12 hip-hop landmarks to visit in metro Atlanta

4:46 p.m Wednesday, Nov. 22, 2017 Atlanta Music
Akili-Casundria Ramsess/Special to the AJC
From Walter's to the Hooters on Peachtree to the Dungeon, Atlanta is covered with places made famous by rappers.

At the 1995 Source Awards, OutKast took the stage to boos when they won the award for “Best New Rap Group.” Andre 3000 silenced the critics when he told the crowd, “The South got something to say.”

Since then, it’s been easy to argue that the South has taken the hip-hop crown. Atlanta specifically has churned out tons of successful artists since Three-Stacks made that declarative statement. 

And with successful artists and songs come landmarks. Artists sing and rap about their homes, their favorite places, spots that mean something to them and communities they’re familiar with. Those places become very popular, and many of them are in Atlanta.

So if you’re a hip-hop fan, here’s 12 rap landmarks around Atlanta to visit the next time you have a few free hours:

The lyric is spit by Andre 3000 on “Elevators” — a hit from OutKast’s second album. Headland Drive and Delowe Drive intersect in East Point near a shopping center where — according to a Gawker story — Lamonte’s Beauty Supply was, which is where Rico Wade discovered the duo around 1991. Wade is a third of the production team “Organized Noize” which helped groups like OutKast, TLC and Goodie Mob get their start.

There are several strip clubs in metro Atlanta that get name-dropped by rappers in various songs, but Magic City may be the most cited. Future recorded a song about his favorite club in 2012, and then he and T.I. teamed up for a remix and a music video at the club. Young Jeezy also recorded a song called “Magic City Monday” in 2016 with help from Future and 2Chainz. The club has also been mentioned in songs by Drake, Travis Scott, Rick Ross, OutKast, The Game, Meek Mill, Migos, Snoop Dogg, Wale, Young Thug, Killer Mike, Birdman and others.

READ: 2 Chainz’s Atlanta Pink Trap House lease up, will be repainted, owner says

Riverdale is just south of Atlanta in Clayton County, and it’s shouted out in several songs by Waka Flocka, T.I. and 2Chainz. The latter included a song on his latest album — “Pretty Girls Like Trap Music” — called “Riverdale Rd.” in reference to a road that runs from near College Park to Riverdale. Waka Flocka went to Riverdale High School, so if you’re looking for a true landmark spot to take a selfie, maybe that’s it.

Walter’s is a clothing and sneakers store downtown near Georgia State. It’s where you can pick up the latest Jordans, a fresh bucket and a jersey. And you just might run into a rapper while you’re in there. Ludacris, DJ Khaled, Future, Trinidad James and others have been spotted there. The above lyric is from Young Jeezy, but Future, OutKast, Gucci Mane and others have mentioned the iconic Atlanta store in rhymes, too.

This one is pretty specific. It was the opening to a verse by Khujo, a member of Goodie Mobb, in the 1995 song “Soul Food.” Wichita Drive is in the Venetian Hills neighborhood in southwest Atlanta. Google Maps shows there’s a house at this address, so we’re only left to assume this is — or was — home to Khujo, one of his friends, or someone who cooked really well.

Past East Point is a mall that many rappers have frequented, apparently. That lyric is from Young Dro, but Ludacris, Young Jeezy, Gucci Mane and Goodie Mobb have dropped it in songs as well.

So Magic City isn’t the only strip club with its own song. Killer Mike, Bubba Sparxxx and Cool Breeze teamed up for a song about the basement club in 2006. The popular dive bar reopened in September.

Center Hill is a neighborhood in northwest Atlanta, and Cedar Ave., Church Street and South Grand Ave. are all near each other in it. This lyric is from a 2008 T.I. song called “What up, What’s Haapnin’.” He filmed the music video for the song in the neighborhood and revisited Center Hill in 2016. T.I. often shouts out Bankhead in his songs, and Center Hill is just west of that.

Tri-Cities is a public high school in East Point that both Antwan Patton and Andre Benjamin (you know them as Big Boi and Andre 3000) attended. So, before Headland and Delowe, this is where two of the greatest rappers first met. Big Boi told Creative Loafing in 2003 that he and Andre 3000 were both new to the school in the 10th grade. Andre told the magazine he eventually got kicked out of Tri-Cities for skipping class.

That’s from a 2012 song by Childish Gambino (aka Donald Glover) called “Won’t Stop” but rappers have been shopping at and mentioning Lenox Mall in their rhymes for a while. Nicki Minaj, Drake, T.I., Rick Ross, Gucci Mane and Soulja Boy are just a few to drop it in songs.

Here’s another super specific one, and it’s from someone who isn’t from Atlanta: Drake. The Toronto rapper is an admirer of the city and has mentioned it in his songs many times. There is a Hooters on Peachtree Street Northeast, near Centennial Park. And, as the internet found out, there actually is a Courtney.

That’s from Big Boi in OutKast’s first hit song, “Player’s Ball.” The Dungeon was the basement of the home that belonged to Rico Wade’s mother and was the first studio space for Organized Noize, which produced OutKast and Goodie Mobb. It was an unfinished basement with red clay dirt floors, creaky stairs, lots of weed, speakers and beat machines. The Dungeon Family would spend hours hanging out down there, coming up with rhymes, putting beats together, eating, drinking, smoking and sleeping. The Dungeon still exists — a woman named Mary lives there now — in the Lakewood Heights neighborhood, and was featured in the 2016 Netflix documentary, “The Art of Organized Noize.”

Rapper Antwan André Patton, better known as Big Boi, sits down with the AJC to discuss his love for Atlanta, his passion for his family, and what he sees for the future.
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