On Sunday night (Oct 9), the A3C main stage at The Georgia Freight Depot in Atlanta, Ga. crackled with electric energy. Festiavalgoers packed in early, eager to witness Lil Wayne’s return to the spotlight after his latest project Tha Carter V went gold. Even earlier in the day, with Curren$y bringing Big KRIT out on stage and Atlanta’s own Fatman Key representing for his city, the excitement was palpable. Part of it had to be knowing that this was the final day of shows and those who had been at the conference earlier in the week were finally able to relax a bit. “I’m hip-hopped out,” one attendee was overheard saying. “Only a few hours left. It’s been fun, can’t wait to see Wayne…but man, I’m tired.”
But first, The Diplomats hit the stage and despite their recent legal troubles, Jim Jones and Juelz Santana were in attendance, front and center. A bottle was handed off at the start of “Pop Champagne,” and Jones proceeded to spray the entire first row, who squealed in delight. Although many of the festival goers traveled into Atlanta from other cities, here’s one lesser known fact: Dipset has always been good Down South. When Cam’Ron started up with “Oh Boy” and “Hey Ma,” the now-massive crowd bobbed in waves from the front row, through the VIP area and beyond. One could say the stage was set for Weezy’s arrival. No one anticipated the chaos that would ensue.
As darkness cloaked the common area of the Georgia Freight Depot, Mannie Fresh began his set, spinning his catalogue of hits spanning two decades. The crowd pulsed as more people arrived, moving in sync to Mannie’s bass heavy selection. “I wanna see every phone out before I bring Wayne out here, man,” he shouted with conviction. Within seconds, hundreds of cell phones were awakened and turned upwards towards the sky. “God damn! It looks like Christmas!”
Shortly after, Wayne would take the stage, fittingly strolling out to “Mr. Carter.” He would thank the crowd then introduce his band with a gracious grin. “Say what’s up to my people please,” he suggested coyly. “I want my fans to know, that I know, I ain’t shit without you.” The VIP area was packed to capacity and the overhead lights from the stage flashed the adjacent bar area on occasion, highlighting just how full the closed off section was. Wayne started “Got Money,” and moments later, the crowd swelled ominously, unlike anything seen all weekend.
Then there was a parting in the throng of people on the general admission side, as if they were trying to get away from something. People started to push, and there was a collective — and audible, even over the music — gasp from that part of the crowd. Wayne seemed to be trying to perform through it, whatever “it” was. That’s when the masses seemed to bubble up and spill, a barricade fell, the sound of the metal hitting the bricked ground sounded like a pop, or did it? Or was everyone running because the fear of what could happen was imminent?
Whatever the case, as that movement began, there was an altercation between two men in the VIP area, then only one man and a guard with his taser pointed. Not even a minute after, the mob of people rushed the VIP area, running through the barricades towards the A3C entrance. People left shoes, bags, hats, everything and just ran. By this point, Wayne was whisked away and someone got on the mic, “Stay calm and stay low everyone! Calm and low.”
Initially, the idea that a gun had gone off was believable, especially because the mob that was running towards the front, turned on their heels all at once and took off running back towards the stage and everywhere else. This writer ducked behind a VIP couch and stayed there until things calmed down. A man nearby covered his girlfriend on the ground and asked no one in particular, “Did this n—a come back with the hammer or what?”
Fans had plenty to say on the way out of the show that had been shut down. “The devil is always busy,” one woman said. “I didn’t even hear the shots,” another commented. All in all, it was an unfortunate end to a dope week of hip-hop at A3C.
APD declined to comment to Billboard about the incident, but issued a statement on social media after the fact.