There were other acts, art, food and sightings at Creative Loafing’s Best of Atlanta Party on Thursday at Centennial Olympic Park, but the night belonged to Killer Mike.
Scotty ATL played a great set, performing a cadre of songs from his “FAITH” mixtape and even debuting new material. He even upped the ante by bringing Grammy Award winning holy hip hop MC LeCrae onstage for a new song, “Fuss n Fight.” And Noot d’ Noot played their signature cocktail of dance music that kept the crowd swaying back and forth.
There was free food from Steel Restaurant & Lounge, amazing Indian street food from Chai Pani, lemon chicken from the General Muir, sticky sweet baklava on behalf of the Atlanta Greek Festival, and, of course, Waffle House. Living Walls, WonderRoot and the Atlanta Film Festival provided ambiance with a number of installations throughout the park and there was even a burlesque show.
But the night belonged to Killer Mike.
The Atlanta native, who was named the magazine’s Best Overall Artist in 2012 and headlined the show, gave the few dozen assembled before the park’s stage all they could ask for and more.
Initially unhappy with the audience’s energy, Mike launched into what he called the song that put him on, spitting his lone verse from Bone Crusher’s 2003 hit “Never Scared.” From there, the crowd was his. He routinely dropped the beat, essentially rapping over a metronome for songs like “Reagan” and “R.A.P. Music.” On the former, he got probably the most significant reaction from the crowd, as he urged them to follow him in chanting an obscenity beginning with “F” directed at the now deceased former president. They readily obliged.
The man born Michael Render also introduced revelers to a couple of his protégées, Grind Time artists SL Jones and Pill, who took the stage and each performed by themselves. Pill seemed less interested in being onstage and quickly left the elevated performance space to spend the majority of his song “Trap Goin HAM” in the crowd.
Prior to Killer Mike’s set, most of the event’s attendees were seated on the stairs surrounding the courtyard where the stage had been erected. Within two songs, the ratio had flipped itself, and by the time his set was finished, almost everyone had joined the fray in front of the stage.
The night’s defining moment, though, was a surprise appearance from Atlanta music legend and one half of Outkast, Big Boi, who joined Killer Mike onstage for Big Boi’s “Thom Pettie” and Outkast’s “The Whole World” to the delight of the crowd.
“I told him ride to this little party, we’ll do one and done,” Killer Mike told the crowd as Big Boi took the stage. “He said, ‘Sh*t me, we gon’ do two before we through.’”
Killer Mike and Big Boi will headline a show Friday night at Masquerade.
Check out a video of the duo performing, shot by the guy standing behind me with sharp elbows (warning – graphic, NSFW language):