Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Hard to swallow Pill raps Atlanta’s grim reality

Posted By on Wed, Jan 27, 2010 at 3:00 PM

click to enlarge TRAP GOIN’ UPSCALE: Pill represents a slowly fading way of life in Atlanta’s trendy Old Fourth Ward.
  • TRAP GOIN’ UPSCALE: Pill represents a slowly fading way of life in Atlanta’s trendy Old Fourth Ward.

By Maurice G. Garland

It's 9:30 a.m. on MLK Jr.'s birthday and Pill is headed back to Pink City for another photo shoot. Although it's his third shoot there this week, he seems no less surprised upon arrival, as he stands in front of the condemned two-story building on the corner of Edgewood Avenue and Hilliard Street in Old Fourth Ward.

"I can't believe they shut this place down," he says, pointing to the upstairs unit near the rear of the boarded-up hotel from which he used to pump drugs. The Hilliard Street Residence Hotel had always been known to him by another name – one that certainly didn't come from the color of its lime-green paint. According to street legend, the motel once served as a pit stop for prostitution – hence, Pink City.

Last June, Pill brought new infamy to Pink City when he made it the central location of his video shoot for "Trap Goin' Ham." Filmed within walking distance of the King Center, the spontaneously shot, guerilla-style video shined a light on pockets of intown poverty that persist despite the encroaching land-grab of gentrification.

There, in full view, was a side of Atlanta that most of its citizens only dared to glimpse – usually from the safety of their cars as they zoom past en route to such trendy establishments as Cafe Circa, Thumbs Up Diner or Noni's Bar & Deli. A far cry from the lavish clubs, video models and A-list celebs that typically show up in Atlanta rap videos, the talent in "Trap Goin' Ham" consists of curbside dealers, crack addicts and street stragglers who happened to wander by that day.

The video resonated in unexpected ways. Within an hour of posting "Trap Goin' Ham" online, the MC's fate was sealed by two divergent incidents: YouTube yanked the video due to its graphic nature, and representatives from Asylum/Warner Bros. called to inquire about the unsigned rapper's label status.

Continue Reading "Hard to swallow Pill raps Atlanta’s grim reality"

(Photo by Joeff Davis)

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