Inferior lyricism. Unsophisticated beats. That shit is just too damn slow.
Hard as it is for anyone under 25 to believe, there was a time when Atlanta rap was the red-headed stepchild of hip-hop. New York's rap purists will look down their noses at anything, but they reserved particular scorn for rap from the South, and rap from the ATL in particular.
It's 2015, though, and the A's status as one of the capitals of hip-hop was confirmed long ago (depending on which year you're talking about, it might be the capital of hip-hop). It's like that now—you better go on and get the hump up out your back now. Atlanta is arguably the most layered music community in hip-hop. It cranks out at least three new stars every year. The producers create albums with a new sound every other season. A new dance pops up every summer. If hip-hop's early days were informed by New York, and its '90s heyday involved a vacation to Cali, for the past 10 years it's been influenced more by the capital of Georgia than any other place in the world.
Atlanta's rap community engenders a fierce pride, and it's a scene that's both insular and accepting. Where one song may be a hit on the radio, there's another rapper's song that's even bigger in the club. Where an artist may be known in industry circles, there's also an underground champion with just as much—sometimes even more—clout.
This list could've easily been 100 songs; hell, it could've been 200. But we had to draw the line somewhere. So, from J.D. to T.I., from Bonecrusher to Kilo Ali, this is just the cream of the north Georgia crop. From Bankhead to College Park to Zone 4, these are the 50 Best Atlanta Rap Songs.
Maurice Garland is a writer living in Atlanta. Follow him @Maurice_Garland.