After a star-studded three-day hiphop festival, I'm slapping anybody that says hiphop is dead. This event was almost like a family reunion for some, and a jaw-dropping experience for all. It's the only place where there are several generations of one community under one roof (sort-of, if we omit the fact that two of the five stages were outdoors).
So I should back up first.
This weekend long festival had five stages - two outside, three inside - with over 70 artists putting on a small yet powerful 15 minutes show a piece. From 6 pm Thursday to 3 am Sunday, people from all over the country, well at least people from "All 3 Coasts (A3C)," came together and made friends, future collaborations and even family.
I know of at least one artist that reunited with someone that raised her as a hiphop artist, Lyric Jones. After speaking with her, she said her brother DJ Raydar Ellis taught her just about everything she knew about hiphop - from what's real to what's fake, how the music is made to how the culture has evolved - and he has credentials to back him up, as he is a professor at Berklee School of Music in Boston.
At least every journalist, blogger, vendor, DJ, breaker, emcee, event volunteer, and patron found at least one new favorite artist out of A3C. Amidst the minor technical difficulties from the venue, like microphones cutting out, loud vents, and unlevel floors, each and every artist that I saw perform was near FLAWLESS. The only thing, which I think was weird, was that many of the performers forgot their lyrics at one point through their set. But I heard a lot of backstage action was going on, so there may have been some pre-performing distractions. Some of the artists that stood out for me, and I did not really know much of them, are:
Coolroy, aka Lite
Ayomari & TiRon (the two were inseparable, and it was quite adorable)
Aside from the emcee aspect of this hiphop event, the only other element that was tended to very well was DJing. Every night, there was some sort of showcase or cnotest dedicated to DJs and producers. Nwo, there is a distinct difference between a DJ and a producer, and although I feel like the two shouldn't be merged together, A3C did a nice job of making producing a part of the hiphop culture. I won't go there and say it was wonderful or it was any good, if anything else having the DJ and production events almost back-to-back like they're the same is rather demoralizing the hiphop culture. I will say the events that unfolded - having the guy from Kane Beatz speak with other up-and-coming producers about the industry, and DJ Shiftee putting on a "DJ" workshop - were very entertaining and informative for people to know how to conform to the way of current society. If that felt like a shot, it was.
The only good news about the other elements was seeing the legendary DJ Rob Swift of the X-Ecutioners put on a show wherever he was, whether he was the DJ or the judge of other DJs. He put on a funky-fabulous set at the Red Bull Music Academy 45s Show, as well as a guest DJ set at the Unique Squared DJ contest he judged. The main reason why he was so amazing was that he only used TWO TURNTABLES!!!! DJ Shiftee had all of his little hook-ups and his laptop with the DJing software, but DJ Rob Swift had a near-identical sounding set with just two turntables and a stack of records.
The breaking tournament was late yet rushed, making the breakers not really flow like they wanted. The result was a blahzay tournament, so no need to go any further.
Overall, the event was like Jasmine Solano said "a hiphop super mall." There were some things that fit very well, some things I wish I could fit into, and some things that just weren't my taste. Fortunately, there was something for everyone! All of the interviews I did with my favorite artists were amazing because of the chill environment. There probably isn't a more welcoming place in Atlanta but A3C, too bad it's just three days.
Below are photos from my phone, because I seem to have lost my USB cord to my camera/camcorder, plus a video I caught of a dope remake to "Thriller":
Joe Scudda and DJ Exile
Grand Prize Winners From Last Year
If you want a full-fledge recap of what went down at the A3C festival, check out my archives and these sites for more!