Kilo Ali could experience his own renaissance with the help of Beyoncé’s new album, Renaissance. With the release of her highly-anticipated album new album, Beyoncé shocked many Atlantans by paying homage to the local rap legend. Produced by Atlanta native The-Dream, Beyoncé’s “America Has A Problem,” samples and re-imagines Kilo Ali’s 1990 hit, “Cocaine.”
Comparing her love to an addiction, Beyoncé sings, “Your ex still a dope, but it ain’t crack enough/I’m supplying my man, I’m in demand soon as I land.”
The sample comes as a surprise due to Kilo Ali being relatively unknown outside of Atlanta and the Southeast region. A native of the Bankhead area of Atlanta, Kilo Ali’s career began in the late 1980s, years before the city’s hip-hop movement captured the nation’s attention. Years before artists such as Outkast and Goodie Mob would bring prominence to the city’s rap scene, Atlanta lacked a strong presence in the music industry as local artists were often ignored by national radio and TV outlets.
Natives often refer to that period as the “Real Atlanta,” an era before Atlanta became engulfed by the celebrity-driven scene where reality TV stars, hip-hop artists and the city’s culture would influence the world.
Kilo Ali, 16-years-old when he released “Cocaine,” was arguably the first rapper to galvanize the music scene in Atlanta. An anti-drug song, “Cocaine” allowed Kilo Ali to set a new standard for Atlanta rap.
The song and album eventually became a hit in Atlanta and led to the release of several other hit songs, including “Nasty Dancer,” “Show Me Love,” and “White Horse.”
Kilo Ali eventually signed with Organized Noise/Interscope Records. In 1997, he teamed up with Big Boi from OutKast for the song “Love In Ya Mouth” which became Kilo Ali’s first national hit.
With Beyoncé’s co-sign on “America Has A Problem,” Kilo Ali will be introduced to a global audience for the first time in his career. Decades after helping to lay a foundation for Atlanta’s music scene, the city’s first rap king finds himself in the midst of a resurgence thanks to the queen.