I had first heard of the up-and-coming rap artist Money Makin Nique a couple of years ago, but nothing prepared me for his outstanding performance at The Music Room in Atlanta’s Old Fourth Ward on the first night of A3C. Especially impressive was the new single “Rent Money”, the best song I’ve ever heard from Nique, and one of the best new songs I’ve heard in 2014. Its summertime with the windows down vibe is at once beautiful and rugged.
When I got to Atlanta, I went immediately to the Crowne Plaza Hotel, which last year had been the Melia Hotel, and registered for the A3C conference. Although it was only the first day of the event, the hotel was already crowded with rap artists, industry people and fans. After getting checked in at my hotel, and eating dinner, I headed down to the Edgewood Avenue area to attend showcases, ending up first at the upstairs stage of a building called Erosol or the Department Store, where an artist named Nate was on stage. He was soon followed by a Maybach Music Group artist named Torch, but the venue was extremely crowded, so I walked down Edgewood to the Music Room, where the Atlanta rapper Money Makin Nique was on stage. I had heard him first several years ago, but I was extremely impressed with the new material he performed this year, and spent some time talking with his manager on the sidewalk outside. But my homeboy Fort Knox was emceeing an event at Enclave, a club on Spring Street not far from the conference hotel, so I got the car and drove back over to the hotel, but ended up going into the Quad instead of the Enclave, and saw the rapper Cash Out on stage with his entourage. I realized that Fort Knox wasn’t hosting that event, and decided to go around the corner and into Enclave, but by then, the latter venue was closing and wouldn’t let me in. I got a brief chance to speak with Knox before he headed out, and I rode back to my hotel as well.
When I rolled through the Castleberry Hill neighborhood of Atlanta on Thanksgiving night, it was well after midnight and yet I noticed that the hip-hop clothing store Fly Kix was not only open but crowded, so I found a spot where I could park for free a few blocks away, and walked back to the shop. It turned out that Fly Kix was having a customer appreciation sale, with a lot of merchandise heavily discounted, and I found some T-shirts that I knew would make great Christmas gifts. The store was literally filled with people, and I met the young woman who owned the place, as well as Atlanta rap artist Money Makin Nique. Checking out ended up taking an hour of waiting in line due to the crowds of shoppers and significantly-deep discounts.
My homeboy Fort Knox had told me about a hip-hop show taking place in East Atlanta Village at The Basement, and Money Makin Nique’s manager KD had mentioned a birthday party for the visual artist Paper Frank being held at The Graveyard, and as it turned out, as if by design, one event was downstairs from the other, so I went to both. The DJ-based party for Paper Frank filled up very quickly in The Graveyard Tavern, so much so that it was hard to even walk around, although I did catch up with KD, who introduced me to Money Makin Nique, who is making a fair amount of noise around Atlanta for his single “Funny Guy”, which got played while I was there. Downstairs in The Basement, my homeboy Fort Knox was hosting a hip-hop concert, featuring a number of local Atlanta area MC’s.