A week after Atlanta played host to the 2013 BET Hip Hop Awards, rap fans converged on the Southern mecca for the A3C festival. The five-day music convention kicked off quietly on Wednesday (October 2), but BET's Music Matters program raised the bar with a scintillating showcase on Thursday night (October 3) headlined by MMG star Meek Mill.
Fans packed into the industrial concert venue, Terminal West, to see a diverse lineup of music talent that included, Meek, Christian rap star Lecrae, West Coast phenom Problem and the ultra-talented femcee Rapsody. As always the Music Matters showcase allowed future stars to have their moment in the present. Rap upstart Vic Mensa opened up the show in impressive fashion. The house wasn't quite packed when the Chicago rapper took the stage, but those in attendance were pretty familiar with the songs from his recently released project, INNANETAPE. Even Grammy Award-winning producer 9th Wonder was seen singing along to Vic's budding hit "Orange Soda."
With the standing-room-only crowd sufficiently warmed up, it didn't take them much to get behind North Carolina's own Rapsody. Backed by her producer/mentor 9th Wonder on the 1's and 2's, Rapsody effortlessly showed off her lyrical dexterity. For those who caught their first look at Rapsody live, the experience left a lasting impression.
Twitter user @DOM_IZZO tweeted, "Rapsody on stage now. Never heard her stuff but she sounds like she can rap circles around 80% of dudes out right now."
To the delight of the crowd, 9th wasn't the only unexpected guest at the building. Hustle Gang's Young Dro hit the stage as a surprise guest of Alabama wordsmith Doe B to perform Doe's "Be Like That Sometimes." Dro didn't have a chance to stray too far from the action as he was called on to perform his riotous hit single "FDB" during Problem's amped up set. The Los Angeles-bred rapper injected his crowd-pleasing left coast energy to the show with a string of his Bay Area-infused club bangers.
For those thinking the liveliness would turn down as Lecrae stepped to the mic, they were sadly mistaken. Always a dynamic performer, 'Crae's passionate rhymes and determined stage presence seemed as though they were powered by a higher power.
For many, the show could have had a more-than-satisfactory ending after Lecrae closed out his set, but the crowd waited patiently for Meek Mill to enter the building. After a slight delay, the Philly MC wasted no time giving the audience what they came to see. Meek stalked the stage in all black as the crowd went word for word with him as he opened up his performance with the autobiographical banger "Intro." From there he effortlessly ran through his bevy of hits from "I'm a Boss," to "House Party."
On the heels of the release of his new mixtape, Dreamchasers 3, Meek paid homage to his late protege Lil Snupe by performing a cut from the project "Lil N---- Snupe." Not one to end a show on a somber note, Meek saved his hottest for last. He reinvigorated the audience with his new single, "Levels." Crowd participation was at its highest point for the night, taking the A3C experience for many in the building to new levels of excitement.
Stay tuned to BET Music Matters for more from the A3C festival in Atlanta.
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(Photo: Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images)