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.


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