In this special podcast episode, I talk to my fellow Atlanta journalist, George Chidi. George is a former AJC reporter who has launched his own newsletter The Atlanta Objective.
The Atlanta Objective often covers the intersections of crime and corruption in metro Atlanta. And since last year, he has taken a focus on looking at the rise in violent crime in Atlanta. His reporting has some startling findings including that in 2021, 142 of 158 homicides were Black perpetrators on Black victims, that over 90% included a firearm, and over half were from people who were poor.
We spend the beginning of the interview (starting at 3:00) to about the halfway point talking directly about the recent announcement that Atlanta rappers Young Thug, Gunna, and several members of the record label/clique YSL have been implicated in a wide-reaching set of charges related to gang activity and Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO). YSL has been a recurring series of investigations in The Atlanta Objective.
In this conversation, we talk directly about misnomers in this labeling of gangs and gang violence. We also talk about the portrayal of hip hop in NYC's drill scene and media portrayals in Atlanta. We also talk about whether or not labeling YSL a 'gang' is the correct terminology. We also talk about whether or not Atlanta 'gangs' are even that, and what makes Atlanta gang culture different.
We even talk about his own work, which he got wrong according to George.
In addition to the political motivations of being tough on Atlanta crime, in particular, gang activity by both the Fulton County District Attorney and the state Attorney General during the 2022 election cycle.
George is also the host of a quarterly Fox 5 Atlanta program, The Next Atlanta (also available on YouTube), featuring interviews with various Atlanta thought leaders. For some reason, he even thought to include me in one. He also is a contributor to the DeKalb County-centered publication Decaturish, where he has a column there as well.