It was more than just dope music circulating and grabbing free parking at Atlanta’s Loudermilk Center — it was about creating a movement. A3C celebrated their 11th year by bringing an expected continuation of some of the dopest film screenings, panels, performances, live art and a plethora of other things to get into.
The festival even dedicated a full day to paying homage to the Long Island, New York hip hop trio, De La Soul. Amongst the many panels at the Loudermilk Conference Center, I deem one of the most pivotal forums in capturing a greater me was ‘The Future of Atlanta Media’.
The panel of expert journalists and radio hosts representing major platforms such as XXL, Revolt, HipHopSince1987, WhyCauseICan.com, Billboard, PreciseEars.com and more included: Nadine Graham (MFD’s own), Kelby Cannick, Mehka King, Misty Malec, Rae Davis, Terrell Thomas, Cyril, Damian Davenport, Jae Michelle, Jerry White, and Maurice Garland as the host. A lot of the panel members are responsible for putting a few artists who are trending at the top of the game on the map.
Misty Malec (Mystic Entertainment) stated, “If you don’t document it, it didn’t happen…” — a general statement made for anyone in the music business trying to take their craft and services seriously. Questions for the panel flourished into an open discussion about creating a “union,” an idea introduced by Jerry White (WhyCauseICan.com).
Everyone spoke passionately about the relationships between each media outlet because the scene for media in Atlanta isn’t as prevalent as it is in other major cities such as New York or Los Angeles. Graham spoke on the importance of “etiquette” for artists and “egos” of many media outlets and those who are trying to get further in the industry. The media and artists have to keep it “fresh and creative” in the equation when it comes to the music that is exposed to the masses.
Jae Michelle touched on how “artists should promote their stuff when media show love” and the importance of investing in your craft.
Kelby Cannick spoke strongly about the media having “interdependence”, stating that “a rising tide lives off ships.” Eldorado (HipHopSince1987) brought up “the key to owning media [is] you have to own it” and that “music entertainment is like Africa to America…” He even compared it to an underground railroad.
Everyone brought up some great solutions to the hurdles media is facing, bridging a long-lasting connection between the artists and media, and bringing good music to the forefront.
Another sit-in worthy seminar was ‘The Importance of Business’ with Ryan Leslie and Brandon “Jinx” Jenkins with Complex Magazine. The conversation spoke volumes on how it is important to treat your craft as a brand and things were definitely solidified on Rich Homie Quan and Leslie’s collaborative project in Jamaica.
The singer/songwriter shared tips about the structure of his guru enterprise Disruptive Multimedia and how to create a new way to communicate with fans authentically and analytically.
Then there were the live shows from podcasters Juan Epstein and Combat Jack. There were impromtu A3Conversations, including one between Marc Lamont Hill and Jeezy. The Loudermilk building was the place to be.
If you were lucky, you made it to the festival grounds off Edgewood before the rain had everyone scattering.
There were some live performances by Atlanta vet Bone Crusher, Raury, Rakim, Cam’Ron, Young Greatness, Beanie Sigel, Scotty ATL, Dej Loaf, and many others.
There were a ton of events happening during the day and night aside from A3C since the BET Hip Hop Awards decided to make their mark during the same weekend. From Bankroll Fresh at the Plaza Theatre, Yo Gotti’s 1st annual “Art Of Hustle” Luncheon at Magic City to the local club reeling in top acts from all over the country — Atlanta traffic and the scene was on one, all for the love of hip hop.