Oct. 9, 2011
Dread Mighty with Napoleon Da Legend.
9th Wonder during Q&A.
Thee Tom Hardy.
The Away Team.
The Acway Team.
The Kid Daytona.
The Kid Daytona.
9th is one of the best, and i would say most interesting producers of all time – he has a great presence and thoughtful, conscientious outlook on the music industry, his craft, the state of our culture and life itself.
Day two was incredible – it would be hard to top the power of day one, but I think we spent pretty much the entire night upstairs at the Creative Loafing Stage [the Heaven stage at the Masquerade] watching 9th Wonder and his team of friends and artists rock the entire night for the LRGenerations showcase. 9th is one of the best, and i would say most interesting producers of all time – if you are unfamiliar with him, look his work up, and you will be surprised to find out how familiar with him you probably already are.
We skipped the screening of The Wonder Year [a fresh new documentary about 9th] since we had just seen it at Sidewalk Moving Picture Festival, but hit the room for the Q&A. 9th has a great presence and thoughtful, conscientious outlook on the music industry, his craft, the state of our culture and life itself. He is an interesting cat. I highly recommend that you watch the documentary – especially if you’re a producer – and get an insight into his perspective. It’s not the gospel, but it is the truth. Even the opinions i don’t fully agree with come from a perspective i respect and understand.
While we waited for the doc to finish, we popped around the festival for a few minutes to see what was going on on the other stages. When we popped into Hell and hit the Perfect Attendance stage, we came across Dread Mighty putting on a real good show – his style and flow were strong and I really liked his pseudo-nerdy swagger. As an added bonus, Dread had Napoleon Da Legend popped in and spit with him for a minute. I was really happy that we happened in on this set – both these cats have great style and are worth watching, so check them out when you have a chance – you can catch both of them on episodes of Crazy Al Cayne TV’s [cac-tv.com] Spittin In Da Wip. After Dread’s set, we popped back upstairs to catch the Q&A session with 9th and then wait for the show to get started.
After the Q&A, they took a few minutes to set up the stage for the performance, and then 9th got the show going, dropping beats and familiar tracks while D.R.E.S. The Beatnick got the crowd hyped up and ready for the show. And then the emcees started piling out onto the stage and doing their thing – one by one, taking it up a notch and tearing the place down. It was a great showcase, and i think that it had to be one of the strongest i’d ever seen. There were so many people hitting the stage that i didn’t catch who everyone was, but almost everything that 9th got behind that night was worthy of the crowd’s attention – it was solid. The seemingly unending cast of characters included E.Jones, Heather Victoria, Rapsody, Actual Proof, The Away Team, Big Remo, Thee Tom Hardy, Serius Jones, Laws, Kid Daytona, Skyzoo, Freddy Gibbs, 9th Wonder himself, and a few others who i couldn’t identify. I don’t have to tell you how good 9th was – you should already know – but i will say that it was great to watch him work – he was grinning almost the whole time and you could tell he was really enjoying what he was doing and that he was proud of his crew and what they were doing – after the show i saw him grouping and organising his people, and you could really see the natural way that he filled the role of a leader and mentor – i kinda want to go back to college just so i can take his classes and hang out with him.
Aside from the obvious wonder of 9th’s performance and impeccable beats, there were a few folks that stood out – Rapsody shows a lot of potential and is really putting on a good show representing femcees in the game. She has a lot of growing to do, but you can see how she has the ability, if she plays her game right, to transcend the position of being classified as a great femcee and step into the realm of female rappers who contend as emcees without the nod to gender that seems to infer that they are on a different level, a rung below the rest of the playing field. Actual Proof stood out as the surprise discovery of the night, maybe even the whole festival, to me – they had incredible energy, were obviously having a lot of fun with what they were doing, and were almost impeccable – these two young, fresh emcees are worth paying attention to. Beyond the strength of their stage performance, they were really great to talk to afterwards – we didn’t talk for long, but they were positive, intelligent and humble – appreciative of what they were doing and of the crowd and the response. Plus i have to say that the CD they gave me to listen to was great – it stands up to the quality of their stage performance, even if it lacks the energy that their live show has, but with the great production behind it and their skill as emcees, it is a whole different experience. Overall, it feels more kicked back and engaging – and ended up being our theme music for the drive back to the hotel later.
The Away Team were another standout act that took the stage and held it down – giving a solid, driven performance from start to finish. Sean Boog and Khrysis [The Away Team] both had solid flow, interesting rhymes, and engaged the audience all the way through their set – keep an eye out for their album, Scars and Stripes which will be coming out soon. The Kid Daytona came out later in the night and really rocked the house – he was one of the acts i was really looking forward to seeing live at the festival and he didn’t let us down – he rocked a solid set and thinking about it now, i wish i had gotten to get by the merch section and pick up some of his music along with some music by Skyzoo who came out after Daytona and really rocked the mic, the stage and the crowd. Check these guys out if you aren’t familiar with them – you should have their music if you don’t.
Freddy Gibbs wrapped up the night, and although he has a real solid stage presence and energy, i really couldn’t get behind what he was saying, especially when he spent a few minutes trying to intellectualise and justify robbing people. His energy was high and he had a lot of swagger, but i’d have to say that i’m on the fence about the value of what he’s doing – i guess i need to get ahold of a disc and give it a second listen, but first impressions were luke-warm. I really have to give it to him as an emcee, though – his flow and delivery were flawless and he goes hard from start to finish.
Overall, the LRGenerations showcase was strong and impressive and held my attention for pretty much the whole night. My main regret of the evening was that I really wanted to get down to the iHipHop Distribution Stage to check out Big K.R.I.T. and see what his live show is all about, but couldn’t bring myself to leave long enough to go check him out. Luckily, he’ll be in Birmingham in a few days rocking a free show, so that kinda fixes that for me. The leftfield surprise of the day was when i stepped outside for a cigarette and popped downstairs to the Jagermeister stage only to come across this kid named LidoLido starting up a set and really putting on a great show. So this emcee is an 18 year-old Norwegian kid who looks like a valley preppie and whose dj is a scrawny little kid that looks like a 12 year old anorexic skater-hipster fuckup. And they were GOOD. It was energetic and a lot of fun and he had swagger. i was surprised, and reminded that looks can be deceiving.
That’s my thought for the day. Take it to bed with you. I’ll be back to tell you about Sat. at A3C soon.
Be sure to check out the post and pictures from Day 1 at A3C.