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A3C Festival, (All Three Coasts) one of the now largest hip-hop festivals in the United States began 9 years ago in Atlanta. The festival took place over five days in October. What makes this festival unique and so appealing is that it’s not concentrated in a central location. A3C is spread over dozens of venues in areas such as Downtown, Little 5 Points, East Atlanta Village, and Old 4th Ward.
Hundreds of artists converged on the city for the festival and as a fan you have to carefully coordinate your travel plans to be able to see your favorite artist perform. There are several events going on at the same time and there is no way you will catch every venue, so you have to be decisive in your decision making on which show to catch. Mic Check Media made the decision to venture down to Little 5 Points to the Variety Playhouse to catch the Ghostface Killah, Pharoahe Monch and Jean Grae headlined event.
Philadelphia native, Rich Medina kicked the evening off and helped set the mood by spinning hip hop tunes that kept everyone’s head bobbing. His set included songs by artists such as KRS One, Jay Dilla, The Roots, Pete Rock, CL Smooth and Ernie Hines mashup.
D.R.E.S. Tha Beatnik was our host for the evening for a stellar lineup and as usual he kept the crowd on its feet in anticipation of every hip-hop act to grace the stage. A3C gets much respect for being able to put this many MC’s on one venue and keep it organized. If you were to usually take in a concert with this many artists it would be an all day affair. We take our hats off to A3C for putting together such a successful and organized event, as it takes dedication and hard work to keep a show of this magnitude under control. Rich Medina, Skyzoo, Quelle Chris, Perrion, Brown Bag Allstars, Big Rock of Heltah Skeltah, and Jean Grae took part in the lineup at Variety Playhouse and they did not disappoint. Pharoahe Monch showed us once again why he is a consummate professional in the arena of hip-hop.
Jean Grae helped kick off the show by sharing hosting duties. As soon as she took the stage guests quickly moved to the front of the venue. She interacted with the crowd and commented on a handmade sign that a fan made especially for her. She complimented another concertgoer about a t-shirt that she wore. Jean also received a bottle of wine from another guest. In true Jean Grae form she ‘kept it real’….insisting that no footage be uploaded to Youtube….or else! Jean’s set including tunes Love Thirst and U&Me&EveryoneWeKnow. Her performance of Change My Life was a crowd favorite.
Pharoahe Monch commandeered the Variety Playhouse stage like a general and tore the place down. He delivered some heat from his new project but his closing of his set with Simon Says almost destroyed the Playhouse! The crowd went bananas when the beat dropped losing all composure reminding us all why we fell in love with hip-hop in the first place. Ghostface Killah was up next and his set was just as explosive! Ghostface opened with Criminology getting the crowd to their feet once again but this time with their W’s in the sky.
After performing two tracks Ghostface delivered a huge surprise by bringing out Sheek Louch of The Lox, who also formed a group with Ghostface called Wu-Block. Sheek delivered his verse from Wild Out and history was made once again for the A3C hip-hop festival. Ghostface and Sheek together went through joints from their collaborative efforts, as well as the classics that we all know and love. The biggest highlight of their performance was when Ghostface pulled two fans out of the crowd to perform Method Man’s and Ol’ Dirty Bastard’s verses with him on Protect Ya Neck. Talk about an opportunity of a lifetime! We’re sure that this will get those cats bragging rights for life to say they were able to fill in for Wu-Tang veterans alongside Ghostface Killah!! Big thumbs up to A3C for coming through once again in a major way!
Recap & Video: Kedric Barrett
Photography: Carolyn Grady