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Wednesday, July 14, 2010

What makes an Atlanta artist an Atlanta artist?

Although he launched his career from his Batesville, Miss. bedroom, Atlantas stuck with Soulja Boy -- whether we like it or not.
  • LUCAS COSGROVE
  • Although he launched his career from his Batesville, Miss. bedroom, Atlanta's stuck with Soulja Boy — whether we like it or not.

Georgians dominate country and hip-hop radio charts, according to a recent post by AJC radio reporter, Rodney Ho.

Apparently, "seven of the top 15 acts on the country radio charts have Georgia ties while eight of the top 20 hip-hop songs also have local ties," he writes, citing a Mediabase 24/7 report.

The report lists such acts as Zac Brown Band, Lady Antebellum, and Little Big Town on the country side, along with R&B/rap acts including Usher, Ludacris, Soulja Boy, the Dream and Kanye West — which made commenters on the post pause to ask the obvious question: When did Kanye West become locally affiliated?

It's true that the rapper/producer was born in Atlanta and lived here for a short time, but Kanye is all Chicago. He was only three when he and his newly-divorced mother, Donda West, moved to the Windy City.

While there's no doubt that Kanye is classified as a Chicagoan and not an Atlanta, the fact that he ended up on a list among other artists "with Georgia ties" brings up an interesting point. Now that Atlanta's music industry is considered a national launching ground — especially on the urban, and increasingly pop music, side — many artists relocate here in order to cement deals and, in some cases, piggyback off of the city's name recognition.

Both Asher Roth and Justin Beiber launched careers as Atlanta-affiliated artists due to their manager Scooter Braun being based here where he shopped them around to local industry connections. Ludacris was born in Chicago but raised in Atlanta. Soulja Boy was born and partly bred in Atlanta but living in Mississippi when he launched his career from his bedroom via the Internet; he then relocated back to Atlanta.

In a city full of transplants, you can't exactly deny an artist the right to claim the A. But with so many "Atlanta-based" artists popping out of the woodwork, it makes it hard for those without a clue to define the city musically.

So what do you think? Should we differentiate between Atlanta-bred artists, Atlanta-based artists, and other artists (such as T-Pain, Nicki Minaj, etc.) who simply make the city their second home in order to record and take care of business? And how long do you have to live here to truly lay claim to the city?

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