The things you may have heard about Atlanta are probably true. My first time out here I was told it really is Black Hollywood. Yesterday I traveled to three studio’s and watched as many songs be created.
While en route to the Masquerade, the central hub of A3C stages, I received word from Starlito that he was at Artist Factory, a studio I learned was in Buckhead – a neighborhood described by the taxi driver as Atlanta’s Manhattan.
The nondescript building housed several studio’s, we were in a smaller one booked by Killa Kyleon. Lito was posted up, working on raps and smoking blunts. They had just finished a song produced by Trakksounds and certainly in line with the country rap tune tradition I’ve been waving the flag for since my discovery of Burn One.
Star was an easy going guy, laid back and ready to talk. He didn’t duck any questions nor did he try to sugar coat his responses. I told him about my suspicions that Wayne was influenced by his style when at his mixtape peak and he was quick to disagree and inform me that if anything Wayne taught him much about work ethic and keeping tracks getting made.
The conversation was varied and fun, I’ll save the details for later.
From here it was off to Burn’s lab, a house in the middle of a neighborhood called Little 5 Points. As the door opened you could tell it was a special place. If the last studio had platinum plaques on the wall, this one had leftover pizza on the stovetop and swisher guts on the floor. A keyboard found it’s home in the hallway, weed smoke was thick and a beat being built oozed out the back room.
Here I found Scotty writing a verse, Memphis upstart 2Deep practicing his and Walt Live of iNDEED tweaking samples and playing some keys on top of the funky beat. Catching up with Scotty, asking Burn about records and watching a track I’m sure I’ll bump upon it’s release even if I hadn’t seen it made were all recipes for a good day. And it was only 8 PM.
It was finally time to go see some music. Dungeon Family was rocking at Star Bar. It was amazing to see these legends in their home town. It was a learning experience to realize that even cats of their stature are going to rock over their own vocals. I missed Witchdoctor and and got to hear Backbone’s “5 Duece 4 Tre.” They closed with the posse on stage getting turnt up to Even In Darkness tunes.
After slices of pizza we took Burn up on an invite to wander out to Decatur for a studio session going down. It was instantly clear we were going outside the city further than any of us had yet. We pulled up to a large house and found several small studios on the first level along with a pool table in another. Upstairs was where the magic was going down. A large room filled with a professional mixing board and dual monitors. Walt was working the board and adding early elements to the beat. He switched over to his keyboard and started to add his personal flavor to the track. Burn came in and began laying down some drums after running through an assortment of kits.
From there Ricky plugged in his guitar to a pedal belonging to Cory Mo – whose lab we were in. Ricky laid down guitar riffs over the entire track, jamming out solo to the grooves his partners had already begun to form. Rappers were circling the room, drinking, laughing and at times testing out random bars. Professor stepped up and laid some deep bass grooves into the track and from there Burn and Cory perfected it down into the distilled hiphop soul grooves you are already familiar with.
Bars were laid, KD sang a hook and exited joking he was going to release a full length vocal project. He joked it off but I’m convinced it was a serious threat. We had to make our exit before it was finalized but it rang loud and clear as we departed.