You don’t have to look far in Atlanta to find good hip-hop music. The Atlanta mixtape scene is renowned nationwide and the city continually pumps out new artists from every neighborhood in the city. Unfortunately, just because these artists are putting out new music Â on the regular does not mean they are performing every night at your corner dive bar. What’s good for hip-hop fans, however, is that artists have begun touring more than ever and Atlanta is a top destination. But where to go to catch these acts?
Phillips Arena and Aaron’s Amphitheatre at Lakewood are good bets to see big names like Jay-Z or ATL’s own Ludacris when they come through town, but here are five places you’ll most likely find hip-hop on any given day.
Part of the EarthLink Live Music Complex, this 2nd floor venue in Midtown is easily the go-to spot for emerging hip-hop acts to perform. With a capacity of 800 people, the Loft can accompany a crowd while still maintaining intimacy and energy. Recent shows to come through include Big Sean, Curren$y and J. Cole. Independent midwest favorite Tech N9ne is a highlight of upcoming shows.
If you’re familiar with the concert scene in Atlanta you’re familiar with Masquerade. This premier mid-level venue pulls in acts of all kinds with some solid hip-hop acts regularly. With room for about 200 more people than The Loft, Masquerade has featured artists such as Wiz Khalifa and will host the A3C hip-hop festival as well as Duck Down Records anniversary tour.
Nestled on 3rd Street next to the Varsity sits the Apache Cafe. While not as large as other venues, Apache hosts a weekly hip-hop jam session and open mic night every Tuesday with group BFD providing the music and guest DJs and MCs almost every week. Besides the jam session, Apache also hosts shows such as Donwill of Tanya Morgan and NC group Kooley High.
While not as consistent as others, Lenny’s does open up its doors for some great hip-hop shows. Boot Camp Clik’s Sean Price has done sets at Lenny’s and B.o.B running mate Playboy Tre will be hosting a party with Sean Flayon in October. Stoner favorite Afroman will also stop through Lenny’s making it a formidable place to catch solid hip-hop acts.
I know, Tabernacle is not a traditional hip-hop venue as it hosts other genres much more frequently, but higher profile artists do take advantage of the 2,600-capacity converted church on Luckie Street. When Nas and Damien Marley came through Atlanta to promote their Distant Relatives album they hit up Tabernacle. As does ATLien Big Boi when he decides to rock a show. The Roots have also been known to stage a revival of their own here.
Other venues in the area do play host to hip-hop acts but as high profile or frequently. Star Bar, Drunken Unicorn, King Plow Â and 595 North’s schedules are worth checking out, but the five venues above are going to be your best bet.