A3C Shines Spotlight on International Artists and Transnational Hip Hop Communities
Cover Story by Dialo Askia
Hip Hop gave voice to a demographic more apt to musically reach success singing with their brothers or playing instruments with neighborhood friends than speaking about the conditions of their surroundings. Words painted pictures in vast colors detailing everything from the sound of a 40-ounce bottle breaking against the pavement, to a baby’s cry of hunger in the next apartment. A few verses and hooks over break beats became the equivalent of a thousand words.
Initially a whisper amongst those in the know, word of mouth screamed loud enough to span the globe. The international reach of Hip Hop was seen early, as the musical grassroots movement traveled overseas, bearing youth in Japan dressed in the garb of Hollis, Queens. It became evident to our early rap ambassadors that though foreign audiences didn’t know the words they spoke, their meaning was clear and fans ‘understood’ as they bobbed their heads and listened. It would only be a matter of time before they decided to use their voices as instruments in the same fashion.
The A3C Hip Hop Festival, the largest music festival in the Southeast, is a 3-day event that takes place in Atlanta, GA at the Masquerade October 11th – 13th. It will feature over six stages with more than three hundred artists and djs set to perform. The lineup includes such notable names as Tech Nine, Devin the Dude, 9th Wonder, and Twista, along with many artists with established reputations on the underground scene like Skyzoo and Gods’illa.
With an attendance of over 15,000 in 2011, the A3C festival is heading into its 8th year and that number is sure to increase. This 2012 conference also marks the 2nd year that A3C touts a global con-centration that will shine a spotlight on International artists and transnational hip hop communities like Planet Hip Hop, The Bloom Effect, Nomadic Wax, World Hip Hop, and New Skool Rules.
Best described as an international market where visitors will be greeted by organic, hip hop flavors from across the globe- from Sri Lankan, Ceylon cinnamon to Jerk spices of the Caribbean – and in a cornucopia of languages, the A3C artist lineup is a blend of sounds from nations around the world that is sure to satisfy any hip hop hunger. Representing, among other nations, Chile, Panama, Mexico, South Sudan, and Singapore, this showcase is guaranteed to bring a celebration of culture, heritage, diversity, and a world of talent to attendants of this fall kick-off celebration.
Raka Rich and Raka Dun make up the group Los Rakas. Advancing the hip hop mission of uniting black and latino cultural communities throughout the Americas, this Panamanian-born, Bay area-based duo, redefines the term Rakataka to reclaim the hopes and dreams of citizens of el barrio, as their music traverses the terrain that unites the low rider on Crenshaw Boulevard or the streets of La Mission, the quick feet bouncing on the corners of Lapa, Rio de Janeiro or Panama city, and the lighters in-a-the-air in Kingston, particularly in their 2011 debut EP, Chancletas Y Camisetas.
Ana Tijoux has a style best enjoyed through headphones as you wait for le metro with a greasy slice of folded pizza. Her music is a throwback to a classic hip hop, complete with DJ Premier-esque production, demonstrated best on the popular track ‘Partir de Cero’ off Tijoux’s 2009, sophomore album, 1977. Already a star in Latin America from her days in the group Makiza and her subsequent solo career that has included collaborations with some of Latin America’s favorite hip hop and pop artists, Tijoux looks to capture a new audience on the A3C stage with her reinvention of classic sounds and homage to the good old days.
Bocafloja, representing for Mexico City by way of California and New York, uses his microphone as a bullhorn to deliver his message of social consciousness, while establishing himself as a pioneer of political and activist hip hop in Latin America. His music, in the tradition of conscious rap icons like Public Enemy, addresses social and political topics that burn with the power to bring awareness to listeners and inspire fans to spread his message of progress to wider audiences. Bocafloja’s catalog of music is prolific, seven albums deep, and representative of his own growth as a social activist and critic. In 2005, Bocafloja founded QuilomboArte, an organization that uses hip hop as an educational tool to support progressive social and political movements throughout Mexico and Latin America through the medium of urban music and arts.
While too many young rappers aspire for commercial success by celebrating the worst in us, Emmanuel Jal speaks to the realities of poverty, violence, and war. The answer to trends in hip hop that glorify conflict and relish in images of death, Jal gives us the real story of a youth at battle; of the life of a forced child soldier, of watching friends die, of stealing to eat and loving his country while witnessing the rape of its most precious resources.
Kevin Lester rounds out the current roster. Already a success in the daunting task of introducing hip hop to many of his countrymen, (check out “Rockstar” on video. See http://www.a3cfestival.com for links), Lester will bring an energetic sound and crisp cuts to the A3C stage.
In addition to an incredible showcase of performances from international artists and well-established names in the American hip hop scene, the 2012 A3C Festival will also present a jam packed schedule of panels on contemporary and relevant topics in hip hop and the field of independent music beginning Thursday, October 11, at 1:00 PM and running throughout the long weekend at a variety of festival venues.
Beginning with Festiquette and The League of Young Voters Education Fund Presents #Ignite: Hotlanta, Fiona Bloom of The Bloom Effect is an exciting addition to the panel lineup, hosting a roster of international artists speakers as she shares the wisdom gained over nearly twenty years in the music and entertainment industry. Bloom has run marketing campaigns for Gangstarr, MF Doom, and many others. Her company The Bloom Effect is a one-stop shop specializing in album campaigns, tours, launch parties, premieres, consultations, and digital marketing. She has also opened up opportunities for international hip hop artists that have offered exposure in the States for their work and created partnerships that cross national borders. This panel, as well as the some nineteen others, will allow presenting artists to, in words of MC Shan, “tell you where they’re coming from.”
Whether as a performer or fan, the A3C Hip Hop festival will be a treat and an invaluable manual for every hip hop head. The lineup of domestic and international artists and accompanying panel discussions covering all aspects of the music industry will allow us all to broaden our horizons, to understand ourselves, each other, and the music more completely. We’ll bob our heads and despite the challenges of communication across barriers of language and perspective, we’ll listen intently to every word and enjoy. To get tickets or to learn more, visit A3CFESTIVAL.COM.
TRIBES Magazine is an Official Media Sponsor for the 2012 A3C HIP HOP Festival. Watch for coverage on our blog at tribesmagazine.com.