Morning Belz, Feb. 25
Southwest Atlanta Too Strong
If the weather cooperates, we’ll be in Atlanta tomorrow night to make a video in Oakland City. A smart, thoughtful cousin of mine lives in a part of town that’s gentrifying, and he says there’s going to be a birthday bash at a trap house that could be the focal point for a good video.
Been giving myself a little crash course in the history of trap, and trap music, and it seems the key figure is Cool Breeze, forerunner to Outkast, father of trap music, and probably the coiner of the term “Dirty South.” Here’s “Ghetto Camelot,” the opening track on his classic 1999 album “East Point’s Greatest Hit.” The album holds up. Explicit language warning. Here’s Cool Breeze not getting proper respect from an interviewer in 2017. And here he is a few days ago, very much the elder statesman, setting the record straight on local geography. East Point and College Park are NOT Atlanta, and East Point is the capital of the Dirty South, he says. Here’s an informative piece on a lot of this from Georgia Public Radio just last week.
Oakland City is up Lee Street from East Point. And depending on your definition of “trap,” it’s all the trap. A cycle from which one cannot escape. But Oakland City is a 10-minute drive southwest of downtown Atlanta and it’s changing. Wealthier people are moving in and buying homes, contractors are rebuilding homes without permits, property values are rising.
If we can get there tomorrow night, we might ask people about that, or Trump, or Biden, or Stacey Abrams, or Georgia turning blue, or even race in America. Always looking for question ideas. But there’s no guarantee anyone will want to discuss that stuff. The energy of a scene is everything. If you have enough people feeling relaxed and talking, you can make a video. So who knows what this one will be, but I feel good about it. As long as it isn’t raining too much. Which it might be.
Thanks to everyone who has contributed to the Patreon. We are about 15% of the way to the goal I’m trying to hit by the Fourth of July. Gonna ramp up the ask once I get a little more quality content out.
Portrait of a man who pleaded guilty to Third Precinct arson — Star Tribune
Warehousing of children on border very much still underway — Axios
Will listen: Interview with Patricia Fara on Sir Isaac Newton — Cowen
A battle over race, class and power at Smith College — NYT
A dive into MyPillow guy’s bankruptcy history — Minnesota Reformer
“We used to joke, don’t let a rich student report you, because if you do, you’re gone.” -- Mark Patenaude, a janitor at Smith College
About: I was a newspaper reporter for 14 years, most recently at the Minneapolis Star Tribune. I explained why my family left Minneapolis here. Now we live just outside Chattanooga and I work on Scuffed News, a project that either succeeds by July or will have to be abandoned. This is my newsletter. Please share it with anyone you think might enjoy it. I also periodically add people to the distribution list myself. You can support all of this work with your money on Patreon.