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Posted: September 4th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Uncategorized | No Comments »

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VH1 Rock Docs

VH1 investigates the rich, complex untold story of Atlanta’s fascinating rise to the top of the rap industry, which created a major fore within American music. Featuring interviews from Ludacris, Usher, T.I., Lil Jon and more.

VH1 is streaming the full ATL documentary on it’s site so for those of you like me who don’t give money to cable companies who don’t provide content the way you want it at a price you want it you can watch it there just like I did an hour and a half ago. It’s pretty good and covers more than hashtags led me to believe it would. I do have issues with it though but for the most part in the too small catalog that is regional rap documentaries I would say it’s a welcome addition to explaining a history of this music. Yeah there is no mention of snap music, rich homie quan gets a profile, no mention of Gucci or D4L, but Jeezy talks a decent amount and Killer Mike has plenty to say about the city.

One thing I take issue in this though is that the term The South is not interchangeable with Atlanta. It could be the way it’s edited but it happened more than enough to bother me because it discredits the contributions from the rest of the south. You can’t lump yourself in as the entire south and then say nothing happened nationally until Outkast. You’re disregarding the legacy of Rap-A-Lot and the Geto Boys. Yes Outkast was huge and the argument can be made they they are the greatest hip-hop duo ever but Atlanta wouldn’t be what it is without the contibutions of the rest of the south. I know this documentary is about atlanta and I don’t expect them to spend the time telling people about J Prince starting a label in a used car lot but just tip the hat to the history of the region. They did mention Memphis if even for a split second.

During the section about Outkast Goodie Mob gets some shine but I feel like their impact wasn’t emphasized enough. Yes I’m a fan but that record was big, Cell Therapy was a quotable in The Source, Soul Food was big when that video hit. They are given credit and yeah there are time constraints but when you consider the people watching this most likely have no idea of the time and the impact it had it’d be nice to just give it another 30 seconds at least.

Regardless of my disdain for Arrested Development that part was way too long and gave a group that most people had no idea was from Atlanta too much credit for it’s effect on it’s rise to prominence. I don’t agree with trying to push a group modeled after Native Tongues with a PM Dawn aesthetic who all came before them as a kind of hip hop conscious renaissance for Atlanta. Success-N-Effect was getting cosigned by Chuck D when Arrested Development was pushing Mr. Wendal. That’s like me trying to say Mass Influence changed the ATL hiphop scene forever.

For the most part the documentary spends a lot of time exploring the NYC would never play us and LA didn’t care about us bit. Which is true but I think was true for every region that wasn’t considered a major. The bay area had that issue but I think because of it’s proximity to LA and things like the Gavin Convention those gatekeepers fucked with it more than say music coming from Atlanta, Memphis, or New Orleans. This wasn’t a struggle unique to Atlanta although Outkast’s moment at The Source awards was huge and a defining moment. It’s a struggle that UGK knew, Hypnotized Minds knew, No Limit knew, Rap-A-Lot knew.

Regardless of my issues with this I’m glad they made it because the history of regional music should be documented. Tell the story of Flint Michigan, of Memphis, of Chicago, of Dallas, of Houston, of Miami, of Baltimore, of D.C., of Cleveland, of Los Angles, of Oakland, of Kansas City, of St Louis, of Gary Indiana, of all these cities. For too long has the story of hip-hop only ever been told through the history of what happened in New York and as great as that is it is not the whole story. There are contributors to this culture everywhere.

Can someone just make a westcoast electro documentary already?

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