The capital of Georgia and the ‘Dirty South' is home to several artists. Rap and hip-hop stars are the first who come to mind when thinking of music about Atlanta. But rock, country, R&B, and pop stars have all sung of the city. Here are the best songs about Atlanta ever.
1. “Welcome to Atlanta” by Jermaine Dupri
Song Year: 2002
Jermaine Dupri released this quintessential Atlanta song as the second single from his hit album Instructions. The Billboard Hot 100 hit featured rap star Ludacris.
The music video featured celebrities and hot spots around the ATL. A ‘Coast 2 Coast’ remix later featured West Coast sensation Snoop Dogg and East Coast legend P. Diddy. Pitball created his remix version focusing on Miami.
2. “Oh, Atlanta” by Bad Company
Song Year: 1979
The British rock band Bad Company released their fifth studio album Desolation Angels, in 1979 in their hometown of Surrey, England. The double-platinum album reached Number Three on the Billboard Pop charts.
Alison Kraus covered this ode to Hot'lanta in 1995. The Nashville Network used the track during the NASCAR Motorcraft 500 race at the Atlanta Motor Speedway 1993.
3. “New Atlanta” by Migos
Song Year: 2014
Migos include Georgia hip-hop stars Quavo, Takeoff, and Offset. The group formed in 2008 and released several Top Ten hits. Their popular songs include ‘Bad and Boujee,' ‘Stir Fry,' and ‘Walk It Talk It.'
This track featured Jermaine Dupri representing his city once again. Other songs included Rich Homie Quan and Young Thug. ‘New Atlanta' closed out the 2014 mixtape No Label 2.
4. “Atlanta That’s Where I Stay” by MC Shy D
Song Year: 1988
MC Shy D is one of the first rappers to come out of the ATL when he dropped his first album, Got to Be Tough, in 1987. This old-school track is from the album Coming Correct in 88.
In the time of Slick Rick, Eric B and Rakim, Public Enemy, and Big Daddy Kane, MC Shy D represented Atlanta. Hopefully, ‘Atlanta That's Where I Stay' by MC Shy D captures the same level of success as songs from those stars.
5. “Elevators (Me & You)” by Outkast
Song Year: 1996
One of the most famous groups from Atlanta is Outkast. This first single from their second album ATLiens nearly broke the Billboard Top Ten when it peaked at Number 12.
The hit single played during the Season One finale of the popular TV show Atlanta. The song also features in the video game Grand Theft Auto V.
6. “Going Back to Georgia” by Nanci Griffith
Song Year: 1994
‘Going Back to Georgia' appeared on Nanci Griffith's Grammy Awards nominated album Flyer in 1994. The song was co-written by Counting Crows frontman Adam Duritz who also sang on the track.
The country-folk song speaks of leaving New York City and pining for the beauty of Georgia and its capital city.
7. “Georgia” by Field Mob
Song Year: 2005
Georgia reached Number 39 on the Billboard Hot 100 upon its 2005 release. The single featured Atlanta-based hip-hop stars Shawn Timothy “Shawn Jay” Johnson and Darion “Smoke” Crawford. But the track was released on the Ludacris album Disturbing the Peace.
The hit single includes guest appearances by Ludacris and Jamie Foxx. The song includes a sample from the Ray Charles song ‘Georgia On My Mind.' Foxx played the legendary musician in the 2004 film Ray.
8. “Atlanta Lady (Something About Your Love)” by Marty Balin
Song Year: 1981
‘Atlanta Lady' is a pop-rock song from the debut album Balin by Marty Balin. Balin is the founder of rock bands Jefferson Airplane and Jefferson Starship.
The song was the second single from the 1981 album after the #8 hit song ‘Hearts.' ‘Atlanta Lady' reached Number 27. Balin reunited with Jefferson Airplane in 1989.
9. “Dirty South” by Goodie Mob
Song Year: 1995
Credit Goodie Mob for coining the term “dirty south.” It happened on Soul Food, their 1995 debut album. The group includes breakout star CeeLo Green, who appears later in this list.
‘Dirty South' and its five-star album includes guest appearances from other Atlanta-based musicians, Mystikal, Big Boi, and Andre 3000.
10. “Atlanta Blues” by Eartha Kitt
Song Year: 1958
Eartha Kitt sings this classic blues song from the 1958 movie St. Louis Blues. The track is on the movie soundtrack. The film features several famous black musicians at the time, including Nat King Cole, Cab Calloway, and Ella Fitzgerald.
St. Louis Blues is about the life of W.C. Handy. He wrote ‘Atlanta Blues' in 1923. The song is based on the old blues standard ‘Make Me A Pallet On Your Floor.'
11. “Atlanta Zoo” by Gucci Mane
Song Year: 2010
Burrrprint 2 by Gucci Mane debuted at Number 13 on the Billboard 200. The 2010 mixtape featured DJ Khalid, Nicki Minaj, Rick Ross, Lil Kim, and various other rappers and DJs.
The first single, ‘Atlanta Zoo,' featured ATL staple Ludacris. The song represents Gucci Mane's commitment to his career against all odds.
12. “Hot ‘Lanta” by The Allman Brothers
Song Year: 1971
CeeLo Green and Goodie Mob take credit for inventing the term “dirty south.” But the Allman Brothers may get bragging rights for coining “hot ‘Lanta.” At least they were the first group to record the phrase in the song.
‘Hot ‘Lanta' is an acoustic rock jam recording from the band's 1971 live album from the Fillmore East venue in New York City. The progressive rock and jazz feel allows the track to live up to its title.
13. “In The A” by Big Boi
Song Year: 2012
Nothing says' hot ‘Lanta more than Big Boi from Outkast and Ludacris. The ATL natives team up to deliver ‘In the A' from the 2012 Big Boi album Vicious Lies and Dangerous Rumors.
The track also included an appearance from rapper T.I. The native Atlantian, T.I., debuted his solo album 11 years earlier in 2001.
14. “I’m On My Way To Atlanta” by Freddie King
Song Year: 1962
One of the three kings of blues guitar, Freddie King, hits this list with ‘I'm On My Way To Atlanta' in 1962. The song was a B-side to his single ‘In The Open.'
Along with the other two kings of the blues guitars, Albert King and B.B. King, Freddie toured the world (and the ATL) with legends of the time. In the mid-60s, he toured with Sam Cooke and James Brown.
15. “F.I.L.A.” by Lil Scrappy
Song Year: 2004
Lil Scrappy burst onto the music scene when his debut album hit Number 12 on the Billboard charts. The hit album was a dual effort between Lil Scrappy and fellow BME artist Trillville.
‘F.I.L.A.' stands for Forever I Love Atlanta and is a perfect anthem for Krunk artists and fans of the Atlanta scene. The track featured prominent ATL legend Lil Jon.
16. “Atlanta” by Tony Orlando and Dawn
Song Year: 1973
Tony Orlando and Dawn is actually a trio from the 1970s. Dawn comprised vocalists Telma Hopkins and Joyce Vincent Wilson.
The song is named after the Big Peach and was written by Eddie Rabin. ‘Atlanta' was released on the group's 1973 album Dawn's New Ragtime Follies. The album was the trio's most successful, and Atlanta' is remembered as a standout song.
17. “Lookin’ 4 Nikki” by Lil’ Will
Song Year: 1998
Lil' Will released ‘Looking For Nikki' in 1998. The smooth track is from his album Better Days. And before he went solo, Lil' Will was a former member of Atlanta's Dungeon Family music group.
‘Looking For Nikki' isn't about a woman. Instead, the song refers to a notorious Atlanta-based strip club. Club Nikki's was a now-defunct gentlemen's club on Stewart Avenue. Both the venue and the street no longer exist. All that remains is this homage.
18. “Peace Up (A-Town Down)” by Young Jeezy
Song Year: 2005
No longer young, Jeezy eventually dropped the first half of his name. But the star burst onto the music scene when his first major label album debuted at Number 2 on the charts in 2004.
Young Jeezy adds his touch to popular Atlanta nicknames with his track about being A-Town Down. The phrase sticks like ATL and Hot ‘Lanta. The song also features Atlanta stars T.I. and Lil Scrappy.
19. “I’m The Only Hell (Mama Ever Raised)” by Johnny Paycheck
Song Year: 1977
Johnny Paycheck was an outlaw movement country singer of the 1970s. His biggest claim to fame was the hit single ‘Take This Job And Shove It' in 1977. ‘I'm The Only Hell (Mama Ever Raised)' was released the same year.
The song tells the story of a car thief who runs out of gas in the ATL. The singer decides to knock over a downtown liquor store only to get arrested in the process. It is a cautionary tale, especially considering Paycheck himself would later live a life of drugs, alcohol, and trouble with the law.
20. “Georgia on My Mind” by Ray Charles
Song Year: 1960
It is the quintessential song about the Peach State. In fact, Georgia officially declared it the official state song in 1979. Originally written and recorded in 1930 by Hoagy Carmichael, ‘Georgia On My Mind' reached legendary status when Ray Charles released the song thirty years later.
The Ray Charles album The Genius Hits The Road included twelve tracks about locations across the United States. And although songs included places like Hawaii, Texas, Miami, and Chattanooga, only ‘Georgia On My Mind' was a Number One smash hit.
21. “ATLiens” by Outkast
Song Year: 1996
‘ATLiens' is the second single from the Outkast album of the same name released in 1996. It is considered one of the duo's best songs.
‘ATLiens' reached Number One on the Billboard Hot Rap Songs and helped catapult the careers of Big Boi and Andre 3000. The duo is among the rappers with the most Number One hits.
The song and album suggest that artists from Atlanta feel left out of the music and creative industry. Outkast discusses how this makes them feel like aliens. Of course, this is no longer the case. A-Town is a successful entertainment market today.
22. “Midnight Train to Georgia” by Gladys Knight and the Pips
Song Year: 1973
This Grammy Award-winning single is about as famous as ‘Georgia On My Mind.' Gladys Knight and the Pips recorded and released ‘Midnight Train To Georgia' after leaving Motown Records. The song is among the best songs released that year.
The original song by Jim Weatherly called ‘Midnight Plane To Houston' is about a conversation with Farrah Fawcett. That song did not have the same effect. The Gladys Knight version is in everything from movies to television shows and during Atlanta Braves baseball games.
23. “U.S.A.” by Ying Yang Twins
Song Year: 2005
This Ying Yang Twins track is not about the country. Instead, ‘U.S.A.' stands for the United States of Atlanta. The album of the same name hit Number Two on the Billboard charts.
The certified three-time platinum album represents A-Town to the fullest. The rap duo discuss how they spend their time in the Big Peach. There is no surprise that it involves heavy partying.
24. “Ride Wit Me” by T.I.
Song Year: 2005
Atlanta native T.I. appears on this list as a contributing artist. But his 2005 single ‘Ride Wit Me' is his personal ode to A-Town. The song was later released the following year on his album King.
The song takes the listener on a journey through Hot ‘Lanta with T.I. as its guide. ‘Ride Wit Me’ is exactly that, a ride through the ATL with T.I.
25. “Love Shack” by The B-52s
Song Year: 1989
Everyone knows about the juke joint with the rusted tin roof. ‘Love Shack' is the biggest hit the B-52s ever had and is as popular now as it was then.
The song is about an actual party cabin in the middle of a dairy farm. Band member Cindy Wilson recalls how parties got so wild that Soul Train lines would break out. It no longer exists but could once be found heading down the Atlanta highway.
26. “Georgia” by Cee Lo Green
Song Year: 2010
CeeLo Green is a staple in the Atlanta music scene. Before he went solo, the star was in the 90s hip-hop group Goodie Mob. From there, he established the soul duo, Gnarls Barkley.
His third solo album included the smash hit ‘Fuck You' but also his ode to his hometown. ‘Georgia' is covered by the country rock group Band of Horses.
27. “Why Georgia” by John Mayer
Song Year: 2001
‘Why Georgia' is the third single from the debut album of blues and rock singer John Mayer. A live version is included on his Any Given Thursday album.
The autobiographical song relives Mayer's decision to drop out of Berklee College of Music and move to Atlanta with his best friend, Clay Cook. Mayer has nineteen Grammy Awards nominations and still tours.
Top Songs About Atlanta, Final Thoughts
The music of Atlanta spans decades and genres. The ATL is home to rap stars, rock legends, and even country and folk music recording artists.
Hot ‘Lanta has a place in the hearts of these countless musicians. A-Town inspires singers and songwriters from across the musical spectrum. And it looks that way for years to come.