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In the 2000s, Atlanta—almost indisputably—supplanted New York as hip-hop's dominant metropolis, the cultural Mecca of innovation and influence for the genre as a whole. Although it would gain a reputation for its ability to throw one-hit-wonders up the charts, that reputation was also a little overblown. From pioneers like Kilo and Raheem to underrated local stars like Ghetto Mafia and Da Organization, to crossover stars like T.I. and Young Jeezy, to legends like OutKast and Goodie Mob, to hitmakers like D4L and Kris Kross—who had, yes, a number of charting records—Atlanta has always had a deep bench of artists whose careers impacted beyond the charts.
Even the one hit wonders—some of whom are catalogued here—would have sustained careers beyond their single smash, whether on a local level or behind the scenes—think Freak Nasty, who released a number of albums and was actually an early Cash Money affiliate in his Louisiana hometown. Other times, they just happened to stumble into success by a chance collaboration or whim of the business. An important thing to remember, though, is that one hit wonders have always been a part of hip-hop. Although this list skirts the '90s, that's as much about the nature of the business as anything. Whereas today, a local dance craze can be a national sensation faster than ever, two decades ago, the infrastructure wasn't nearly as strong. The hits were still being crafted; they just didn't get propelled to the same level of notoriety.
So consider this not a criticism, but a celebration of the artists who have made a significant contribution to hip-hop culture—a part just as essential as any other. This is A Brief History of Atlanta One-Hit Wonders.