and A3C: Not “Under” Ground, Breeding Ground.


For the past seven autumns, A3C has been a staple of the Hip-Hop festival circuit. Featuring over 200 artists, dozens of panels, film screenings and one-on-one interview opportunities, A3C is one of the most hands on and interactive music festivals, and an amazing networking opportunity for all in attendance.

This year, performers included Freeway, Random Axe, Ying Yang Twins, an entire evening presented by 9th Wonder including a screening of his film, The Wonder Year, and a showcase by Jamla artists. Panels featured topics about the media, women in hip-hop, leveraging the European market, and much more. A3C, on the whole, is a productive and fun weekend.

But one of the biggest highlights had to be the Breeding Ground Showcase which took place on the last night, Saturday Oct. 8th.

Hundreds of hip-hop fans stood under a cool, clear sky at the outdoor stage for the show which featured performances by Issa, Killa Kyleon, Termanology (who was celebrating his birthday), Reks, Ras Kass, Elzhi, M.O.P. and dead prez.

Video Recap of Breeding Ground Showcase:

The Breeding Ground is a feature of which hand picks artists who are often considered “underground,” up-and-coming, independent or just plain hot and introduce them to the site’s larger readership. The Breeding Ground Showcases puts these artists on stage to introduce live audiences to their music. “We always combine bigger names to bring out the people,” says Steve Raze, Executive Vice-President, and Editor of The Breeding Ground section of the website, he also managed the stage on Saturday, “M.O.P is doing their 2nd show with us, this is our first time with Ras Kass and dead prez.”

Breeding Ground Showcase has also been going on for 7 years. It started in New York and has moved around the country to Austin for SXSW as well as showcases in Dallas, Miami, Myrtle Beach, and its second year at A3C in Atlanta.

I sat down with several Breeding Ground artists to discuss their upcoming projects and why A3C is so important. How does it feel to be out at A3C?

Lil Fame (M.O.P.): I mean, I love hip-hop. I love working. So, it’s always good to be out working.

Reks: I love A3C. The people are real nice, that southern hospitality is real. So, what are you working on right now?

Ras Kass: I released my first fully indie CD, a double CD, called A.D.I.D.A.S (All Day I Dream About Spitting), I’m having fun with that. I’m doing the follow up to that which is called F.I.L.A. (F**k It, Lose it All). I’m actually doing three projects at the same time. I’ve got a group with Cee-Lo and a guy named Jack Splash, we’re called Oxymorons, we’re almost finished with that project, and I created a group with a group called Doc Hollywood, they do more pop and dub step, so I’m having fun with all of that. I’m multi-tasking.

Lil Fame: We just did a joint on Nature Sounds with a production team called Snow Goons from Europe. We’re just working, the new project, Sparta, comes out November 2nd.

Reks: I’ve got an album out right now called R.E.K.S, Rhythmatic Eternal King Supreme. The album came out March 8th, and we basically wanted to pay homage to the late great Biggie Smalls, and dropped it at a time when we could celebrate him and the fact that hip-hop is still alive. The album has DJ Premier, Pete Rock, Alchemist, Styles P is on the joint. Lil Fame did a beat and rocked out with me on the record. It’s a who who and I’m just humbled to have them be a part of it. Last weekend, in Atlanta, was the BET Hip-Hop Awards. Where last weekend was dress-up, this weekend is totally dress-down. A3C is like “anti-VIP,” it’s one of the only festivals where you can be standing shoulder to shoulder with artists all night. What makes this kind of festival important to hip-hop music and culture?

Reks: It keeps the music that I find the most important, it keeps it current and available to the public and it gets it out to a new breed of kids who don’t regularly get an opportunity to see how much amazing talent goes global. You got cats here from all over the country and artists who tour all over the world. Everybody is coming out in the A, and getting together in the name of hip-hop. It’s a great thing.

Lil Fame: This is home right here, this is what I’m used to. I like to keep it like this, I can stay in touch.

Ras Kass: This is big. This is my first time coming. I am thankful to be invited, I had nothing but a good time. I would say that hip-hop is all of it. I’m not mad at the person who wins a BET Hip-Hop Award. I may not like his music, but that would be my aesthetic opinion. I don’t lump everybody up together. I like songs or I don’t. I live this s**t, I love it. I analyze, I have it down to a science. I’m a connoisseur, I’m not a consumer. Festivals like this? I’ve heard a lot of different kinds of music, All Three Coasts, and the Midwest, a dude’s background, his coastal background, may tell me some s**t that I ain’t never heard. I like hearing what a ni**a from somewhere else has to say, if he says it good, if it’s wack, then I’m not interested. These events are dope. My homeboy kind of related it to New Music Festival, which was a long time ago. I remember Jay-Z outside in a cipher, battling ni**as, it was dope, hip-hop s**t. Hopefully it doesn’t get too political and kind of just stays like this. Evolution obviously and more success, pay ni**as to rap (laughs) but that’s a whole different story.

Catch up with these Breeding Ground Showcase artists via Twitter:

@therealreks    @raskass  @famemop

Biba Adams is a Senior Writer for Follow her at @BibatheDiva