2010 was a year of turmoil in the heart of the Peach State. T.I. opened—and then closed—the year behind penitentiary bars, often failing to hit his musical stride during his months of freedom. Gucci Mane clumsily attempted the leap from #1 trapper to bubblegum rapper who never really popped like 2009. Instead, his understudy, a dreadheaded rapper named Waka Flocka Flame, has taken over the radio and Internet, bow-wowing and bellowing all over his tracks, to a degree regressing the city's identity to the head-bussin', Lil' Jon-led Crunk Era.
Waka's not the only one (literally) making noise, though. Newbies like Travis Porter, CyHi Da Prynce and Roscoe Dash offer new and varied facets of the A. And Big Boi and B.o.B each released perhaps the year's greatest sleeper albums, with Sir Lucious Left Foot: The Son Of Chico Dusty and B.o.B Presents: The Adventures Of Bobby Ray, respectively.
But what does this massive shuffle—one that finds Jeezy struggling to craft a radio-ready hit amidst endless album push-backs—really mean? Is Atlanta still the Mecca of the South, or have DJ Khaled, Rick Ross & Young Money shifted the spotlight to LeBron land? VIBE rounded up some respected artists, DJs, executives and journalists to make sense it of it all. Welcome to Atlanta.
Interviews: Tracy Garraud, Mikey Fresh, John Kennedy & Niki McGloster
The ATLien Panel
- Big Boi, rapper, one-half of Atlanta duo OutKast
- Cee-Lo Green, singer/rapper, one-fourth of Goodie Mob
- Debra Antney, owner of Mizay Entertainment, home to rappers Gucci Mane & Waka Flocka Flame
- DJ Drama, disk jockey for Atlanta's Hot 107.9
- DJ Toomp, producer, disc jockey
- Donnis, Atlanta rapper
- Maurice Garland, journalist, specializes in Atlanta hip-hop
- Travis Porter, rap trio consisting of members Lakeem "Ali" Mattox, Donquez "Quez" Woods and Harold "Strap" Duncan