Killer Mike, London on da Track & More Name ‘Rubber Band Man’ & ‘Player’s Ball’ a Tie for Atlanta’s top Get Up Anthems

Tres Generaciones Tequila, a 50 year old brand introduced by the family that elevated tequila to a symbol of Mexican pride, and Billboard are partnering together for a year-long celebration of music’s transformative power to unveil the top songs that have energized, uplifted and excited six select cities, known as the ‘Get Up Anthems.’ These playlists are curated through a mix of editorial insight and data analytics, and honor the songs that define each city’s history and culture. 

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In a tucked-away studio in Atlanta’s Westside, the A’s own Killer Mike and London on da Track sat with Billboard editors Damien Scott and Trevor Anderson to pay homage to the city’s musical legacy. As the deliberations unfolded over Tres Generaciones Tequila’s signature serve for the city of fAtlanta: The Batanga, Rocsi Diaz deftly moderated the passionate discussion of the top 10 Get Up Anthems. After sifting through an initial catalog of 30+ hometown hits, a consensus emerged: a tie for the coveted number-one spot. In this revered space, two tracks stand tall as epitomes of the city’s hip-hop prowess: “Player’s Ball” by OutKast and “Rubber Band Man” by T.I. Despite their release in different eras, both songs embody the city’s cultural impact and enduring influence on hip-hop.

“There are two distinct eras in Atlanta!” emphasized the Grammy-award winning rapper as he adjusted his posture in the seat to defend the need for a tie. He explains that the first era marked Atlanta’s emergence with its own unique sound, distinguishing it from other cities like Miami and the second involved redefining that sound. “T.I.’s ‘Rubber Band Man’ is as equally important as ‘Player’s Ball’ because it defined what Atlanta was going to be for the next 20 years. And you can’t unimportant one of those for the other because they were both drastically informative of what we [Atlanta] were going to become.”

“Player’s Ball” burst onto the scene in 1993 as OutKast’s lead single off their debut album, Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik, marking the duo’s arrival as pioneers of Southern hip-hop and their first entry on the Billboard Hot 100, peaking at number thirty-seven. Released when East and West Coast acts dominated the genre, the song helped shift the spotlight to the South, showcasing Atlanta’s unique musical identity. Its celebration of the player lifestyle and vivid portrayal of Southern culture resonated with audiences, establishing OutKast as an ambassador of Atlanta’s burgeoning hip-hop scene. 

A decade later and “Rubber Band Man” emerges as a rallying cry for T.I., reflecting the grit and resilience of Atlanta’s streets. The track was pivotal in T.I.’s career, serving as a breakthrough single that propelled him to superstardom. Released amidst the burgeoning trap music movement, the song helped solidify T.I. ‘s reputation as a genre pioneer and established him as one of the leading voices in Southern hip-hop. Lyrically, “Rubber Band Man” explores themes of perseverance, hustle, and street authenticity, resonating with listeners who identified with T.I. ‘s come-up story and unapologetic swagger.

Both “Player’s Ball” and “Rubber Band Man” exhibit distinctive production styles that have garnered acclaim within hip-hop’s pantheon. “Player’s Ball,” helmed by Organized Noize, exudes a laid-back, funk-infused cadence that epitomizes the quintessence of Southern hip-hop. Its utilization of live instrumentation and soulful sampling constructs a sonic tapestry imbued with timelessness. Conversely, “Rubber Band Man,” produced by David Banner, introduces a darker, more foreboding palette punctuated by resounding 808s and haunting melodies. The track’s hypnotic cadence and atmospheric production mirror the gritty realities of Atlanta’s streets, providing the perfect backdrop for T.I. ‘s raw lyricism and commanding delivery.

Decades after its release, “Player’s Ball” remains a beloved classic in hip-hop culture. Its influence can be heard in the work of countless artists inspired by OutKast’s innovative approach to music and storytelling. The song’s infectious groove, clever wordplay, and timeless appeal continue to captivate audiences, solidifying its status as a cultural touchstone.

From OutKast’s infectious grooves to T.I.’s gritty lyricism, each song reflects the city’s rich tapestry of sounds, stories, and experiences. Through their distinctive production, compelling lyricism, and cultural resonance, these songs, although separated by decades, embody Atlanta’s spirit.

Watch the full Atlanta discussion HERE and be sure to follow along on all content for the Get Up Anthems series HERE