A3C Festival photos taken by Vickey Ford (SneakShot) for Okayplayer.
The impending Hurricane Matthew could not stop ATLiens and hip-hop fans from coming out to 2016’s A3C Festival. As we were on-hand to witness, Atlanta was the place to be as legends (Master P, Bun B + Bone Thugs-n-Harmony), established stars (Killer Mike, Rick Ross) and budding upstarts (Maségo, Cousin Stizz) commanded the stage, performed brilliantly and shined like a grand star for all to see.
On Friday, panelists Diwang Valdez of Motion Family, Zach Wolfe, Cameron “Cam Kirk” Kirkland and Jonathan Mannion told stories from “behind the lens,” as part of a discussion about iconic hip-hop photos. From a veteran performer such as Jay Z, who was shot by Jonathan Mannion, to a captivating new star in Young Thug — the event found these shutterbugs sharing reflective moments on how they got their start, how the copyright laws have helped and hurt their careers and other stories about their pictorial prowess.
Elsewhere, conversations with two juggernauts in rap — Too $hort and Master P — were happening. In an effort to showcase just how impactful these two titans have been in their 25-plus year career in hip-hop, Too $hort schooled up-and-coming rap-smiths on how the Bay Area was when he was coming up and how it is now as a triple-OG. $hort Dawg, who would perform later that evening, has helped or been a part of movements involving Richie Rich, E-40, Mac Dre, Mac Mall and has influenced a new age voice in Kamaiyah. For Percy Miller, better known as Master P, the ultimate No Limit soldier is experiencing a resurgence as Solange‘s A Seat At The Table came out just on time.
Narrated by the former NBA hopeful turned rap mogul, P doubled down on his feelings that “there is no limit” to how successful those in hip-hop can be if they have the right motivations, right energies and right songs to break through in the industry. As someone who has been familiar with No Limit‘s sound since “Mr. Ice Cream Man,” you can surely bet that Master P has something brewing to keep his name ringing from Calliope to Atlanta and around the world. After leaving the panels for a bit, we checked out Tall Black Guy and Bryan-Michael Cox on the DJ Stage. TBG, a force that the world has yet to reckon with, is continuing to build up his rep in the U.S. and shatter any preconceived notion one might try to throw his way.
Friday concluded with us paying tribute to the life and legacy of Atlanta’s own, Shawty Lo. Mr. Dun-Dun-It-All, the brainchild behind the trap-and-snap movement and all-around mogul left us too soon after being the victim of a hit-and-run car crash. Saddened by the loss, but emboldened by his spirit — Dade County’s own Rick Ross and Detroit’s Royce Da 5’9″ picked up the baton and championed the man born Carlos Rico Walker all throughout the Atlanta airwaves. Stalley was also in the mix and, from what we heard, put on an exhilarating show.
Saturday started off with some smoothed-out jazz, as a conversation with Robert Glasper and Bryan-Michael Cox, presented by SESAC took place in the AM. As much as we love the Grammy Award pianist and creative, we were looking for a harder edge, some knock if you must say, and it was only going to be provided by the good folks at Mass Appeal. We ventured over to the Main Stage at the Festival Grounds where the media-and-content company were holding their “1996” event. Kicking things off was DJ Kid Capri, who was introduced by Yo! MTV Raps own, Ed Lover. As he hosted the first half of the show, Capri’s legendary DJ skills were introduced to a whole new generation of hip-hop fans.
Later on during Capri’s set, he brought out one of the founding members of DITC, Diamond D, who saluted the crowd, but just let his energy be felt by the crowd. Upon entering into the second half of the show, Dres tha Beatnik came out to take over the hosting duties when he introduced the indomitable Def Squad. Yes, Erick Sermon, Redman and Keith Murray came out to A3C to perform a 40 minute set with the people. Beginning with Reggie Noble’s slew of hits, they transitioned into Keith Murray’s “Most Beautifullest Thing In This World” and ended up closing out with E-Double’s “Music”. With the crowd clearly in a frenzy, the feelings ramped up to obnoxious levels when Bun B came out to serve some trillness at A3C.
Performing all the classic UGK songs from “Big Pimpin'” to “The Game Belongs To Me,” Bun held court over the A3C audience who were wildly familiar with his brand of southern-fried lyricism. We wondered to Too $hort’s set, which consisted of a strong run through his most famous songs, and got a little bit frisky to the sounds of “Blow The Whistle” and “Freaky Tales”. Twista came out as a surprise guest appearance, and drove the crowd into a raucous. Cleveland’s own Bone Thugs-n-Harmony also showed love to legends, as they paid tribute to Eazy-E, the Notorious B.I.G. and 2Pac by performing the songs they recorded respectively with them.
Last, but certainly not least was the ATLiens Tribute show, which was one of many highlights offered by the A3C Festival. Hosted by Mr. DJ, the event was basically a showcase of sorts, featuring new-and-unsigned folks from around Atlanta, Georgia. Incubating these baby MCs and performers were established groups like Nappy Roots, John Robinson and J-Live.
All in all, A3C was a rousing success and if you want to get an idea of the energy levels presented, please just scroll through our slideshow above!