powerhouse line-up to their upcoming V103 Live event, and it promises to be lit no matter which Baby you prefer — DaBaby or Lil Baby. In addition to the babies, veteran hip-hop poet Wale, Edgewood’s own Trouble, and social media starlet Kayla Nicole round out the bill. Even though Babyfest would have been a hilarious and apropos name for the star-studded event, it’s all good because the show is an extremely cost-efficient way to see two of the biggest rappers in music right now. $63-$124+. 8 p.m. __— JR__
__KERMIT RUFFINS, City Winery.__ Ruffins is a colorful New Orleans veteran whose brash, bold trumpet and vocals encompass the history of jazz and blues in that storied music mecca. He doesn’t play here often, so take advantage of this gig to get in on a little post-Mardi Gras fun. __— HH__

!!__TUESDAY, MARCH 31__
__RODNEY CROWELL — City Winery__ The total package of being a singer-songwriter AND a great performer is a gift, and Rodney Crowell has been delivering it for five decades. He seems to reinvent himself with each new album, and stage time with Emmylou Harris, and his ex, Rosanne Cash, have sharpened his wit and relationship with his audience. Some people simply observe and reflect the toils of life, and some prove that they have actually lived it. With a ton of great material (and a new album, ''Texas'') to choose from, Crowell guarantees a wonderful and insightful evening, with equal parts laughter and tears. SOLD OUT. 8 p.m. __— JK__

!!__WEDNESDAY APRIL 1__
__KENNY WAYNE SHEPPARD BAND/SAMANTHA FISH, Center Stage.__ This dynamic double bill of youngish but established blues rockers matches the serious guitar chops of Shepherd and Fish with solid, mostly original material. Both are touring behind well-received 2019 albums that display their prowess as songwriters as well as guitar slingers. Hopefully they will share the stage together, which in itself should be worth the price of admission. __— HH__

!!__FRIDAY APRIL 3__
__The Music of Cream plays ____''Disraeli Gears''____, Center Stage.__ The son of Ginger Baker (drummer Kofi Baker) with Eric Clapton’s nephew guitarist Will Johns are as close as we’ll get to the original power trio these days. Along with Sean McNabb (bass, vocals) and Chris Shutters (guitar, keyboards, vocals), they’re touring to reproduce Cream’s 1969 classic ''Disraeli Gears'', arguably the band’s finest and most cohesive studio set. But since that album is barely a half hour long, expect plenty of other Cream gems and of course a lengthy drum solo, to expand the set. Bring your own air guitar. [[No, Jack Bruce’s son Malcolm Bruce is not along for the 2020 tour.] __— HH__ ''"
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  string(16258) " MM Pic Poguetry 1 Pc Zach Smith Web  2020-03-03T19:34:13+00:00 MM_pic_Poguetry_1_pc_Zach_Smith_web.jpg    musicmenu  29696  2020-03-03T19:25:16+00:00 Music Menu - March 2020 jim.harris@creativeloafing.com Jim Harris Hal Horowitz, James Kelly, Narah Landress, and Joshua Robinson  2020-03-03T19:25:16+00:00  !!THURSDAY, MARCH 5

TRIGGER HIPPY, Aisle 5. Returning soon after their December 2019 appearance, the revamped Trigger Hippy features ex-Black Crowes drummer Steve Gorman (who recently penned a book about his time and misadventures with the band) and Nashville bassist Nick Govrik, now joined by lead singer and occasional sax player Amber Woodhouse. The result is soulful, bluesy, and occasionally funky Southern rock not far from Wet Willie or a scaled-down Tedeschi Trucks Band. — Hal Horowitz

::::

!!FRIDAY, MARCH 6
KRISTEN ENGLENZ, Eddie’s Attic. This CD-release show celebrates hometown girl (now in Nashville) Englenz’s new ingénue'' debut. The singer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist’s (hopefully she’ll display her French horn talents) disc was produced by ex-Wilco drummer Ken Coomer and features Englenz’s sultry voice on swampy, Southern folk rockers that find an elusive soulful groove. — HH
WILL HOGE/JULIE GRIBBLE, Gypsy Rose — Marietta. Get up close and personal with roots rocker Hoge in this intimate venue as he unloads on the current administration with songs from 2018’s socio-political My American Dream EP. Indie singer/songwriter Gribble’s tough and tender voice and her emotional, introspective songs make a solid opener for a sure sellout. — HH
TRUE BLOSSOM, NICHOLAS MALLIS, LAVEDA, DELOREAN GRAY — Mammal Gallery Sit back and relax in the neon lit atmosphere created by True Blossom, where a girl with magenta lips whispers sweet nothings into your ear. The East Atlanta band formed in 2017 during the rise of the Atlanta synth pop scene, and is making waves with its alluring juxtapositions of sounds: comforting, yet stirring; soft, yet punchy; minimalistic, yet engaging. Singer Sophie Cox and guitarist Chandler Kelley started recording their first few songs while still in high school, and by 2019 put out their first album, Heater, with the addition of Adam Weisberg (drummer), Nadav Flax (bassist), and Jamison Murphy (synths.) The album combines influences of studio formalism, sophisti-pop, and Stereolab. Now, True Blossom are working towards their next album as well as on tour promoting this new record with dancey and mesmerizing shows. Join them at Mammal Gallery for a candy-coated night of dream pop — first they’re sweet, then they’re sour! $8-$10. 9 p.m. — Narah Landress 

!!SATURDAY MARCH 7
STURGILL SIMPSON/TYLER CHILDERS, Infinite Energy Center. How Simpson will incorporate his new album’s synth-pop heavy sound with the more organic country and singer/songwriter approach of his older albums is as unclear as how many of his old fans are on board for his rather drastic artistic transformation. No such problems for opener Kentucky born and bred Childers, whose second disc firmly built on the unvarnished country debut that made him a medium-sized venue headliner. — HH 

SUNDAY MARCH 8 
KATIE TOUPIN, Eddie’s Attic. Toupin’s unique two-person lineup — she and incredibly talented co-musician Michael Chavez play loops, synths, and organic instruments — will make you think there is a full band on stage as Toupin sings dark, bluesy pop with luminous, sultry vocals. The singer/songwriter’s 2019 Magnetic Moves solo debut (she used to be in the band Houndmouth) should have been more widely heard, since it was a highlight of the year. — HH

WEDNESDAY MARCH 11 
THEM DIRTY ROSES, Eddie’s Attic. This whisky soaked Alabama quartet’s record collection seems to start and stop with the Georgia Satellites’ original trilogy from the mid-late ’80s. But since Dan Baird’s current lineup isn’t playing tonight, this is the next best thing as the Roses’ guitars crash and twang with robust red clay rocking. — HH

!!THURSDAY, MARCH 12
MARTY STUART & THE FABULOUS SUPERLATIVES – Variety Playhouse If any one performer encapsulates all the great things about country music, it is Marty Stuart. From his teen years in Lester Flatt’s band, to his time with Johnny Cash, and up through his ongoing reign as one of the most authentic and talented purveyors of the genre, Stuart continues to do it all. His commitment to promoting and maintaining the deep roots and traditions of the music shine brightly the moment he steps on stage. Touring in support of the reissue of The Pilgrim, his incredible concept album, Stuart and his amazing band of Superlatives will make it a night to remember. $35-$249. 8 p.m. — James Kelly

!!FRIDAY, MARCH 13
ERYKAH BADU, COMMON — State Farm Arena Erykah Badu and Common have a storied past together, and there is no denying their infectious chemistry on wax. Common’s soulful lyrics are the perfect compliment to Badu’s eclectic funk, and the sweet serenade of their Grammy-winning song “Love of my Life (An Ode to Hip-Hop)” showcases how well the two work and sound together. Seeing a neo-soul legend and a hip-hop pioneer in a stadium setting is an opportunity you shouldn’t pass up — this is one for the books. $59-$250+. 8 p.m. — Joshua Robinson
KEVN KINNEY, Hunt House — Marietta. The Drivin N Cryin frontman/founder is even more engaging when unplugged and solo than when he’s tearing it up with his veteran band. You never know where he’s going musically (although you can usually bet on hearing “Straight to Hell”) and his between-song chatter is also unpredictable but always witty and charming. SOLD OUT. — HH

!!SATURDAY MARCH 14
MARC BROUSSARD, Variety Playhouse. Louisiana roots/soul/blues belter Broussard has been touring and releasing albums for over 15 years, and knows how to deliver a riveting performance. His catalog is wildly eclectic, ranging from a recent children’s album of lullabies to covers of R&B classics and live acoustic sets, so you never know what you’ll get. But you can count on a professional show and him killing it on “Lonely Night in Georgia.” — HH

!!MONDAY MARCH 16 
Walter Trout, Terminal West. The title of electrifying blues rocker Trout’s latest is Survivor Blues, and that’s an understatement. He’s had a series of health scares since a liver transplant in 2014, so the fact that he’s back touring and grinding out one-nighters at his age (late 60s) is pretty remarkable. Better yet, his blistering guitar hasn’t lost a step throughout the ordeal. — HH

!!WEDNESDAY MARCH 18
John Moreland/Justin Peter Kinkel-Schuster, Terminal West. Oklahoma folk/country/Americana singer/songwriter Moreland has a gruff voice that brings out the bluesy undercurrents of his emotional songs. He’ll be playing tracks from his new, swampy LP5 set, arguably his finest yet. Arrive early for opener Kinkel-Schuster, whose reserved yet ringing folk rockers are expressive and powerful. — HH

!!THURSDAY, MARCH 19
CRIS JACOBS BAND, Eddie’s Attic. His name might not be well known but Jacobs and his taut, groove-oriented band will blow the roof off Eddie’s with their combination of tough, Petty-styled Americana, country rocking, and jaw-dropping instrumental chops. His recent Color Where You Are album is just a teaser for what this talented band can do live. He won’t be playing places this intimate for long, so catch him now. — HH
WAYLON PAYNE, DOUG SEEGERS, GARRETT WHEELER — Smith’s Olde Bar The second generation of country music royalty is among us, and Waylon Payne (son of singer Sammi Smith and guitarist Jody Payne) does not need his parent’s laurels to define his place in the industry. An incredibly talented songwriter, musician, and actor, Payne has his own impeccable credentials to trumpet. While the contemporary Nashville songwriting machines may crank out pointless ditties, Payne’s work is on a different level, much more intelligent and thoughtful than the mainstream radio drivel. With fellow singer-songwriters Doug Seegers and Atlanta’s Garrett Wheeler on hand, you can expect some heartfelt and insightful tunes. $15. 6:30 p.m. (doors) — JK

!!FRIDAY, MARCH 20
RARE CREATURES, THE HAILS, LITTLE BIRD — Smith’s Olde Bar Formed by guitarist and vocalist Jay Hurtt and guitarist James Rubush in Annapolis in 2014, pop funk band Little Bird plays ambient soul music with sensual crooning and lively beats. Their jazzy new release, Familiar, delivers a genre bending, funky experience to what can otherwise be a repetitive indie scene, with surfy guitar riffs, sparkling synths, fluttering piano, and steady beats. Each song sounds as if it’s echoing across the walls of a dimly lit basement. In concert, Little Bird creates a similarly raw and intimate experience from the stage. $10-$13. 8  p.m. — NL 
POST ANIMAL, TWEN — Masquerade (Purgatory) Imagine punk rock married to psychedelia, but having an open relationship with electronic, hard rock, and glam rock, and you get Post Animal, a psyche rock group from Chicago whose range within each album is nearly as expansive as the range between albums. Formed in 2014, they released their debut record, The Garden Series, in 2016. Their newest album, Forward Motion Godyssey (2020), takes a darker turn into the matrix of music. Mellow tempos alternate with thrashing guitar riffs, carried by electronic bleeps and dings and punk style vocals, in dark ebbs and flows that invoke themes of the nature of grief and life itself. $15. 7 p.m. — NL 

!!SATURDAY MARCH 21
MICHELLE MALONE, Eddie’s Attic. Two shows 7 & 9 p.m. She’s a local icon as she somewhat reluctantly admits, but Moanin’ Malone doesn’t take her status for granted. Her taut, swampy rock, blues, and soul is steeped in a Southern sensibility, and when she tears into a slide guitar solo, it all comes together in a perfect storm of tough and tender rocking. — HH
NATHANIEL RATELIFF, Tabernacle. Soul/bluesman Rateliff cracked the big time with his booming, horn-infused rocking Night Sweats band. But he started as a low-key folk singer, which is where he returns on his new, mostly acoustic And It’s Still Alright release. How fans will react to this kinder, gentler, more sensitive, reflective, and ballad-oriented Rateliff is unclear, but since he’s playing a relatively large venue, he probably has some tricks up his sleeve. — HH

!!SATURDAY MARCH 21 and SUNDAY MARCH 22
CHICKEN RAID BLUES FESTIVAL, Waller’s Coffee Shop. See feature in Blues & Beyond. — HH

!!MONDAY MARCH 23
LEGENDARY SHACKSHAKERS with SLIM CESSNA’S AUTO CLUB, The EARL. Other than frontman and founding multitalented (banjo, harmonica, author, illustrator) wildman Colonel J.D. Wilkes, it’s hard to say who else is currently in the band he has led intermittently since 2001. Their latest album of unhinged swampy bluegrass, blues, and rockabilly was recorded live at Sun Studios, which should give you a good indication of the raw, rollicking sound. Hopefully local guitarist Rod Hamdallah, who has played in various Wilkes’ bands, will be along for this ride. — HH
 
::::
 
!!WEDNESDAY, MARCH 25
CHARLOTTE DOS SANTOS, YANG, FLWR CHYLD — 529 Less than two weeks after dropping her Harvest Time EP, Brazilian-Norwegian artist Charlotte Dos Santos makes the trek to Atlanta for a jazzy evening of music. The show serves as the penultimate stop of her first North American Tour, and local talents Yang and Flwr Chyld are slated as openers. With such a talented bunch of songwriters and composers, the night is sure to be soulful and instrumentally rich. $12. 9 p.m. — JR

!!THURSDAY MARCH 26
BOTTLEROCKETS, Eddie’s Attic. After nearly 30 years of one-nighters and over a dozen rocking Americana albums, it’s a mystery why this Brian Henneman-led quartet isn’t more popular. Henneman’s literate, never pretentious songs capture the frustration of the working class with insight and sometimes surprising humor, and the band always tears it up live. If you haven’t experienced the Bottlerockets yet, now’s your chance to see what you’ve been missing for the past three decades. — HH

!!FRIDAY, MARCH 27
THE QUEENDOM — Mammal Gallery Rocket Rhonnie and AUDIADASOUND, this month’s stars of ATL Untrapped, have many major performances this month, and their upcoming show at Mammal Gallery is more than a one-off gig. The Queendom is set to perform at My Illegal Body II, a benefit concert for the Latino Community Fund. After a run at Ad•verse Fest in Athens and SXSW in Austin, Texas, the ladies return to the city for a homecoming show that means something. $10-$20. 9 p.m. — JR

!!SATURDAY, MARCH 28
DABABY, LIL BABY, WALE — State Farm Arena V103 has announced the powerhouse line-up to their upcoming V103 Live event, and it promises to be lit no matter which Baby you prefer — DaBaby or Lil Baby. In addition to the babies, veteran hip-hop poet Wale, Edgewood’s own Trouble, and social media starlet Kayla Nicole round out the bill. Even though Babyfest would have been a hilarious and apropos name for the star-studded event, it’s all good because the show is an extremely cost-efficient way to see two of the biggest rappers in music right now. $63-$124+. 8 p.m. — JR
KERMIT RUFFINS, City Winery. Ruffins is a colorful New Orleans veteran whose brash, bold trumpet and vocals encompass the history of jazz and blues in that storied music mecca. He doesn’t play here often, so take advantage of this gig to get in on a little post-Mardi Gras fun. — HH

!!TUESDAY, MARCH 31
RODNEY CROWELL — City Winery The total package of being a singer-songwriter AND a great performer is a gift, and Rodney Crowell has been delivering it for five decades. He seems to reinvent himself with each new album, and stage time with Emmylou Harris, and his ex, Rosanne Cash, have sharpened his wit and relationship with his audience. Some people simply observe and reflect the toils of life, and some prove that they have actually lived it. With a ton of great material (and a new album, Texas) to choose from, Crowell guarantees a wonderful and insightful evening, with equal parts laughter and tears. SOLD OUT. 8 p.m. — JK

!!WEDNESDAY APRIL 1
KENNY WAYNE SHEPPARD BAND/SAMANTHA FISH, Center Stage. This dynamic double bill of youngish but established blues rockers matches the serious guitar chops of Shepherd and Fish with solid, mostly original material. Both are touring behind well-received 2019 albums that display their prowess as songwriters as well as guitar slingers. Hopefully they will share the stage together, which in itself should be worth the price of admission. — HH

!!FRIDAY APRIL 3
The Music of Cream plays Disraeli Gears, Center Stage. The son of Ginger Baker (drummer Kofi Baker) with Eric Clapton’s nephew guitarist Will Johns are as close as we’ll get to the original power trio these days. Along with Sean McNabb (bass, vocals) and Chris Shutters (guitar, keyboards, vocals), they’re touring to reproduce Cream’s 1969 classic Disraeli Gears, arguably the band’s finest and most cohesive studio set. But since that album is barely a half hour long, expect plenty of other Cream gems and of course a lengthy drum solo, to expand the set. Bring your own air guitar. No, Jack Bruce’s son Malcolm Bruce is not along for the 2020 tour. — HH ''    Zack Smith CAJUN PUNK, F*CK YOU: Louisiana’s Lost Bayou Ramblers have proven themselves as rough ’n' ready. Just ask Bob Dylan, Tom Waits or the late Joe Strummer, who fronted the band for a while. Since 2015, Spider Stacey — yes, of THE POGUES — has fallen under their spell. Now, with the addition of original Pogues bass player Cait O’Riordan joining the fold, they perform as Poguetry, aptly taken from John Wirt’s review of them, ““When Spider Stacy and Cáit O’Riordan from the Pogues meet the Lost Bayou Ramblers they make Poguetry.” Enough said. The City Winery is the place, Thursday, March 12, the date. Don’t you dare miss it!  0,0,15    musicmenu                             Music Menu - March 2020 "
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Article

Tuesday March 3, 2020 02:25 pm EST

THURSDAY, MARCH 5


TRIGGER HIPPY, Aisle 5. Returning soon after their December 2019 appearance, the revamped Trigger Hippy features ex-Black Crowes drummer Steve Gorman (who recently penned a book about his time and misadventures with the band) and Nashville bassist Nick Govrik, now joined by lead singer and occasional sax player Amber Woodhouse. The result is soulful, bluesy, and...

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  string(63) "Intense new music brings the duo face to face with their demons"
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  string(5026) "To ask someone which part of Atlanta they are from is to welcome answers of various complexities. At times it can be simple — a concise “Pittsburgh,” for example — yet other times much more complicated. Outside of debates on what is truly considered Atlanta, the sheer number of stories and cultures native to the city’s neighborhoods are enough to transform a two- to three-word answer into a short essay response.

The latter is exactly what happens as Rocket Rhonnie and AUDIADASOUND (pictured left to right) explain their roots across the city. Rhonnie pops off a quick Southside/College Park combo, and Audia claims the Eastside — and more precisely, Ellenwood — by reciting the hook to Crime Mob’s “Ellenwood Area”: “Ellenwood Area / fuck wit us, we bury ya!” The conversation quickly expands from neighborhood talk to their latest musical campaign and the painful baggage that links their surroundings to their art.

Together, Rhonnie and Audia are The Queendom, a female hip-hop and R&B duo whose music hits harder than blunt force trauma. Their debut project, Queenshit Era, arrived in 2018 and earned them opportunities to perform at A3C, SXSW (South by Southwest), and other local indie festivals. From its album cover to the music video for its standout cut “Duty,” Queenshit employed powerful elements of ancient Greek imagery, making for minimal but striking visual components that complimented the straightforward nature of the record.

Now, two years later, the Queenshit era is over, and the group is entering a more colorful one as they ready their upcoming album: Vice. Neon imagery dictates the steamy music video for its lead single “Plekeke” (pronounced pleh-ke-keh), and the Kill Bill-inspired outfits that Rhonnie and Audia are both sporting hint at the album’s retro and cinematic art direction.

Their enthusiasm has seeped from the visuals into their recording sessions as well, and, quite frankly, The Queendom is having a lot of fun this time around. The previously mentioned single “Plekeke,” for instance, was derived from meme obsession during a smoke session. On a night when the artists were exceptionally high, Rhonnie started freestyling over one of Audia’s beats, referencing Skinbone’s viral remix to Vanessa Carlton’s “A Thousand Miles.”

“Pla-ket-ket-ket-ket! And I’ll shoot you,” Rhonnie sings. “Pla-ket-ket-ket-ket! And I’ll kill you!”

“It started off as a parody,” Audia says. “Then it got really sexy.”

Thus, the sexually charged earworm was born, and its release signaled a vibrant new direction, both visually and sonically, for the duo. However, they warn that despite its bright appearance, Vice isn’t just shits and giggles. Rhonnie and Audia admit that intensity, no matter the emotion, has been the bedrock of the album, allowing them to build a collection of songs that reflect all aspects of their experience — from joy to anguish. 

For Audia, who primarily oversees The Queendom’s production, creating new music has been therapeutic. The confidence she expressed earlier when repping the Eastside falters as she reveals that her mother passed away shortly after her family relocated there, which unfortunately served as the catalyst for her interest in making beats. Nearly 13 years later, Audia continues to find solace in exorcizing her demons on wax. 

“After she passed, producing was literally what kept me going,” Audia says. “I’m a very passionate person, so whether I’m sad, excited, or mad, you’ll hear that on this next project.”

Rhonnie, on the other hand, typically strays from detail-specific introspection in her rhymes. Her extensive experience as an audio engineer and a songwriter has made the process more of a technical than a healing experience, but working with Audia on Vice has encouraged her to open up more. Rhonnie divulges that topics she never thought to take a crack at — such as depression, family struggles, and growing up in College Park — will finally be heard on the upcoming record.

“I was so disconnected from what happened in my childhood that it’s kind of hard for me to touch on these emotions,” Rhonnie says. “Making this album essentially forced me to go to therapy.”

Vice is set to be The Queendom’s most vivid and emotionally intense effort to date. Although no release date has been decided for the record, the duo teases that its next single, “I’mma Go Get It,” will be arriving soon. Additional sonic and visual surprises await listeners in the coming months, and Rhonnie and Audia promise that their new direction will still slap with the hard-hitting energy that they have become known for.

Just like they rapped on “Duty” from their 2018 debut, they have an obligation to “shit on these hos,” even when infusing topics like mental health, bad habits, and childhood trauma into their music. Heavy are the heads that wear the crowns, but such are the duties of queens."
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The latter is exactly what happens as Rocket Rhonnie and AUDIADASOUND (pictured left to right) explain their roots across the city. Rhonnie pops off a quick Southside/College Park combo, and Audia claims the Eastside — and more precisely, Ellenwood — by reciting the hook to Crime Mob’s “Ellenwood Area”: “Ellenwood Area / fuck wit us, we bury ya!” The conversation quickly expands from neighborhood talk to their latest musical campaign and the painful baggage that links their surroundings to their art.

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Their enthusiasm has seeped from the visuals into their recording sessions as well, and, quite frankly, The Queendom is having a lot of fun this time around. The previously mentioned single “Plekeke,” for instance, was derived from meme obsession during a smoke session. On a night when the artists were exceptionally high, Rhonnie started freestyling over one of Audia’s beats, referencing Skinbone’s viral remix to Vanessa Carlton’s “A Thousand Miles.”

“Pla-ket-ket-ket-ket! And I’ll shoot you,” Rhonnie sings. “Pla-ket-ket-ket-ket! And I’ll kill you!”

“It started off as a parody,” Audia says. “Then it got really sexy.”

Thus, the sexually charged earworm was born, and its release signaled a vibrant new direction, both visually and sonically, for the duo. However, they warn that despite its bright appearance, Vice isn’t just shits and giggles. Rhonnie and Audia admit that intensity, no matter the emotion, has been the bedrock of the album, allowing them to build a collection of songs that reflect all aspects of their experience — from joy to anguish. 

For Audia, who primarily oversees The Queendom’s production, creating new music has been therapeutic. The confidence she expressed earlier when repping the Eastside falters as she reveals that her mother passed away shortly after her family relocated there, which unfortunately served as the catalyst for her interest in making beats. Nearly 13 years later, Audia continues to find solace in exorcizing her demons on wax. 

“After she passed, producing was literally what kept me going,” Audia says. “I’m a very passionate person, so whether I’m sad, excited, or mad, you’ll hear that on this next project.”

Rhonnie, on the other hand, typically strays from detail-specific introspection in her rhymes. Her extensive experience as an audio engineer and a songwriter has made the process more of a technical than a healing experience, but working with Audia on Vice has encouraged her to open up more. Rhonnie divulges that topics she never thought to take a crack at — such as depression, family struggles, and growing up in College Park — will finally be heard on the upcoming record.

“I was so disconnected from what happened in my childhood that it’s kind of hard for me to touch on these emotions,” Rhonnie says. “Making this album essentially forced me to go to therapy.”

Vice is set to be The Queendom’s most vivid and emotionally intense effort to date. Although no release date has been decided for the record, the duo teases that its next single, “I’mma Go Get It,” will be arriving soon. Additional sonic and visual surprises await listeners in the coming months, and Rhonnie and Audia promise that their new direction will still slap with the hard-hitting energy that they have become known for.

Just like they rapped on “Duty” from their 2018 debut, they have an obligation to “shit on these hos,” even when infusing topics like mental health, bad habits, and childhood trauma into their music. Heavy are the heads that wear the crowns, but such are the duties of queens."
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  string(5565) " ATLTrans Version1 Res Web  2020-03-02T19:59:02+00:00 ATLTrans_Version1_res_web.jpg    untrapped Intense new music brings the duo face to face with their demons 29613  2020-03-02T19:54:04+00:00 ATL UNTRAPPED: The Queendom announces ‘Vice’ will.cardwell@gmail.com Will Cardwell JOSHUA ROBINSON  2020-03-02T19:54:04+00:00  To ask someone which part of Atlanta they are from is to welcome answers of various complexities. At times it can be simple — a concise “Pittsburgh,” for example — yet other times much more complicated. Outside of debates on what is truly considered Atlanta, the sheer number of stories and cultures native to the city’s neighborhoods are enough to transform a two- to three-word answer into a short essay response.

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Together, Rhonnie and Audia are The Queendom, a female hip-hop and R&B duo whose music hits harder than blunt force trauma. Their debut project, Queenshit Era, arrived in 2018 and earned them opportunities to perform at A3C, SXSW (South by Southwest), and other local indie festivals. From its album cover to the music video for its standout cut “Duty,” Queenshit employed powerful elements of ancient Greek imagery, making for minimal but striking visual components that complimented the straightforward nature of the record.

Now, two years later, the Queenshit era is over, and the group is entering a more colorful one as they ready their upcoming album: Vice. Neon imagery dictates the steamy music video for its lead single “Plekeke” (pronounced pleh-ke-keh), and the Kill Bill-inspired outfits that Rhonnie and Audia are both sporting hint at the album’s retro and cinematic art direction.

Their enthusiasm has seeped from the visuals into their recording sessions as well, and, quite frankly, The Queendom is having a lot of fun this time around. The previously mentioned single “Plekeke,” for instance, was derived from meme obsession during a smoke session. On a night when the artists were exceptionally high, Rhonnie started freestyling over one of Audia’s beats, referencing Skinbone’s viral remix to Vanessa Carlton’s “A Thousand Miles.”

“Pla-ket-ket-ket-ket! And I’ll shoot you,” Rhonnie sings. “Pla-ket-ket-ket-ket! And I’ll kill you!”

“It started off as a parody,” Audia says. “Then it got really sexy.”

Thus, the sexually charged earworm was born, and its release signaled a vibrant new direction, both visually and sonically, for the duo. However, they warn that despite its bright appearance, Vice isn’t just shits and giggles. Rhonnie and Audia admit that intensity, no matter the emotion, has been the bedrock of the album, allowing them to build a collection of songs that reflect all aspects of their experience — from joy to anguish. 

For Audia, who primarily oversees The Queendom’s production, creating new music has been therapeutic. The confidence she expressed earlier when repping the Eastside falters as she reveals that her mother passed away shortly after her family relocated there, which unfortunately served as the catalyst for her interest in making beats. Nearly 13 years later, Audia continues to find solace in exorcizing her demons on wax. 

“After she passed, producing was literally what kept me going,” Audia says. “I’m a very passionate person, so whether I’m sad, excited, or mad, you’ll hear that on this next project.”

Rhonnie, on the other hand, typically strays from detail-specific introspection in her rhymes. Her extensive experience as an audio engineer and a songwriter has made the process more of a technical than a healing experience, but working with Audia on Vice has encouraged her to open up more. Rhonnie divulges that topics she never thought to take a crack at — such as depression, family struggles, and growing up in College Park — will finally be heard on the upcoming record.

“I was so disconnected from what happened in my childhood that it’s kind of hard for me to touch on these emotions,” Rhonnie says. “Making this album essentially forced me to go to therapy.”

Vice is set to be The Queendom’s most vivid and emotionally intense effort to date. Although no release date has been decided for the record, the duo teases that its next single, “I’mma Go Get It,” will be arriving soon. Additional sonic and visual surprises await listeners in the coming months, and Rhonnie and Audia promise that their new direction will still slap with the hard-hitting energy that they have become known for.

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Monday March 2, 2020 02:54 pm EST
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