As a consumer of Atlanta hip hop, I know our city has a win. Now an expat in Philly I can no longer claim to be a native Atl-ien. I’ve spent too many years steeped in Northern culture rather than sweet tea. However; I think it gives me a unique perspective to see Atlanta’s rise to the mecca of America’s cultural scene. In a national discourse filled with division I’m proud to be from a city too busy to hate.
I set out to try to succinctly describe what Atlanta means to me. I quickly realized that the A is more than words. Honestly its too many words. Atlanta to me represents hope, persistence, friendship, freedom, acceptance, and most importantly home. Atlanta has more grit than the streets of Philadelphia, but we are also a city that welcomes with open arms. For heaven’s sake one of our own natives gave Julian Edelman an impromptu tour of the belt line before Superbowl LIII. From the cultural amalgam of Buford Highway to the Clermont Lounge, our city represents the best of all worlds.
Being a medical student makes you an empiricist, so I’m gonna hit you with some stats. In 2000 our metropolitan area was a little over 4 million. We’re currently pushing 6 million, and we are the ninth largest metropolitan area in the US. Atlanta gained 100,000+ jobs last year and is the third fastest metropolitan area. Atlanta has the largest consortium of historically black colleges and is colloquially known as “black mecca”. As a city we are melting pot of talent and drive. Atlanta is home to the largest aquarium and largest 10km race in the world. I was sitting in an innovation lecture, and the presenter said that Atlanta brags about our corporate connections. We have more than 20 companies making the fortune 500 list (third largest concentration). We are the home of Delta, Coca-cola, and Home Depot. If you are a startup type, better rent that we work in midtown. All we need now is the MARTA moon shot funding!
I’m a second generation southern American of Indian origin. My favorite BBQ joint is Heirloom near the Chattahoochee. Only in Atlanta does southern style BBQ meet Korean love. Atlanta represents the future of American progress in film, art, and most importantly music. Outkast got us moving, Lil Jon was America’s hypeman of the 2000s, and 2Chainz guides us how to enjoy the finest things in life. From east of West lake to late nights in Buckhead we defined trap. We hosted the superbowl and displayed our own extended halftime show with the best and brightest talent of the ATL hip hop scene.
We may have lost the Georgia Dome and Turner Field. The holy trinity of pitching is behind us. We definitely bloew a 25-point lead. Old Fourth Ward burnt twice. Despite it all like Falcons we rise up! As Andre 3000 so succinctly put it “Spaceships don’t come equipped with rear view mirrors”.
If you find yourself in Atlanta for a weekend, take a look at my guide to find the best places for nibbles and dribbles: