There are some facts of life that you can't ignore, and we learned one of them the hard way on our way down to Atlanta for the annual A3C hip hop festival: don't speed in Maryland. Not if you don't want to be bothered by those overzealous state troopers just below the Mason-Dixon. They will stop you. They will use the catch-all "smells like weed" excuse as probable cause to search your vehicle. And we're talking the whole thing, trunk included. Bear in mind we're already 6 deep in a whip that barely holds 5. Add the fact that we have a festival's worth of merchandise in the trunk and you've got a pretty tightly packed car (think Tetris when you're just about to knock like 8 rows off).
What a fun experience it was sitting on the side of the highway as state police ransacked our car looking for contraband. It was a joyous moment watching their faces turn from excited anticipation to disappointed puppyfaces when they couldn't find shit. The funny thing is they somehow managed to miss the fat 8th sitting in the front pocket of a backpack very openly chilling in the front seat. But who's complaining?
We took the speeding and no-seatbelt tickets and were back on our way to the ATL. After a brief stop for food and a shape-up from homie barber Lamar in South Carolina, we finally made it to the hotel for check-in on Friday. But the troubles weren't over yet; apparently banks don't like when you try to charge a grand on your card for a couple hotel rooms 1000 miles from home. After a few calls to the bank which slowly shifted in tone from annoyed to angry (thanks for the competency M&T Bank!), we were able to check in. We admired the view from our 22nd floor rooms and got to the schedule: half the team headed to some seminars to grab some quick knowledge while the rest of us headed to the private Def Jam A3C mixer.
The mixer was bangin. Complimentary Heineken, girls in bathing suits chilling pool side, and fashion and music industry heads networking made for a welcome vibe after 14 hours of being sardine-crammed in the car on the trip down. At the mixer we linked up with fashion design LP from Apollo clothing and producer Dylan Tran from the Two-9 collective, some young kids clearly doing some cool shit in Atlanta (those unfamiliar with Two-9 can check out our write-up on this blog a few posts down).
After the mixer fellow Philly homie and rapper Feese (who has both lived in ATL and was down for the weekend to perform at the festival) drove us around in one area that I had to see: the Bluff. If you haven't seen the shock mocu-documentary Snow on tha Bluff do yourself a favor, open up a new tab in ya browser, and head to Netflix right now. Seriously. Anyway we drove around many familiar locations from the film; remember when Curtis gets out and is welcomed by all his people chilling on the curb? Well, in the year or two since the film's release, absolutely nothing has changed. I'm pretty sure they were still there from the shoot chillin.
After our tour of the Bluff, we headed to the Fat Trel show downtown. Except Fat Trel never showed up. While his Slutty Boyz clique performed, he was nowhere to be found. So someone fucked up whether it was A3C and the promoters or Fat Trel and his people, but regardless I was salty seeing as he was one of the main acts I had wanted to catch during the fest. Oh well. Couple quick shots of Jack and we were heading back to the hotel to wind down before the big morning ahead.
Next morning we got ready for our booth at the A3C Style Village. Quite frankly, we really made an impression down there. Our booth had consistent traffic to it, and we met a lot of good people to work with in the future. After about 8 hours of hustling our merch, we packed up and headed to the Revolt stage to catch Schoolboy Q. His performance was dope and there we got to again link up with the Two-9 crew. We planned to see them open up for Gunplay, but some bullshit at the venue led to that show getting shutdown. First Fat Trel and now Gunplay and Two-9? On that tip A3C has got to get some of their shit together. While we were down there more for brand purposes, I still wanted to see some dope acts, and the last minute cancellations really made that difficult/annoying. We stopped by the Philly show to catch Mont Brown and the Astronauts and Michael Milehigh and then headed to the hotel or an impromptu hotel party and visual shoot with Two-9 and some other new ATL homies.
Bottles and more bottles was the theme of the party/shoot. The vibe of the night was dope and we got some really good footage for the visual and lookbook (dropping soon) That night turned into an all-nighter including projectiles being thrown from the roof of the hotel (shhhh) but we in ATL for 3 days; what you expect we're gonna get into?? For real shout out to Apollo Clothing and Two-9; lots of dope shit in the works.
The next Sunday morning was another day at the Style Village at our booth followed by the blockparty hosted by Questlove. At this point I felt more like a zombie than a fully functioning human, but I pushed through until we left the festival at around 7. Throw in another crowded 12 hour drive and just like that we were back in Philadelphia.
Click the photo below to scroll through the recap gallery (photos by Yinka Soda):