All good things must end. Rarely does that ring true for me but this morning it sure feels right. The week has been a whirlwind of adventures as you could probably tell. After the shows ended the environment was definitely different however hiphop never really stops in this city.
On Sunday night only blocks from our condo was an Organized Noize tribute show featuring a whole lot of acts none of us had heard off. Burn One and his crew were in the building however so we decided to go check it out. We arrived in time for a few of the no names who did nothing to make me remember their names and then SL Jones took the stage. If the night before I had been disappointed, here he came correct owning his set beautifully. Scotty took the stage shortly thereafter and had the room turnt up. He premiered a new track as well and I can’t wait to be bumping it.
Monday saw the last of my fellow venturers depart. Time to go it alone. I went north for a lunchtime conversation with Burn cruising well north of the city and seeing a suburb far and removed from the hustle and bustle of the city. He cited this as a big reason for his residency there. We ate at a restaurant he worked as a servers assistant at years ago. We covered some ground and the weekend provided some interesting talking points. Stay tuned.
From deep in the north I drove deep to the south to connect with Will, a young emcee I profiled in the One Time @ Bandcamp days. He runs with the Thumbs Up crew, which also happens to be the name of a highly regarded diner chain here we ate at in the morning. He informed me their was no relation. He took me on a ride around his neighborhood, telling me we were in SWATS, College Park and on Campbellton Road. It was an eye opening ride.
Next up was a video premiere for “All Gold Everything” by Trinidad James. A name that has been buzzing as of late, I’d chosen to ignore his tape. I showed up to a theatre with a massive crowd in front of it. I ran into Fani and Curtis, along with a few other Two9 associates. Inside I saw Ricky Fontaine of iNDEED and he informed me they were backing up James for his set. I didn’t know a performance was on deck.
By 10 pm the theatre was damn near at capacity, easily 300 people. As Trinidad came out he took a seat with Maurice Garland and an interview took place. It was a cool concept and executed perfectly. I was unaware that Trinidad James was about as unknown to myself and the rest of the world as he is to most ATLiens. He reps the south side, but shouted out every hood. He was proud of this nine to five and shouted out his momma. He was honest about his drug use and lack of trap experience.
He rocked a short set and then launched into the video. It was cool to see on a big screen and the crowd’s participation throughout it felt right. As it ended he asked if he could run it back one more time and a tremendous applause was the response. It seemed like Atlanta has a lot of love for him.
After conspiring with Fani and Curtis, it was off to La Fonda – a local Mexican restaurant, for margaritas and “the best queso in town.” It wasn’t bad. In between family like ribbing from all around Curtis and I chatted about Two9, his solo work, the future, shows and deceased friends. We rode out to Reese’s crib to put something in the air and I witnessed NevaBitch rap in person.
As is the theme in the A, late nights and early mornings. My final day here, time to clean. With the condo looking fresh I whipped Curtis to his moms so I could snag a Pass the Ammo tee and then cruised out to Lil’ 5 Points where I had to get a little southern digging in. Scooping a Cal Tjader and Eddie Palmieri record, two Axelrod produced Lou Rawls gems and the deluxe edition of the new Flying Lotus album it felt like a good trip.
I had one final Two9 member to sit down with. Perhaps one of the more unknown members of the team, Alkebulan and I had a great conversation on my last trip down here and I wanted to make sure that I didn’t leave without getting some perspectives from him.
He invited me out to the studio he recently got a job at, it turned out to be a Grand Hustle compound, run by the guys who make up FKi. We took a seat in one lab and discussed his role in the crew (engineer, producer, emcee), his name, his output, the future and his northwest ties. Before I took off he played me a selection of jams off his upcoming work and it only reinforced the every expanding sound Two9 is going to show the world they are capable of delivering.
As I drove back to the condo, I stopped at a park and snapped a few pics of local graffiti. I saw much while out here but was never in a position to document. While none of these were the most mind blowing of work, they reminded me of home and showed off something real to me.
When I think about this trip, all I can think about is how much of the city I covered. I don’t have any kind of grasp of direction here, or where exactly I was but it certainly felt like I traversed to many different sides and zones as they are called. I saw a lot, somethings expected and somethings not. Shouts out to all the artists who allowed me to invade their lives and personal spaces for the past week, it was educational and amazing. Till next Atlanta, keep it ratchet. Keep it turnt.