This article was written in April 2018 as I joined one of my photographer homies as he shot Atlanta rapper Trouble. This was my experience.
Words by: Jeffrey Lockhart (@jefelockhart)
Photos by: Michael Seegars, Jr. (@thanksmike)
It was a Saturday and I was in Atlanta for work this weekend. My boy Nate (@NateShuls) was scheduled to shoot Trouble this weekend on behalf of The Fader and took me and my boy Mike (@thanksmike) along. I had actually been listening to the new Trouble album Edgewood heavy so I was excited to go.
We were told to meet Trouble on the West side of Atlanta in The Bluff, where he and his homies were having a block party that day. I’m usually good in any situation and I always enjoy going to hoods in different cities so I was excited. Sidebar, you can always get real vibes in the hoods of every city. When we started pulling up on the street, I knew we were in the right place. “The Hole” was what Trouble and his homies addressed their hangout spot as. We parked and were greeted by Sarah, Trouble’s assistant manager, a tough lady of Asian descent, who looks like she takes no shit. She was super cool though and made sure we were good the whole time. She took us around, introduced us to all of the family and friends. She introduced us to everyone as “the photo team from The Fader.” Of course, I wasn’t there on behalf of The Fader but I just played the part. The first two people we got introduced to were Stacey and Dill, two of Trouble’s closest friends. We were told by them that if we needed anything to let them know.
Typical hood shit was going on at the time; grilling, dice rolling, and weed smoking. A DJ was there spinning mostly Trouble with a few current hits mixed in the rotation. They had even found cones to block off the street to keep people from pulling into the one-way street. After I peeped the scene and realized that it was all love in the air, I felt comfortable. I grew up around shit like this but any time I go to a new hood, you never know what to expect so I kept my eyes on the swivel. Trouble eventually pulled up in his blooded-out Mercedes Truck with Red 26” Forgiatos. He was drenched in Gucci from head to toe, all white, with a few chains and a red-face bust down Presidential Rolex.
I took a seat and let Nate do his thing. Just judging by the environment, I knew the shoot would be a piece of cake for him. I moved around grabbing some Instagram story content here and there. I was good. Thick clouds of weed and grill smoke were filling the air. The vibes were there.
As time went on, Mike Will Made It pulled up in a two-toned Range Rover. I’ve heard a lot about Mike Will being a genuine dude over the years but him pulling up confirmed that. They had just announced Trouble’s signing to Ear Drummers/Interscope maybe about a month prior. I had been hearing talks around the industry that Mike Will and Archie Davis were putting together a situation for Trouble maybe mid 2017. Trouble ended up going to do a short bid, maybe a few months, he came home and then they announced his signing.
During the block party, my boy Mike (@thanksmike) noticed that the street was filled to the point that our car was blocked in. When Nate wrapped up the shoot, we were ready to go and then I told him in a joking manner, “I don’t think we’re going anywhere, my g.” We had to get Sarah to get on the DJ mic to tell folks to move their car so we could get out. Everyone cooperated up until we got to the top of the block. Nate was almost out as I was behind his car directing him then a guy swerved up, parked his car, got out, said “y’all better not hit my shit,” and went in his home. Granted, he did live on the block but that was no excuse. I guess he was mad the block party was causing so much traffic and ruckus in his neighborhood. The man ended up coming back outside, rolled up a blunt on the block and watched us struggle to get out. Talk about an asshole. I didn’t want any smoke with him so I made one attempt in asking him to move his whip. He said “no” so I said fuck it. We’re in a hood that I know nothing about so I’m not about to get into a pointless altercation. It would’ve literally taken him two minutes to move his car but he sat there and watched us struggle for about an hour. Eventually we made it out through some other folks moving their cars around. We couldn’t help but to laugh at the situation after we were out of it. All in all, I was just glad to get a taste of real in Atlanta.