Concert/Film/TV Reviews

2011 A3C Festival Day 3 Recap: Kane Still Rules, NYC Gets Tribute, Murs’ Live Band & More [VIDEO]

ATLANTA, GA -- All good things must come to an end. On Saturday (October 8), I arrived at the Masquerade venue feeling a mix of fatigue, sadness and excitement for the last day of the A3C Festival.

ATLANTA, GA — All good things must come to an end. On Saturday (October 8), I arrived at the Masquerade venue feeling a mix of fatigue, sadness and excitement for the last day of the A3C Festival.

Day three’s performances began at 11 a.m., making it the longest day. The Atlanta sun forgot summer was over and beamed down an oppressive heat through the midday and afternoon hours.  For that reason, some decided to camp inside with the various panels like women in Hip-Hop and music publishing. I decided to brave the heat to catch as much live muisc as possible. The first emcee I found outside was a guy named Lyriciss. I can tell you one of the hardest challenges of a fledgling artist performing at A3C is making yourself stand out from the 200 other rappers present. Lyrics alone can’t do it; there has to be some on-stage showmanship as well. Of course, rhyming over some well-known beats is an excellent way to turn some heads, case in point his reworking of Soho’s “Hot Music.” You rhyme over a classic dance track like that, I’m going to give you some attention.

Back inside, I went upstairs to the Creative Loafing stage and was immediately accosted with drum breaks and smells equivalent to a high school gym. The funk was courtesy of several heavy b-boy ciphers that were going on all over the floors. While breakdancing receded further and further from the limelight as Hip-Hop grew into the mainstream, the “lost element” still has devoted adherents in the States and a strong presense internationally. The visuals and music was so soothing I had to camp out of for a minute, especially when DJ Jaycee Rocks and Evil Dee rocked “45 minute 45 sets.” As someone who loves finding samples, I was right at home listening to breaks from Peabo Bryson, Patrice Rushen and Southside Movement. When I get rich, I’m going to hire a traveling deejay with me to play breaks whenever I want.

Back outside, I caught a Memphis dude by the name of Skewby whose music continued the soulful sample sounds.  The iHipHop stage around the corner starting featuring more known artists like Phil Ade and Murs. The latter was accompanied by Ski Beatz, Tabi Bonney and a live band. Presentation wise, this was probably the best idea of any of the artists I saw, as it made for clearer music and lyrics rather than the pounding bass and muffled voices of many sets. The Waterproof MC Ras Kass got a huge reception, particularly for his Soul On Ice tracks “Miami Life” and “Nature of the Threat.” Since he had a strict 15 minute set, Ras jokingly cut the latter short (“I ain’t rhyming that shit for seven minutes…”). There were several deejay miscues, but Ras’s rhymes were still sharp so he never lost the crowd.

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Afterward, I linked up with Tabi and Murs on their tour bus for some quick interviews. Of course, when Hip-Hoppers get together the discussions are usually anything but short. Upon finding out the premise of my website, there was some prolonged talk on the Mayweather-Pacquiao negotiation fiasco, albums vs. mixtapes, whether we’ll ever get a proper Andre 3000 solo album. Time got away from me and I realized after wrapping things up I had missed the final outside sets from M.O.P. and Dead Prez.

On the bright side, there was still much Hip-Hop going on inside. Big Daddy Kane held a one hour sit-down interview where he discussed his beginnings, his view on today’s Hip-Hop and how he almost had a pay-per-view battle with Rakim. Red Bull sponsored a NYC tribute to the five boroughs with emcees (Saigon, Action Bronson, Ultra Beast) performing classics from each area. This pretty much followed the format that the VH1 Hip-Hop Honors does. Here a guy like Fashawn, who last year made the Nas tribute Ode to Illmatic, was able to stand out with his performance of “Represent” since he already had different lyrics to the track. Or in Eternia’s case, she got over by bringing out Tribe member Jarobi for “Excursions.”

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Well past midnight, it was now time for Big Daddy Kane. It was a performance that was years in the making — back in 2008, Kane was unable to make the A3C Juice Crew reunion due to medical issues. The young rappers in attendance got an excellent lesson on what it means to “move the crowd” and be a “mic controller.” His live renditions of “Raw,” ‘Set It Off” and “The Symphony” were just as potent as they were over 20 years ago. Juice Crew family MC Shan, who now calls Douglasville, GA home, even hit the stage for the Queensbridge anthem “The Bridge.” When Kane was really feeling it, he ventured into the crowd like with “Smooth Operator,” or when he lead an almost church-like ending to “Ain’t No Half-Steppin’.”

The capper to the evening was unquestionably when Kane’s original dancers Scoob and Scrap hit the stage to run through their old routines. Even in their 40s, they had no problems hitting their spots. That includes Kane, who hit a split before departing.

You couldn’t ask for a better way to officially end A3C 2011. On the first day, festival founder Brian Knott said this was the event’s greatest lineup. As I reached my car with the sounds of Raekwon’s “Criminology” echoing softly from the venue, I thought of how I couldn’t agree more. Only about 365 days before we all get to do it again.

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2 comments

  1. “Of course, when Hip-Hoppers get together the discussions are usually anything but short. Upon finding out the premise of my website, there was some prolonged talk on the Mayweather-Pacquiao negotiation fiasco, albums vs. mixtapes, whether we’ll ever get a proper Andre 3000 solo album.”

    Ha! I was there for that discussion. Nice website man.

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