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Atlanta artists you need to add to your playlist

Sit down comfortably and learn more about Atlanta music artists you should add to your playlist. Photo by Matt Siciliano-Salazar | The Signal

To be a success in the creative industry, hustling is required. For Darel Bailey and Kenneth Blu, hustling is scooping ice cream at Jenis. They may serve ice cream by day, but by night, they are hard-working recording artists.

The two hip-hop artists, who have lived and worked in Atlanta for about four years, have already accomplished forming a hip-hop group (PDSY) with YouTube views ranging from 1,000 to 5,000, thousands of followers on social media and have both released their own full-length solo albums. 

Twenty-three year old Bailey, whose rapper name is Relly Wonka, came out to Atlanta in July 2015 from New York to make a name for himself. 

“Everybody in New York can rap and does, but it was so hard to network with people there and get a manager,” he said. “Coming out here, it’s been so much easier to get involved and meet people. People here see more potential in me and are much more outgoing than New Yorkers.” 

Thanks to the Southern hospitality, Bailey has been able to get with a label that has helped him distribute his own solo work, as well as getting gigs with PDSY to perform with some of Atlanta’s biggest stars. 

“I’ve performed for five sold-out crowds in the last two years,” he said. “My first show I ever did with the group was with some of the members of Odd Future. I also performed at LudaDay Weekend, opened up for Lil Uzi and 21 Savage at Clark Atlanta University and our group did a sold out show on Edgewood.” 

With 91 rappers and hip-hop groups coming out of Atlanta, Bailey moved down south, not only to make connections but to further explore his sound that he describes as a vibrant Pharrell or Andre 3000 vibe. 

“My sound got different. I got adapted to how unorthodox the Atlanta style is,” he said. “New York rap has always been more aggressive, like in your face, but [the] ATL sound is more of a fun bounce.” 

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As for Blu, his sound also metamorphosed when he moved from a small town in Tennessee to the big city. Blu’s sound has also been influenced by the fun Atlanta “bounce,” which can be heard on his song “Move On” off his first full-length album “Re-Construction.” 

“It has been a pretty impactful influence on my artistry,” he said. ““Atlanta just holds the lifestyle and energy for an artist to flourish. Not just saying this only takes place in Atlanta, but it’s greatly impactful. Along with the pace of events and the love for entertainment here, the pathway to music is taken very seriously, which also allows growth for myself and my sound.” 

As far as Bailey leveling up and exploring with his original sound, he’s gained an Instagram following that’s boosted his popularity and has shifted his energy to focus on his solo career. 

“Since coming to Atlanta, I just dropped a project called ‘Harlem Boy,’ and I’m about to partner up with a label, which will help me in distributing my music,” he said. “For my first ever solo project, I was making songs in my closet, because I didn’t have enough money to go to a studio. It’s so amazing, though, for people to tell me they love the songs I’ve made because I was at my lowest point making them.”

Based on Bailey’s real support from engagements on social media, he’s noticed that marketing yourself on social media to promote your music is the way to get noticed. 

“Because of the Instagram following I’ve been gaining, these managers want to be putting money on me. These labels and managers want to see your numbers doing good on Insta, [which] makes it easier to invest money on them,” he said. “Anyone could be a superstar if they got that.”

A heavy social media following, talent and connections are crucial to make it, but the most important point is still authenticity. 

“For artists starting out and for artists always, just be yourself,” he said. “Don’t try to be like another artist. If you’re the fake Playboy Carti, you’ll get called out. Surround yourself with a great team to keep you grounded and true to yourself and sound. What makes my Instagram unique is I’m 100% tryna be myself and create my own wave. I’m funny, I’m sad, I’m real, I’m relatable.” 

Blu also knows focusing on who he is and being authentic to that is the most important part. 

“My music, to me, means energy,” he said. “What you’re around is what will come out, so I like to stay to myself and record at times but will feature with other creatives that fit my energy type and produce a different lifestyle of energy. I’ve received a lot of feedback on the originality of my sound and that’s what you need to create in order to get in your own lane.”

A catchy beat and fun lyrics are both reasons why people love music, but when someone truly connects with a song and the lyrics, that’s when the artist feels their music and impact has really made it. 

“My biggest accomplishment right now is learning, learning how to operate and grow my operation so that it connects and touches more people, in order to enhance my fan base,” Blu said. 

Making it in the creative world, whether it be starting a music career, getting into the art scene, or becoming a well-known photographer isn’t the easiest thing in the world, but having the support of people and working hard on yourself is what counts. 

“As a young artist, it is important to apply yourself daily and hold yourself accountable for all actions taken upon in your career,” Blu said. “Continue to be patient even though it may seem forever while you’re grinding and working out knots with your career as you figure it out, but stay true to your daily operations on what works for you and stay consistent.”