In Atlanta, there are trees everywhere. I mentioned this to rapper Archibald Slim outside of the family-style home he shares with fellow Awful Records artists Ethereal, Father and Alexandria in Decatur and he explained that all that greenery can also be problematic. The trees lining the streets occasionally grow to be so large that their roots dig into the asphalt, creating speed bumps and uneven roads for the city’s cars. This reminded me a bit of the label itself, a disruptive force in Atlanta’s rap scene helping to change the city’s sonic landscape.
Inside the house, things are messy but not chaotic. Well-trained dogs skip around the clutter lining the ground. There’s a dusty Dirt Devil covered by pieces of a broken bedframe. A glossy photo of newly svelte Gucci Mane has prominent placement beside the door, the Trap God taking pride of place where you might expect a watercolor of Jesus. Among the detritus are reminders of the label’s DIY ethos: a pink camcorder, various lighting equipment, a makeshift bedroom studio where Stalin Majesty sits trancelike listening to the same Dexter beat over and over until it feels like we all live inside of it. Awful Records feels more like a family than a label when you’re in their company, the type of insular community of preternaturally talented artists that major labels try (and fail) to replicate time and time again. - Rollie Pemberton
Header image © Maxwell Schiano