Music Issue 2017: Why we fight

The battle for equality and a more enlightened future starts here

Image REST IN "PURP?۝: Grip Plyaz performs at an SMKA show at the Star Bar in 2010.Dustin ChambersDedication: This year's Music Issue is dedicated to the spirit of the almighty Quentin "Grip Plyaz" Hood. Way back in the summer of 2009, Grip blessed CL with a powerful anthem dubbed "Fuck Dat Hipster Shit." The message is simple: Pay no attention to what the world thinks about you. Focus on who and what you are, make yourself a stronger individual, and do what you do, despite the trends that may have a stranglehold on pop culture. Grip was a leader of Atlanta's indie hip-hop scene, and as Southern hip-hop gatekeeper Maurice Garland put it in a recent text message: "His music kinda sounds like exactly how he looked and lived ... Just cool as hell blue collar Atlanta shit."Grip lost a two-year battle with cancer on June 8, but his message and spirit live on in the Atlanta music scene.

"Music is a weapon of the future/Music is the weapon of the progressives/Music is the weapon of the givers of life." Fela Kuti
As this year's Music Issue stories took shape, themes of feminism, gender and racial equality took on a life of their own, and are best summed up in a simple phrase: "Why we fight." Demands of cultural change, expansion and inclusion lie at the heart of every note, rhythm and melody in the music heard throughout this week's edition of CL: from Bitter's Latinx punk anthem "El Dolor" to Art School Jocks' "Just a Gwen." And when it comes to singer/songwriter Faye Webster's blend of melancholy pop and twang with the DIY hip-hop aesthetics of her friends in the Awful Records crew, it's clear that wholly new dimensions of Atlanta music are sprouting up in an ever-sharpening political climate.Themes of self-reliance and experience radiate from Mudcat's weekly "Piedmont Report" streaming radio show, exploring the connections between blues music and digging into the soil. And King of Summer stands as a reminder that sometimes we just need to have a little bit of fun with our rock 'n' roll.But perhaps one of the most intriguing trends at work this year is the reimagining of Atlanta's off-the-beaten path neighborhoods that's on display as Rowdy Dowdy's jagged drag arts aesthetic takes root in the westside's Capitol View neighborhood. On the outskirts of Decatur, the Vista Room has also established itself as an exquisite outpost for acoustic, Americana and prog music with a rocky edge in Oak Grove. These are vocational endeavors; the folks running these venues live their lives immersed in the arts they facilitate, and such dedication to their respective crafts yields a richer, more diverse musical landscape. From the deluge of artists weighing in on what they fight for with their music to Kameron Corvet's bedroom jams, there's something for everyone in this year's Music Issue. The message comes to a fine point with Dustin Chambers' photo essay on Tent City and the Do the Right Thing concert. What we fight for is community and the prospects of equality and a more enlightened future. It's an uphill battle, but it all starts here.

[Admin link: Music Issue 2017: Why we fight]

Spider for Music Issue 2017: Why we fight