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!

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