Sometimes being an adult in Hip-Hop is tough, especially when you have or are considering children. You remember listening to all kinds of crazy shit as a kid, but as hippies become Republicans, so we start thinking about protecting our youth form the things we’ve done. You start listening to the emptiness of the mainstream music and wondering how you can fit this into your life and still teach the babies the right thing. This weekend, Planet Ill had the distinct pleasure of being both a panel and a media sponsor for the 8th Annual A3C Hip-Hop festival in Atlanta, GA and the experience was refreshing to say the least.
The festival ran from October 11-13 and was chock full of emcees, beat boxing, b-boying (don’t call it breakdancing), graffiti, producing and dee jaying. Unlike other festivals that are whored out or overrun by major labels, the true spirit and life of Hip-Hop culture was on full display. Absent were ice grills and macho posturing and furrow-browed toughness that runs rampant at many rap shows. There was a sea of all ages enjoying themselves, honest music (even if not all of it was dope) and artists husting their beats flows and everything.
The booze and the weed were in full effect as is custom with music festivals but I didn’t note one hint of violence or animus. There were indoor shows, multiple venues and even a Gumby siting (shout to Yelawolf). On display were the fruits of labor as rapper Ritz, once on the indoor show recently signed to Tech9ne’s Strange Music label and made the big stage. Former small fry Yelawolf returned to rip the stage to shreds while the aforementioned Tech, who has built an astonishing career without the assistance of radio and the major label system, straight demolished the stage.
There were veterans like Raekwon the Chef as well as new school luminaries like DCMC Oddisee. Lyricists like Skyzoo and Torae (look out for that Barrel Brothers album in 2013) and well as trap rappers. All regions were thoroughly represented as well as both sexes with women in solid attendance as well as active participants in DJ battles, mic wrecking and Breaking. We caught up with our homie the Likwuid emcee taking in the scene (interview coming shortly).
International Hip-Hop was in full effect on both panel and stage, including a young rapper from Sweden who came to the festival with nothing on but the clothes on his back and 8 bars for the people. Detroit represented with its own showcase, headlined by the masterful Flintstone, Jon Connor. You could literally take a turn in the building and run into a Combat Jack show featuring Killer Mike or DJ Drama, or catch 9th Wonder holding court or see a braided prodigy barely 12 cutting and scratching on the 1’s and 2’s.
The artists represented for themselves nicely, they were courteous, hungry and willing to do interviews and drops. Over the next few days we will bring you the 2012 A3C festival through our eyes and I hope you enjoy the experience as much as I did. Hip-Hop lives, people. And it lives well. Your kids will be left something that will add to their existence the same way it enriched yours. Let the church say AMEN! Here are a few initial images (courtesy of shelz.) to whet your appetite.
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