The Culture Creators’ 2019 “Innovators and Leaders” award recipient Kevin Lee or “Coach K,” is redefining the current era of rap and hip-hop music. Co-founder and Chief Operations Officer of the Atlanta-based and black-owned indie record label Quality Control Music, Coach K has a dream to make not only the record label but Atlanta into a force to be reckoned with.

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You might call 22-year-old singer-songwriter Grace Carter a musical alchemist. Like turning lead into gold or water into wine, Grace transmutes her emotions into gorgeous, heartfelt songs. Turning her pain into passion, Grace’s soaring, soulful vocals and deeply personal, meaningful lyrics resonate with listeners in a way that is reminiscent of heavy hitters like Adele and Nina Simone. Whether it’s her latest single “Amnesia,” or an older track like “Saving Grace,” you can feel the intensity of each song in your bones.

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“The biggest misconception for me is that you have to have screaming all over an album for it to be heavy. I feel like people just always assume, especially the scene we come from and the era, people think you have to have build-up to a breakdown call and straight hardcore dancing, mosh crab core screaming parts.” Tyler Carter, the lead singer of Issues, told Alt Press Magazine. 

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I asked a question on Facebook the other day, “What’s your criteria for the best rapper?” I was looking for people to give me their top 3-5 factors that they use to gauge their favorite rappers. For me it’s easy: storytelling, lyricism, subject matter/content, longevity, and originality. The pool of rappers who meet this criterion were once deep but then hit a lull due to the influx of the dance crazes taking over hip-hop. Things have now shifted to the heavy drug usage and zombie music which I’m also not into. I feel like I’ve been a part of the “get off my lawn” hip-hop demographic for a mighty long time. 

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“We thought we were, like, the black Mumford and Sons.” “Yeah, Mumford and Sisters.” That’s how twins Alexandria “Zandy” and Alexis “Lexi” Fitzgerald describe their band’s early sound, an earthy blend of folk and soul. Joined by their older brother Darius and their cousin Jasmine Mullen, they formed the Nashville-based group called The New Respects.

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