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Shawty Lo made it a point to highlight the Bankhead community every time he touched a microphone. The rapper, who recently passed after a car accident, always made sure to put his neighborhood on the map through song.

For those who are unfamiliar with Bankhead, it’s a highway and community in Atlanta that was named after John  H. Bankhead who served as an Alabama senator in the early 1900s.

Although it’s now known as Donald Lee Hollowell, the Bankhead community in Atlanta was poverty-stricken and had a reputation for crIme. However, it was also a community that bred some of the top rap artists from Atlanta.

We take a look at Shawty Lo and five other prominent rappers from the Bankhead community in Atlanta.

Shawty Lo

Shawty Lo was raised in the Bowen Homes housing projects which was located on Bankhead Highway. Raised by his grandmother, Shawty Lo was prominent street figure in that area before delving into rap. His songs “I’m Da Man,” “Dey Know,” and “Dunn Dunn,” are classic Atlanta rap songs.


André 3000

André 3000 stayed near the Bowen Homes projects for a brief period during his youth. The member of OutKast paid homage to his old neighborhood by filming a portion of the video for “B.O.B.” in Bowen Homes.

NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 23: T.I. attends the Urban World Film Festival in New York, New York on September 23, 2015. Credit: Raymond Hagans/SteedMedia


T.I. was raised in the Bankhead and also made a point to represent the area in his music. He often rapped about the neighborhood and was inspired to name a song “Bankhead” which appeared on the KING album. T.I. has also made a point to giveback to the neighborhood he once called home.

Young Dro

Young Dro

T.I.’s Hustle Gang partner, Young Dro, also grew up in the community. Dro recently held a drive at the Boys & Girls club of Bankhead and gave 500 kids free school supplies.

Kilo Ali performs at 2015 Affordable Old School Concert Series at Wolf Creek Amphitheater. in Atlanta, GA. Saturday, September 5, 2015. (Photo by Norman Johnson for Steed Media Service)

Kilo Ali

Kilo Ali was the first rapper from Atlanta to galvanize the city. With his 1990 hit “America Has a Problem,” he was the calm before Atlanta’s rap storm that eventually took over the industry.

rap, ying yang twins

Ying Yang Twins 

D-Roc, former Bankhead resident and member of Ying Yang Twins, helped to create the song “Bankhead Bounce” which became a national dance in the mid-1990s. The dance was so big that even Michael Jackson performed it during the MTV Awards in 1996.

A.R. Shaw

A.R. Shaw is an author and journalist who documents culture, politics, and entertainment. He has covered The Obama White House, the summer Olympics in London, and currently serves as Lifestyle Editor for Rolling Out magazine. Follow his journey on Twitter @arshaw and Instagram @arshaw23.