This weekend Atlanta-based artist Raury gives something back to the city and community that raised him up. The rapper/singer-songwriter is going to be putting on his third annual Raurfest, which started as a solo concert but has expanded this year into a full one-day festival as part of LVRN Weekend with performances by Kilo Kish, Kirk Knight, Joey Bada$$, and, of course, Raury. The concerts also collect donations to fund arts programs in Atlanta public schools, as well as collect clothing for the city’s homeless population. Earlier this week, Raury and organizers and LVRN co-founders Sean Famoso and Justice Baiden spoke with MTV News about the origins of the fest, what they dream for it, and “Trill Yoga.”
What was the inspiration for the first Raurfest?
Raury: My main dream is to create this world that a lot of kids in Atlanta have in our minds, and just creating this world. I had no idea that it was going to grow out to be this big festival that it's become in the past two years; we had about five, six hundred kids come out to this really weird, dope-ass-type thing with Christmas lights and a bonfire, this really dope vibe that I also wanted to be something that grows every year, that gives back to Atlanta and helps raise consciousness in Atlanta.
How did things change since you began?
Sean: The first year, the only real initiative was to give Raury a platform. Then when we saw the reaction and what kids like Raury crave, we were able to do it in an even bigger stage. It became something that we didn't necessarily know we had the ability to tap into and reach out to all of these different artists that normally wouldn't all be on the same stage, and I think that's something special, especially for Atlanta. We've all got into traveling and seeing all these different things and cultures and just experiencing so many different things that the average kid in Atlanta doesn't necessarily get to have. I think we kind of feel obligated to give back to the city, so this year we decided to put together these other events that build up the community.
This year you offer "Trill Yoga." What is that?
Raury: It's yoga that shows kids that you don't have to be a 40-year-old soccer mom to come in and go, "Yo, we're going to have an adult time." It's all about building that bridge between those who live in a world of yoga and those who don't.
Justice: It's going to be more and more important for things like this, for things like Raurfest to exist because it's just the current culture that we're in. I see more and more stuff every single day that represent and have different things that they represent, but this is where we're at. I don't know if that answers that question.
What do you dream of this becoming?
Raury: We do a bit of the leading but then we also pay attention to where we see people want to go, and then we help them get there, especially where we're literally giving creative kids in the city an opportunity to speak with somebody that will get them to the next level, whether that be funding or an internship or a job. We just want to help people get to wherever the fuck they want to go, because there's people that helped us to get where we wanted to go. A lot of times it's not as easy as getting a degree and applying for a job, so I think that's a certain aspect of what we do that will just naturally grow, and hopefully we'll get to see it back 10 times forward [from] anybody that we help.