Atlanta musicians make one fine mess out of rock, hip-hop and everything in between

Is Atlanta really "the city too busy to hate?" Chad Radford and Rodney Carmichael asked some local musicians and tastemakers to give us their thoughts on the invisible line that separates rock and hip-hop in the Dirty Dirty. 

1) What motivates you to bridge the gap between rock and hip-hop?

2) Are cross-genre collaborations in Atlanta driven by art or commerce?

3) Which circumstances are better for fostering a strong and distinctive music scene — a global village or gated communities?

Randy Castello

Cross-genre talent purchaser for the Drunken Unicorn, and the main man behind the esteemed Tight Bros. Network promotions company

1) I can't say I'm bridging the gap between these two landscapes since the rock scene in Atlanta is dead in my humble opinion. Comparatively, the Atlanta underground hip-hop scene is as vibrant and exciting today as was the rock scene two years ago, albeit with more fashion sense.

2) It depends on where each artist is with their career. For example, Diplo sent an instrumental track to Atlanta artist Muffy to lay vocals over clearly for art's sake, since Diplo's intention is simply to leak the track over the Internet ... On the contrary, Big Boi, who just collaborated with the Atlanta Ballet for an event at the Fox Theatre, was obviously booked for the sake of commerce, since you can't get all those people in one room without someone wanting mad money.

3) I'm going to have to go with global communities building a stronger creative music scene simply because there are no boundaries in relation to location and creativity.

Jonathan Merenivitch

Lead of the four-man punk band Tendaberry that performs a wicked version of rapper Ghostface Killah's "Cherchez Le Ghost"

1) In the not-too-distant past, some people tried to combine hip-hop and rock and made a total hash of it. It was obnoxious, macho and mean. One of our desires musically was to mix hip-hop and rock but be a bit more sensitive and intelligent in the execution.

2) A little from both. In some cases it's driven by an intuitive, almost innocent desire to create, and in others it's a cynical, cash-grabbing move. In the end, the audience will always seek music that's motivated by a genuine desire to express oneself, rather than a desire to "get money, fuck bitches."

3) One of the best music scenes in existence was punk-rock London in '77. And they took influences from everywhere, from the NY punk rock of the Ramones and the dub of Lee "Scratch" Perry in Jamaica. That's how you make a strong and distinctive music scene. Taking from everything you have a genuine love for, adding a bit of your own personality and hoping that other people dig what you do, and have the same idea.

Stephanie Luke

Banshee drummer for Atlanta lady punks the Coathangers who opened for Janelle Monae last year in a cross-genre show collaboration

1) I don't know that I'm necessarily motivated to merge the two, rather it just kind of happens that way due to the fact that I listen to both types of music all the fucking time. Certain types of rap/hip-hop songs and artists are more punk rock than some 'punk' bands from a few years ago, ya know?

2) Both. Everything seems to turn commercial whether it's supposed to or not ... It's more about bringing together all different types of musicians rather than different types of "labels," and the idea of getting rid of this dumb imaginary line between hip-hop and rock. Everyone should keep an open mind. Getting stuck in one type of musical genre seems boring.

3) Global village sounds way too fucking hippie, but I guess that's the best way to say it. Definitely, merge everyone together and see what comes out. That's usually how it's worked out in the past.


Hip-hop trio's latest mixtape, American Badass, is fueled by classic rock samples, and group member King Self plays drums for local rock acts within the Grape Tree Collective.

1) I can't honestly say we're motivated to bridge any gaps; it just so happens that we have a white guy in our group and part of being in a band with someone is an immense cultural exchange, so over time our tastes have blended. We all like Nas and the Hot Boys, but we also really like the Stooges and CAN and shit like that. Supreeme and the Grape Tree Collective are also products of early 2000s Grady High school, which was the closest thing to a racial utopia we'll get for a while.

2) I'd say friendship, 'cause to my knowledge I don't know of too many cross-genre collabs going down in the city. But we're all friends, we all mess with the same girls, drink at the same bars and so on. I wish people would recognize the profitability in doing shows with people outside of their genre, especially in a city where people are always trying to be on some "other" shit.

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