Atlanta bass is a microgenre of hip hop music derived from Miami Bass. It reached its peak popularity around 1996 but has primarily been an underground style. The microgenre serves as both a description of a sound and a local scene.
It combines the general Miami Bass sound with slower contemporary R&B songs or R&B vocals. The vocal approach is often more melodic. Music with this sound that was developed outside of Atlanta would still most likely be referred to as Miami Bass or booty bass.
Despite some songs reaching national attention in the 1990s Atlanta bass has never found consistent mainstream acceptance, though its importance has had a profound impact on the development of future Atlanta styles such as Dirty South, Crunk, Snap, and Trap.
SOUND AND CONTENT
Atlanta Bass beats have a similar production as Miami Bass beats with a more consistent tempo usually from 130 BPM to 140 BPM.
The content is the same as Miami Bass with party oriented topics, dances, and/or sexually explicit content. Overall it is typically considered more “female friendly” and less raunchy than the Bass music from Miami. The incorporation of singing or more melodic hooks made the Atlanta Bass scene become a more specific style within Miami Bass.
Summary of Common Elements of Atlanta Bass Music
- Miami Bass style drums and bass production
- BPM – Usually around 130 to 140
- Added R&B instrumentation to production
- Centers around partying, booty shaking, hooking-up, and sex.
- R&B style singing incorporated in songs and/or more melodic hooks than general Miami Bass.
Some popular dances from Atlanta Bass include “Da’ Dip” and the “Running Man Challenge” in 2016 that re-popularized the song “My Boo” by the Ghost Town DJs.
Atlanta’s first contact with Hip Hop came from Bronx native MC Shy D who moved there in the late 70s prior to the release of rap’s first hit “Rapper’s Delight.” Shy D brought experience to Atlanta which started the scene. In order to pursue being an international star Shy D signed with 4 Sight Records in Fort Lauderdale in 1985 and put out a few singles. Then he signed with Luke Skyywalker Records in Miami and released his first album in 1987. The Florida hip hop scene was dominated by Miami Bass and Shy D adopted the bass sound as well. Shy D’s DJs, DJ Smurf and DJ Toomp, followed suit and started making more up-tempo records. Soon after many other Atlanta acts continued the trend of making bass music.
Since R&B music was such as strong staple in Atlanta, DJs would often mix slow R&B records with up-tempo Hip Hop records. For example, a song may blend vocals from the R&B group Levert and mix them over the “Planet Rock” beat.
They would do this by programming drums with the 808 drum machine and sweep all the low-end out of the ballads to remix the songs. Since the ballads were half the tempo of the Hip Hop beats it combined the sound of slow music and fast music. The Atlanta Bass sound came from trying to recreate the feel of these mixtape mashups into original music.
Atlanta Bass 90s
MC Shy-D and Tony M.F. Rock started performing bass music in the late 80s and scored some local hits. In the 90s, acts such as DJ Smurf, Lil Jon, and Kilo along with the labels of So So Def Recordings and Wrap Records emergence established Atlanta Bass as its own scene and style. The microgenre reached its peak in 1996 with the release of the hit songs “My Boo” by the Ghost Town DJs and “Da’ Dip” by Freak Nasty. By the late 90s, the bass music started fusing their sound more with the general Dirty South style and Crunk.
Atlanta Bass 2000s to Present
Since the 2000s Atlanta Bass has been fused with other styles of Hip Hop and most of the initial sound has been relegated to the underground but is still being made. It had a major influence on the Dirty South Rap, Crunk, Snap, and Trap that dominated the Atlanta scene afterword.
NOTABLE ARTISTS, DJS, PRODUCERS, ALBUMS, AND SONGS
Popular Atlanta Bass DJs/Producers
- DJ Jelly
- DJ Kizzy Rock
- DJ Smurf aka Mr. Collipark
- DJ Taz
- DJ Toomp
- Ghost Town DJs
- Lil Jon
Popular Atlanta Bass Rap/R&B Acts
- Freak Nasty
- Kilo Ali
- Lil Jon & The East Side Boyz
- MC Shy-D
- Playa Poncho
- Raheem the Dream
- Tag Team
- Tony M.F. Rock
Popular/Classic Atlanta Bass Songs
- Duice – Dazzey Duks (1992)
- Tag Team – Whoomp There it is (1993)
- 12 Gauge – Dunkie Butt (1993)
- Dis N’ Dat – Party (1994)
- Kilo Ali – Nasty Dancer (1995)
- Freaknasty – Da Dip (1996)
- Ghosttown DJs – My Boo (1996)
- DJ Taz – That’s Right (1997)
- KP & Envyi – Swing My Way (1997)
- Lil Jon & The East Side Boyz – Shawty Freak A Lil Sumthin (1998)
Popular Atlanta Bass Record Labels
- Big Oomp Records
- Ichiban Records
- So So Def Recordings
- Wrap Records
Electrohop – Electronic music combined with hip hop elements such as sampling and scratching.
Miami Bass – Electronic music with heavier bass, raised dance tempos, and usually lyrics about dancing, partying, or sexually explicity content.
Crossover Hip Hop – Hip Hop music featuring R&B or pop style production and/or singing vocals in the hook or in a verse.
Dirty South – A combination of hardcore rap, Miami bass, and bounce music that developed in the southern United States that reflected southern culture.
Crunk Music – Spinoff of Dirty South music that combined the up-tempo club oriented bass music with shouting vocals, more call and response vocals, and layered keyboards synths.