A3C music festival and conference was one for the books

Photo by Victor Sledge | The Signal


The A3C Festival kicked off on Wednesday night with Georgia State’s Panther Entertainment Group hosting a lineup that set the bar high for the rest of festival for students and non students alike. A3CatGSU showcased the talents of young entertainers within the Georgia State community on the Squarespace Discovery Stage at Mammal Gallery.

The venue had a great vibe with spacey blue lighting and a DJ that kept everyone on the dancefloor. Students socialized over the good music and curated an entertaining environment with unique dance circles. The mood could not have been better. If you needed a break, you could grab a friend and head to a secluded nook of the venue that had the only good selfie light for people to take group pictures for commemoration.

Even if you didn’t make it to the selfie booth, the performances definitely made a lasting impression. The energy and talent from the musical artists were second to none. The performers included Nai.BrXX, Kenny Mason, Kiss Avery, Sammy $urf, and T. Mason. They all delivered their own unique style and sound and kept the crowd hype the through the night.

The opening act for the night was Nai Br.XX, an ethereal performer who is emerging onto Atlanta’s R&B scene with an infectious sound that is all her own. Nai and her manager/producer, Bueno, are Georgia State Alumni and A3C returning performers.

Nai was a part of Panther Entertainment back when she was a student at Georgia State. She had nothing but good reviews for the team who worked to make her performance go as smoothly as possible. Being that it was primarily hip-hop artists performing that night, it was amazing to see the crowd be so reactive to a more melodic, vocal artist and to see how she fed off of that on stage.

How Nai’s music resonated with the crowd also spoke to how well Panther Entertainment Group picked the line-up for the night. While she started the night with a smooth, songful vibe, it was still conducive to different kind of hype that the following rap artists were bringing throughout the night.

Panther Entertainment Group created the perfect mood for this event. They were founded in 2013, but in 2015 the group of creatives and art-lovers refocused to appeal more to the collegiate art and entertainment scene around Atlanta.

It was impressive to see students and staff of Georgia State’s community put on such a well-planned event and keep the attention and zeal of the crowd so consistently with just a few years under their belt.

Photo taken by Victor Sledge | The Signal

A3C Festival Weekend

Nas, Dave East, Rich Homie Quan and Lil B are just a few big names of all the artists that came to Atlanta last weekend to be a part of A3C Festival and Conference. A3C is an annual hip-hop festival that takes place in Downtown Atlanta where artists, creatives and fans all come together to enjoy how hip-hop has impacted our world.

The festival hosted over 1,500 artists, producers and familiar faces in the industry that participated in the entertainment and education of hip-hop-heads who gathered in Atlanta. Different sponsors and venues held panel talks and showcases leading up to the weekend when the Georgia Freight Depot, at Spinrilla House and on the Toyota Music Main Stage, would unleash some of the biggest acts in hip-hop.


Starting off with a bang

The weekend definitely brought the music but it also brought something for those who attended to see something other than a concert. Conferences for public relations advice, meet and greets and insider information from professionals were just some of the options for those seeking advice for the industry they want to be a part of.

The side shows ended up being just as hype as the main events. Saturday’s big side event was internet legend and one of hip hop’s strangest and influential character, Lil B, who performed at the Masquerade with some other hip openers. Lil Pump, Ski Mask the Slump God and Lil Xan, helped fill the Heaven stage for a show to like no other, especially when Lil Pump brought out one of rap’s hottest stars, and Atlanta native, Lil Yatchy.

Lil B’s ecstatic energy delivered a set that pumped the crowd to an all-time high. He performed old hits like “Like a Martian” and more. He climbed into the crowd and hung off the stage, giving Atlanta the Lil B performance it deserved.

Atlanta was bustling for the entire weekend, traffic at an unusual high (and that’s saying something for Downtown), but lovers of A3C did not mind. They came to see legends in the flesh, see young legends of the future, and they got their money’s’ worth. The music, fans and all-around atmosphere made 2017’s A3C Festival and Conference one to remember.

Photo taken by Victor Sledge | The Signal

A3C’s Closing Performances

The rain could not drown out the party on the last day of A3C. After four days of melting into Atlanta and the hip-hop, A3C would go out with an unforgettable line-up. “Spinrilla Sunday” hosted performances throughout the afternoon, leading to the night’s main closing acts outside on the Toyota Music Main Stage.

It started out with a DJ set that led into sets by artists like Kool Keith, Masta Ace and closed out with AZ. As festival-goers enjoyed the music, they could also go outside to different tents and vendors. They could take a rest with good food and a drink as you peruse the art or merchandise vendors. After the Spinrilla House reached its finale of the evening, the Main Stage kept the party going with their acts including Dave East, Just Blaze, and rap legend, Nas.

The crowd lost their shit when Dave East stepped on stage. One of the hottest new names in rap, Dave East commanded the scene like a rap veteran and the crowd rapped along to hits from his latest album, Paranoia.

When Just Blaze took the stage he sent the crowd back to the early 2000’s with some classic hits that the New Jersey producer had a hand in. With a musical track list including Jay Z, Fabolous and Usher, Just Blaze let the crowd groove to the music of artists that all generations could vibe to.

The man, the myth, the legend: Nas. Hats off to Nas as he stole the show as the last act of the A3C Festival. Performing classic rap anthems from Illmatic and It Was Written, he took the stage like only he could. His songs motivated and hyped up festival goers with his stories of success after humble beginnings. As people from all ages and backgrounds chanted every word of his songs, it was clear that Nas is truly an artist with undeniable longevity and relevance to hip-hop.

Business-Minded Creatives

A3C wasn’t just all music and partying. Some well-respected producers, radio/T.V. personalities and industry experts spent a lot of time at discussions to help educate the next generation of hip-hop moguls on the intricacies of the business side of music.

The Creator Complex, for example, was the brainchild of A3C and Georgia State. It was a safe space for young artists and producers to go collaborate and learn from each other and professionals to help jumpstart their hip-hop empire.

Free of charge, people were able to take a headshot, write an effective bio, construct a website and record music with peers trying to reach the same goals as them, all in one place. Aside from making music, the Creator Complex helped with the branding and public relations side of the industry, which many artists have to navigate alone.

The conferences at A3C were also centered around giving young artists the right tips for the business. With social media and digital business taking over the industry, there were multiple panels on marketing music online, public relations through social media and the business of music streaming.

There were plenty of opportunities for new artists to learn how to grow their business, showing that A3C is totally invested in helping cultivate the next wave of hip-hop.

A3C *Drops Mic* Until Next Year

A3C 2017 brought out the best of Atlanta’s hip-hop roots. The line-up for the whole event was a music lover’s dream. Then, to have such a good set of performers and practical informational sessions to help aspiring artists and producers made it all the better.

With the strong music scene in Atlanta, it’s great to see A3C willing to help music newcomers start thinking about how they can expand their brand into a successful career in the future. The networking and tips that young people were able to gain during the festival were almost more exciting than the performers. Almost.

As this generation of legends start pushing their pens and hitting the studio, 2018’s A3C Festival may not even be ready for the talent that’s sure to come when it returns.