At the 14th Annual A3C Festival in Atlanta, Ga., the city was once again overtaken by Hip-Hop artists from several eras and fans of all ages. For the first of the two-day main event on Saturday (10/6/18), the Wu-Tang Clan brought the ruckus, Talib Kweli showed why Brooklyn keeps on taking it, and the duo of Royce Da 5’9 and DJ Premier showed and proved why we all need a PRhyme 3.
We arrived at the Georgia Freight Depot just as the brothers of Griselda Westside Gunn and Conway touched the stage, making way for Royce, Preem and Kid Vishus on the supporting vocals to rock the crowd. Running through a number of PRhyme tracks, Nickel also went into the vault for some early classic Preemo-produced tracks like “BOOM!” and “Hip Hop” while also dropping some bars from his Slaughterhouse days. Curiously enough, Royce spoke of the quartet in the present tense so maybe there’s hope Joe Budden will come back to rapping? Who knows.
East Atlanta’s J.I.D. was up next and it was clear that rocking the stage in his hometown meant the world to him. While it was clear that many in the crowd were unfamiliar with the Spillage Village crew member and Dreamville Records signee, they won’t soon forget him as he commanded the stage like a rock star. Running through a few tracks from his debut album The Never Story, J.I.D.’s bright future was cemented on this warm Saturday night.
Talib Kweli wasn’t slated to take the main stage as he was set to go on at the Sound Garage location, but to the delight of fans, he was bumped up and did what he was there to do. Of course, Kweli, a masterful showman, ran through some of his big solo hits but also showcased his group efforts with Black Star and Reflection Eternal. A serious moment in the show was when Kweli, known for battling on Twitter for who he called the “voiceless” onstage, began sharing why he won’t “shut up” and will continue being a voice for the people.
However, it was clear that most in attendance were there to see the Wu-Tang Clan and they didn’t disappoint. With all core members of the Clan onstage, with Ol’ Dirty Bastard there in the spirit of his son, Young Dirty Bastard, the crew celebrated 25 years of Wu by performing the entire Enter The Wu-Tang: 36 Chambers album. YDB channeled his father in uncanny fashion, and the Shaolin Swordsman looked glad to be onstage.
After running through the album, GZA went through some of his top hits from Liquid Swords, while Ghostface Killah ran through some of his Ironman darts, followed with Raekwon getting into his Only Built For Cuban Linx bag as expected. Method Man and RZA were clearly the bringers of energy and motivation, but all members of the Clan showed out. Cappadonna appeared after the debut album set and also showed and proved.
If only for a couple of hours, Atlanta felt like Shaolin and reminded everyone that the Wu-Tang Clan’s contributions to Hip-Hop go farther than a classic debut album.
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Photo: D.L. Chandler