Neither Pharrell Williams nor Travis Scott are Georgia natives, but their latest collaboration “Down in Atlanta” is a breezy ode to the buzzing city. The single, which follows the 21 Savage and Tyler, the Creator-assisted track “Cash In Cash Out,” will appear on Williams’ forthcoming album Phriends.
“I told shawty to bring the wave/You know life’s a beach/She said, “Life’s a bitch”/Let’s hit Magic City,” Scott offers in the opening verse over funk-driven production.
Williams and Scott last appeared alongside each other on Astroworld deepcut “Skeletons” back in 2018. “Down in Atlanta” arrives two months after it was previewed in September during Scott’s “Road To Utopia” seven-night Las Vegas residency at the Zouk Nightclub at Resorts World.
“Down in Atlanta” is arguably Scott’s biggest single of 2022, as the rapper has slowly but steadily returned to music after 10 people died, and scores were injured, at his Astroworld Festival last year. The rapper has performed sporadically and launched a Las Vegas residency without issue. Though he’s yet to release a proper solo song, “Down in Atlanta” marks the latest in a string of collaborations that includes Drake and 21 Savage’s Her Loss cut “Pussy & Millions,” Southside and Future’s “Hold That Heat,” and Nav’s “Never Sleep.”
Last month, some of the families of the victims killed at Astroworld settled their lawsuits against Scott, Live Nation, and others involved in the event. Nearly 300 lawsuits were filed in the aftermath of the deadly crowd surge, the majority of them naming Scott as well as other groups involved in the festival, like Live Nation, the promoter ScoreMore, the venue NRG Park, and various security companies. Scott and the other defendants have denied the allegations against them.
More recently, to mark the one-year anniversary of the tragedy on Nov. 5, the family of one victim, Madison Dubiski, announced the formation of a concert safety non-profit, the Pink Bows Foundation. The organization plans to partner with live entertainment events across the country as advocates for safety.
As for Pharrell, his latest slate of releases follow the announcement of Something in the Water 2023, his own music festival set to make its return to his hometown of Virginia Beach after relocating to Washington D.C. for a year. The Pharrell and Friends portion of the lineup will account for one of his few live performance appearances, given his preference for staying behind the scenes.
“You can feel through their voices that so many of their lives have been affected and changed because of something you’ve done,” Williams told BTS’s RM, who will also appear on Phriends, in a recent Rolling Stone Musicians on Musicians interview. “I don’t know how you do that. Because I’ve had a couple songs do that, and then when I get out there and go sing it, that would make me cry because it was too much of a responsibility. Man, every time I get that close to that, I always step back.”