Grab an extra phone charger and get your promo packs ready, SXSW 2014 is right around the corner. Every year, the week-long festivities in Austin provide an opportunity for budding rappers to showcase their skills amongst counterparts, in front of intimate crowds of tastemakers who can potentially help take their career to the next level. In many ways, SXSW has been the tipping point for many of your favorite rappers careers.
To help hype this year’s musical extravaganza, we’ve highlighted 12 rappers who look to be headed to SXSW with the potential to pop off by turning out live stage shows. Some of them definitely will, while others may be surprised to find their online prowess doesn’t quite transfer to real life.
Of course, these aren’t the only artists we hope to see. They’re just the already announced artists we know will be on the bill at various showcases. We’ll be making more mentions of others as more info becomes available.
Disclosure: We’ve partnered with Cricket Wireless and Muve Music to bring you music content for all of 2014. All songs mentioned here are available to download on Muve Music from Cricket. For more info, visit Muve Music on Twitter and Facebook.
Chance The Rapper
No brainer. Hip-hop’s next big thing didn’t drop his critically acclaimed, breakthrough project Acid Rap until over a month after last year’s festivities. Plus, his Fall tour didn’t hit every major market. Therefore, this year’s SXSW should be his to own, if given the proper platform.
From last year’s breakout artist to this year’s fastest rising star, Thugger is almost guaranteed to make a splash throughout Austin this year. The only question is whether or not the ATL rapper’s capable of meeting the demand and actually acing all the show (and prove) opportunities he’ll be offered. After all, that’s what SXSW is all about.
After initially being announced as TDE’s recent draft pick, the hype surrounding this Chattanooga native was massive. Then, his proactive label immediately put him in the spotlight, by featuring their fresh faced shooter on BET and setting up his Cilvia Demo mixtape for success.
Now, Rashad will be put through the SXSW ringer to prove himself in the flesh, a tactic previously tackled by his label mates that helped them earn their current spots atop the game.
We’ve actually seen YG at SXSW before. Whether it was the sound or his lackadaisical approach, the Bompton rapper wasn’t very good live. Yet, that’s exactly why he’s on this list. With multiple singles on the radio and his upcoming My Krazy Life debut right around corner, having a reputable stage performance is now a much bigger requirement for this high priority Def Jam artist.
Just as the buzz for these ATL trap stars seems to be dying down, they’re about to have plenty of opportunities to reinforce their stop and go “Versace” flows in Austin. If they’re smart, they take every show they can and prove their catalogue is deeper than we realize, with energy that translates beyond their one-sided raps.
Another ‘hood superstar that should be looking to justify his buzz is Durk. This young Coke Boy has made a quite a name for himself online and regionally in the Midwest, but his easily forgettable moniker and drill raps are far from crossing over. If this nail-tough Windy City kid wants to show he’s really as hot as he proclaims, he has to come through South By with guns blazing–figuratively, of course.
After recently inking a deal with Lyor Cohen’s 300 imprint, this Seattle rapper has been justifying his headlines with nothing but quality releases–all of which are all leading up to an early March release for his debut mixtape, Cognitive Dissonance. That said, Raz better have at least a few SXSW shows booked, so we can come and rap along to his dedicated jams.
Sage The Gemini
Massive success on Vine has already transferred into at least one platinum plaque for this beyond-buzzing HBK Gang rapper. We’re assuming the masses will come and show out to “Slow Down” and “Red Nose” throughout the SXSW festivities this March. If so, this Cali emcee’s act could be one of the livest.
From his DMV drawl to his brazen honesty, Glizzy makes intriguing music. No doubt about it. Catching Glizzy rocking his latest Young Jefe project and seeing how the lyrical loose cannon stacks up against his counterparts on stage should make for some interesting scenes in Austin.
Here’s an artist that should knock SXSW out of the park. The ATL native has two regional radio hits on deck and earned his spot by grinding for nearly five years, doing plenty of shows and showcases along the way. The way we see it, there’s no way “Money Baby” live won’t be amazing. If it’s not, there’s problems in the Camp.
As a result of his Insomnia Addict mixtape, a welcomed sequel to his Step Brothers series with Don Trip and his recent lyrical opposition to current events in the sports world, the artist formerly known as All-Star has been on quite a tear over the past six months. We’re praying to the rap gods Star’s hot streak culminates by stealing the show amidst a few choice sets at SXSW. Dude deserves it.
Been there, done that. Maybe. All we know is that Q has his Oxymoron debut hitting shelves nationwide a few weeks prior to South By, which is one of the biggest publicity events on the rap calendar. So, we fully expect him to be headlining shows and pulling out all the stops.