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Hip-Hop News: Atlanta's New Hip Hop Theme Unsettles Some
Citizens not fans of Atlanta's urban culture speak out regarding the new city anthem.
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Posted by Dave
Rap News Network
12/12/2005 7:07:39 AM

Atlanta, Ga - Just when the hip hop and rap fans started rejoicing that hip hop is getting the public recognition it deserved, others speak out regarding the change in musical taste for the city's anthem.

When Dick Williams heard his city's new anthem, he was aghast. The 60-year-old local Fox television host - who sings for his local choir - could only understand one line: "Get 'em up, get 'em up, 'get em up, get 'em up, get 'em up, let's go . . . "

"Not," he said, "a good line for a city with a high crime rate." 
 
Now that Atlanta is the first city in the United States to have an official hip-hop anthem, residents are agonizing over the meaning of the song. 
 
Mayor Shirley Franklin commissioned Dallas Austin, a hip-hop producer based in Atlanta, to write the anthem as part of her Brand Atlanta campaign to attract tourists and businesses to the city. 
 
Yet ever since "The ATL" - an up-tempo hip-hop and R&B fusion song - debuted in front of 70,000 football fans at an Atlanta Falcons game in October, Atlanta's residents have critiqued its rhythm, its melody and its lyrics. 
 
Sarah Lattimer, a partner of LattimerMoffitt Communications, the marketing company that came up with the idea of an Atlanta anthem, admits she was shocked by the criticism. " "Get "em up' is a club reference," she said. "In a dance club, people throw their hands in the air." 
 
Lattimer said "The ATL" articulates the soul of Atlanta. "The ATL" underlines the difficulty of defining Atlanta, the bustling, entrepreneurial capital of the New South. Atlanta has a reputation as progressive, but there is still a divide between the predominantly black city and the predominantly white metropolitan region. According to the 2000 census, the city of Atlanta is 61 percent black; the wider metropolitan area is 29 percent black. 
 
Many Atlanta residents are unaware that their city has become a hip-hop hub and that artists based in Atlanta - Young Jeezy, Dem Franchise Boyz, Trina and D4L - dominated last week's Billboard Rap Charts. 
 
Earlier this year, a Georgia State University report estimated that the annual economic impact of Georgia's commercial music scene, which is concentrated in Atlanta, is close to $1 billion. 
 
Yet many Atlantans scoff at the notion that the commercial success of Atlanta's hip-hop industry could translate into a broader business plan for the city. 
 
Even though Williams, the Fox host, concedes that his children listen to hip-hop and he battles with them for control of the car radio, he believes that promoting Atlanta's hip-hop culture will deter businesses and conventions from coming to the city.

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