The SXSW Recap: The Unabridged Version

Managing Hip-Hop Editor
03.23.09 56 Comments

Preface this whole thing by saying that my memory is not the best. That’s why I went ahead & posted the The Temporary, Abbreviated Version before. Impaired by heavy intake of substances over the years along with the mass amount of info I process on a daily, my mental hard drive isn’t what it used to be so I have to frequently discard quite a bit. Therefore, I’m going to type up as much as I can remember from this past weekend’s Austin foray.

The number one rule of SXSW — If you want the sets to roll right, you better do it with white…people.

I say that with 100% love & respect. Aaron Berk, Jill & Aaron H. from the Knuckle Rumbler had everything coordinated to a tee, ushered artists along and were cordial, plus accommodating. If doff my New Era in full respect to them putting in all the work to pull this thing together & have it go off without a hitch.

The performance that most slept-on — Mickey Factz

I didn’t feel bad for Mickey. I felt bad for those who weren’t familiar with his music & his music seemingly went past them. Mickey wasn’t deterred & proceeded to work up a sweat while throwing himself into an amplified set. The height of his show was when he tore threw “Automatic” & “Hollywood.”

The performance that still leaves me on the fence about an artist — Charles Hamilton

Don’t get it twisted. Sonic laid it down, specifically “Loser” and “Brooklyn Girls.” But @ the same time, there were some awkward attempts @ interacting with the crowd that showed that his stage performance still needs some mastering. I’ll give son his credit due because after his performance, I caught him on the corner freestyling Mister F.A.B & a crowd of random folks.

The “MC means ‘Move the Crowd'” performers — Buff1 & Black Spade

Let’s face it: Buff1 is not a household name by any means. We all know it’s hard to really enjoy an artist who’s catalog you aren’t familiar with. But, the Detroit native, along with help from his friends — Vaughn T playing hypeman, 14KT on the wheels of steel & some timely vocal assistance by Haircut — literally brought the crowd to his side after about three songs. I don’t think anyone who met Buff or saw him perform will forget his name any time soon.

I was a fan of Stoney Rock’s album before all of this. After seeing him sing, dance & rhyme, I’m further impressed & ingrained with the belief that some major label is overlooking a major talent by not throwing some money behind him. You can also say the same for the other St. Louis fellows who performed, Rockwell & Nato Caliph.

The performances I only caught bits & pieces of — Blue Scholars, Brother Ali & Tanya Morgan

No disrespect to any of those artists…but I needed nicotine and once I went outside, I was bound to get stopped by someone wanting to talk. I did make it a point to see at least three songs of every act. I could hear both Ali & Tanya’s acts from outside the venue, a definite sign of success. And during Blue Scholars‘ set, I was standing @ the bar talking but could see a large crowd enjoying every moment of their set.

Thankfully, Tanya Morgan recorded the audio for their set & Von Pea sent over a download link, so the moment was captured!

Best Performances Not @ The B&T — Pacific Division & The Cool Kids

Without a doubt, Pac Div had one of the best performances that I saw, as they ran through their wide array of songs. They did so in full-energy mode, even though it was approximately 2am when they took the stage. TCK followed behind them and, say what you want about them, but not a hand was down as the majority of the crowd was going rhyme for rhyme with them as they performed three or four songs.

The Coolest Artist Not Performing @ B&T — Gangsta Pill & the homie Derek

Whattup folk! Don’t sleep on Pill. Go grab the Prescription mixtape, re-listen to some old Grind Time material & get yourself familiar.

Best Comment — Chamillionaire

Double O of Kidz In The Hall was extremely engaging and will talk on end about any & everything. Closer to home though, Chamilionaire admitted to frequenting our site more than a little bit. When I told him to drop a comment he said “he’d leave that Killer Mike, because the comments section was too wild for him.” Dude drove from Little Rock, AR because all flights were booked up. Dedication.

The show must go on performer — B.o.B. & his band

In advance, everybody involved with planning & stage setup did everything they could to insure that Bobby Ray and his band had proper sound. Guess what? There were still problems (they weren’t just limited to our set, I believe). My assumption is that most sound crews that deal with Hip-Hop may not be all the way ready to work with a live band. So, did Bobby & crew bitch & moan, typical of these new age prima donnas? Nope, they played straight through until everything got on the same page, tearing it down as evidenced by the video footage. He proved himself to be the consummate professional and another reason why I think, as a person & as an artist, Bobby’s ahead of the new school pack in terms of what he will contribute to our proud culture. Respect due to TJ, B. Rich & their whole team.

The Funniest — Curren$y

Hands down. Point blank. Period.

Besides the clips we’ve posted, dude was a straight character! If rap were compared to high school & college, Curren$y would be the cat who stays skipping school, perpetually high…but getting good grades. Consider him a functioning stoner who’s good @ what he does & knows the importance of weed to enhance his performance.

Literally, every convo I had with homie was predicated on weed. He came in the venue (early, a surprise for a stoner), immediately spoke, then asked “can we smoke a little weed in here?” “Is it cool if we smoke a little weed?” Of course I wasn’t 100% sure, so he & I moved around asking others in the know, to which Spitta’s opening words were “Can we smoke a little weed?” and “It’s cool if we smoke a little weed?” After he found out he couldn’t exactly smoke in the venue, he stuck it out & actually put on what had to be my favorite set. After his performance, I caught up with him again while I was taking a cigarette break. He informed me that “Come thru. I got studio time and a gang of weed.” Apparently, the stoner did indeed manage to create something while in the studio.

MZ’s Note — Curren$y surprised me the most as well. I dapped him up Friday night & joked about how vertically challenged so many rappers were, telling him at six feet I was in limbo because I was too tall to be a rapper and too short to be a baller. After laughing for a sec, he got back to his favorite subject by asking “you holding any weed man?” After telling him I had to give that up due to work & just growing up, he told me he felt sorry for me. Then dropped this jewel: “I keep telling my boys that’s why we gotta grind so hard in this business.” “I don’t ever want to be forced to grow up and being successful in this here is my only chance to do it.” Then just like that he was off. In his eternal search for the next high and his pursuit to never grow up.

So if SXSW is about winning new fans, $pit Vicious got my unwavering support.

What I’d do next time in Austin — Buy a folding stool & two pairs of comfortable shoes

Seriously. My plane landed @ 930. We were on our way to the venue by 12:20pm, got there right @ 1pm…and we stood/walked/moved around until the thing was over @ around 8pm. At 9pm, we started walking from our show (on 6th) to the LRG show on 2nd. Please note: Texas streets…they ain’t made right lol. We walked for an hour trying to find 2nd Ave, then finally we got in the car & rode to the venue (long story). Once we got there, we didn’t have to stand in line (thank god) but we proceeded to stand & enjoy the show until about 3:30am.

By day’s end, my legs & feet were both painfully numb.

As a first-timer, SXSW was…an experience. Although I’ve met & dealt with plenty of artists, this was almost surreal in a sense. It’s almost like watching videos because you’re seeing Artist A do a handful of songs. Immediately after (with little to no gaps or lapse in between performers; thanks Berk & Jill), Artist B hits the stage & proceeds to tear through his songs as well…and you look to your left & Artist A is beside you with his hands in the air, rocking right alongside you. This is probably one of the few times you can cozy up to & hug Amanda Diva, dap Rae after his show, hang out in the middle of the street to talk to Green Latern & watch DJ Skee work the turntables…and do it all for free.

That may be the most impressive thing about it all. There was no velvet rope. Artists were 100% accessible. I walked outside the venue & there stood Blu eating a slice of pizza, no fans around & basically unnoticed. I told him to enjoy because it’s probably one of the last times he’ll be to do that unfettered while in public.

Previously Posted — Video: Bun B Performing At The Austin Music Hall | SXSW Video: KiD CuDi & 88-Keys In The Streets Of Austin | Video: Curren$y – “Modern Day Hippie” @ SXSW | Video: B.o.B. – “Lonely People” & “Haterz Everywhere” Live @ SXSW | Video: Blu & Exile – “No Greater Love” Live @ SXSW | Video: Mistah F.A.B., Zumbi (of Zion I), Kosha Dillz, & Others – Freestyle Cipher | Video: B.o.B & Alien @ SXSW

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