Last year, we told you to expect things to be different at SXSW going forward, but we didn’t know it would look like this. During the days leading up to this year’s festival, we were all bombarded with details of the big artists coming to SXSW 2012: Eminem, Jay-Z, Nas, Rick Ross, Lil Wayne and a slew of icons were headlining each night. While this is an awesome sign of how far the festival – more specifically Hip-Hop at SXSW – has grown, it still presents a few problems. Not the least of these is the fact that it appears a lot of up-and-coming artists got lost in the shuffle.
Time usually spent wandering into random bars at the sound of an interesting tune was instead invested in waiting in line to see whichever platinum-selling rapper was coming that night. Even looking at the SXSW coverage, there are way fewer videos of unsigned acts than there are of random dope MC A. One fear is that the idea of new artists being discovered on 6th street may be a thing of the past. With that in mind, we tried to make it a point to slide into as many events as possible that featured some upstarts that probably fell under the SXSW radar thanks to the superstar invasion. Some of these acts we’ve already posted their music and were interested to see them live and others were totally new revelations.
With that said, here are five acts we stumbled upon that we can’t wait to hear more of.
1. Homeboy Sandman — Despite having heard no more than a few joints from Homeboy Sandman before SXSW, there was a distinct point during his performance of “The Carpenter” where I felt my neck might snap in half from nodding along. Standing tall and out during Rosenberg’s Noisemakers showcase, the Queens MC extraordinaire delivered his three song set with authority. Dressed in fatigue shorts and ready to war with any mic put in his hand, this beast of a man omitted energy like none other and sprinkled his set with both relentless fast-flows and nursery-rhyme patterns that left even the most unfamiliar listeners wondering why they’d been sleeping on the Sandman. — Beware
2. Big Rec — Playboy Tre and Sean Faylon’s “Red Cup Party” was a resounding success. It was the most fun I had at any non-HoopxHang event with dope music, good people, and free drinks. When I walked in, the crowd was totally entranced by Big Rec’s double-timed uber-energetic set. He tore through each song while praising the underground and entertaining everyone. Playboy Tre pulled me to the side and said Rec was one of the guys to look out for and I can definitely see why. — David D.
3. Denzil Porter — When Denzil Porter first stepped on stage, Beware leaned over and told me “this guy is full of hyperbole.” I wasn’t sure if the description was intended to be a positive or negative but moved closer to the stage to listen. By the second song of his sort set, I knew Beware’s mini-review was both positive and accurate as the kid from the Bronx ran through the track “Kanye West” with full-on confidence and crystal clear voice. Paint me impressed and picture me diggin’ through the archives to find more of Porter’s powerful prose in mp3 form. — Gotty™Subscribe to UPROXX
4. Chels — All my N.O. people were pulling me to the side to make sure I’d heard Chels’s music at SXSW. And I can see why. She handed me her CD True School For The Moon Children and I was fascinated by the cover. It was only a teaser for the creativity she oozes on every track. Chels has already been heavily cosigned by Erykah Badu and the sky is the limit for her. — David D.
5. Shawn Chrystopher One of the last acts to rip the “Red Cup Party” was Shawn Chrystopher, whose song “One Of My Homies” had me hooked. One thing that made his show so special was that he was able to spit precise lyrics the whole time he was on stage while offering up supreme energy. He’s an example of a live show really driving home how special certain songs are. While we’ve had a good bit of Shawn coverage in the past, hearing him live made those songs come alive. — David D.