Super Bowl 53: Goodie Mob, Jermaine Dupri celebrate Atlanta’s hip-hop legacy

Credit: Akili-Casundria Ramsess

Credit: Akili-Casundria Ramsess

The third day of Super Bowl Live shows in Centennial Olympic Park paid homage to Atlanta rap and the various forms the genre has taken (and influenced) over the last few decades.

From the thought-provoking, political raps of Goodie Mob to the dance crazes of artists such as DJ Unk and the more recent hits of rapper such as YFN Lucci, Monday’s Super Bowl Live roundup was a brief snapshot at the diversity within Atlanta's’ hip-hop scene.

»»PHOTOS: Check out our gallery from the show

In 1995, as Atlanta was preparing to host the 1996 Olympic Games, Goodie Mob released their debut album, "Soul Food". With lyrics such as "[expletive] cops, [expletive] Eldrin Bell. And crooked [expletive] Jackson, got the whole country thinking that my city is the big lick for '96" on Outkast's "Git Up, Git Out," the group gave a voice to impoverished black Atlanta residents who didn't benefit from the city's status as "black mecca."

Credit: Akili-Casundria Ramsess

Credit: Akili-Casundria Ramsess

It was a treat to hear Goodie Mob continue to give voice to the voiceless with classic songs from their discography inside of Centennial Olympic Park during Super Bowl Live. (Members of the group previously performed in the park before during Outkast's ATLast festival nearly five years ago.) Even on celebratory weeks such as the one that's currently taking place in Atlanta, Goodie Mob's setlist serves as a reminder to not forget the people in Atlanta who have felt discarded by the city. From "Black Ice" to "Liberation" to "They Don't Dance No Mo'," Goodie Mob represented for Atlanta's Dungeon Family, performing fan favorites with an infectious energy.

The performance is likely to be the highlight of their Super Bowl week. The group, which is currently touring, made it clear ahead of the show that they weren't interested in watching the actual game since the Atlanta Falcons won't be playing. (Note: Dungeon Family member Big Boi is scheduled to represent for Atlanta during the halftime show.)

Ahead of their performance, the group, along with Jermaine Dupri, talked with students who were attending Super Bowl Live to learn more about music and event production. The local kids were selected to shadow Super Bowl Live curator Dupri following a talk that the So So Def founder had with rapper and activist Killer Mike.

Credit: Akili-Casundria Ramsess

Credit: Akili-Casundria Ramsess

“I was told by Killer Mike that when kids on the Westside saw Kris Kross, that it planted a seed in their head that they could get out of Atlanta and be global. I wasn’t thinking about that. That was the first time someone ever told me that,” Dupri said. The students will spend time over several days shadowing artists, players, stage managers and more.

This familial spirit wasn’t just felt backstage, though. DJ Holiday’s set was filled with Atlanta artists who have carved out a path for themselves in Atlanta’s music scene in the years since Goodie Mob first released “Soul Food.”

Holiday’s set fittingly began with a surprise performance of Dupri’s hit “Welcome to Atlanta.” The performance of the song, which has long been viewed as the city’s unofficial anthem, was filmed for broadcast during Super Bowl Opening Night, which was taking place down the street at State Farm Arena.

Following Dupri's performance, Holiday spent more than 90 minutes bringing the people behind some of Atlanta's biggest hits in the past two decades onto the stage. Trinidad James, Waka Flocka, Rich Homie Quan, Scrappy, K Camp, OJ da Juiceman, Rocko and others performed. Pastor Troy and Trillville returned to the stage, too, with the help of a marching band, before most of Crime Mob performed "Knuck if You Buck." Atlanta rappers Travis Porter and Roscoe Dash even revisited their hit "All the Way Turnt Up." Released nearly a decade ago, the hit originally caused a dramatic riff between the two local artists. Tonight, though, there was nothing but camaraderie amongst the many performers.

Perhaps one of the best parts of the set was the section dedicated to the various dance crazes started in Atlanta. “Watch Me (Whip/Nae Nae)” rapper Silento; “2 Step” and “Walk It Out” rapper DJ Unk; “Swag Surfin’” rappers F.LY.; and “Shoulda Lean” rapper Young Dro were among the artists to get the crowd moving. Sporting an Atlanta Braves jersey over a red hoodie, DJ Unk also paid homage to late rappers Bankroll Fresh and Shawty Lo. Additionally, Holiday’s set included performances from newer rappers such as YFN Lucci and Light Skin Keisha.

On Saturday, the final Super Bowl Live set will focus on the hip-hop and R&B that captivated Atlanta in the ‘90s, a welcome reminder of the city’s roots. Monday’s show, however, was a great look at the wide range of the city’s hip-hop legacy since then.

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