I knew going into the last day of Epic Fest that – on paper – it was the best line-up of the festival. That’s not a diss to the other events, every day had artist that I would gladly pay the admission price to see but when you put: Nick F, Radio B, Michael Millions, Conrizzle, Dr. Millionaire, JFK, along with Noah-O, that is a roster built for headlining and it was: EPIC.
I’ll start with the obvious – the night belong to Nickelus F and the entire Association of Great Minds (AGM) click. Period. When Radio B hit the stage to lead of the set – the mood in Aurora changed. The air sort of shifted and you knew something special was going down.
Fighting what can only be described as a “difficult” sound system, act after act blazed through showing nothing but professionalism and respect for the music but overall it seemed that the sound trouble allowed the back half of the room to fade away a bit – that was until AGM took the stage and forced everyone to pay attention.
NameBrand, Radio B, Nick F, Michael Millions
Radio B lead off the set. One of favorite artist that is still slepted on too much – in my opinion. His latest album Live Good Be Great is a must listen. Michael Millions then blazed the stage with all new music, captivating the stage with his latest single, Slagin Tapes, produced by Nickelus F. Then Sweet Petey took the stage with music from Vices. It’s clear that Nick F’s Vices is the album that took over local hip hop for the first half of 2013. Nick F worked all night adding his rhymes to sets from Conrizzle and Noah-O. In a bit of a surprise appearance Audra the Rapper, took over the impromptu MC duties during AGM’s set. And Monsee, the man behind some of the best hip hop visuals in the area was also in the building.
I have to S/O Noah-O and Charged Up, time restraints at the end of the event impacted his set but he did his thing with a few cuts from the upcoming Monument Ave. Conrizzle returned to a RVA stage after a little break. He performed new music and one of my favorite tracks Pem Pen (from Vices). It was my first time seeing JFK and Badio – they did it big on-stage.
I have over 100 photos linked on The Cheat Movement Page so I’ll cut the write up just to get the images up. S/O to Slapdash. Follow The Cheats Movement Blog. WE SEE IT
Last night was the third night of the four night local hip hop festival, Epic Fest. Titled The Twerk Shop and held in the hot – very hot – like 1,000 degrees hot – Kingdom in Shockoe Bottom. The night was to feature J Roddy Rod as the headlining act BUT unfortunately, for J. Roddy Rod (and his fans), he was detained by those who protect and serve us. However, the night morphed into a special night for one of my favorite RVA aritst, Artik Phreeze (cover photo) tore the stage down.
In addition to Phreeze, I was able to see some regional artist that are on the grind and I either hadn’t photographed before or not in a long time. I was very impressed with up and coming artist Prezi Smith and Ver$ace Chachi. I’ve never seen the homie Fatzo perform before but he held it down. So did Doe the Paperboy, Streetz Deep & DollaGang360, and Rich P.
Fatzo and Baby Jay
Day two of Epic Fest brought a strong hip hop crowd to the Canal Club in Shockoe Bottom. More and more RVA’s hip hop scene is uniting to make Epic Fest the place to be this weekend. Last night featured some dope performances from RVA artist and other from around the state: Wize (reppin the YFD Fam) did it big, S/O to the young homie Zae Kinchen (reppin Natural Talent) – it was good to see my friend Cain McCoy get back on the mic. And this was the second time I’ve been able to see DJ Gringo hold it down. It got a little too late and I missed my homie Chance Fischer and one of my favorites from up north Kevin Sinatra, I know they did it big. But I have to say, the night belong to my dude: RVA’s Mad Genius Ohbliv.
In the age of down south club anthem by DJ Khalid and Mike Will, Ohbliv represent something different. His sound makes you nod, feel, and think. Most of the faces in the crowd were a combination of, “Yes” and “What.” Ohbliv left the crowd stunned. Not to mention there was a brief “Yellow Gold” reunion when Nickelus F grabbed the mic and started rocking out.
The event was hosted by iPower 92.1 DJ A-Plus, who kept the crowd involved and really spread the message of supporting local artist.
I think it’s worth the wait – the Epic Fest Day 2 Photo Vault is now open. Check it out – share the photos - share the Cheats Movement Blog. All I can say is the weekend was Epic – it was Epic. S/O to Slapdash – West Coat Kix – everyone that supported. If you need me – hit me up. #WE SEE IT – Support the Cheats Movement on Facebook. I’m keep doing what I can to elevate and support positivity in the culture. #WE SEE IT!
The Epic Fest photo vault is now open! This is only photos of Day 1. Photos of Day 2 are done but I need about 10 more likes of Facebook before I post them. So make sure you CLICK HERE to like the Cheats Movement on Facebook. Please share these photos online. I got some real special photos from a very special night. Enjoy – and like the FB Page. I can only keep this blog going with your support and support for content I’m posting.
Epic Fest 2012 is in the books! Looking back on the last two days, in my opinion, there are two very distinct headlines.
Story line 1: TRUE HIP HOP LIVES IN RVA! Yes Richmond, true hip hop lives in RVA. Slapdash brought it all together for a great two nights of performances. Epic Fest for that alone was a huge success. Near (0r over) 40 hip hop acts performed live during the 2 day festival – amazing feet pulled off by Slapdash and their sponsors. It was a viable business model and it proved that when done right, RVA hip hop draws a nice crowd and raises money.
Story line 2: BAD WEATHER CUT DAY 1 AND HURT DAY 2! It’s true for the second time in two nights and the 3rd night this year (remember De La Soul at Brown’s Island) weather has significantly hurt RVA hip hop shows. Day 1 of Epic Fest was cut short due to the tornado like winds and Day 2 was hurt by an early start time, several mandatory intermissions, and ultimately time cutting performers short. It’s nobody’s fault – God’s plan I guess but it hurt the event overall. Mad props to the Slapdash team for keeping the show going and making due the best they could.
Outside of those two major headlines, I have two personal observation from the entire Epic Fest that I would like to share:
Observation 1: I gotta go by what I see and I see an RVA hip hop community that (for the most part) supports each other in a positive way. No fights – No beef – No trash talking about other acts – I understand that I’m in a unique position with this blog, RVA Mag, RVA News, West Coast Kix – I don’t get a lot of hate – I don’t hear a lot of hate BUT I’m standing in the crowd seeing artists support each other and waiting around for other artist to perform. It seems to me like the RVA is the place to be.
Observation 2: Headliners should perform during peak hours of the show (way before 1 AM). It’s sad but this is a RVA hip hop concert issue not a specific Epic Fest issue though it did happened again during Epic Fest. The last 4 acts of Epic Fest: Artik Phreeze, Ivory Snow, Suburban District, and Conrizzle were easily some of the most anticipated performers and they killed it BUT the only people that saw it were the people that really knew it was worth waiting for. They needed to go on hours earlier when Kingdom was loaded with fans that may not have been as familiar with their work. Now in defense of the aforementioned Epic Fest headliners, I know what they are going to say – and yes they did gracelessly give up their time for other acts due to weather BUT even with no weather – they would have been the last 4 or so acts of the festival and a lot of the crowd would has still missed out on some of the best action of Epic Fest. Bottom line – in my opinion the answer is putting less people on the bill or having some of the less popular acts perform after the headliners. I think it’s a missed opportunity that I see all the time.
YFD (Chris Haskins and Doe Boy Da Dude) They are a great team. I really like to see them perform live. Haskins has on stage presence, rhyme skills, and swag, there is no doubt about that. Doe is great teammate; always representing Y.F. D. However, Little Haskins stole the show at Epic Fest. They performed early and did their thing Haskins returned later to kill it with Phreeze – unfortunately the crowd was much smaller to see the later (See observation 2).
Jo Casino: Okay okay – real talk here…Casino was probably the live performance that I wanted to see the most over the last 2 days. He is making moves with his team Bear Boyz and the 7 Hills fam. I have featured No Name No Brain in the past and every time they tell me about Casino. So truth be told, I wanted to see if Casino was that good or was No Name making him look that good because No Name is dope (check them). I was really impressed with Jo Casino. His energy and rhyme skills put him in a great spot. He does possess that something special – that something extra that stars have – he has it and you can see it. He just needs to keep grindin and working. I predict big things for him and his team in the future.
Chance Fisher: Tons of energy! One of the younger brothers that held it down. I was not surprised because I’ve seen him perform before but he’s a different cat. The crown, the monk (yes I said monk), the whole Chance Fisher experience is a little different. The best part is that he’s good – when you’re good and different – it makes you memorable. If you different and wack – it makes you bad. Chance Fisher is far from bad.
Black Liquid, Noah-O, Artik Phreez, Ivory Snow (from up north), Suburban District, Conrizzle (from NC): I’m not going to go there – if you have not seen these artists perform in 2012 – I don’t know what you’re doing with your life. RVA hip hop is on their back and they are all gridin. Really there is nothing to say… I Got It, Money Train, Candy Flip, Can I Get a Deal….I’m serious, I got nothing to say about these brothers. Check the Cheats Movement because they will all be shining.
I was really impressed with both Phil The Thrill and Era Hardaway. Phil standing tall for the 757, drove through tornado warnings to rock a few songs. I will have to check his full body of work but I really liked his stage presence. It’s always tough to go as hard as you can when cats don’t really know your work. Phil did not slip and did his thing.
Era Hardaway brought that real hip hop feel. A bit of a throw back – his skills shined on the Epic Fest stage. I’ve had seen Kevin Sinatra before and am a fan of his work (In My Soul video – peep that). Lost Artistry was represented well with their whole click.
The final comment I will make about the many (many) performances that I saw, they all rep well. Everyone did well for the camps, cities, and hip hop. S/O Superstar Spitaz, Rak Squad, Kleos Jansport and all the acts that got down – it was just so many that I honestly cannot cover everyone.
Last thing: Epic Fest was special – very special. Everyone that played their part in organizing this event should be very proud. RVA is on the come up and thanks to events like this we can highlight the best in our culture. DO NOT LOOK BACK and DO NOT GO BACK, yesterday is gone – move forward with a purpose – And get yours! As long as it’s positive and uplifting to my city and my community – I got you – Holla at me. WE SEE IT!
The 2nd Annual Epic Fest kicked off last night at Kingdom. Epic Fest is the creation of Slapdash Promotion’s Octavion Xcellence and Cain McCoy. They’ve teamed up with a handful of RVA based sponsors, including my family at West Coast Kix to bring RVA a two day music festival of the best hip hop in the region. With over 40 acts scheduled to perform over 2 nights, there was a lot of anticipation leading up to the event. It’s common place these days that with high anticipation comes a high level of questions and skepticism.
Most of the questions centered around if RVA was really ready to support a local hip hop festival in a big way. Team Slapdash put their promotion in overdrive but the fact remained that local hip hop has traditionally struggled to bring out massive crowds. However, when I arrived at Kingdom last night I was pleasantly surprised and extremely pleased by the strong attendance of fans. The schedule was running on time and a feeling of real community was present. At points, there was as much action outside of the Kingdom than on stage. Day 1 of Epic Fest felt like part family reunion, part concert, and all hip hop culture.
As far as the performances, it was clear last night that every act was taking advantage of the Epic Fest showcase. Every performer last night brought their A game. Unfortunately, I did not see everyone tear down the stage. The Cheats Movement was all over the place getting footage at all time but here is a review of the acts I did see:
Dr. Millionaire: Formally Isaiah & Hovey were on stage when I got in the building. I’ve seen them perform several times before and is always impressed with Isaiah Clements’ rhyme flow and stage presence. His on-stage swag gives me the feel that rhyming comes easy (a little too easy) for him. He controls the crowd with a laid back steez that is unique. He is comfortable with his skills and always seems to deliver over Hovey Benjamin’s beats. “Born N Raised” is a track off of Octavion’s No Cool Points for Dying…Isaiah killed that 16 – I’ve been checking his work even more closely since that feature.
Young Richmond Outkast: Though their heart is clearly in music, YRO is a movement. Those young brothers do it all from music, to fashion, to graphics, I wouldn’t be surprised if Chichi came out with a cookbook in 2013 – that’s how hard they grind. And feel me on this – they bring it on stage too. This is just my opinion BUT if RVA has a crew that I would compare to: Odd Future, ASAP, or Pro Era, YRO is the closest I’ve seen in this town to a similar movement. I say that because they are just being themselves, they are working hard and unique with their style and flow. I would love to see them shoot a live video for “Hardbodi Schoolboi.” The song translates really strong live and you see why those cats know everybody.
Doe The Paperboy: Mo Money Mo Problems or as I say, “If they mad, you’re problem doing something right.” I have said on this blog before and I will say again soon when I come out with my 2012 mid year report, Doe has killed the last 6 months. With the release of DoeNation2, killing live shows, and teaming up with Robert Roby AKA Smoothmatic AKA Soul Live Media, for two of the best local videos out: “If I had it” and “Picasso.” Doe has elevated himself to a new level. With all this going on, Doe was telling me last night it bring a new level of exposure and a new level of haters. As I always say, if you’re grinding and it’s legit and positive – Do You. I’m looking forward to getting Doe on the blog soon.
So Proper Showcase: Truth be told, Ms. Proper is one favorites. I would put her in the hip hop ring against anybody and she’ll come out standing tall. She’s a artist and a boss – grind on 1 hundred thousand trillion. I didn’t see much of the So Proper Showcase last night and outside of the homie So Illa, who’s video “Run RVA” is killing it. I’m not yet familiar with the team. I do know if there was an award for the camp that spends the most time in the gym…So Proper Camp wins. Think Ruff Ryders Anthem video straight up (lol).
Star Krew (D. Carduh, Young Fam, Peter Maher, Flatline): I didn’t see much of Star Krew’s set and I had never seen them live before so I can’t say much. They did bring energy – a lot of it and the response was good. I wish I had seen more.
Just Plan Sounds: Of course, JPS is family to me. I’m proud of the work I’ve done with James Dangle in the past and really proud of the new video, The Passion of The Sleaze (released yesterday) with the Honorable Sleaze and Ohbliv. It was Sleaze’s night – the video is getting good feedback- but more so Sleaze was getting that RVA appreciation that seemed to be long overdue. James Dangle, Just Plain Ant, Nyce, Damaged Andy, Ankh Trinity, and even Ohbliv were in the building. Due to the the freak storm last night – the power cut off right in the middle of JPS’s set and the show was shut down for the rest of the night.
Too bad for all of us hip hop fans because Epic Fest Day 1 was living up the hype and more! Stick with the Cheats Movement Blog- check out the Slapdash website – all the bloggers writing about this support them all. #WESEEIT I’m created a photo page now…it’s all coming.