A3C Hip Hop Festival
CW Midtown Music Complex
Atlanta, GA, March 20-22, 2008
Published May 2008 in Southeast Performer Magazine
This year’s fourth annual A3C Hip Hop Festival, held at Atlanta’s CW Music Midtown Complex, delivered three days of record-scratching, beat-breaking, neck-rocking, slick-spinning hip-hop. Each night featured a line-up of hip-hop acts ranging from local artists to consistent national headliners.
Playing to an audience that has never heard your music can be a tough feat to overcome, but Atlanta MC Mojo Swagger rocked the mic during Thursday night’s show at Vinyl as if he were performing at Madison Square. Wearing a boxing glove on his left hand, Swagger described his love for hip-hop to the crowd saying, “Hip-hop makes me feel open. Like smoking my first blunt, kissing my first girl, buying my first car, having my first drink.” MC Dillon Maurer showcased the fun side of hip-hop during his set, while duo Contra Verse dedicated a song to the downside of the mainstream music industry.
On Friday night, Gripplyaz opened the show at Center Stage, followed by eclectic crew Hollyweerds. DJ Klever held the whole night together, kicking tunes from the turntables in-between acts. B.o.B. brought an electric energy to the stage during songs “Haterz” and “Addicted to the Nightlife,” even doing jumping jacks as a part of his performance. Los Angeles MC Blu spit his well-constructed lyrics sans hype man with merely a mic and a Heineken, rhyming, “Heard you was looking for a weapon. My tongue’s right here.”
The evening closed with the much-anticipated reunion of one of hip-hop’s pioneer groups The Juice Crew. Big Daddy Kane was unable to attend due to problems with his blood pressure, but Marley Marl, Biz Markie, Roxanne Shante, Craig G, and MC Shan, performed their old hits and debuted a couple of new ones. MC Shan, a recent Atlanta transplant, rhymed some of his old lyrics over new school beats, while Biz Markie reminded the audience of the power of the beatbox. Biz Markie sang one of his landmark hits, “Just a Friend,” giving the audience permission to sing, whether they could hold a note or not.
Hip-hop has always been about ego, the sheer ability to showcase your skill, prove yourself, or at the very least make your audience believe in what you can do, even if they haven’t seen it yet. A3C celebrates hip-hop by providing a stage for pioneers to exemplify the culture’s history and newcomers to carry on its legacy.