All year long the world has been celebrating the 50th anniversary of hip-hop, a cultural phenomenon that sparked a groundbreaking musical genre. Although the movement was birthed in the Bronx, New York, Atlanta’s impact is indisputable.
Want to celebrate the emcees, creatives, places and moments that solidified ATL as the nation’s rap capital? Here are a few festivals, concerts and other events in the city to attend, including the premiere of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s “The South Got Something To Say,” a new documentary on Atlanta’s rise in hip-hop.
The AJC is exploring how Atlanta shaped hip-hop with an all-day event that will include a host of panels and interviews with some of the city’s biggest influencers, including Bem Joiner of Atlanta Influences Everything, radio personality Ryan Cameron and television host Rashan Ali. The night will end with the teal-carpet premiere of “The South Got Something To Say,” a Q&A with the filmmakers and an epic VIP afterparty.
Thursday, Nov. 2. Starting at $19. Center Stage Theater, 1374 W. Peachtree St. NW, Atlanta. live.ajc.com/hiphop50.
If you have a special affinity for trap music, visit the Trap Music Museum, which recently celebrated its fifth anniversary. The attraction gives a special nod to the subgenre, so you’ll see multiple displays and artworks honoring artists like Gucci Mane, Jeezy and T.I.
The two-day music festival is returning for its 14th year, and it has a new home at Piedmont Park. A slew of artists, including Janet Jackson, Kendrick Lamar, Brent Faiyaz and The-Dream, will perform across multiple stages. There will also be a special tribute to hip-hop’s 50th anniversary with sets from KRS-One, Project Pat, Uncle Luke, Black Sheep, Nice & Smooth, Eightball & MJG, DJ Quik, Big Daddy Kane and Brand Nubian.
Saturday. Oct. 28 and Sunday, Oct. 29. Starting at $169. Piedmont Park, 1071 Piedmont Ave. NE, Atlanta. onemusicfest.com.
November is Hip-Hop History Month, and Georgia State University is commemorating the occasion and the genre’s 50th birthday with a two-day conference. The program will feature a variety of panel presentations, special lunches and lightning talks with key historians and experts, including author Maurice Hobson, rapper Mother Superia and many others.
Monday, Nov. 6, and Tuesday, Nov. 7. Free. Auburn Avenue Research Library on African American Culture and History, 101 Auburn Ave. NE, Atlanta. sites.gsu.edu.
Take a private tour of the city to learn about Atlanta’s rich hip-hop history. You’ll view iconic landmarks, such as The Dungeon, where OutKast made their earlier hits, and Cascade, where much of the movie “ATL” was filmed. You might even spot a celebrity during your journey.
10:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. Tuesday-Sunday. Starting at $275.Colony Square,1197 Peachtree St. NE, Atlanta. hiphoptoursofatlanta.com.
Catch one of Atlanta’s brightest young stars when he makes his way to his hometown for a concert at the Coca-Cola Roxy. He’s been traveling the world for his Field Trip tour, and ATL happens to be the last stop of the North American leg.
Ready to channel your favorite artist and perform for an audience? Consider checking out Trap Karaoke. It’s a one-of-a-kind concert experience curated by the audience. Brave souls choose a song, take the stage and belt it out in front of a huge crowd. And if you pick a popular tune, the crowd will sing along with you.
Mayor Andre Dickens needs your help, because the City of Atlanta is partnering with the Atlanta History Center to curate a time capsule. If you own hip-hop related items, such as tickets, artist merchandise, tapes, vinyls or photographs, your keepsakes could be included in the time capsule, which will remain buried for the next 25 years. Just take a photo and write a description of your memento and email it to email@example.com for consideration. atl50hiphop.com/timecapsule.
V-103′s Winterfest is returning this year, and the theme is, of course, hip-hop. Attendees will watch some of Atlanta’s most notable rappers take the stage, from crunk pioneers like Lil Jon and Trillville to snap originators like Dem Franchize Boys and Fabo. There will also be a special Freaknik bass set with Raheem The Dream, Kilo Ali, MC Shy D and others.
8 p.m. Friday, Dec. 15. Starting at $64. State Farm Arena, 1 State Farm Drive, Atlanta. statefarmarena.com.
Before the year comes to a close, Atlanta rapper T.I. is celebrating the 20th anniversary of his second studio album “Trap Musik” with a live performance featuring the Atlanta Pops Orchestra. Backed with woodwinds, brass, percussion and strings, the artist will pay homage to his sophomore project and a slew of other hits from his lengthy catalogue for an epic fusion of the classical and rap genres.
8 p.m. Friday, Dec. 29. Starting at $400. Atlanta Symphony Hall, 1280 Peachtree St. NE, Atlanta. aso.org.
Najja Parker is the Newsletter Coach for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. She manages the newsroom’s free and premium newsletters. Parker also co-curates Unapologetically ATL, a newsletter about Atlanta's Black culture, and produces and hosts “ATL Closeup,” a things to do series featuring local influencers.