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ArtsATL

Your Source For The Arts In Atlanta

6lack: RapCaviar Cypher verse with LVRN

OK, so technically, this is just a verse. Still, man, does Ricardo Valdez Valentine Jr., aka 6lack, pack a lot into the one minute or so runtime for his portion of this early May takeover of Spotify’s Rap Caviar by the Atlanta-based label and creative community known as Love Renaissance (LVRN).

Released in the first part of this month as part of a bigger spectacle piece by the talent-flooded LVRN, 6lack’s collaborators in this involving, layered song include fellow ATLien BRS Cash, along with Houston’s Bloodbath, Cleveland’s NoonieVsEverybody, and L.A.’s Westside Boogie. The calm but commanding contribution by the Grammy-nominated 6lack stands out: “I’m equipped with a gift / When I speak I heal / Above it, cause I love it / And it pays my bills.”

 

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Michael Cera Palin: “Bono! Bono!”

The portmanteau-iest of portmanteaus and an ode to the best and worst (OK, maybe “meh-est” and worst) of 2008, this three-piece indie rock band debuted its first EP in 2015 and followed with a 2018 collection of songs that generated a fair amount of buzz and included a low-energy cover of Sheryl Crow’s “If It Makes You Happy.” They might not be the direct descendants of nerd-rock icons They Might Be Giants, but they’re definitely  somewhere in the family tree. 

The band has gone all out with its latest video. As one YouTube commenter summed it up: Editor: “OK guys, how many special effects and stock footage/photos do you want in this video?” MCP: “Yes” Dancing aliens? Check. Garfield T-shirts? Check MATE.

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Bessie Smith: “Preachin’ the Blues”

When it comes to committing Atlanta’s tenacious merrymaking legacy to verse and tune, Empress of the Blues Bessie Smith got there first. In this 1927 tune, our Vintage Track of the Week, the legend sings, “Down in Atlanta, G-A. drinking corn and hollerin’ hooray / Pianos playing till the break of day.”

More than 80 years later, that legacy would be further documented with parties that “don’t stop till eight in the morning” in the hit anthem “Welcome to Atlanta” by Jermaine Dupri and Ludacris.

Smith, a blues pioneer from the turn of the 20th century, was born in Chattanooga and began developing her powerful stage presence at venues around Atlanta, including the 81 Theatre, part of the Black vaudeville circuit.

Despite her brilliance, confidence and well-earned place atop the pedestal of an entire genre, Smith faced harsh and deeply unjust circumstances throughout her life and died in 1937 at age 43. More than 30 years after she was buried in an unmarked grave near Philadelphia, a tombstone was erected in her honor. It was purchased by two of her biggest fans: Juanita Green, a registered nurse, and singer Janis Joplin.

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