Hip-Hop & Love from A3C – Here’s a recap of one of my best hip-hop experiences ever.

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A3C was an amazing hip-hop experience this weekend. It was a 3-day hip-hop festival and conference featuring informative panel discussions during the day and showcases with a mind-blowing amount of dope artists at night.  Much like at South by Southwest, there was no floss–just a collective respect and love for hip-hop. There was a who’s who of artists, DJ, producers and other notables, ranging from some of the most revered names in the game to several of its future stars. Here were some of my personal highlights:

–  Watching The Wonder Year, the documentary that chronicles a year in 9th Wonder’s life then seeing 9th answer questions about the film for nearly an hour.  The film lived up to expectations by giving an in-depth look at the man behind the boards.  He takes you on a journey from the house he grew up in to his travels with Little Brother to one of the highlights of his career, producing Threat for Jay-Z on The Black Album.

–  Watching Rapper Big Pooh blow the stage up on Friday night, ripping through a no miss medley of his best LB verses and some solo material.

–  Chopping it up with Murs and seeing him and Tabi Bonney rock out with a live band.  Their song Hip-Hop & Love goes to another level with live instruments.  He also blessed me with a copy of his new album, Love & Rockets Vol. 1:  The Transformation.  It’s one of the best albums of the year.  Murs covers a wide-array of subjects from gang influences as he was growing up to his love for Eazy-E to growing older and wiser.  He truly keeps it real.

–  Witnessing Big K.R.I.T. grow into a bona fide super star right before my eyes (see above).  I first saw him perform at SXSW, then at Rock the Bells and now at A3C.  I was blown away at SXSW and he has gotten better each time…

–  Seeing Big Daddy Kane shut it down like no time has passed since 1984.  His flow is still smooth and effortless, and his choreography is second to none.

–  Seeing the respect for hip-hop in full effect:  there were no incidents…in fact, there were no metal detectors and no real police or security presence.  There didn’t need to be.  Folks were happy to celebrate the culture.

–  Watching artists and fans walk as one.  Artists moved freely through the crowd.  There were no VIP sections or velvet ropes.

–  Having an unbelievable amount of artists show love to Ambrosia For Heads (more on that in the next few weeks).

–  Realizing this is just the beginning for A3C.  If it keeps going like it has, A3C is poised to be one of the biggest festivals in the country–not just hip-hop.

If you have the means and opportunity next year, definitely check it out. You will not regret it.