When the seas parted, eleven Crew members walked from various points across the great expanse of America to convene in Austin, Texas. Though we spent a handful of days indulging the senses together — thrown into the immediacy and intimacy of a shared experience — the mark SxSW leaves on a person is as unique as a fingerprint. We all took in different shows, talked to different people and shook different hands.
But one thing that was glaringly obvious to us all was Hip-Hop is only going to make an increasingly large showing in Austin from here on out. And because we want you to experience it with us (on account of the GOP was clearly the best Hip-Hop event on the menu and will heretofore become a SxSW mainstay) here are the Ten Commandments that David D. and I suggest you abide by, so help you God or Gotty™.
Commandments by LC Weber:
1) Thou Shall Give Into Thine Vices — Whether drink, smoke or sex, here is a chance to indulge. Austin isn’t Vegas, so what happens in Texas will go home with you, but SxSW is a festival that is only made more magnificent by a bit of indulgence. A showcase of a bunch of weed smokers proved to be one of the livest Hip-Hop showcases offered. Kid Daytona warmed the room up, Jay Rock showed he could be a heavy hitter, and Devin Tha Dude headlined as Godfather of all things bluntastic. Devin tore a gigantic hole in every brain from the back to the front, ceiling to floor. Never have so many faces been screwed up so ugly from crazy music and plumes of that stankiest fantastic.
2) Thou Shall Choose Comfort Over Style — Comfortable shoes are an absolute must. This comes from a person with a level of stiletto shoe vanity that usurps most every woman and goes into a place easily defined as a deadly sin. I wore high heeled boots the first day, i.e. a mistake of cataclysmic proportions. By the end of the weekend I was looking at females in heels like “This bitch…”
3) Thou Shall Ease Off The Damn Southern Beats A Bit, For Pete’s Sake — Everyone can rap. Everyone. And I learned this when everyone decided they could take vaguely rhyming lyrics about murder or screwing or whatever, and put them loosely over a low winding beat laced with hi-hats and synth chords. And at the Red Bull Big Tune beat battle, David and I learned everyone can make Southern-sounding beats. Everyone. It’s formulaic. And quite frankly, after the initial eardrum shock of bass, the beats lost all luster. And to testify against that mundane loop of sound, the two finalists — Buddah and 14KT — had the least Southern beats in the competition. The loser here is really Southern Hip-Hop, which has seen a surge and saturation that has left a weaker product, and it’s become increasingly difficult to find/hear the best Southern beat makers.
“You were almost in YelaWolf’s beat society” — David D. to LC
4) Thou Shall Be Wiz Kalifa or Yelawolf — Just saying. These two men got more buzz this weekend than all other acts combined. If I had a dollar for every time I heard someone say they were going to a showcase to see one of these two dudes, I’d have put all my money on Northern Iowa and become a multi-bazillionaire.
5) Thou Shall Not Judge, or Thou Shall Pass Your Shitty Mixtape To Every-Fucking-Body — Yeah I’m talking to you, guy who looked at me and assumed, based on the fact I look like a librarian, that I don’t listen to Hip-Hop, and bypassed me. Bitch, I write about music. And I might be one of the only people you see who will actually listen to everything they’re handed. But judging by your cover art, I’d say it was probably garbage anyway. Moving on.
Commandments by David D.:
6) Thou Shall Listen To Every CD You Are Handed — I got a full backpack of CDs from rappers all week. My first instinct was to trash them as soon as I left. That was until I saw Yelawolf passing out copies of Trunk Muzik to strangers. Each person that trashes it without a listen is going to be missing the boat on someone that won’t be passing out anything for free next year. So, on the trip back, I listened to everything from Thug-E-Thugga to XO just to make sure that I didn’t miss out on anything. I listened to a couple of tracks from every CD handed to me. Though most admittedly almost had me doze off on the highway, there were a few diamonds in the rough.
7) Thou Shall Not Pay For Shit — SxSW is one of those few beacons of common sense and goodwill that hasn’t yet been corrupted by the pursuit of making a buck. You spent enough on a plane ticket and a hotel room, now relax knowing that those will be your last big expenses of the trip. Most of the shows are free, and if they aren’t you’ll still probably be able to catch the same acts at a different, more free event. The artists doing free events are the hungriest, and they’re more willing to put on a wild show. Plus, they’re performing in more intimate settings anyway. Pity the fool that cops an expensive bracelet.
If you walk around long enough — and you will be walking around — you’ll get flyers for events that have open bars throughout the day. You can also probably score any type or amount of blow, weed or horse tranquilizer for free if you stand in the right crowd. Hell, I got handed like eight free condoms throughout the week. The only thing you really have to pay for is parking and street pizza. Of course you’ll be paying for the pizza later when your rectum does it’s best Jackie Chain impression.
8) Pace Thyself Before You Disgrace Thyself — Open bars and cheap drinks are plentiful during SxSW. The open bars for shows usually begin around 2 pm. This means it’s very easy to find yourself naked and vomiting on 6th Street before the sun goes down. You walk for miles and eat food devoid of any sustenance. Seventeen free Long Islands will have you banging fat chicks in no time © Dave Chappelle. This is a music festival. It’s probably best you remember the actual music.
More shoddy footage from one of better performances all weekend, one that may go down in Hip-Hop folklore. You simply had to be there to believe it.
9) Thou Shall Find The Most Inebriated Performers — The beauty of SxSW is that there isn’t any barrier between artists and fans. The performers roam the streets and chop it up at any time. This means they are willing to drink and smoke anything that is thrown at them. By the night, your favorite performer has probably smoked a baby’s weight in weed and drank a swimming pool of the finest well vodkas. They’re allowed to be drunker and higher than normal. This created wonderful moments like Curren$y’s 3am performance at the Firehouse. Weed brownies, doobies and just good old jolly times made Spitta higher than usual even for him. He was gone, vibing out and in a zone that made for the dopest (puns, kids!) Curren$y show I’ve seen so far.
10) Thou Shall Diversify Thine Listening — From Wednesday night to Saturday night, I listened to literally about 40 hours of Hip-Hop. By Saturday night I was Hippity Hopped out. It all kind of blends together after a while. By the time I was about to head out, I would have snored through a Biggie/Andre 3000 duet at a showcase passing out free cinnamon rolls. We stopped into the Red Bull Big Tune on Friday night and even that was a nice change of pace from hearing rappers spit all day. Next year, I’m definitely wandering into a few different types of shows.