15 Things I Took Home From A3C

This past weekend, I visited Atlanta for my first time attending the annual A3C Hip Hop Festival. In between all the work as a journalist and manager, I accumulated a lot of things – physically, mentally and spiritually – to take back to Michigan with me. I still have an extra week in the A before returning to the mitten, but I’ve already got a bag full of gems. Read below to see the list.

  1. Alcohol. A lot. Beer, vodka, even tequila (thanks Kenny, smh). Being at a venue that has four stages and at least two full bars at each of them, with friends from all over the country, there’s no reason at all not to get right. Be sure to have a wristband when you walk in though, and take close care of it. When my 21+ wristband started to fall off of my arm because of moisture, the bartender took my drink and held it behind the counter for me until I came back with a fresh one.
  2. Great performances. While I admit that I missed some of the most notable performances at A3C (Freeway, Homeboy Sandman, XV, and apparently an impromptu performance from Killer Mike), I was still able to see some of my favorite artists rock. Random Axe, Freddie Gibbs, Skyzoo, The Kid Daytona, OneBeLo, the legendary Big Daddy Kane, and others easily satisfied my hip-hop appetite. Oh, and can’t forget a career performance by my artist JYoung The General on HipHopDX’s DXNext stage (CLICK HERE for photo).
  3. Two losses on NBA 2K12. The fellas at HoodHype had a gaming station with Konsole Kingz to showcase a variety of selections for XBox 360 and Playstation 3, and this was my first time holding the sticks on the latest edition of the only video game I play. Unfortunately, my Derrick Rose-lead Chicago Bulls didn’t have what it took.
  4. Nearly two dozen business cards from a variety of writers, artists, producers, and all around hustlers in Atlanta looking to put in work. Annoying at times, especially if the people don’t really introduce themselves first, but it’s great to see that much ambition in one place.
  5. A Microsoft Moleskine notebook (CLICK HERE for photo), at that same gaming station.
    S/O to JYoung The General for scooping one up for me to serve my addiction before there weren’t any left.
  6. Lust. Whatever number you’ve been told about the amount of beautiful women in Atlanta, it’s wrong: there’s twice as many gorgeous ladies as however many you think. They’re everywhere; I have no idea how guys down here can stay focused.
  7. Knowledge. I admittedly had only known bits and pieces about Big Daddy Kane’s legacy before last weekend, but at A3C, I watched an onstage interview and audience Q&A session with the Brooklyn rap legend. Afterward, I saw him rock one of the greatest live performances I’ve ever seen.
  8. Aches. The organizers behind A3C found a way to pack more than 30 hours of live performances, DJ sessions, panels, interviews and video footage over three days. With so many people at the festival over the weekend, sitting room was hard to find. As a result, feet aches were a necessary evil to milk the festival for its full worth. Next year, I plan to carry around a lawn chair on my back instead of a laptop.
  9. Hometown pride. I’ve always been proud of the hip-hop from Michigan, but it was an honor to see how well the mitten represented in Atlanta. As soon as I walked off the plane into the Atlanta airport, I got shout-outs and greetings related to my Detroit Tigers fitted cap. Plus, there were nearly a dozen performers from Michigan on the A3C lineup: JYoung The General, One Be Lo, Jon Connor, Elzhi, The Regiment, Boog Brown, JFin, Young Scolla, Ro Spit, Jon Connor, Bronze and Nazereth. Plus, while I was in Atlanta, my NPR story about Detroit hip-hop went live online. It’s beautiful to see us begin to get the love and respect we deserve.
  10. Redemption. When I met rapper Jean Grae in Austin, Texas at the South By Southwest festival, I was starstruck by her talent and beauty, so I mumbled like an idiot. When I saw her at the hotel Saturday morning, I smiled and uttered a simple “You killed it on stage last night” and kept it moving. Whether she recognized me or not, I felt better about myself afterward.
  11. Two signed copies of Ski Beatz’ 24 Hour Karate School, purchased right after Ski Beatz tore down the stage with Murs and Tabi Bonney. One copy for me, and the other copy for P.H.I.L.T.H.Y.
  12. Camera time. Arasia Magnetic interviewed me for DEMOS documentary to help independent artists.
  13. Chick Fil-A. After years of hearing about how serious the chicken sandwiches there were, I finally tried one out for myself for my first meal in Atlanta. They’re definitely worth the hype. Still hope to visit Gladys Knight Chicken & Waffles, and some other Atlanta-specific restaurants before I leave. Let me know if you have any suggestions.
  14. Dirty sneakers. In an attempt to stunt while being out of town, I wore my red Jordan 1’s at A3C. Bad move: with the foot traffic and dirt roads at the venue, your best bet is to dress for comfort and durability. My J’s are terribly stained; make sure your shoes help you enjoy the show, instead of trying to earn enjoyment from those around you.
  15. Opportunity. With the connections I made and the people I met, I’ve got tons of opportunities to capitalize on over the next year until the next A3C. Business relationships to build, personal friendships to feed, and numerous musical and professional outlets to explore. I’m definitely not returning home empty-handed, and no one else who attended A3C should, either.

Congratulations to the organizers of this year’s A3C festival, it was definitely a weekend to remember. See you in 2012!

  • I thought was gonna be an itemized list of things you physically took(stole).