Red Bull showed massive love for Atlanta in their recent Red Bull Music Academy (RBMA) series that saw discussions, meetups, and live music events spread around the city. All this culminated for this most recent series in The United States of Bass, a massive and eclectic gathering of DJs and performers to the MJQ compound, spanning three stages and bringing hundreds of people together to drink and dance.
By the time I arrived, the crowd was already massive, crammed into The Drunken Unicorn, The Cafe, and the MJQ main room. Red Bull had brought in their own stage lights and backdrops of 20” rims tied to panels of chain-link fence. The crowd was full of faces both familiar and unknown as the royalty of Atlanta bartending, producing, and nightlife moved among swarms of people just there to have a good time.
I heard everything from classic hip-hop to modern trap represented by the DJs, along with random doses of jersey club, stomp, funky bass, and soul tracks. The Cafe mostly had people dancing in couples, while The Drunken Unicorn was mostly full of crowds just standing and watching the stage holding a beer. For TT The Artist, that changed though, as people actually began to break dance in the middle of the set. While all the DJs were great, for me DJ Funk was a real stand-out, playing that line between smoothness and get-down beats masterfully. In the main room, Mr. Collipark held the biggest crowd of the night, playing a massive collection of Atlanta rap classics that I remember from my childhood as well as some of the newer hits.
Sadly, Mr. Collipark’s male ego was a bit too fragile, because when a young man in leopard print tried to dance on the stage with the hired female talent, he was kicked off and told that “Big Freedia’s not on yet”. There seemed to be an odd contrast between the crowd that had gathered to dance to trap and classic hip-hop and those that had come to see the New Orleans bounce legend. When Big Freedia finally did take the stage, the crowd thinned somewhat, but there were still many people in the room. It was an interesting illustration of the cultural crossroads that represent Atlanta, and while nobody was rude, there was a definite sense of confusion coming from some of the men in the room.
Big Freedia threw down with more energy than any other performer that night. She has recently failed several court-appointed tests for cannabis and methamphetamine, so she’s certainly getting all that energy from somewhere, but it was massively entertaining to witness on stage. I love MJQ because every time I go there, the crowd is ready to have fun, and this night was no exception. The New Orleans bounce master shouted and twerked, popped and rapped her way through an effortless hour of performance, and once everyone caught ahold of the vibe, MJQ truly was united in a state of bass.