Atlantic City Summerfest recap – A Castle Made of Sand

 

Tensions simmered through the night as the Atlantic City Summerfest threatened to boil over multiple times.  Plagued by logistics issues and a seemingly unending string of un-billed, small time and no talent openers, it is a testament to the professional prowess of State Property, Meek Mill and Rick Ross that the event ended up breaking even.
Mill, the MC du jour out of Philadelphia, was a fan favorite. Coming out in all red, Meek stuck to a steady blend of older songs and new, Maybach Music Group backed tracks. He opened with the Jahlil Beats produced “Make Em Say.” Mill operates best on hard charging tracks with driving beats, which “Make Em Say” and “Rose Red” have in spades.
Ross finally arrived to back his rapper on the thundering “Tupac Back.” Taking the stage in a simple black tee, trademark sunglasses and a diamond chain brighter than the skyline behind him, the show was elevated to another level as soon as he took the mic. The spotlight on Mill ended with “Ima Boss”, his version of “B.M.F” from MMG’s Self Made Vol. 1.
Ross performed an interesting mix of his verses from recent guest appearances and Teflon Don cuts, and even dipped into Port of Miami with “Hustlin’.” After his verse from the Lil Wayne powered “John”, he tore through “9 Piece” and “John Doe” from the Ashes to Ashes mixtape. Ross’s trademark baritone flow and distinctive “wu-uh” sound studio quality live, while his presence carried the small stage show. Despite being less animated than the other rappers, Ross seemed to exert a gravitational pull on the stage, drawing all eyes to him even while standing to the side. He was at his most animated on the coffin nail hammering “B.M.F.”, steamrolling the beat with ease. “Aston Martin Music”, a song that hinges entirely on Ross’s delivery, had the rapper exerting the same power on the mic as he does in the booth.
Before Ross and Meek Mill arrived on stage, the State Property reunion assuaged the crowd and kept the show on track. Freeway and Peedi Crakk dominated with Philly favorite “Flipside”, the first time the crowd seemed to finally get lost in the music and settle in since the doors had opened roughly six hours ago. Beanie Sigel took the stage to “Roc the Mic” and raucous applause. The Broad Street Bully then mixed it up, bleeding an a cappella verse into “Feel it in the Air”, but stopping the song abruptly. The crowd dazed, Sigel explained his reasoning. “We can’t go out like this,” he told the crowd. “We do this for our kids.” From there Sigel and Freeway brought the house down with “What We Do.”
What could have been a second inspiring reunion was simply more water in a sinking ship, as the Diplomats opened the name acts by devolving into men with microphones screaming at the ocean. Sloppy, unintelligible and degrading to the art, “Dipset Anthem” was the only good song the Harlem rappers could manage to pull off.
The root of Summerfest’s issues lay in its execution. Had it been billed as an all night festival, with the opening acts listed and the headliners slated to start at 9 p.m., instead of just opening the doors at 5, much of the frustration would have been eased. It did not help that most all of the amateur acts were at best forgettable and at worst juvenile and untalented. Atlantic City rapper Kilo was the one notable exception. Crowd frustration peaked as the reedy voiced and timid Antoine Bailey was booed from the stage. Constant pleas to clear the stage and VIP areas revealed how weak the organizer’s security was, while DJ’s replayed the same five to ten songs in-between the no name artists. I could not tell you how many times the emcee said Jim Jones is on deck or that so-and-so was the last local before yet another anonymous act took the stage.
Always referred to as “the first annual” Summerfest, the opening event was a castle made of sand and a weak foundation to build upon.

Tensions simmered throughout the night as the Atlantic City Summerfest threatened to boil over multiple times.  Plagued by logistics issues and a seemingly unending string of un-billed, small time and no talent openers, it is a testament to the professional prowess of State Property, Meek Mill and Rick Ross that the event ended up breaking even.

Mill, the MC du jour out of Philadelphia, was a fan favorite. Coming out in all red, Meek stuck to a steady blend of older songs and new, Maybach Music Group backed tracks. He opened with the Jahlil Beats produced “Make Em Say.” Mill operates best on hard charging tracks with driving beats, which “Make Em Say” and “Rose Red” have in spades. 

Ross finally arrived to back his rapper on the thundering “Tupac Back.” Taking the stage in a simple black tee, trademark sunglasses and a diamond chain brighter than the skyline behind him, the show was elevated to another level as soon as he took the mic. The spotlight on Mill ended with “Ima Boss”, his version of “B.M.F” from MMG’s Self Made Vol. 1.

 


Ross performed an interesting mix of his verses from recent guest appearances and Teflon Don cuts, and even dipped into Port of Miami with “Hustlin’.” After his verse from the Lil Wayne powered “John”, he tore through “9 Piece” and “John Doe” from the Ashes to Ashes mixtape. Ross’s trademark baritone flow and distinctive “wu-uh” sound studio quality live, while his presence carried the small stage show. Despite being less animated than the other rappers, Ross seemed to exert a gravitational pull on the stage, drawing all eyes to him even while standing to the side. He was at his most animated on the coffin nail hammering “B.M.F.”, steamrolling the beat with ease. “Aston Martin Music”, a song that hinges entirely on Ross’s delivery, had the rapper exerting the same power on the mic as he does in the booth.

Before Ross and Meek Mill arrived on stage, the State Property reunion assuaged the crowd and kept the show on track. Freeway and Peedi Crakk dominated with Philly favorite “Flipside”, the first time the crowd seemed to finally get lost in the music and settle in since the doors had opened roughly six hours ago. Beanie Sigel took the stage to “Roc the Mic” and raucous applause. The Broad Street Bully then mixed it up, bleeding an a cappella verse into “Feel it in the Air”, but stopping the song abruptly. The crowd dazed, Sigel explained his reasoning. “We can’t go out like this,” he told the crowd. “We do this for our kids.” From there Sigel and Freeway brought the house down with “What We Do.”

What could have been a second inspiring reunion was simply more water in a sinking ship, as the Diplomats opened the name acts by devolving into men with microphones screaming at the ocean. Sloppy, unintelligible and degrading to the art, “Dipset Anthem” was the only good song the Harlem rappers could manage to pull off.

The root of Summerfest’s issues lay in its execution. Had it been billed as an all night festival, with the opening acts listed and the headliners slated to start at 9 p.m., instead of just opening the doors at 5, much of the frustration would have been eased. It did not help that most all of the amateur acts were at best forgettable and at worst juvenile and untalented. Atlantic City rapper Kilo was the one notable exception. Crowd frustration peaked as the reedy voiced and timid Antoine Bailey was booed from the stage. Constant pleas to clear the stage and VIP areas revealed how weak the organizer’s security was, while DJ’s replayed the same five to ten songs in-between the no name artists. I could not tell you how many times the emcee said Jim Jones is on deck or that so-and-so was the last local before yet another anonymous act took the stage.

Always referred to as “the first annual” Summerfest, the opening event was a castle made of sand and a weak foundation to build upon.

 

 

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