Atlanta celebrates 50 years of hip-hop with all-star concert

Midway through T.I.’s set Sunday night at Atlanta’s celebration of hip-hop concert, a teenage daughter asked her mother who the blue-clad rapper was who joined him on stage for a hyped-up cameo.

“I don’t know his stage name, but we called him D’Juan,” said the mother, who was still rapping every lyric.

Credit: Michael Blackshire

Credit: Michael Blackshire

It was an example of how intimate and personal Atlanta’s hip-hop community is and how the groundbreaking genre has so infiltrated Atlanta’s culture.

By the way, that guest rapper with T.I. was Bankhead’s Young Dro. They were two of more than a dozen acts that Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens invited to the Lakewood Amphitheatre in South Atlanta to celebrate the 50th anniversary of hip-hop for a free concert in front of a couple of thousand ATLiens.

ExploreDigital gallery: More photos from the concert

The concert was the centerpiece of “ATL 50 Hip Hop,” a multi-week series of events that included academic talks, a movie series, art shows, the laying of a time capsule and old-school skating parties to mark Atlanta’s contributions to the genre.

Jermaine Dupri, who was also celebrating the 30th anniversary of his So So Def, and radio personality Ryan Cameron hosted the concert that featured T.I., Goodie Mob, EarthGang, Backbone, Crime Mob, Omeretta The Great and Scotty ATL.

ExploreDesign of Atlanta United third kit leaked at Goodie Mob concert

Credit: Michael Blackshire

Credit: Michael Blackshire

A child of the hip-hop generation, the mayor, dressed in a white Atlanta Braves jersey with DICKENS 61 on the back, was ecstatic when he introduced his old friends, The Goodie Mob.

The quartet — Khujo, Big Gipp, CeeLo and T-Mo — each came out on stage wearing new hip-hop versions of official Atlanta United FC jerseys.

Chris Winkler, a spokesman for the Major League Soccer team, told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution that the new kits — a collaboration with the creative brand, Atlanta Influences Everything, “will honor the golden era of the city’s history and culture.”

They will officially be released on Aug. 22.

Credit: Michael Blackshire

Credit: Michael Blackshire

Continuing to emphasize Atlanta, at one point, Big Gipp took his off to reveal a vintage Atlanta Hawks jersey.

Dickens danced on the sidelines, singing every word.

After the Goodie Mob set, Dickens, Dupri and Cameron returned to the stage. Waiting in the wings was former Atlanta mayor and United Nations ambassador Andrew Young.

The 61st mayor of Atlanta held up the arm of the 55th mayor.

Young smiled and said he wanted to get political for a second, which the crowd didn’t seem to mind. He talked about how beautiful the crowd was and how important Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport is.

He said all of that was due to an unbroken streak of Black leadership dating back to 1973 — the year that hip-hop was born and the year that Maynard Jackson was elected as Atlanta’s first Black mayor.

Credit: Michael Blackshire

Credit: Michael Blackshire

Then Young introduced the concert’s closing act, T.I.

Young called T.I. a “genius since kindergarten.”

T.I. said Young mentored him “through the darkest times of my life.”

Throughout his set, T.I. performed some of his greatest hits like “Rubber Band Man,” “Bring ‘Em Out” and “24′s.”

King Harris, T.I.’s son, also made a quick appearance toward the end of the show, helping his dad perform the 2014 song “About the Money,” which originally featured Young Thug.


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