For those of you who missed it, Noisey, a Vice subsidiary focusing on music, just finished its ten part series on Atlanta’s trap rap scene. The YouTube housed series, conveniently titled Noisey Atlanta, was hosted and curated by Thomas Morton, a journalist, and led the viewer from Atlanta’s earliest trap artists like Gucci Mane to new school rappers like Rich Homie Quan. Noisey Atlanta was certainly a force to be reckoned with, and anyone who tracked its releases will agree that as an ATLien it was supremely exciting. I decided to take each chapter and rank them with a three-pronged criteria in mind; those being fascination, information and inspiration. Before we get started, I’d like to make a little disclaimer by saying I truly loved every piece of this saga, and no episode was truly bad. How can you really rank a YouTube series?
10. 2 Chainz Up Close & Personal – Episode 6
Where most episodes evoked an adrenaline based inspiration, this episode, featuring superstar rapper 2 Chainz, fell a little short. There was a specific alienating amount of superficiality, that I couldn’t shake. Maybe it was 2 Chainz obsession with possessions mixed with the vague loneliness in his friend-less house. However, like I said, no chapter falls below the bar. The “Birthday Song” rapper is one of the most relevant Atlanta artists, and in the video it’s hard to deny his success.
9. Gucci Mane & Jeezy: Trap Lords – Episode 3
This installment focused on Gucci Mane and Jeezy (formerly Young) feud from around 2005, and that ends up being the biggest handicap in this chapter. The narrative lacks a current interview with either party, and instead the tale is told through old clips and interviews with people close to the feud. While it is an important blip in the trap history, it takes you out of the flow of the overall series.
8. Trouble with the ATL Twins – Episode 4
What can I say that taking one look at the ATL Twins can’t say for me? Well, needless to say, the ATL Twins take up about one half of the running time on this chapter. The other half is dedicated to following one of the ATL Twins’ friend and artist, The Devil, and takes Thomas and the crew to visit infamous rap/trap crew Duck Tape. It delves more into the obscure, or specific, loosing an ounce or two of relevance, but staying strange in the best way.
7. Meet the Migos – Episode 2
Atlanta trap music reaches new heights of incoherence when it comes to Migos, so it is seen in this Noisey adventure. The Migos are three rappers truly on the rise to stardom, and seeing this episode, there is an inspiring modesty to their creative process. That being said, there is also a glorification of violence and intimidation from the Migos and their friends that comes a little late in the generation. In an age of positivity and self-love, the Migos come off as sort of immature to that.
6. The Psychedelic & Bizarre World of iLoveMakonnen – Episode 7
iLoveMakonnen is becoming a household name, if your house is mostly young people who go clubbing on the week days. His drug enforced wailings can be heard alongside greats like Drake, Wiz Khalifa and Snoop Dog, but this chapter digs into the dark corridors of Makonnen’s past. I was honestly surprised to find such depth behind an artist most can’t make sense of, and it’s that remarkable quality that shines.
5. Welcome to the Trap – Episode 1
The flagship episode is certainly one of quality, and is exciting for many reasons. It drew me in, and made me commit to the series. Episode 1 introduces the intent of the show and starts you right in the midst of the trap, with gangster icon Curtis Snow. It builds an anticipation for what’s to come, while managing to not peak just as it begins. This is the perfect beginning, because it is neither here nor there, it sits in a sweet spot.
4. Shots Fired in Little Mexico With Young Scooter & Gucci – Episode 5
The community plays a big part in the majority of these chapters, and this can especially be seen in Little Mexico, a confusing title for a predominantly black area of Atlanta. While the violence still rears its ugly head when gunfire interrupts filming, the majority of time is spent at a block party, where the residents wear American flags and Young Scooter discusses the trap. The episode also offers a look from the perspective of law enforcement in the area, giving it a nice balance.
3. Peewee Longway’s Playhouse – Episode 10
The final episode in this saga capped off the show in a very satisfying way. It features incredibly animated rapper Peewee Longway and his late night, party-fueled escapades, and ends with a reflection from Thomas. While Peewee Longway isn’t exactly the first name that pops into my head in terms of quintessential Atlanta rappers, he does a good job of acting as a culmination of the aspects showcased previously.
2. The Producers – Episode 9
One of the most exciting episodes in the series was all about the producers in the trap world. Atlanta rap has an undeniable sound, and thus succeeded in making the rounds and highlighting a number diverse creatives from Zaytoven to Metroboomin. Production in music is something that has slowly stepped into the limelight over time, and seeing Atlanta’s best and brightest producers proves to be truly inspiring. Their reach knows no bounds, with producers working for mainstream artists like Mariah Carey and Miley Cyrus. From the process to the elaborate way music is tested for its effectiveness, it is incredibly fascinating.
1. Rich Gang: Sometimes You Win, Sometimes You Lose – Episode 8
Now we’ve arrived at number one, the episode un-incidentally titled after the show’s theme song. Rich Gang is a Young Money super group, featuring heavily Atlanta rappers Young Thug and Rich Homie Quan. The reason I picked this out as the best, or my favorite, has a lot to do with these two. There was a thoughtfulness to Rich Homie Quan that I wouldn’t have expected if I hadn’t seen him interviewed by Morton, and a unique quality in Young Thug that proves the growth of rap in general. They represent the generation to come, and get me genuinely stoked for modern trap.