Since the dawn of Hip Hop existence, artists have declared their love for their hometowns. It is standard rapper protocol; you put on for your city. Their city represents their identity: the style of their wardrobes, the nuance of their language, the hardships they have endured, the animus of their art.
Especially for rappers from Atlanta.
Below is an infinitesimal list of lyrics from rappers hailing from Atlanta, in which they allude to the city:
“Just tryna find that hook up, now everyday we looked up at the ceiling, watching ceiling fans go ‘round, tryna catch that feeling of instrumentals, had my pencil and plus my paper, we caught the 86 Lithonia headed to Decatur.” – OutKast
“I got a front street swag and a side street hustle, Center Hill, Cedar Ave. that’s where I be sucka.” – T.I.
“Birds everywhere lookin’ like Atlanta Zoo. Pounds in a stash bag chickens in a da coop.” – Gucci
“Forever I love Atlanta! Forever I love Atlanta (what!)! Forever I love Atlanta!” — Lil Scrappy
“Stankin’ like them Lincolns in Piedmont Park!” – Goodie Mob
Being a loyal representative of one’s city is part of a rapper’s credibility. It is very rare that you don’t know where one is from, or fail to hear them state their undying allegiance.
Chance the Rapper donating $1 Million to Chicago Public Schools is the most rapper-ish thing he’s ever done. More rapper-ish than rapping, and even more than having “the Rapper” in his stage name.
It was a cocktail of bravado and grace and principle, and if there is a Chicagoan Hall of Fame, someone needs to nominate him ASAP.
And not just because he’s a rapper.
I think we at times put rappers and celebrities on an unfair pedestal, and look at them with a tilted chin and neck if they refuse to donate their riches to the causes we care about. Famous people don’t owe any more than what we owe, but it does make me ponder what would happen if the plethora of ATL rappers invested in Atlanta Public Schools.
Chancelor Jonathan Bennett’s decision awed me because I don’t know if I would have the courage or decency to do what he did if I one day happened to be in a similar position. I still haven’t bought a $1 chocolate bar for my school’s PTO fundraiser. Would I really donate $1,000,000 to something as massive and enigmatic as an entire school system?
That $1 is 5/8 of a gallon of gas, and I live in Atlanta so the commute life is pure savagery.
Chance the Rapper’s donation is showing us regular unpopular folk how to be better people. We care about the movements/organizations/people in which we invest money. And Chance is showing that he cares about the kids in his city.
Someone just read that last line and said to themselves, “But I don’t have any money to invest. I’m broke.”
Then invest your time. Invest your resources. Invest your services and your talents and your voice. Everyone has something they can offer someone else. Especially to the kids from the communities in which we live.
So my question is, who in Atlanta is trying to match Chance’s offer? Where y’all at?