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Interview with Darrin Ellison (Elite tha Showstoppa), July 10, 2016

Richard B. Russell Library for Political Research and Studies, University of Georgia
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00:00:20 - Growing up in Athens

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Partial Transcript: So why don't you tell me- are you originally from Athens?

Segment Synopsis: Ellison contrasts the economic and social characteristics of the two neighborhoods he grew up in and discusses his parents' social work and their involvement in the arts.

Keywords: East side; Park Avenue; West side; community; eastside; family; neighborhood; parents; social work; westside

00:05:37 - Early involvement in the arts

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Partial Transcript: Alright, so how did you get involved in the music business?

Segment Synopsis: Ellison describes getting involved in music and acting through school programs at a young age. He talks about discovering hip hop and using the music style to enhance his poetry. Ellison discusses hip hop as a means of conveying information about social life and promoting activist causes.

Keywords: Chase Street Elementary School; acting; activism; chorus; drama; school; social issues; writing

00:09:54 - Runaway Slaves / Organizing early Athens hip hop

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Partial Transcript: Runaway Slaves- I had a clique called Runaway Slaves.

Segment Synopsis: Ellison discusses influential artists of his time and describes his involvement in a diverse music group called Runaway Slaves. He also mentions important elements of the early Athens hip hop scene, including block parties and rap battles.

Keywords: Brown Blaze; Colt Ford; Figaro Ellison; Immortal Soldiers; Jason Brown; Low Down and Duddy; R&B; Reggaeton; RnB; Shannon Gresham; cliques; diversity; gospel; hip-hop; producer; producing

00:14:30 - Elite tha Showstoppa / A to the L record deal

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Partial Transcript: So around what year- I'm trying to get the timeline- so you went away to the military around what year?

Segment Synopsis: Post-1995, Ellison tracks how his work life connected him with other hip hop artists and led him to write, perform, and produce as "Elite tha Showstoppa." He also discusses a failed record deal and trying to gain prominence as an artist in Atlanta.

Keywords: 8 tack; Atothel; DJ A to the L; DJ Solo; Oliver Rubber; The Poet Elite; beat machine; cassettes; spin doctor

00:28:52 - Impact on Athens music / Gaining notoriety

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Partial Transcript: So things pick up and change for you music career-wise to where so many of us know you as Elite Tha Showstoppa, and Athens loves you.

Segment Synopsis: Ellison discusses working with various record labels and becoming popular in Atlanta clubs. He talks about making a "silly" music video, which would later win a Flagpole Music Award and take his music mainstream, opening doors for hip hop entertainers in downtown Athens.

Keywords: 2008; DARP Studios; DJ crews; Flagpole; Lilburn; Liquor; RMH Entertainment; Respect My Hustle Entertainment; Ryan McCormick Harris; Viewer's Choice; Winder; You Ain't; buzz

00:41:00 - Hip-hop scenes

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Partial Transcript: What was the hip hop scene like downtown in 2008?

Segment Synopsis: Ellison contrasts the downtown, underground, and college hip hop scenes. He explains how he collaborated with artists from these differing hip hop scenes, incorporated other popular genres, and created a unique performance style to appeal to a wider audience.

Keywords: Club Insomnia; Tasty World; Tommy Valentine; bars; clubs; college; downtown; entertaining; open mic; scene; showcases; underground hip-hop

00:50:28 - Challenges for Athens hip hop artists

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Partial Transcript: Hip hop's been in Athens for a long time in different forms over the years. What do you think is hindering an artist, or hindering the Athens hip hop scene from becoming just as popular as Atlanta?

Segment Synopsis: Ellison describes the lack of receptive platforms for Athens hip hop artists, which he attributes to misconceptions among downtown business owners. He also praises individuals who have been influential in challenging hip hop stereotypes and creating opportunities for rappers to perform in local venues.

Keywords: 40 Watt; Bad Kat; Blacknerdninja; Bubba Sparxxx; Club Insomnia; Georgia Theatre; Ishues; Love Notes; Tommy Valentine; advertising; businesses; money; perceptions; political; power; prejudice; shooting; talent; venues; violence