ATLANTA — A cultural movement is being honored in metro Atlanta as Hip-Hop embarks on its 50th year. The influential experience is more than just a genre and plenty of artists have made their mark in the city.
Although it started out in the Bronx, the South has "something to say." Major innovators and entrepreneurs in Hip-Hop contributed to the Georgia economy.
Jonathan Blanchard and Jamal Lindsey, owners of JB's Record Lounge at the corner of Abernathy Road and Joseph E. Lowery Boulevard honored the genre as they reflected on the musical greats that ignited the movement.
"Andre 3000 dropped that flag and marked the south. Since then, Atlanta has been the catalyst for creating some of the biggest names in Hip-Hop and many others who call it home," Lindsey said. "Even myself being a Bronx native I say Atlanta is the current capital of Hip-Hop. It has become one of the largest exports from America to the world."
Melinda Sylvester, the founder of the Greater Georgia Black Chamber of Commerce, added there are 20,000 businesses in the state directly connected to Hip-Hop music.
"T.I., Killer Mike, you got Rick Ross, 2Chainz and their metaphors – turned into cash. Hip-Hop has made a tremendous economic impact in Georgia," Sylvester said.
Atlantucky Brewery, owned by members of the Grammy-nominated rap group Nappy Roots, is a prime example of Hip-Hop transforming into a cultural staple in the metro.
"I'm proud of where we are in Hip-Hop, and 50 years shows this is not a fad. It's about evolution and growth. It's a representation of who we are as a culture and I love it," Skinny Deville said.
Deville's other half, Fish Scales, said influential musicians have transitioned into great businessmen changing the Hip-Hop game.
Metro Atlanta business owners influenced by the movement add that the genre has given them lessons on life, love and the pursuit of success.
"Happy anniversary Hip-Hop! Thank you so much for sticking around! Thank you for raising people like myself," Blanchard added.