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Atlanta’s A3C Festival Pays Homage to 1996 with Performances, Panels

A3C, one of the country’s largest hip-hop festivals, recently swirled into Atlanta, featuring live performances, hip-hop industry panels and appearances from hip-hop stars of today and years past.

This year’s festival featured such top hip-hop artists as Rick Ross, YFN Lucci, Bun B,  Too Short, Redman and Bone Thugs N’Harmony, who treated festival-goers to performances of their hit songs, including “1st of the Month,” “Crossroads” and “For the Love of Money.”

The annual festival, which was held for the 12th time this year, paid homage to 1996, a memorable year in hip-hop. To celebrate 1996, A3C featured a stage, sponsored by Mass Appeal,  that was dedicated to artists of the era.

In addition to the Bone Thugs performance, A3C featured performances from Too $hort, Redman, Eric Sermon, Keith Murray, Bun B and others who were prominent in hip-hop in 1996. The festival also featured panel conversations with influential producers from 1996, including Organized Noize and The Hitmen, who crafted many of many of Bad Boy Records’ hits in the 90s.

Rick Ross rocked the main stage at the festival during the week, running through a string of his top hits, including “Hustling,’” “Stay Schemin,’” “9 Piece” and “B.M.F.” He also paid tribute to Atlanta rapper Shawty Lo, who died Sept. 21 in a car accident, with a performance of the artists’ “I’m da Man.”

Ross wasn’t the only performer to honor Shawty Lo. Several members of the D4L group that Shawty Lo was a part of saluted the rapper with a performance of the several of his most popular songs, including “Dey Know” and “Dunn Dunn.”

One of the highlights of the A3C festival are the panels that enable up-and-coming hip-hop artists to interact and receive tips for success from established hip-hop-artists, producers, markerters and entrepreneurs.

Held at Atlanta’s Loudermilk Center, this year’s panel session line up featured artist manager Troy Carter, Anthony Saleh, The Hitmen and No Limit Records Founder Master P., who got personal in his panel session when discussing his brother C-Murder, who is currently in prison for the fatal shooting of a teenage fan in 2002.

P. said he believe his brother’s stage name has a lot to do with his failed efforts to get the conviction overturned despite a lack of evidence of against C.

“You gotta look at the power of words because it’ll come back and get you,” P. told the audience, which included many up-and-coming artists. “We used to argue as kids. He said, ‘I’ma name myself what I want! I said, ‘G’head. They wanted me ‘cause I was successful, but they couldn’t get me, so they got my brother.”

Another panel featured hip-hop scholar Dr. Joycelyn Wilson, who discussed the preservation of hip-hop culture in addition to hip-hop’s role in the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History.

With many of the panels and messages from the festival geared toward rising hip-hop artists, one message from Detroit rapper Royce Da 5’9’’ was particularly important. Royce, who is an admitted recovering alcoholic, discussed his battle with substance abuse, stressing to artists the importance of staying away from drugs and alcohol dependence.

“I’d been battling with [substance abuse] my whole f—ing career. A lot of times it slowed me down,” Royce told the audience, which was silent. “If you can, stay away from all that shit. Stay sharp. Make sure you take the necessary steps to put yourself in a position where you gon’ have your next shot, the best shot. Take care of you first.”

For more highlights of the 2016 A3C Festival, check out the  A3C blog.

Videos highlights are below.