I had the pleasure of doing double duty for A3C this year - holding it down for A3C (of course) and Frank151 Atlanta Backwoods. From many trips to Subway for an Anytober footlong to wacky odes to Trail Mix, I was pretty exhausted by the 3rd day of A3C-ing. Maybe I should save these anecdotes for the actual recap...
From meeting the female emcee of 9th Wonder's Jamla crew to witnessing Big Daddy Kane and Skoob Lover do their trademark dance, the twinkles in my eye never really left throughout all of A3C. Just about every performance I saw at A3C reminded me to never sleep on a hiphop festival merely because it is indeed a hiphop festival.
Not everyone (at least in Atlanta) got that memo. Although the headlining acts get bigger and bigger (mind you, this year's included Freeway, Random Axe, Big KRIT, Dead Prez, Big Daddy Kane), the city's consumption of A3C seems to stay the same, if not grow weaker. It felt like there was less enthusiasm and appreciation of the hiphop fuel A3C had, not to mention the other events tending to the needs of Atlanta's socialites conflicting with A3C's impact. Yeah, the Atlanta City Council awarded A3C with a proclamation for their hard work and diverse cultural programming, but the city itself seemed to yawn it off. 7 years later, and a proclamation by the Atlanta City Council, and they still have to compete with other people in bringing the biggest hiphop names to Atlanta on the first weekend of October? Come on, son!
Aside from all that, A3C continued to accomplished what most big events in Atlanta don't do - break wall(s). Usually people go to an event indirectly masked as certain people: press/media, up-and-coming artist, complete and total fan, socialite (can be V.I.P or groupie, but that's another blog post) and the performing act. Whereas most events, especially "Black Hollywood" events, keep things neatly organized to the point where everything seems fenced to machine-like actions and interactions, A3C doesn't do that at all. Instead, A3C will have you forget that you, the performing act, shouldn't act hysterical over another performing act. Or you, the press guy, shouldn't be so star-struck when a headliner is ready for pictures and questions in the media room. However, when hiphop is being hiphop - familial in all its cultural ways - wear as many masks as you can without being the festival creep.
The biggest highlights of A3C this year came from the most respected names in the entire hiphop community, as many of those cats were there. From Jarobi making a surprise appearance for Eternia's tribute to ATCQ's "Excursions" to a massive amount of white people obligingly yell "I'm down for running up on them crackers in they city hall" to MURS finally unleashing emotionally-deep material unto his fans to 9th Wonder and Dee-1 sit outside of downtown Atlanta's New Era store trade knowledge back and forth like the teachers they are, I don't know what else to actually say about A3C except the twinkle in my eye - you know, that twinkle that's similar to a life-opening experience, that twinkle - never left.
The twinkle didn't even leave when I did this ridiculous interview with the Ying Yang Twins!!! Check out Where My 40 Acres while you're at it too because those cats stayed on it.
I cannot escape without proper props to these blogs too! You must check out:
Write and Groove
Natasha Williams Photography
Trill Talk Radio
iAm Classic Hip Hop
Artists you must check out because they killed it at A3C:
Nikki Lynette (crazy how underrated she really is)
Boog Brown (read Nikki Lynette)
XV (again, read Nikki Lynette)
and really, go to A3C's website and look up all the other artist profiles because there're too many to name!
Check out my Frank151/A3C blog team coverage of A3C, including interviews with MURS, tabi Bonney, The ReMINDers, Eternia, Nikki Lynette, Ultrabeast, The 5IVE, Boog Brown, and more!
Also, my YouTube page has some great concert footage, including MURS' new joint "Remember to Forget" and Freeway's classic "What We Do"
And since you made it this far down the blog, and hopefully read all these words I've typed, check out this video I got of Ski Beatz with his band The Sensei's and Phil Ade getting it on the spot!
I often tussle with the belonging and the arrangement of different generations in hiphop. Where do I fit in? Is there even a post-hiphop generation? Did I really need to be alive to be part of the hiphop generation, or is there a nonchronological presence in hiphop that overrides the whole "we started it"/"we, the old heads" mantra? How much does age really matter?
After A3C, not even through the exploration of technological advances in the culture's preservation, I've found out that age is nothing but a number - as long as the community elders (the old heads) continue to build with the youngsters, and vice-versa. Face it, while vinyl will never die in hiphop, the younger generation will forever need to teach veteran DJs how to work the vinyl-to-USB transformation to the max. An old head will always have to teach young breakers proper and well-respected freezes.
A3C was a perfect example of all of that! From seeing breakers of all ages battle to hearing 9th Wonder and Dee-1 give advice to aspiring artists to watching a group like Dead Prez shout out a group like The ReMINDers as "family," the opportunity to dead my on-the-fence grappling of the Hiphop/Post-Hiphop generation(s) was there and ended it.