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Gucci Mane

Atlanta Soundtrack: Baby Baby, Wiley From Atlanta and “war of the proses”

Baby Baby: “Fitted Sheets for the Lonely”

There aren’t a ton of reasons to thank the now-ancient-pre-Zuckerberg-world-domination digital forum known as MySpace. But if we had to cite one, it’d be the fact that the rickety old platform brought together jovial rockers Baby Baby. According to legend, the group the Athens Banner-Herald likened to “Nirvana in a good mood” owes its existence to a 2009 meeting on MySpace between frontman Fontez Brooks and drummer Grant Wallace, back when both were attending the University of West Georgia in Carrollton.

Fast forward and their debut album, Money, released in 2011, featured ambitious titles like “I Could Have Taken You to See the Blink 182 Reunion Show But I Spent $20 Taking You Out on a Date Instead and You Didn’t Return My Phone Call so Now I Want My Refund (aka $20).” And with solid tunes to back up their song-naming bravado, they quickly racked up a loyal and burgeoning fan base. In 2014 alone, a banner year to be sure, they opened for Bad Religion in Los Angeles, performed with Run the Jewels and played at major shows like Chicago’s Riotfest and Brooklyn’s AFROPUNK.

Years on the grind as professional musicians can be exhausting, though. After taking a three-or-so year break to gather back steam, the group is set to prompt fan fervor all over again with their forthcoming album this year, U Good?, which they recorded with Atlanta legend/Renaissance Man Dan Dixon.

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Wiley From Atlanta: “Contact High”

Like many artists who bleed freely into a song, Will Bryant, aka Wiley From Atlanta, has a distinctively gravelly voice that is reportedly the product of plain old luck and, well, lots of cigarettes. His debut LP, 2019’s Blue Don’t Make Me Cry, came blazing through the local music scene with its raw emotion like an unchecked ember on a dry summer’s day. That work featured an appearance by fellow Atlantan rising star Kenny Mason.

Perhaps the 23-year-old Wiley seems like such an old soul because he’s already been writing lyrics for 10 years, having gotten hooked on hip-hop when he was 13. Now, a decade in, he has once again blended folk, hip-hop, soul and rock ‘n’ roll into his late 2021 release Kingfisher, an album influenced by the pandemic and the symbolism of the hearty, unflappable (pun intended!) kingfisher bird.

Inspired by groundbreaking artists like Frank Ocean, Kendrick Lamar, J. Cole and the late Mac Miller, Wiley also digs Erykah Badu, Sade and especially Fleetwood Mac. As he told OkayPlayer recently, “I was thinking of, you know, ‘Dreams’ and ‘The Chain’ — these Fleetwood Mac songs that are kind of like breakup songs, but they’re sort of sexy at the same time.”

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Gucci Mane featuring Jeezy: “Icy”

Pulitzer-winning poet Robert Frost once wrote: “Some say the world will end in fire,/ Some say in ice. / From what I’ve tasted of desire / I hold with those who favor fire. / But if it had to perish twice, / I think I know enough of hate / To say that for destruction ice / Is also great / And would suffice.” He might well have been talking about this weekend’s forecast. He might also have been talking about the famous beef that sprang up from between the lines of this aptly named song, the duo that set up a decades-long feud between the chillingly nicknamed “East Atlanta Santa” and “Snowman.”

Radric Davis, aka entrepreneur and scion of trap Gucci Mane, was born in Alabama but moved to Atlanta with his mother when he was still in elementary school. Back in 2005 when (then Young) Jeezy and Gucci Mane recorded this, their first collaboration, supposedly there was some confusion over whose album the joint effort, which went on to be a chart hit, would appear on. And lo and behold, it ended up on Gucci’s first album, Trap House.

From there, the war of the proses, if you will, had its ups and downs. The “cold war of rap” hit every mile marker, from lyrical insults and social media barbs to entourage fights and big money bets to an actual murder trial. They called a truce in 2009, though the goodwill sadly crumbled soon thereafter. (Lately, though, things seem to have — ahem — chilled out.)

As Atlanta braces for another possible Snowmageddon this weekend, it’s nice that at least we have our own resident “Snowman” and “East Atlanta Santa” here to provide the soundtrack to our own frozen undoing.

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