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Hip Hop Panel - Question 1

February 09, 20235 min read

“What do you see that defines Hip Hop uniquely in Atlanta in contrast to other cities?

The Environment

There are many parameters governing the Global Hip Hop Community, but we must always adhere to the Primal Drive behind Hip Hop.

It will always be “colored” by its Environment.

In this respect, Hip Hop is an Elastic Spiritual Environment of Cultural and Artistic Expressions that emanate from those who “interact” directly in this Sacred Space.

Therefore, Hip Hop will always “reflect” its Source Foundation, which is its Environment.

I am lingering in this explanation because Hip Hop will differentiate itself continually and it will always refuse to be bottled into any man-made restrictions:

  • A box

  • A state of mind

  • A region

  • A record label

  • A political movement

  • A financial agenda

  • A need to keep the status quo

To wrap up the definition, Hip Hop is always Subjective and Unique, both reflecting its Environment and emanating with the Energy from its Local Pioneers and Artists.

For example, NY Hip Hop is colored by the Block Parties, so their focus is on Speakers, Speaker Technology, and the Speaker Loudness Wars to maintain Crowd Focus.

And their energy goes from DJ/MC to Speaker to the Crowd.

For us, ATL Hip Hop is colored by Talent Shows and the Skating Rink, so our focus is on Fashion and Dancing and Group Participation, which directly leads us to two Major Facets:

  • Facet 1 - Routines - the Major Component of all the Yeek Groups.

  • Facet 2 - The word Yeek - the Crowd’s way of participating.

And our energy goes from DJ/MC to Speaker to Dance Group to Crowd (Yeek and Chant) and back to Dance Group.

It is this Natural way of Energy Flow, what Scientist call the TORUS EFFECT, that makes Southern Rappers use more Chants in our Music and why our music is colored with the Crowd’s interaction.

For example, a typical NY Rapper will spit bars and the crowd will listen and appreciate, but a typical ATL Rapper, let’s say Sammy Sam the Hitman, will have the crowd interacting, screaming, and yelling out their hood spots - Give it up for Mechanicsville and Bankhead Courts!

And to add more on top of this example, NY is considered the Concrete Jungle and ATL is surrounded by trees, not concrete.

And to add more on top of that, our City’s history is rich with Black Heroism, Civil Rights and Iconic Figures (Dr. Martin Luther King, Coretta Scott King, Andrew Young, Ralph David Abernathy, Maynard Jackson, John Lewis, Tyler Perry, Tope Awotona, and Clyde Higgs), so it’s obvious that it is going to “COLOR” the soil of ATL Hip Hop.

With this information, it is obvious the Artists have colored their reflection of Hip Hop’s Spiritual Connection to their “local” environment.

In summary, now that we have the Foundation for Hip Hop and its Emanation in the Physical Realm, we can address the question and frame it within the proper context.

The Uniqueness of ATL Hip Hop

ATL Hip Hop’s uniqueness comes from the synthesis and mixture of its cultures, akin to a Spiritual Gumbo.

ATL Hip Hop is the organic combination of nine cultures:

  1. The Skate Culture

  2. The DJ Culture

  3. The Hip Hop Dance Culture 

  4. The Yeek Culture (a specific dance culture)

  5. The Club Culture

  6. The Talent Shows

  7. The Battle Spots (Rainbow Arcade, The Malls, Shyran’s Showcase, etc.)

  8. The Fashion Culture (Five Points Preps)

  9. The Slang Culture (Joning, Comedy, Shawdy, Cool Points, Peeping, Fye, Bankhead Bounce, Crunk, Turn Up, Turnt, Lit, etc.)

It is easy to see the richness of the seed and the soil and how it helps to “blossom” the ATL Hip Hop Culture.

The Ten Hip Hop Elements

And on top of these nine cultures, ATL Hip Hop itself is composed of Ten Elements.

For the first 30 years of Hip Hop, we only had 5 Elements and these were given to us from Bam (Afrika Bambaataa) and they were PERSONAL in Nature.

The Five Elements are as follows:

  • Oral

  • Aural

  • Physical 

  • Visual

  • Mental

These were wonderful for the Hip Hop Community, but since Technology has advanced, we must also advance the Culture.

As a result, I have added 5 more Elements and they are COMMUNAL in Nature.

With my addition, we now have 10 Elements in Hip Hop:

  • Personal (Oral, Aural, Physical, Visual, Mental)

  • Communal (Slang Culture, Fashion Culture, Tech Culture, Biz Culture, Scholarship Culture)


It is evident that ATL’s uniqueness is directly linked to its Origins and this is why we love Hip Hop.

Our seed and our soil allow us to blossom in a certain way, and other cities provide different nutrients that blossom and seed their Hip Hop Artists.

And I'll finish this post with a quote.

I ask that we celebrate more than just Hip Hop, I ask that we celebrate the Seed, the Soil, and the Spiritual Nutrients that saturate our “Environment” with the proper sustenance for Hip Hop Artists to “REFLECT” the Creator’s LIGHT in our Passion, in our Hearts, and in our Work. 

  • Miquiel Banks

Homework Questions

  1. What is the Primal Drive of Hip Hop?

  2. What does Hip Hop reflect?

  3. Is Hip Hop always Subjective or Objective?

  4. Is NY Hip Hop colored by Trees, Fashion Gear, and Central Park?

  5. What is the Torus Effect?

  6. Who is Maynard Jackson?

  7. Who is Tope Awotona?

  8. Why is Clyde Higgs?

  9. How many cultures make up ATL Hip Hop?

  10. Can you name Four ATL Cultures outside of Hip Hop?

  11. How many elements are in ATL Hip Hop?

  12. Why did Hip Hop grow from the 5 Elements introduced by Bam?

  13. What is Bam’s Official Name?

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Miquiel Banks

Miquiel Banks is the Power behind his Educational Site, The Hip Hop Evangelist. His site is dedicated to cultivating and preserving ATL Hip Hop and Yeek Culture.

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