Aight, so we’re a bit delayed on this one. But y’all can forgive us. We’d never been to anything like this before, and the shit is hard work. Seriously. Networking. Trying to talk to that producer/MC/DJ/industry dude without looking or sounding like a groupie or a new jack. Yelling over loud music all night. Up early and paying attention to panels all day. It’s a full time job doing this shit. But we ain’t complaining; both of these conferences were some of the most amazing experiences we’ve had thus far with music, and in 2011, we finna be rockin’ shows there, beleeeeedat.
We kicked off Atlanta by scoring tickets to the Drake show at the Fox Theatre. Bonus. Notion and I walked into a room full of people rapping every word to a Soulja Boy song. Oh-kay. Five minutes after we got in there, Drake started so it was perfect timing. Apparently Tyga opened, so we prolly didn’t miss much. The crowd, mostly women and their generally less-than-enthusiastic partners, stood up pretty much the whole time and there was a lot of screaming. Drizzy did most of the joints I wanted to hear bar ‘Say What’s Real’. ‘Forever’ was dope; he even brought Young Jeezy and The-Dream out for their respective collaborations (I have no idea what they are), and the pyrotechnics for ‘Fireworks’ were awesome. Great show.
So A3C (it stands for All 3 Coasts, for those who ain’t know. I didn’t til recently) kicked off on Thursday at the Masquerade complex in East Atlanta. The venue was dope as it had about 5 stages with either performances, demonstrations or panels on at any given time, so there was never a moment of boredom. We finally got to meet a gang of folks we’d built with over the years but never met in person (as well as a bunch of folks we respect and have admired for years), including North Carolina producer S.T.T.R.E.S.S. (below with The Fam), Kevin Nottingham, Dasha, Hassahn, Emilio Rojas, Hezekiah, Donwill and Von Pea of Tanya Morgan, Che Grand, Big Dho, Chaundon, J The S, DJ Evil Dee, DJ Z of DJ Booth.net, Crooked I, El Da Sensei, Illmaculate, Laws, The Bodega Brovas, Khrysis and a gang more.
Day 1 was the 9th Wonder interview by Dres The Beatnik, and included guests and collaborators Buckshot and Murs. It was an awesome insight into 9th’s work ethic, inspirations and methods. The rest of the night included performances from Jamla artists like Skyzoo, The Away Team, Rapsody, Big Reemo, Murs and Jean Grae. And of course, DJ Evil Dee was on the mix (c’mon kick it!).
Day 2 was full of more shows and informative panels. The two main showcases we caught were Kevin Nottingham’s and DJ Booth’s. Kev’s included dope sets from HiPNOTT Records artists like Jermside, Nobody Famous and the Hall of Justus cats headlined and tore it down (Rapper Big Pooh, Chaundon, Jozeemo and Joe Scudda). DJ Booth’s showcase had sets from cats like J The S, Emilio Rojas, Cyhi The Prince, Laws, Exile and Crooked I. We ventured inside to catch Illmaculate’s set, followed by Seattle native J. Pinder, both of whom murked it.
Nosh even caught Mr Douthit to get a quick photo and pass on a copy of his tribute mixtape to the man himself. And we also managed to chill with Crooked I for a while and explain our move to Canada from Australia to pursue our music, which he said he really respected and that we’ll be successful with that sort of determination, belief and passion. That really meant a lot coming from him. Great dude.
Day 3 was just as hectic. More panels in the early afternoon and the weather was gorgeous. Atlanta turned it on for us, we were drinking beers in the sun; it felt like home. More networking and more shows, including Torae, Sha Stimuli, Lessondary Crew (Jermiside, Von Pea, Donwill and Che Grand), Reks and Statik Selektah, the big homies The Bodega Brovas (Traviii 7th, Keynote and Headkrack), Hezekiah and horn section ‘Me So Horny’ (who KILLED it), The Artifacts, Emilio Rojas, Camp Lo and Rhymefest. All up, it was an amazing festival and we’ll be there next year for sure.
After a quick couple days in Toronto to do some laundry and re-pack, we were on the bus to New York City to catch CMJ (College Music Journal). Yet another amazing experience; though a little different than A3C in the sense that it was general music business across all genres rather than strictly Hip Hop. We chilled for a couple days to check out the city as it was VP‘s first time, but Notion and I caught the David Icke lecture on the Sunday before booking it to the Mayer Hawthorne show downtown at the Bowery Ballroom, missing half his set. We got to hang with the homie Cyclops too, which was dope.
CMJ started on the Tuesday, and it was full on. The panels went from 11am to 4.45pm every day, with only 15 minutes break between each one, where we had to fit in any quick chats to panelists and toilet breaks before heading to the next panel and trying to get there early to ensure a seat. It was like being back at Uni. But the information we gathered was absolutely incredible, and the people we met will definitely be either long term friends or business associates.
The first night we caught the New Zealand showcase at Le Poisson Rouge, where we saw awesome bands like Street Chant, Ruby Frost and Kids of 88, saw Blonde Summer over at Kenny’s Castaway (where Bruce Springsteen apparently did his first ever gig), and then back to LPR for the Duck Down vs Blacksmith Showcase. It was Duck Down’s 15 Year Anniversary so they went all out. The 16 year old in me lost my fucking shit when every Duck Down artist (with the exception of Louieville Sluggah pretty much) rocked the stage, performing classics like ‘Le Fleh, Le Flah, Eshkoshka’, ‘Operation Lockdown’, ‘I Gotcha Opin’ and more. Incredible. The newly signed Black Rob even came through to perform ‘Whoa’. No words.
The Blacksmith kids killed it too. Jean Grae and Mela Machinko, Pharoahe Monch and Strong Arm Steady did an awesome job. We bailed after SAS so I’m not sure who else rocked, but it was an incredible night.
The rest of the week consisted of panels until Friday and shows every night. The soul showcase with Eric Roberson was amazing, the international showcase at 92Y Tribeca was really interesting, we even caught Aussies Paul Dempsey (from Something For Kate) and Angus & Julia Stone doing their thing. Israeli electro artist Onili was awesome, as was closing night with Foreign Exchange (who had Darien Brockington and Zo rocking with them all night, and they even brought out Rapper Big Pooh and Jesse Boykins III). Shouts to the big homie outta Jersey, Mike Philson, who we connected with. So after two weeks of shows every night and early mornings at panels, we’re absolutely shambles. Now it’s time to re-up, consolidate the networks and use the new info we learned. Until next year…