There must be something about the Atlanta rap scene that produces such enduring artists. If you are to mention a handful of up-and-coming rappers, there's a good chance that a good number of them will be from Atlanta. For instance, three of the biggest names in hip-hop right now are Young Thug, Lil Yachty and 21 Savage. Guess where they're all from? That's right. That doesn't mean being from Atlanta automatically makes you a great rapper, but it is a good indication of how much talent comes from the city.
It's not like those guys created the Atlanta rap scene, though. There's an old Atlanta rap scene of artists such as T.I., Young Jeezy, Gucci Mane, and 2 Chainz who have been around for a decade and have to contend with these hotshot up-and-comers in terms of prominence and relevance. From the looks of things, though, the Atlanta rap scene has room for both the old guard and the new.
One factor that helps is that many of the veteran Atlanta rappers are doing their best to keep up their relevance. T.I., Young Jeezy, Gucci Mane and 2 Chainz are releasing music at a steady enough rate or appearing on other artists' tracks. 2 Chainz, for instance, had a verse on Chance the Rapper's hit single "No Problem" last year, which is sure to have helped renewed his visibility for those who might have forgotten about him since he broke out about four years ago. “No Problem” was nominated at the Grammys in the Best Rap Song category.
It also helps for them to change things up personally, to be the best artists possible. Gucci Mane has been part of the Atlanta rap scene for over a decade now, but his rap sheet was threatening to overshadow his rap career. He was released last year following imprisonment on gun charges and emerged newly fit and sober. From the moment of his first post-release single "First Day Out Tha Feds," fans were amazed by the clarity of his delivery and the renewed ambition that sprang from his lyrics. Had Gucci come out of prison and not undergone the changes he had, his new music would've gotten some attention simply for being new Gucci Mane music, but it would likely fall by the wayside if there wasn't any discernable change.
Just because an Atlanta rapper has been around for a while doesn't mean that their best days are behind them; for some, their best days are just starting. Future has been releasing mixtapes since 2010, but his third album, DS2, was his most acclaimed to date and has made him a truly unique voice in hip-hop, literally and figuratively.
Old Atlanta might not still be on top of rap, but that's because no one can stay on top forever. Those artists certainly aren't on the bottom and as long as they keep producing quality music and be willing to experiment, they don't have anything to worry about. The new Atlanta rappers will soon be the old ones, and they'll have to deal with the exact same thing.
by: Kevin Kennedy