In the second time in as many months, I’m currently writing this while waiting for my flight in New York’s red-headed stepchild to their famed John F Kennedy Airport, La Guardia, choking down a too-expensive cup of Auntie Anne’s pretzels for breakfast and washing it down with a lukewarm bottle of Costco-brand orange juice that all cost about as much money as an entire three-course meal in Mexico.
I do this for hip hop.
Anyways, in a few minutes I’ll leave the dreary, chilly rain of New York for the above-average temperatures and artery-clogging food of Atlanta, Georgia for the A3C Festival (maybe I can get to hang out with Killer Mike while I’m there, too), also home to some of the best talent cheap, chintzy rap music videos have to offer, the “urban video model.” I’m sure, however, that my days will be filled with deftly avoiding aspiring rapsters trying to convince me to listen to their mixtape, all the while readily accepting their offers to buy me drinks.
I am a man of standards and decadent opulence.
While I’ve never been to Atlanta – or any place down south since my Fear & Loathing In Las Vegas-style bender in Miami a while back (ironically, I’ll be headed back there in two weeks) – thanks to the portrayals I’ve seen of the city via its television shows, music videos and the documentary Good Hair, I’m essentially expecting a lot of bamma activity spliced in with a lot of homosexual jibba jabba, with the occasional employee of the month at Magic City crossing my path every now and then. Should be a lot of fun.
Anyways, while listening to the airport ambiance of families, producers and one woman speaking so loudly in Spanish into her phone I can actually understand what the hell she’s talmbout (and I failed out of Spanish class in the 10th grade), I wonder what, exactly, will most of the attendees of A3C hope to gain from this festival. Sure, some performers could end up being the next J. Cole or Curren$y, but that’s about as rare as finding a straight black man in Atlanta, I’ve become convinced that most people who go don’t know what to do to take them to that proverbial next level. And by “next level” I mean “the Internets Chitlin Circuit,” but what the hell do I know about rap these days. Like that other southern jamboree, Texas’ SXSW, many of them who were unable to land a spot at a show will like clog the streets performing to anything within earshot, ultimately taking them nowhere fast. While most people will hate to admit this, rap music has now become a business and anybody with a modicum of sense will know how to handle it. The rest? Their career drive stays in neutral, like Sweden.
So here I am, on another excursion to another part of the country where it’s quite possibly all right to act like a coon, if only in moderation. I don’t expect much, but this trip does give me an opportunity to knock off a trip to Gladys Knight’s House Of Chicken Waffles off my bucket list. Because I love torturing my cholesterol levels like that.
Ironically as I type this, rappity rap-rap chanteuse Jean Grae is sitting about a row away waiting for the same flight I am. Good thing she hasn’t dropped any music in years; that’s one less mixtape to weigh down my luggage.