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Indiana Rome, Najii Person bring St. Louis flavor to major Atlanta music festival

Indiana Rome and Najii Person

Indiana Rome (left) and Najii Person

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Atlanta’s One MusicFest will include some St. Louis flavor when Indiana Rome and Najii Person perform sets there this weekend.

The hip-hop artists made their names on St. Louis’ rap scene before moving to Atlanta.

One MusicFest, Oct. 9-10 at Centennial Olympic Park, is one of the year’s most anticipated hip-hop and R&B events. The lineup also includes H.E.R., Lil Wayne, the Isley Brothers, Kirk Franklin, Burna Boy, Ari Lennox, Ty Dolla $ign, the Lox, Young Dolph, Masego, Big Boi and many others.

Rome opens Oct. 9 for Curren$y; Person opens Oct. 10 for Domini. Both say they’re the first rappers from St. Louis with their own slots at the annual festival.

“I’m feeling great, highly favored and blessed,” says Person, who has never attended the festival. “I’m happy to carry that flag of the Midwest and St. Louis on our backs as we hit another milestone. It feels good repping our city and showcasing the type of music I do at a high level. I’m energized.”

Rome embraces his return to the stage after the hurdles of the pandemic.

“It’s like an awakening,” he says. “Atlanta was never closed, but I was closed. Now I’m excited and anxious and ready to put up for the city.”

Rome attended One MusicFest in 2018 and 2019 and says “the city lays it out. It’s great vibes — the upper echelon of talent. It’s fun for two straight days. ... And this isn’t 200 people in a basement on a stage. You gotta really put your work in and practice and put on a good show.”

Rome’s set will focus on the material he’s most known for — material he already knows is successful because he’s performed it on St. Louis stages. “I’m going to give them my energy, and they’re going to give me theirs, and we’ll see what happens,” he says.

Person believes he has been at his best lyrically the last two years, and that’s what fans will see onstage.

“I’m happy they’re seeing me at this evolved point I am with rap and songwriting,” Person says.

Rome relocated to Atlanta in 2019 and Person in 2018, in search of more career opportunities.

“It’s like I’m starting all over again, shaking hands and kissing babies,” says Rome, an Indiana native who moved to St. Louis after high school.

He says his time on St. Louis’ music scene was like a training camp. He learned that if he can make it in St. Louis, he can make it anywhere.

“It’s a hard-knock crowd, a notorious crowd for staring at you and letting you know if you’re doing it wrong or if you’re doing it right,” says Rome, who came up with the Force, the storied St. Louis hip-hop collective that included Blvck Spvde, Theresa Payne, Rockwell Knuckles, Corey Black, Tech Supreme, Saint Oeaux, Teresa Jenee, Trifeckta, DJ Needles and Vandalyzm.

“We were rocking every venue in St. Louis, getting in front of these crowds and not being afraid to get out there, swallowing fear and turning anxiety into greatness,” he says.

Person says Atlanta had been calling his name. His career highlights in St. Louis included a Delmar Hall gig with Mvstermind, Jordan Ward and Brock Seals.

“It’s one of my best shows in St. Louis,” he says. “I felt so free. That’s what every artist strives to get to, that freedom.”

Person also has opened for Big Boi at the Ready Room.

Once he finally decided to get up and go, he says, things started happening.

“I said, ‘I can’t ignore this,’” he says. “I was sleeping on my destiny. So I got in position, and I’m still getting in position. I’ve met so many people and record labels.”

They both say the successes they found after moving could have happened if they’d stayed in St. Louis, but things happened faster in Atlanta.

“You gotta be boots-on-the-ground so they see you,” says Rome, who recently landed song placements on an episode of the new Bounce TV series “Johnson,” set in Atlanta. The show is executive produced by St. Louis natives Cedric the Entertainer, Eric Rhone and Reesha Archibald.

Person is currently promoting his new single “This 4 Errboy” and says a new single is coming after the festival on which he’s paired with a big-name producer. Rome recently dropped his new EP “Rome” with Jackpot, a St. Louis producer who also relocated to Atlanta. Rome is already working on his next project.

More info onemusicfest.com

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