Watch VH1’s Excellent Documentary on the Rise of Atlanta Hip-Hop

Brow Beat
Slate's Culture Blog
Sept. 3 2014 6:48 PM

Watch VH1’s Excellent Documentary on the Rise of Atlanta Hip-Hop

DV1842292

Photo by Braastad, Audun/AFP/Getty Images

Tuesday night, VH1 aired the latest installment in its consistently strong documentary series, ATL: The Untold Story of Atlanta’s Rise in the Rap Game, a fascinating analysis of hip-hop culture at the epicenter of the Dirty South. The one-hour documentary is told via colorful first-person accounts from some of the city’s earliest hip-hop pioneers (Jermaine Dupri, Mojo, Speech from Arrested Development) and contemporary stars (Killer Mike, T.I., Lil Jon), as they chronicle Atlanta’s place in hip-hop history from its underground days in the ’80s all the way up to its radio dominance in 2014.

But beyond pinpointing the scene’s major turning points (e.g. Outkast winning Best New Artist at the 1995 Source Awards), the doc also sheds light on some historical events (the Atlanta child murders, the 1980s crack epidemic, the 1996 Summer Olympics) that informed the city’s sound but whose influence might’ve existed outside the purview of many non-Atlantans. Even if you consider yourself an informed rap fan, you’ll likely learn a thing or two. In fact, it’s so well done that it almost makes up for the deplorable Love & Hip-Hop: Atlanta—almost.

Dee Lockett is Slate's editorial assistant for culture.

TODAY IN SLATE

Culturebox

The End of Pregnancy

And the inevitable rise of the artificial womb.

Doctor Tests Positive for Ebola in New York City

How a Company You’ve Never Heard of Took Control of the Entire Porn Industry

The Hot New Strategy for Desperate Democrats

Blame China for everything.

The Questions That Michael Brown’s Autopsies Can’t Answer

Foreigners

Kiev Used to Be an Easygoing Place

Now it’s descending into madness.

Technology

Don’t Just Sit There

How to be more productive during your commute.

There Has Never Been a Comic Book Character Like John Constantine

Which Came First, the Word Chicken or the Word Egg?

  News & Politics
The Slate Quiz
Oct. 24 2014 12:10 AM Play the Slate News Quiz With Jeopardy! superchampion Ken Jennings.
  Business
Moneybox
Oct. 23 2014 5:53 PM Amazon Investors Suddenly Bearish on Losing Money
  Life
Outward
Oct. 23 2014 5:08 PM Why Is an Obscure 1968 Documentary in the Opening Credits of Transparent?
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 23 2014 11:33 AM Watch Little Princesses Curse for the Feminist Cause
  Slate Plus
Working
Oct. 23 2014 11:28 AM Slate’s Working Podcast: Episode 2 Transcript Read what David Plotz asked Dr. Meri Kolbrener about her workday.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Oct. 23 2014 6:55 PM A Goodfellas Actor Sued The Simpsons for Stealing His Likeness. Does He Have a Case?
  Technology
Technology
Oct. 23 2014 11:47 PM Don’t Just Sit There How to be more productive during your commute.
  Health & Science
Science
Oct. 23 2014 5:42 PM Seriously, Evolution: WTF? Why I love the most awkward, absurd, hacked-together species.
  Sports
Sports Nut
Oct. 20 2014 5:09 PM Keepaway, on Three. Ready—Break! On his record-breaking touchdown pass, Peyton Manning couldn’t even leave the celebration to chance.