Wale, Jeru And Little Brother Deliver At A3C Festival

Throughout the years Atlanta has emerged as a renaissance city for Hip-Hop.

Below the superficial surface of snap music lies a thriving underground of literary artists, DJs, B-boys/girls, and MC’s.

With such diversity, it was appropriate that the all-star A3C (All 3 Coasts) Festival brought together over fifty artists spanning the last twenty-five years of the culture.

Just walking around, you were prone to run into a legend like Posdnuos of De La Soul, or underground standouts like J-Live and NYOIL. With so much talent in attendance, the A3C Festival was poised to deliver on all the hype it promised.

First up was rising D.C. star Wale, who was accompanied to the stage by Go Go band UCB. They started their set with rousing renditions of Jay Z’s “Sweet” and UCB's “Sexy Lady,” a clever reworking of the System’s “Don’t Disturb This Groove.”

Those unfamiliar with Wale were quickly won over by other infectious jams like “Nike Boots,” “Dig Dug,” and “Waledance.” Wale’s Go Go tinged sound is tailor-made for live shows; as he left to a standing ovation from the A3C faithful.

With the new school represented, it was time for a return to that classic boom bap. Clearly enthralled by the energy of the crowd, an inspired Jeru the Damaja hit the stage determined not to be outshined by his peers. Wisely, Jeru focused on classic material from the 90’s; “D. Original,” “Da Bichez,” and “Ain’t the Devil Happy” brought the smart crowd to frenzy as they sung every line.

Jeru would also do his best Don Rickles impersonation as he cracked jokes with audience members between songs. The highlight of Jeru’s set was his most well known track, “Come Clean.” The Damaja split the audience into three parts to mimic Premier’s memorable chopped chorus. The crowd continued chanting the lines well after the music stopped; showing appreciation for Jeru’s return to form.

Little Brother would be next. For those who’ve followed the group since their promising debut The Listening, they have not only progressed lyrically but also exponentially with their live shows. From the moment LB hit the stage, no one remained in their seats.

Phonte’s frenetic energy was contagious, as he two-stepped, stomped, and spit his way through “ExtraHard,” “Step It Up,” and “Lovin’ It.” Big Pooh relished his role as the straight man of sorts, effortlessly carrying his verses while trying not to burst out laughing at Phonte’s antics. LB fam member Joe Scudda also joined in to make sure the potency of “Lovin’ It” was complete.

Recently Prodigy of Mobb Deep had some disparaging words about Little Brother, calling them a “corny ass group” who were “never on” to fall off. This hit LB’s radar, as they made a point to rap over P’s “Keep It Thoro” and Mobb Deep’s “Give Up the Goods;” with the latter, which was incorporated into “The Way We Do It.” Both members spit acapella battle verses to the delight of the crowd. While Prodigy was not named, the implication was clear; anyone calling Little Brother “garbage” obviously hasn’t been listening closely.

To close, LB broke out their underground hit “Good Clothes,” complete with stunner shades and stylish jackets to seal the deal. While Del the Funkyhomosapien was set to perform afterward, the night was effectively ended by LB’s phenomenal performance. Prodigy was right in one sense; Little Brother has never “be on” from a mainstream perspective. But six years deep they’ve retained an excellence and dedication to the art of Hip-Hop that many emcees, Prodigy included, would be wise to learn from.