VIBE: So, is Atlanta still running this Southern rap shit?
Donnis: Everybody thinks that everything is good because we’re killing it, and we got all these hit records, but if you’re inside of it—if you dissect it–it’s really bad for music and the artistry. It’s a beautiful girl with no personality. It looks great because it’s hip and everybody’s in the club dancing, so it looks amazing. I’m not gon’ front like I never listened to Kid ‘N Play and I don’t get my Soulja Boy yule on. I love to do that shit, but you can’t just continue to feed people watered-down music. There has to be somebody out there speaking some intelligence into the music.
Debra Antney: People don’t have no sense of direction to me. There’s no loyalty, no unity, no nothing. It’s like the O.K. Corral here; it’s every man for themselves. There’s a lot of hating, you know what I’m saying?
Maurice Garland: I wouldn’t say that it’s falling off. When you look at it chartwise, you’re stll going to see a lot of Atlanta artists on there. And living here, nobody really ever falls off here. Atlanta plays its own artists on radio and in the clubs. Atlanta really supports its own.
Quez (Of Travis Porter): Man, Atlanta is and always is gon’ be the mecca of the South. I applaud Young Money for they upcoming and all that, but Atlanta done put in too much work, you know what I’m saying? We dropped too many hits from Atlanta, man. Then we got artists breaking out here everyday.
Ali (Of Travis Porter): And every party, all around the world, you always hear Atlanta music. All night, every night.
Quez: Either it’s Lil’ Jon, Ying Yang Twins, Travis Porter.
Quez: Anybody. So, you can’t really say that about other cities. Other places, you don’t hear their music everywhere, so Atlanta is just a great place.
Big Boi (of OutKast): It’s definitely the gateway on a national scale. We’re still putting out great music, great albums and great artists. I love it.
DJ Toomp: One thing Atlanta doesn’t have anymore is the check writers. When we used to have LaFace, So So Def, and all the other labels blowing up, there were a lot of check writers in Atlanta to the point where you could get some checks cut. But now you still got to go to New York or L.A.
DJ Drama: The thing about Atlanta, it still has its dominance when it comes to the game. I don’t think that we’re losing that in no form or fashion.
DJ Toomp: Atlanta, we were the Mecca at one point, but I’ll tell you who’s about to be the Mecca, though: Miami. Because Cash Money and Young Money are set up in Miami and now they got the best roster in the whole game. That’s the home of the Cocaine Cowboys, the biggest studios, and it’s a place where everyone would want to be. So it’s a great chance that Miami might end up being the Mecca of southern hip-hop within a year or so.
DJ Drama: You definitely have to give Miami its respect. Ross shocked the world, he had one of the biggest albums of the year, Khaled had one of the biggest songs of the year. Clearly Miami is another Southern city that’s had an impact in the last year or two, but Atlanta, if we’re talking dominance in the last 10 years, is still that. Some of the biggest records, we’re still talking about The A.
Maurice Garland: It’s still somewhat of a Mecca, but for different reasons. In the early 2000’s, whether it was Lil Jon or the Youngbloods or whoever was the hottest, people were trying to sound like whatever’s hot in ATL. But I don’t think that’s the case anymore. It just seems like everybody still comes here to work, to record at Patchwork studios, Treesounds. Plus, a lot of hot artists still live here. When Wale wanted to start working with Waka, Roscoe Dash and all them, he had to come down here.
Donnis: At the end of the day, people are always gonna look at us as a stronghold.