Photo Credit: Joshua L. Jones/file
The one-year anniversary party of the First Tuesday series, happening tonight at The World Famous, carries a clear message best summed up by host Montu Miller: "Our arms are open, our hands are extended, so please come and enjoy everything that we have to offer."
The event caps off a year of shows at The World Famous, in which Athens hip-hop acts were featured, with artists never repeated for the entirety of the 12 months. For Miller, this speaks to the growth, in both size and diversity, of the local hip-hop scene.
"For me go a whole year and basically not repeat performers any month… and have just that many hip-hop artists in Athens doing their thing is really exciting and cool," says Miller. "The one good thing about our scene that I really think separates us from an Atlanta or an L.A. or a Houston… is we have such a diverse lineup of artists. It's hard to say that Athens has this one sound, because, for lack of a better way to put it, our sound is diversity."
The anniversary party will open in a similar fashion to previous First Tuesday events, with a networking mixer and the popular Beat Wars DJ competition. However, the show will then veer in a new direction, as Miller's ATHFactor-Liberty ENT is bringing back almost all of the artists that have been featured over the past year to perform a "live mixtape" show, with each artist playing one song. The show will be recorded, and an actual mixtape will become available "in a month or two," according to Miller.
"Everybody is going to get up there and do one song, their hit song, and by the end of the night you've heard what we consider the best of the best—the Athens all-stars mixtape," he says.
The lineup boasts performers such as Dictator, Squalle, Tony B and Valley Girl D, to name a few. For the performers, the show is just as much of an opportunity to play live as it is to network with like-minded music movers and shakers.
"I think it's really something good for people in the community to get to know other people that are trying to pursue a rap career or a singing career," says Valley Girl D. "It's a good networking event, as well, because it has a beat battle, so you get to meet with producers."
For organizers, this unification and growth in Athens hip-hop—and its recognition from the overall Athens music scene—has been the goal from the beginning.
"We're really kind of all working together. We're trying to do our thing together. This is to really show the rest of the Athens music industry—the Athens community—that hip hop is here, we're good, we have a little bit of everything. Come out and support us," says Miller.