The rappers, both Atlanta natives, attended a city council meeting on Monday (August 1) to call for the preservation of small businesses. The father of rapper Young Thug, Jeffrey Williams Sr., was also there and argued that the ordinance’s “catch-all approach” of trying to reduce violence in proximity to clubs and establishments “penalises uninvolved parties”.
In April, Mayor Andre Dickens introduced the nuisance order which aims to allow the city to close any establishment considered a “nuisance” after two reports of “violent crime or conduct” within a two-year span. It would also address businesses that previously managed to avoid closures by allegedly exploiting loopholes, such as changing property ownership.
Killer Mike explained that he’d last attended a meeting in May to address “the importance of small and local businesses” but said he doesn’t feel like much has changed in the time since. Instead, he highlighted that Atlanta’s continued development – prioritising large corporations over smaller, community-based ventures – has taken hold (via Rolling Stone).
“As Atlanta grows, corporations are going to be coming into here,” the Run The Jewels bandmember said. “Somebody is gonna have a nightlife in the convention city.”
The two options, he suggested, is that thriving nightlife continue to be supported by “the owners of Hard Rock [Cafe] or the owners of Hooters or the owners of a W Hotel” or, he added it’s “gonna be the little people that went to Frederick Douglas [high school]… and Southwest DeKalb, and schools like that”.
2 Chainz also spoke at the meeting, telling attendees that he is the owner of two local restaurants: Escobar and Escobar Seafood.
“I’m very blessed, and I also like to be a blessing to others, and that’s what my businesses have allowed me to do,” 2 Chainz said. “They need to retract some of the things they have on the ordinance. And I think crime is up everywhere, not just in Atlanta.”
Jeffrey Williams Sr., meanwhile, posed the rhetorical question: “If a crime happens by city hall was it city hall that caused it?”
“You’re trying to hold artists responsible for the crime that’s in the city,” Rolling Stone reports that he also told CBS46. “Now you’re trying to point the finger at the nightlife to be part of the crime in the city.”
Mike added: “We will not be electing council people from here, we will not be growing businesses from here. Because it will all be turned over to corporations. I insist that this be sent back to the committee.”
He also informed councillors that Atlanta is one of the few US cities whose entertainers and athletes have formed something of a “business class” where popular businesses and entertainment spots are owned “by people who look like you”.
According to Rolling Stone, he said that when politicians are in need of donations and votes, these owners are at the top of their list to appeal to.
He wrapped up his comments with: “Are we going to keep Atlanta a place where local people can grow and thrive here?”