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Monday, October 10, 2011

A diary of A3C Hip Hop Festival 2011

An impromptu freestyle cypher breaks out in front of the Masquerade at A3C
  • An impromptu freestyle cypher breaks out in front of the Masquerade at A3C

This year marked the seventh year of the showcase’s existence and the second year it all happened in the same place — Midtown’s multi-level Masquerade concert complex. While it’s impossible to see it all, here are some of the highlights.

October 6

Something about the kickoff of the three-day fest brought out the animal in local MCs.

• Boog Brown lit up the night with the call-and-response hype of “Dope Girl Magic.”

• J-Live, Rapper Big Pooh, and Freeway topped off the national acts, but nobody had a presence quite like Señor Kaos and 4-Ize. The two dope boys of ATL’s regular indie circuit rocked as the recently formed duo, Ultra Beast. Kaos brought the animalistic appellation to life when he hit the stage dressed as a gorilla to perform “Rap Sucks.”

• Of the sit-down sessions, the iStandard Producer Showcase was the one to see. Jeron Ward and Rick Wallkk of the Grammy nominated Royal Flush duo were among the judges.

• Watching D-Roc of the Ying Yang Twins cut up in the media room was priceless.

Quote of the day:

“I put out an album, I put out a mixtape, Grind Season Vol. 1., and I fuckin’ work.”
— Boog Brown, on what fueled the fire in her opening night performance.

Atlanta rapper Pill takes a final drag before heading onto the stage for his Friday night set.
  • Atlanta rapper Pill takes a final drag before heading onto the stage for his Friday night set.

October 7

The second day boasted heat seekers like Mississippi’s Big K.R.I.T., but Oct. 7 clearly belonged to 9th. The Grammy-winning producer 9th Wonder had Red Bull-amped stans sitting down and bobbing their heads for the screening of his documentary, The Wonder Year.

• Jean Grae and Pill shut down the DJ show

• Ontario native Eternia gained a new following, flanked by a male entourage who proudly rocked T-shirts that read, “My Favorite Rapper Wears a Skirt.”

• Freddie Gibbs showed the gritty side of Gary, Indiana as the evening’s closer.

Quote of the day:

“That Mount Rushmore would have to have, like, seven heads on it.” — 9th Wonder, on his favorite producer-MCs, including J.Dilla, Erick Sermon, Diamond D, Kanye West, RZA, Q-Tip, and more immortalized on a mountain.

Big Daddy Kane bows over an enthused audience.

October 8

No better way to wrap A3C than to take it way back. Legends and true school heads ruled to show that the grown folks have still got it.

• The Needle to the Record DJ competition honored the Legendary Grand Wizzard Theodore with DJ King James earning the top spot. DJ Cha Cha dropped the sounds between sets.

• Meanwhile, the "B-I-G-D-A-double-D-Y-K-A-N-E" gave a one-on-one Actor’s Studio style interview with Karl Injex on the Creative Loafing stage. If that was just too smoove for you, then you needed to haul ass to the iHipHop stage for Slum Village legend Elzhi performing “Detroit State of Mind,” followed by M.O.P.’s testosterone-fueled performance of “Ante Up.”

• Dead Prez gave the final outdoor performance. Their classic “Hip Hop” was ended rather abruptly due to time constraints amid rumors that a Needle to the Record DJ mix of NWA’s “Fuck Tha Police” threatened to end the entire festival. (Officers in attendance weren’t having it.)

• Back on the upper level, a series of MCs gave tributes to hip-hop greats, the strongest of which was Laws’ rendition of Big Pun’s “I’m Not a Player.”

• Finally, Big Daddy Kane pulled out all the stops with “The Wrath of Kane,” “Ain’t No Half Steppin’," “Smooth Operator” and more, alongside Scoob and Scrap — dancing like it was 1989. When DJ Evil Dee shouted out different age brackets, the 30-and-up crowd easily made the most noise and they stayed to party long until they got kicked out.

Quote of the Day:

“You leave at the end of the night with no static. This is what hip-hop is all about. I really appreciate A3C for putting this event together.” — The legendary MC Shan

See the entire A3C Fest photo gallery.

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