The Saturday afternoon event on A3C’s main stage was billed as the DuckDown Bar-B-Que, which provoked a fair amount of consternation, as there wasn’t any bar-b-que, only the usual food trucks. But it was sponsored by DuckDown Music, and was basically a concert, at which Jarren Benton, someone from Louisiana named Young Roddy, and Smif-N-Wessun performed. Jarren Benton I had seen before, a couple of years ago at SXSW, but I was far more impressed with him at this performance. He is quite lyrical and satirical, and at times is reminiscent of early Eminem. Young Roddy I was not at all familiar with (and I usually try to keep up with Louisiana artists), but I thought he was a decent performer. Obviously it was Smif-N-Wessun that most people came to hear, and when they started doing Black Moon material, I was especially thrilled, as I hadn’t expected that, and as Black Moon was one of my favorite rap groups and albums of all time. Hearing such gems as “Enter the Stage” and “Shit Is Real” made my day.
When I got to Atlanta, I went immediately to the Crowne Plaza Hotel, which last year had been the Melia Hotel, and registered for the A3C conference. Although it was only the first day of the event, the hotel was already crowded with rap artists, industry people and fans. After getting checked in at my hotel, and eating dinner, I headed down to the Edgewood Avenue area to attend showcases, ending up first at the upstairs stage of a building called Erosol or the Department Store, where an artist named Nate was on stage. He was soon followed by a Maybach Music Group artist named Torch, but the venue was extremely crowded, so I walked down Edgewood to the Music Room, where the Atlanta rapper Money Makin Nique was on stage. I had heard him first several years ago, but I was extremely impressed with the new material he performed this year, and spent some time talking with his manager on the sidewalk outside. But my homeboy Fort Knox was emceeing an event at Enclave, a club on Spring Street not far from the conference hotel, so I got the car and drove back over to the hotel, but ended up going into the Quad instead of the Enclave, and saw the rapper Cash Out on stage with his entourage. I realized that Fort Knox wasn’t hosting that event, and decided to go around the corner and into Enclave, but by then, the latter venue was closing and wouldn’t let me in. I got a brief chance to speak with Knox before he headed out, and I rode back to my hotel as well.