20 Reasons Why Atlanta is America’s Music Capital

We use MARTA

Killer Mike
Killer Mike

Photograph by Theo Wargo/Getty Images

Our city’s best rappers didn’t just rely on MARTA for transportation when they were coming up. The transit system served as inspiration, making its way into their lyrics.

So it is that rap fans from Berlin to Boston know the word “Bankhead,” even if they don’t actually know it’s a neighborhood northwest of downtown and the last stop on the Green Line. Our transportation system may have its faults and its critics, but it’s become iconic thanks to our music.

Below are just a few of the best MARTA-referencing rap songs:

“Elevators (Me & You),” ATLiens, 1996
One of the first MARTA references in Atlanta rap music.

One for the money, yes sir, two for the show

A couple of years ago on Headland and Delowe

Was the start of something good

Where me and my ***** rode the MARTA, through the ’hood.

Childish Gambino
“Dream / Southern Hospitality / Partna Dem,” STN MTN/KAUAI, 2014
This track finds actor-rapper Donald Glover—creator of FX’s Atlanta who will star as a young Lando Calrissian in Solo: A Star Wars Story—dropping lines from a dream about owning the city.

Atlanta, Georgia, that’s black Sweden,

I’m such a martyr, die for the game,

I’m such a MARTA, I’m runnin’ trains, like, woo!

Field Mob
“All I Know,” From tha Roota to tha Toota, 2002
This local duo’s track includes vocals from a pre–Gnarls Barkley, pre–The Voice CeeLo Green.

Always worried ’bout what sister Martha wear,

Did she walk or did she ride the MARTA there, It don’t matter, at least sister Martha there.

Run the Jewels
“36 Inch Chain,” Run the Jewels, 2013
Before this duo started headlining venues, Adamsville native Killer Mike spit this verse.

Move like Jesus, die like a martyr,

Hell of a choice when you’re riding on the MARTA.

21 Savage
“Famous,” ISSA Album, 2017
The man born Shayaa Bin Abraham-Joseph begins his album with these lines about his come-up.

Ridin’ in the foreign, remember ridin’ on MARTA

Grind got harder and my mind got smarter.

Rich Homie Quan
“34,” Rich As In Spirit, 2018
This track is from the official debut album of a rising Atlanta star who seems to have recovered after bad publicity from a drug charge and screwing up a Biggie tribute at the VH1 Hip-Hop Honors.

Herschel Walker, used to ride that MARTA, yeah, that 34

Pants saggin’, bankroll in my pocket and that 30 close