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Tom P.’s hustle 

To live and D.I.Y. in Decatur

When Decatur-based MC Tom P refers to his "little gang of misfits," he's actually talking about the sprawling network of friends and followers that often top out at 1,000 attendees for his homegrown show. Such an undeniable fan base helped him attract enough attention to book Atlanta MC and Grand Hustle signee Bobby Ray, aka B.O.B., to headline his upcoming show.

But he still considers himself D.I.Y. as heck. "I'm not like some corporate media mogul with a bunch of financial backing," he says. "I'm literally a table waiter trying to pursue this dream."

It's a testament to Tom P's personality that he tends to bowl people over, both in conversation and on stage. Born Thomas Peters, he's been rapping since he was 12. By the time he was a junior at Decatur High School, he was organizing his own events and, when required, getting quite hands-on in the process. For one planned show, he and his friends had to rent port-a-potties, hire their own staff and build a stage for the rented warehouse.

It comes as no huge surprise when Peters, 24, says he's not trying to be flashy or gimmicky. As an MC, he claims to have a respect for the music that he finds lacking in many of his peers nowadays. "You see kids who don't have any respect for the craft or the technical aspects or even the roots of it," Peters says. "They dress the part, come up with an act, but they completely skip over the art of it. A lot of my music is bitching about that," he admits. On "Southern City Boys," he attempts to snap on such amorphous, wannabe MCs: "Dude, I read ya resume/you started rappin' yesterday/and when you heard me spit/you got pissed off in a jealous way."

Peters classifies himself as neither mainstream nor underground, but flows with a rapid-fire delivery that reflects his suburban sensibility: "I ain't hip-hop, rap, crunk or R&B," he proclaims on "Killin' It." "I ain't dance, trap, or snap/I'm Tom P."

As for the dream Peters is pursuing, "it's all about the music," he says. "We just try to make the shows as good a time for the audience as possible."

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