Thanks to its reasonably priced homes and respectable school system, Georgia’s majority-white Gwinnett County has been known as picture-perfect suburbia 30 miles outside of Atlanta. Yet when Migos entered music, the group stressed that a family trap act coming out of Atlanta suburb Lawrenceville, Georgia, wasn’t as absurd as locals may think.
Thanks to early hits like “Bando” and “Versace,” Migos has epitomized the power of repetition over the past few years. But the group has also used that same technique to nudge the center of Georgia rap’s orbit in their direction. Migos mention their connection to northside Atlanta — “The Nawf,” as heard in “Bad And Boujee” — in nearly 30 songs. Culture II, which debuted at No. 1 earlier this week, features three of them.
When Offset, Quavo and Takeoff say they are the first rappers to rep the Northside, they are hardly exaggerating. OutKast began its 1994 debut album Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik with a spoken-word intro dedicated to its stomping grounds. “East Point, College Park, Decatur and the S.W.A.T.S,” a woman intones, the latter standing for “Southwest Atlanta Too Strong.” In “Dun Dun,” Shawty Lo side-eyes T.I. for claiming Bankhead as his (“N—- say he from the Westside / Well goddamn, must be two sides”). Gucci Mane calls himself the East Atlanta Santa, among other nicknames. Atlanta built its hip-hop reputation out of every part of town except for Gwinnett County.