Over the years, A3C has not only become a staple in the hip-hop community, but a one-of-kind, interactive experience that helps further the culture on numerous levels. This year’s event was no different as the 8th installment of this Atlanta-based music festival was bigger than ever. The weekend provided unparalleled insight from industry insiders as well showcases full of future stars and current legends alike. Since we know not everyone could make the trip, here are ten of the most renown themes from the long and eventful weekend.
Supa Hot Beats Only Works With Supa Hot Artists - There was a stage during the closing ceremonies of the weekend that featured Tech N9ne, YelaWolf, Emilio Rojas, Rittz, Nikkaya, Gangsta Boo, Diamond, Will Brennan and Jackie Chain. When I walked up, I assumed the line-up was just well put together by hosts DJBooth and iHipHop. Then, an extremely grateful Will Power was brought to the forefront and I realized the high-octane set list was actually a showcase of artists he produces for. That’s also when I realized his Supa Hot brand of beats doesn’t get as much credit as it deserves.
Cell Phones Are An Essential Part Of Music (Whether You Like It Or Not) - Everyone knows cell-phones are permanent fixtures in today’s tech-savy society. But, until you go to an event like this, you don’t realize how much the actual music caters to them. Between seeing rappers in Stankonia studio writing and rapping directly from their palm, learning of a renown guitar-player that only uses his iPhone and seeing how crowds continuously prefer watching live shows they paid money to see from a small-screen, it’s glaringly apparent hand-held devices are overtaking even our most creative forums. Oh, and did I mention I paid five dollars for a 30% phone battery, three times? Damn you, Alexander Graham Bell!
Studio Time Is More Hanging Out Than Actually Recording – TSS was lucky enough to be able to go Outkast’s legendary studio and see The Flush facilitate the creation of Stankonia Sessions Volume 2. We learned quite a bit about the recording process, and well, how little recording actually takes place. In the three hours we spent, everyone in the room was mostly busy socializing and hanging out, rather than focusing on the music. It’s not necessarily a bad thing, just something we didn’t expect. The atmosphere in there is a lot more casual than professional and it’s evident how easily good relationships can form through a little chatter in front of the mixing boards.
More Exposure Means More Hassle - While the 8th installment of A3C peaked this year in regard to talent and visibility, the growth made the festival quite a bit more difficult to navigate. Instead of all the action being located in one central hub, the event was sprawled throughout different venues across the city. While that expansion may have been necessary to accommodate all the acts, it made seeing everyone impossible and having a car completely necessary. Plus, who the hell decided to close the parking lot next to the Masquerade? Inviting the entire country to an event, then having everyone park in residential neighborhoods two blocks away is never cool.
Rappers Love Jordans - While sitting front row (whoop whoop!) at the Daddy Fat Saxxx concert, my girl nudged me and pointed to 9th Wonder’s shoes, mentioning how every
rapper person that crossed the stage had been wearing Jordans. At that point, I realized she was spot on and started paying attention to every MC’s shoe game throughout the weekend. No matter if they’re black/grey V’s, white/black XII’s or any other flavor above and beyond, squeaky clean Airs are apparently a requirement if you’re rocking a mic.
You Don’t Want To Stay At The Stratford Inn – Weeks in advance we found a hotel that charged $40 per night and made reservations immediately. Then, when we got there, we heard about a manager’s special that let us get a three night’s stay for only $100. But, at the end of the day, you get what you pay for. On the very first day we put our bags down and headed to The Masquerade but were promptly stopped by a cop not even a block away from the hotel. He kindly asked us if we were staying at The Stratford Inn and upon seeing us nod, informed us that we shouldn’t be roaming in this part of town at night because of a recent string of robberies. Needless to say, we spent as much as time as we could away from the hotel and made it back alive to tell the tale.
Schedules Were Made To Be Broken – This point is more of an observation than a complaint. No matter how much planning anyone at A3C seemed to do, or the attendees might do, it just wasn’t meant to be. While some of the panelists or rappers didn’t show up for their various panels or sets, half of the surprise was seeing who did show up. Or didn’t, if you were at the Perfect Attendance Show and were a little worried about what might transpire between all the trappers.
iNDEED Is Really, Really Good – DJ Burn One’s band iNDEED, comprised of Ricky Fontaine on the guitar and Walt Live on the keys, was one of the surprise highlights of the festival. Fortunate enough to observe them in their element in the lab one evening, I was spellbound watching them perform live. They provided live backing to artists liek SL Jones and Scotty, but really captivated me as they played along to DJ Burn One’s set that included a bunch of trap rap.
Catch The Hometown Heroes Performing In Their Own City – Seems obvious, but festivals can be overwhelming. To go along with the lack of schedule adherence, Big Boi was supposed to have a 20 minute set to shut down the BET Music Matters stage on the first night. Instead, he put on a phenomenal set, spending a good half hour on Outkast hits before moving into his solo material and bringing out surprise guests like Trae the Truth and Killer Mike. As Beware and Raj can attest to, the energy in the room was palpable.
A3C Is The Festival For Rappers – Yes, A3C is a Hip-Hop festival from “All 3 Coasts,” but aside from the small percentage of music industry employees and bloggers, the overwhelming demographic in attendance was rappers. Everywhere I looked there were rappers; most of which weren’t even scheduled to perform. I’m not mad at it, and after all, rappers can be fans, too.