BILLBOARD: NAS & DAVE EAST BRING NEW YORK SWAGGER TO ATLANTA'S A3C FESTIVAL DAY 2
Nas & Dave East Bring New York Swagger to Atlanta's A3C Festival Day 2
Nas performs at the 2017 A3C Festival at Georgia Freight Depot on Oct. 8, 2017 in Atlanta.
On Sunday afternoon, hip-hop fans trickled into the A3C Festival grounds at Atlanta's Georgia Freight Depot for the second and last day of performances. The threat of continuing rainstorms from that morning kept a lot of people at home or in their hotel rooms until the weather began to clear. But penty of determined fans who still came out early donned plastic ponchos and rainboots, ready to take in everything the Spinrilla and A3C main stages had to offer.
Nas was slated to headline the stage alongside Ghostface Killah, but the Wu’s own Tony Starks had fallen ill after his tour, so he was unable to make it. In his place, A3C secured Smif & Wessun, Buckshot and Dave East for the main stage.
The weather had begun to ease up and fans of Chicago’s Saba gathered at the main stage as he ran through tracks like “Church/Liquor Store,” “Stoney” and “Westside Bound 3,” stopping sporadically to scold the crowd on participation. “This Atlanta, man. I wanna see that Atlanta turn-up. What y’all doing?” There were pockets of the crowd that had been rocking with him from the start though, jumping to the rhythm of his spitfire flow and throwing their hands up. But it had begun to drizzle and as overheard earlier, people seemed to be on their last leg.
Inside the Depot at the Spinrilla stage, Dead Prez was appealing to the “grown in the '90s” crowd, as he called it, starting off with “It’s Bigger Than Hip-Hop.” M-1 and SticMan traded verses, bobbed and moved around the stage as if they’ve practiced together daily for years. The crowd pumped their fists in unison. It seemed that whatever energy was missing outside, was currently at Spinrilla.
Back at the main stage, the audience anticipated Joyner Lucas, screaming as he walked out to “Ultrasound” with the video playing on the screen behind him. A section of collegiate kids in the audience forgot about being cool and lost their minds. A man in slim-fitting slacks and Pro-Keds picked up his baby and did a few wide legged, trippy dance moves, gliding back and forth a few feet at a time. Lucas had done something up there onstage.
There was a substantial break outside while AZ was closing out Spinrilla. Host Dres the Beatnik kept the growing crowd occupied, while the DJ spun tracks from M.O.P., Sean Price, Big Pun and Fat Joe. Smif & Wesson were up next and as a special surprise, they brought Lil' Cease out onstage to perform his verse from the “Player’s Anthem,” which was a hit with the audience.
There was some hoopla going on backstage. An entourage of about 20 people rushed into the VIP area, seemingly covering someone in the center. Everyone with backstage access was asked to vacate the area and the security guards manning those entrances instantly appeared stressed. “Nas is here. And he don’t want nobody back there,” one was overheard saying. “At. All.”
At that time, Dave East was working his way through Paranoia onstage. He bounced back and forth between projects, moving on to his 2016 project Kairi Chanel with “Type of Time” and “Don Pablo.”
Not long after, Nas was ready. Rocking shades and a black tee over blue jeans, he showcased just how polished he still is in front of a live crowd. From “Halftime” and “Street Dreams” to “Hate Me Now,” “One Mic” and “Thieves Theme,” Nas appeared to be in peak-form Sunday night.
“Where my day one fans at?,” Nas asked the audience. “What y’all wanna hear? ‘Doo Rags?’ Oh aiight.” He had gotten through a few bars and then, “Yeah, give that one the mic.” A guy from the crowd climbed up on stage and spi ts “Doo Rags” as if he’d written it himself. Festival goers hollered as if it were Nas. But he stood on the side, beaming at this kid in amazement.
The fan finished the verse to cheers from the audience and said, “I gotta say this: I came out here from Detroit.” He continued, voice breaking just a little,” I had the hardest year bro and I came out here like, ‘I just gotta meet Nas. Like, it means so...” Nas smiled, patted his back and responded, “Man. Get him to the side of the stage so we can talk later.” Then turning his attention back towards the crowd, he said, “He stole the show didn’t he?”
The five-day A3C Festival and Conference is based on this idea, unifying a community of people who are a part of it, from all walks of life simply because they love it. From celebrity photographers like Cam Kirk to Coach K and Angela Rye, everybody and anybody had the opportunity to connect the entire week. “It’s not just a festival and conference,” says Chardae ‘Prima Diego’ Sanders, longtime A3C employee and National Kidney Foundation ambassador. “It’s a family.”