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Brian Knott Welcomes Juice Crew at A3C Festival The most infamous hip-hop crew of all times will re-unite at the upcoming three-day A3C Festival in Atlanta. With a headliner that stands the test of the hip-hop timeline, the Atlanta festival, starting March 20, has another dazzling line-up this year. Besides the long-awaited reunion (minus Master Ace, due to promotional duties for the EMC album), there's underground all-stars like Del The Funkee Homosapien, Jeru The Damaja, Little Brother, Guilty Simpson, Blu & Ta' Raach, and so much more. We hooked up with the architect, founder of the festival, Brian Knott...

The Juice Crew last came together after a 1997 reunion at a Will Smith video clip, how did you manage to bring them together again on stage?

Honestly, we pulled that one together with more hustle than a little league baseball team!

So who exactly of the crew will show up and who will not?

It's going to be Big Daddy Kane, Biz Markie, Marley Marl, Roxanne Shante, MC Shan and Craig G.

Euh...between the lines, who's your personal favourite of the crew?

There are no favourites, man. It's the fucking Juice Crew!

Is 'The Symphony' your fav Juice Crew song?

Other than the fact that it's not every single person from the crew: yeah.

Aight, enough about the Could you explain the concept of 'Women In Hip-Hop III'?

We've got a group of really passionate, strong and vibrant women in Atlanta who are involved in the community and this is a platform in which to create interest and positive awareness of females' presence in hip-hop.

Could you briefly explain the other activities that are taking place off-stage?

(Long inhale) Well, on Thursday there's the Myspace kick-off party. Friday, we've got the two on two B-boy battle 'Double Up' which is presented by Bboyworld.com as well as the entirely sneaker and accessory fashion event, Counter Couture. Saturday the RE-UP GANG/Clipse is doing an in-store at New Era's flagship location, the iStandard Producer Showcase will feature new, brimming talent, and Red Bull is doing a Music Academy panel as well as the BC One B-Boy exhibition. And as you mentioned already, we'll be having the 'Women in Hip-Hop'-workshop.

Which performances, besides the Juice Crew one, are you really lookin forward to?

Wow, there's too many to name. Some of the artists who are really making some waves are Wale with his new signing to Interscope, Del has his new record coming out, a smaller group called Holly Weerd is on some Outkast meets Pharcyde meets Parliament shit which just blows my mind. Then of course having RE-UP GANG and Clipse is going to just be bananas. Oh, then there's B.o.B! The list keeps going!

Besides the bigger names you were able to program upcoming names like Clan Destined and Bisc1, last year you had Giant Panda and Asamov (The AB's) how do you end up with such groups most of the times?

A lot of those acts we incorporate for a variety of reasons. Some just hustle really hard and we reconize that dedication or we may feel like there are guys like Giant Panda who are making incredible music but aren't being heard the way they should.

During the festival, how does a day look like for you?

Open my eyes, think about how I'm getting too old for this shit. Usually my partners stay at my house for the festival so we hop in the car, stop by Dunkin' Donuts and get some unhealthy food with caffeinated beverages that'll keep us relatively aware and efficient till it's time for a Red Bull power-up later in the day. The first day is more hectic with load in and set up but then Friday and Saturday is a little more lax. The press is a constant task to make sure the information and content is getting out there. We've also got to make sure everyone is getting picked up from the airport on time, artists are at the venue on time, our partners are properly accommodated, etc. Wrap it up, get everyone out, drive home incredibly tired and think about how I'm getting too old for this shit. It's a serious juggling act.

How did you hook up with Myspace and Red Bull?

My partner James was out in LA last Fall and met up with one of the women who works at Myspace. He talked with her and they thought it was a cool event and were down to be on board. Red Bull has been doing a lot in the community, especially with the B-Boys here in Atlanta for a while.

In a time where ticket prices are high, how did you manage to keep the price at only 20 bucks?

Well $20 was the initial discounted ticket price but it has gone up since. For a 3-day pass, tickets are $45 and $30 for one night which we still think is more than fair for the line-up and programming that we're offering. We want it to be inclusive for everyone. Not just the guys with good savings plans or good jobs. We know some broke hip-hop fans believe it or not.

Will there ever be like a European version of the festival?

Sure, does Platform8470 want to sponsor it!?

We'll discuss that with Red Bull and Myspace.

So when, how and why the idea for the Festival got started/?

The A3C started in 2005 with my partner Kevin Elphick. We were running a record label at the time called ATF. What happened was each time we put our acts on the road, we started racking up favors nationwide asking other acts to headline and let our guys open up. So they all wanted to come to Atlanta to have our guys headline and they could then reach our local fan base. We racked up so many of these gig favors that we realized 'Shit we should just do it all at once!' So we did and it's pretty much grown organically since.

Was it founded out of a reaction against Atlanta's Dirrrty South rap reputation?

That has been a part of what the A3C was moreso in the past when it seemed like thelineswere so divided between 'undergound' and 'commercial' rap but I think overall those lines are blurring more and more and we're trying to really represent everything that is going on in hip-hop today without being exclusive.

How do you remember the first edition?

Wow, (laughs) lots of funny memories. It's almost like a child in a strange way just in that it seemed more innocent then and since, we've watched it grow and mature.

Is there any reason for a hip-hop fan to not attend the festival?

If you are a hip-hop fan that likes only wack things, then don't come.

What are your plans for the 2009 edition?

We talk about it consistently throughout the whole process of things we'll do differently next year so there's been lots of ideas among the team. But to answer the question, the festival will continue to grow, getting bigger and better but still remaining true to the roots of what this came from.

Shout-outs?

To the community of fans who have supported the A3C from the beginning along with the old ATF fans also including everyone who has gotten down since. We're just a couple of guys with a great line up in an empty venue without anyone else to enjoy it with.

Thanks!

 

POSTED 03|01|2008
conducted by Cpf

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