Becoming a man in Atlanta, Georgia allowed me to experience many great developments in black culture that most people in other states and countries only heard about. I watched up close and was a part of the LaFace Records movement and era that brought us Usher Raymond, TLC, Toni Braxton, and Outkast to name a few. I was among the hoopla of college students who attended "Freaknik" in 1993, 1994, and 1995. I've been able to record music with Grammy winner's such as Pink, Speech, and Arrested Development. Even though I haven't reached the aforementioned artists heights of success, I feel like I have been a influential part of the Atlanta music scene for a long time. I've been here to see the city grow and provide my own little "2 Cents" in shaping what is now known as "Hotlanta".
One of my biggest memories about the Atlanta music scene and night life is an event entitled Funk Jazz! Funk Jazz was/is an event that brought together people of all races to enjoy live musicianship and black art. Actually, all types of art. As well as great food! Most of the events I attended were held at the Tabernacle on Lucky St. downtown Atlanta. I recall the line to get in wrapping around the back of the building and swarms of cars circling the facility in hopes to find parking. Funk Jazz was that serious! You wanted to get inside to see what was going to happen! If you didn't get inside you would've felt like you were missing one of the greatest nights of your life. I mean that with all sincerity!
The crazy thing about Funk Jazz is you never knew who was going to be performing. I mean you would hear rumors about certain artist on the bill but it wasn't official. You see, Funk Jazz had a reputation of bringing you the best in live soul music so people would pay $20 to $30 to get inside and without even knowing who was going to perform. It was a wicked and spectacular time!
The craziest memory for me (concerning Funk Jazz), was on the night that The Roots were the house band and Black Thought, Bohamadia, Slum Village (with all 3 original members), Common, and Eryka Badu all took stage and ripped it! I mean they blew the roof off the sucka! Remember now, none of us in the audience knew these artists were in the building. We didn't know who was going to be performing. That's what made Funk Jazz so special...the element of surprise! How the Funk Jazz team managed to keep things on the hush...I don't know. That would've been extremely difficult for me. I'm just saying...
After seeing the above perform I remember leaving the Tabernacle with a huge smile on my face. I was hella inspired after seeing some of my favorite artists rock the mic. I think I went home and produced 4 or 5 beats and stayed up until I saw the coming of the sun. Funk Jazz had a way of motivating me like no other event in town. It was/is authentic and organic. It brought people with different backgrounds together to celebrate life and unity under one roof!
With all this being said, the Funk Jazz collective has a documentary out that embraces all the special memories with plenty of interviews by major producer's and artists who have graced the Funk Jazz stage. Above is the trailer for the documentary and if you're into good music, urban culture, and love documentaries...you will not be disappointed!