Hip hop fans were very well taken care of on SXSW’s second last day. Fader Fort revealed their surprise guest as Rae Sremmurd, with the duo also playing their own “announced at the last minute” showcase event with the likes of it producer Mike WiLL Made It and buzz acts like Duckwrth. Though the Rae weren’t even close to the peak, as various venues throughout town hosted hip hop line ups that would have overwhelmed any fan.
Thrasher and Vans threw their collaborative outdoor party over at , taking over a park with a hazy, hard-teethed showcase event that took on the more street-minded hip hop of the day. Though it was a headline set by Texas rap icon Bun B that drew the biggest cheers, even more so when the pioneer dipped into some UGK classics like “Let Me See It” and “Murder”, the latter seeing Bun spit what is considered one of the greatest verses in Southern Hip Hop history.
The presence of Texan hip hop has always been an integral part of SXSW – and rightfully so – which is why fans had a chance to catch stalwarts of the scene all through the weekend. From pioneer Michael Watts opening up the night showcase at Container Bar over on Rainey Street to TV Johnny walking around the Thrasher party taking pictures with fans. Even Slim Thug and Paul Wall surprised fans with a showcase earlier this week. And of course one of the hardest working in the region, Trae the Truth, was just about everywhere, including a quick pop in to Thrasher’s party to spit local anthem “Swang” acapella.
Master lyricist Talib Kweli packed out the Container Bar, which joined other venues on Rainey Street with some of the longest queues of the entire weekend. The last two days of SXSW is always known to be the most ridiculously busy, so this was to be expected, but it’s still fascinating to see that many people turn out for all the parties.
Stone’s Throw had a dedicated showcase event at Empire Garage with the label’s characteristically diverse and eclectic program, which also include Homeboy Sandman and Edan previewing new material of a just-announced album, the incredible complexity of beatmaker Karriem Riggins, and head honcho Peanut Butter Wolf himself. It proved to be one of the most valuable parties to get in to, especially because the adjoining Control Room stage also hosted a showcase, this time with 20-minute sets from some of the week’s buzziest acts like Duckwrth, melodic female rapper Kodi Shane, UK rapper Not3s, trap star Zoey Dollaz, and Compton emcee-singer Buddy. For most, the Control Room showcase was the perfect way to catch up on acts which made the biggest waves throughout SXSW, including other hugely underrated talent like Anna Wise (best known for her work with Kendrick on Good Kid, MAAD City, and Kojo Funds.
Of course it wasn’t just hip hop that got the crowds moving on Friday. The Canadians were in full force at Swan Dive’s Canada House, with highlights including sets from Partner, Tika, Common Deer and the 2017 Polaris Prize Winner Lido Pimienta. Australia House also kept the showcases rolling following yesterday’s Aussie BBQ, with events like the Tim Tam Slam and the Our Golden Friend showcase, featuring the likes of Fatai, Lime Cordiale, Jade Imagine, RVG and many more – acts like Stella Donnelly and Gang of Youths were spotted soaking it all up. Aussie Buzz act G-Flip also delivered a phenomenal late night set at Cheer Up Charlie’s.
One of the most memorable performances for the night though took place at the Paramount Theatre following the red carpet screening of Ethan Hawke’s new film Blaze, a biopic about the late Texas based songwriter Blaze Foley. The film’s cast (fronted by Ben Dickey, who played Foley) and some special guests including Joe Ely and Nikki Lane, accompanied by The Texas Gentlemen paid musical tribute to Foley, performing many of his songs, and those he inspired – such as Lucinda Williams’ “Drunken Angel”, which was performed by Hurray For The Riff Raff’s Alynda Segarra, who made her acting debut in the film.
SXSW comes to a close tomorrow in Austin, Texas. Stay tuned to the AU for more from the festival!