After missing a flight and thus delaying my second visit to Atlanta by a day I found myself on the plane early Wednesday morning dreaming of how it should have just been twenty four hours earlier. Live and learn right?
Arrival was low key, hopping the MARTA, a public transit system I never touched last time, I arrived at our home base for the week and took to gaining internet access and finding a grocery store. A drive out to the airport to scoop POMZ later and it was time to eat.
Our third roommate for the week, Julie J., arrived just in time and as we all settled in she informed us that Avatar might be joining us. Sure enough our Russian friend arrived and our Seattle contingent at this year’s A3C Festival was feeling stronger.
The homie Original Fani from the Two9 camp fell through and after sneak peeks of new work we took to see Atlanta at night. The hour was against us but we managed to catch a twenty four hour spot that was properly dubbed “White Ratchet” by Avatar.
After acquiring our credentials the following morning and learning not to fuck with taxi’s out here we got into Criminal Records long enough to hear some DJs, including Burn One, speak about mixtape culture and the current hype surrounding them. It was an at times interesting discussion, but equally disappointing at times. The record store was cool, large and filled with crazy sounds along with a sizable comic collection. Unlike back home they were not sold out of the new FlyLo album. Will be copped.
After connecting with Burn and setting up our interview it was off to the Masquerade, an old mill that has been converted into a multi stage space – the space Macklemore will be playing when he touches Atlanta early in November.
Here we got to watch ST 2 Lettaz brief solo set which was filled with three tracks off the recent R.E.B.E.L. EP – closing out with my favorite track in “Space Jam” which knocked harder than you could ever anticipate if only heard on headphones. We ran into the Two9 gang on our exit to Terminal West for a BET sponsored stage headlined by Big Boi.
Arriving showed us a very clean and new venue, reminiscent of both Showbox venues back home. Kris Kasanova was on as we entered delivering a solid but uneventful set. Phil Ade followed, the DMV emcee who I’ve tried to keep an ear to and was excited to catch. He did nothing for me but make me consider departing for something else. Kid Daytona, another name I’ve enjoyed in the past and yet did nothing to capture me while on stage, was the final straw as I took to Uber and arranged a ride.
The choice to go watch some experimental beats be made in a dungeon like venue over catching Big Boi in his hometown might have been silly, and the reviews I’ve heard about the set make it sound phenomenal, but I couldn’t handle watching something boring to be rewarded with something I’ve mostly seen before. But goddamn I’m mad I missed Killer Mike’s appearance.
It wasn’t for nothing however as I stepped foot into the Drunken Unicorn and was immediately pummeled by dusty samples, tremendous bass and a host of other chopped up and tweaked sounds spewing forth out of what had to be eight to ten turntables and a host of other electronic music making machines. Illastrate was just getting introduced, being a name I haven’t heard since my college radio days it was a rare treat to catch the forever slept on producer in his hometown.
A quick jaunt back to the Masquerade found me just in time for an early, and unexpected, Two9 set. Rocking with a posse quite possibly larger than the crowd they kept it turnt up and ran through an assortment of old and new jams, even making sure to pay tribute to their fallen comrades Rugz and Ken Ball – whose Cleveland crew led by Tezo made the trek down to roll with Two9.
They took a quick break, caught their breath, regrouped and got ready to destroy another stage. In the interim I wandered over and caught Killa Kyleon rep for his state with an assortment of songs I’d never heard before. It wasn’t bad, but like most older rappers it wasn’t all that exciting either.
Two9 took to the stage once more but this time it was directed by DJ Osh Kosh, as she played jam after jam, continually catching members of the crew off guard and even at one point having them inform the audience that we were hearing exclusives that had never been done live before. While the sporadic nature of the set led to some forgotten bars and awkward glances between the members from time to time it was all love with mostly family in the building. As quickly as they took to the stage they were out with the beat ending abruptly and the posse dipping out side doors.