I began the second day of A3C by hitting the Old Fourth Ward. Walking down Edgewood, I noticed street crowds were sparse. Maybe its being 4 o’clock on a Saturday afternoon had something to do with it.
Blocked at the intersection of Boulevard and Edgewood, the street was littered with food trucks and wandering patrons. Just before Noni’s, I saw a huge stage with artist booths set up; unfortunately, I was just too early to catch any of the action.
Walking toward Noni’s, I noticed another outdoor stage, tucked away in a corner. Walking back there, I stood and watched live art demonstrations. Once I reached the stage, I waited for something to happen, but was greeted only by nondescript trap music and folks just standing around. I decided to leave and head to Little 5 Points’ infamous Star Community Bar.
That proved a wise decision.
At the Star Bar, MCs from all over the country took the stage, earnestly performing ten-minute sets and all holding their own. It was difficult to catch all their names, but every artist was good. You know how you can never understand what someone is saying when they talk on stage? Maybe I’m just deaf from 20-plus years of rock shows.
The day’s standout was undoubtedly Giles. He had a confidence, style and vibe distinct from everyone else’s. Beyond just his lyrics and his beats, he also had an interesting fashion. He had a bit of a crazy look in his eyes as he commanded the stage.
Later that night I trekked down to 529 in East Atlanta Village. MCs got short sets here too, grabbing the mic and taking turns. It was even harder to hear in the 529 space, so as you might guess, I didn’t get any names there, either. The standout artist here was a guy from Toronto, who had the whole club moving and dancing.
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My first A3C experience was great. It brought out veteran artists and gave unknown artists a showcase for their talents. It filled a community’s venues and gave fans of real hip-hop nationwide an opportunity to get together. I only saw a fraction of the action, but what I did see was fun and celebrated a love of hip hop.