Disclaimer: With over 300 artists, multiple citywide sites, film showcases and panels, anyone without at least a 20-man team cannot give a true recap of all the happenings over the course of the 3-day A3C Festival. This recap is just one writer’s experience at the events he chose.
ATLANTA, GA – The 2012 edition of the A3C (All 3 Coasts) Festival has upped the ante: more artists, more interactive events and more locations. Since 2010, A3C has held their festival at the Masquerade, utilizing the venue’s vast open space to post two stages outside and three inside. But with this year brining in over 300 artists, even that was not enough. Now the entire city has become A3C’s playground, with sites ranging from the storied Plaza Theatre to several spots in the bohemian Little Five Points District.
Arriving fashionably late around 6:30 p.m., the main site offered me DJ sets throughout the night from such established names as DJ Hurricane, Young Guru and Kool DJ Red Alert. And those who were able to make it in the afternoon got treated to panels on the legalities of the music industry, the politics of voting and the money management. Artist-wise, acts like Cyhi the Prynce, Chip tha Ripper, Sha Stimuli and The CunninLynguists held down the fort well past midnight.
Knowing I’d spend the majority of tomorrow at the main site, I ventured across town to a venue named Terminal West for BET’s stage, appropriately titled “Music Matters.” I got there in time to hear a few songs from DMV’s own Phil Ade, whose rapid-fire wordplay won over most the crowd despite a short set. Kid Daytona had a harder time but got a better response and the end with his new Jadakiss-featuring single “Low.”
Business really picked up when 9th Wonder hit the the stage to intro his very talented Jamla signee, Rapsody. How do you get the crowd on your side? Stepping on stage while ripping Jay-Z’s “Takeover” beat is a good start. And with a catalogue that’s heavy on lyricism, the camera phones quickly started coming out to record her flow on tracks like “NonFiction” and “Believe Me.” If you don’t have her just released debut album The Idea of Beautiful, do your ears a favor and pick that up ASAP.
Ditto that last sentence for Skyzoo and his album of the year contender A Dream Deferred. Sky followed up Rapsody with selections off that project and Live From the Tape Deck. The former features a tribute track, “Jansport Strings,” to the then teen rapper he saw on TV that inspired him to rhyme, Chi Ali. Just released from a near 12 year sentence for manslaughter, Ali graced the stage for the “Jansport Strings” remix.
Kirko Bangz’ set with a little jarring coming right after Skyzoo’s, but he and guest Trae the Truth didn’t waste time and went through a quick set that prevented any lag time.
The night’s closer was Big Boi, who was only scheduled to do four songs. That turned into an hour-long fantastic performance that ran the gamut of Outkast’s legendary catalogue, Big Boi’s own hits and even the Purple Ribbon all-stars. You would think hearing classics like “Rosa Parks,” “B.o.B.,” “Ms. Jackson,” and “ATLiens” without one-half of the equation wouldn’t feel complete, but Big Boi and hypeman C-Bone’s energy, along with the crowd’s, was at such a high level that it didn’t even matter. This allowed Big Boi to move quickly into each classic going all the way back to the “Southernplayalistic…” and “Player’s Ball” days. And let’s not be mistaken; Big Boi had a good number of his own bangers to go through in “Ghettomuzik” (that Pattie LaBelle breakdown is heaven live), “Shutterbug” and “General Patton.”
Former friend-turned enemy-turned friend Killer Mike came out to lead off the closing segment, reciting his standout verse on Bonecrusher’s “Neva Scared Remix,” his joint “ADDIDAS,” and his part on “Whole World.” The only complaint is we unfortunately didn’t get Mike’s “Yeah!” which may off just blew the roof off. To close, the present Purple Ribbon All-Stars graced the stage for a joyous rendition of “Kryptonite.” And the only reason we didn’t get more is due to the venue shutting down.
This was Big Boi’s first A3C performance and he was so impressed with the crowd that he promised to try and make it out for the remainder of the week. If so, he’ll join a deep roster tonight featuring the likes of The GZA (performing ALL of Liquid Swords), Chino XL, Prodigy, Raekwon, Freeway, Nipsey Hussle and many others.
Check back here early Saturday for the Day 2 recap.
For tickets for the remaining two days, visit www.A3Cfestival.com