An “impassioned tribute” (Publishers Weekly, starred review) to the most influential music culture today, Atlanta rap—a masterful, street-level story of art, money, race, class, and salvation from acclaimed New York Times reporter Joe Coscarelli.
From mansions to trap houses, office buildings to strip clubs, Atlanta is defined by its rap music. But this flashy and fast-paced world is rarely seen below surface level as a collection not of superheroes and villains, cartoons and caricatures, but of flawed and inspired individuals all trying to get a piece of what everyone else seems to have. In artistic, commercial, and human terms, Atlanta rap represents the most consequential musical ecosystem of this century. Rap Capital tells the dramatic stories of the people who make it tick and the city that made them that way.
The lives of the artists driving the culture, from megastars like Lil Baby and Migos to lesser-known local strivers like Lil Reek and Marlo, represent the modern American dream but also an American nightmare, as young Black men and women wrestle generational curses, crippled school systems, incarceration, and racism on the way to an improbably destination atop art and commerce. Across Atlanta, rap dreams power countless overlapping economies, but they’re also a gamble, one that could make a poor man rich or a poor man poorer, land someone in jail or keep them out of it.
Drawing on years of reporting, more than a hundred interviews, dozens of hours in recording studios and on immersive ride-alongs, acclaimed New York Times reporter Joe Coscarelli weaves a cinematic tapestry of this singular American culture as it took over in the last decade, from the big names to the lesser-seen prospects, managers, grunt-workers, mothers, DJs, lawyers, and dealers that are equally important to the industry. The result is a deeply human, era-defining book that is “required reading for anyone who has ever wondered how, exactly, Atlanta hip-hop took over the world” (Kelefa Sanneh, author of Major Labels). Entertaining and profound, Rap Capital is an epic of art, money, race, class, and sometimes, salvation.