The South Got Something to Say

Atlanta has been a part of the hip-hop scene since the early 1980s, so just in time for National Hip Hop History Month, follow us on a tour of some of the current and former hot spots of Atlanta hip hop. From studios to skating rinks, each of these places has a connection to Atlanta’s most beloved musical genre. 

Outkast’s Big Boi in the original Dungeon

Outkast’s Big Boi in the original Dungeon. (Cam Kirk, Airbnb)

The Dungeon | 1907 Lakewood Terrace SE

We begin our hip-hop tour with the Dungeon. As Andre 3000 of OutKast once said, “The South got something to say” and the Dungeon is where they first said it. The Dungeon was a recording studio where production team Organized Noize worked with Atlanta hip-hop favorites such as OutKast and Goodie Mob to create groundbreaking music. The bare-bones studio was located in the basement of founding member of Organized Noize, Rico Wade’s mother’s house. Big Boi of OutKast purchased the Lakewood Heights home in 2019 and converted it into a shrine to OutKast. The OutKast-themed home is currently available as a rental on Airbnb.

interior of Lenox Square mall

The Neiman Marcus wing of Lenox Square. It has several upscale stores not found within hundreds of miles from Atlanta. (Choodcree, Wikimedia Commons)

Lenox Square | 3393 Peachtree Road NE

Next up is Lenox Square mall. Though it may seem like an unusual choice, Lenox Square mall frequently gets a lot of love from rappers. Some, such as Childish Gambino in “Won’t Stop” and Soulja Boy in “Louis Vuitton,” show their appreciation of the upscale shopping venue through shoutouts in their music. Others, such as Drake, make sure to stop by when they are in town. Hip-hop icon T.I. even used the spot as a marketing venue, handing out flyers and CDs in the parking lot when he was beginning his rap career. 

Cascade Family Skating Rink sign

(Paras Griffin, Getty Images North America)

Cascade Family Skating Rink | 3335 M.L.K. Jr. Drive SW

For a night of fun and connection to Atlanta’s hip-hop scene, Cascade Family Skating is the place to be. As its slogan says, Cascade Family Skating Rink has been in “the business of making memories and selling fun since 1998.” Stars such as Beyonce and Magic Johnson have been spotted at the popular spot, and P-Diddy even hosted a birthday party at the venue. In 2006, the skating rink was catapulted to international fame when it was featured in “ATL,” a coming-of-age movie set here in Atlanta starring T.I. and produced by Tionne “T-Boz” Watkins of TLC and Will Smith. 

Walter's Clothing store

(Nicole Mays, Flickr)

Walter’s Clothing | 66 Decatur Street SE

The next time you’re in the market for a new pair of shoes or jersey, stop by Walter’s Clothing, an iconic clothing retailer where stars such as DJ Khaled, Future, and Ludacris have all been spotted shopping. When Walter Strauss opened the store in downtown Atlanta in 1952, segregation was still in full swing, and it was one of the few white-owned businesses downtown that served the African American community. Walter’s legacy of inclusion made it a staple in the Black community, and when hip-hop emerged its cultural cachet grew until it became an Atlanta hip-hop staple.  

Chainz Pink Trap House

(Paras Griffin, Getty Images North America)

2 Chainz Pink Trap House | 1530 Howell Mill Road NW

The house at 1530 Howell Mill Road doesn’t look like it has an exciting history, but underneath its dull white exterior lies a layer of pink paint. In anticipation of his 2017 studio album, Pretty Girls Like Trap Music, rapper 2 Chainz leased the house, painted it entirely pink, and had the word “TRAP” and a thumbs up icon emblazoned across the front. The home was then used to host a listening party for 2 Chainz’s album upon its release. Afterward, the Pink Trap House, as it was informally known, was home to an art museum, religious services, and an HIV testing center. When 2 Chainz’s lease expired in 2017, the house’s owner whitewashed it, and it went from being “the first hip-hop monument in Atlanta” back to an unremarkable Westside home.