I swear the third week in March is probably my favorite week of the year. Professionally as a DJ, and just as the rap nerd I am, it doesn’t get a whole lot better than South by Southwest. This year I was a little worried how I’d hold up, my knees and back being another year older and my schedule having me on 10 different shows in three days, plus a underground-rap-pseudo-celebrity 3-on-3 basketball tournament on Saturday.
Well, I survived and had an even more fruitful time than I expected. Shouts out to TSS, Knuckle Rumbler and The Force among many other powerful entities at work, and especially the lady Peace who toughed out all 3 days and took dope photos at damn near every gig I had…I’d love to mention more of the folks I kicked it with in Austin but I guarantee I’d miss about a dozen good people so I’ll leave it at that.
After landing Wednesday, we gathered our rental car, dropped our bags at the hotel and headed straight downtown. Of course we ran directly into the STL crew in front of the Vibe House. We shared daps, pounds and jokes, and headed back to the telly to rest up.
First thing Thursday was the annual Nahright/TSS GOP Party at Peckerhead’s. STL was deeeeep, and Vandalyzm set off the show with an entertaining-as-always set.
Check out the homie Weiss’ recap of the rest of the show here.
Peace and I spent the rest of Thursday checking out shows, walking 6th street and running into people as it was basically my only free time during the weekend lol…
We ended up at Suite 101 for OnSmash’s Slaughterhouse show. You already know I’m a fan of the Slaughter so it was good times despite the sound system being utter garbage.
Friday began at Scoot Inn for the first of four shows with Killer Mike. We had an early set, but the crowd was still thick and Mike killed it as always. Odd Future was slated to play later on that stage, but I had to go.
We headed directly to SXMW, the St Louis-centric showcase at Dirty Bill’s. I really wish I could have spent more time there, since it was packed thick with my STL family, but unfortunately it was pretty much walk-in-hit-the-stage-walk-out like so many other shows. I manned the turntables (more specifically and unfortunately, CDJs) for Stalley, Tef Poe, Rockwell Knuckles, Skipp Coon, and Gotta Be Karim before rushing out to head to TSS’ other major showcase, Perfect Attendance.
When I got to Perfect Attendance it was a madhouse, packed with rappers and fans. It turned out they did not need my services right at that moment, so I roamed around with the homie DJ Lowkey, with whom I was the co-house DJ for the Vibe House event in a few hours starring Slaughterhouse, DJ Quik and EPMD.
Dee-1 was the first act, and his show was impressive. If you’ve seen the Jay, 50 and Weezy video you already know. After Blu and Los Rakas, I rocked with The Kid Daytona and a drummer, a very dope set. I took over the turntables following a long Collie Buddz performance, warming the crowd up for Slaughterhouse with classics from the mid-to-late 90s and early 2000s.
I cut into “What We Do” by Freeway, and was scrolling through my crate for the next track when a voice over my shoulder said “We might as well do this shxt right, run that back”…I turn around and…Freeway is standing over my shoulder. I stopped the record, started it over, and Philly Freezer grabbed the mic and rocked his verse. Awesome moment. Slaughter then did their thing, followed by an impressive performance from Quik…we dipped out before EPMD got onstage but I hear they murdered it as well.
Saturday brought about the HoopxHang tournament presented by TSS and Hardknock TV. VERY dope event. Meka from 2dopeboyz DJed while DJs, MCs, bloggers and the like sweated it out trying to take the first annual title. I’ve been saying I’m not too interested in becoming truly famous, except that I want to be able to play in celebrity basketball games–I finally got my wish.
Team Force lost in the 1st round (shouts to my dudes at SMKA (Mike & Blake) and Skyzoo)…and then again in the consolation bracket (shouts to Hustle Simmons, YP and Smoke Dza), but it was all just for fun so no big deal…I’m lying, I hate to lose and I was mad as hell lol. It could have been worse though–we got free shoes and it was honestly an incredible time.
After hooping I headed back to Vibe House for another show with Killer Mike at the AllHipHop showcase. It was crazy hectic in there–Friday night there was a rope keeping the backstage clear for the performers to move around and get to the stage, but Saturday afternoon it was a free for all, packed shoulder-to-shoulder…not fun to navigate with a 30 lb backpack on. Regardless, we got onstage, rocked a crowd of great hip hop fans, and headed to Fader Fort.
Fader Fort was absolutely unreal. Probably the biggest crowd I’ve taken the stage in front of ever, we took over after Machine Gun Kelly tore the roof off with an incredibly high energy set where he ended up at one point rapping while hanging upside down from a light fixture about 30 feet above the crowd. STL was repping DEEP at this show as well…to the point that when I walked onstage to set up for Mike’s set, I heard chants of “Trackstar”…absolutely unreal. I still can’t process that, I appreciate the homies more than they know. Mike tore it down as always.
Then we walk offstage and who’s standing there but P frickin Diddy. Apparently he was there to introduce and rock with Lil B and Odd Future (weird). Anyways, Ms. Peace and I took off to get to Nuvola in time for Rockwell Knuckles’ official set there.
Always fun to perform with Rocky…especially because he pretty much lets me surprise him with whatever songs I’d like to hear him rap. Good times, and the crowd loved it.
After a quick stop at Red 7 to see Rocky perform with Tony Williams, one of Kanye’s main singer friends, we made our way to the Blind Pig for the last show with Mike…no photos or video from this one yet but it was another dope Mike show.
The real highlight for me was afterwards when I was standing onstage chopping it up with the host Dres the Beatnik (good dude). Mike jumped back onstage, grabbed the mic and announced to the crowd that I was officially part of his Grind Time Rap Gang crew and named me his official tour DJ….I had no idea this was coming. I felt like Kanye getting his Roc chain lol. The moral of the story is that you can hopefully look for me coming to a city near you with Mike this summer.
At this point it was around 1:30am and we contemplated trying to catch the late night Kanye performance (he brought out Jay as I suspected, would have been quite a show), but decided to leave well enough alone and headed to the car, wrapping up the best SXSW yet…already can’t wait for next year. For a rabid hip hop fan such as myself, I couldn’t ask for a better experience…
I just finished a rather spur-of-the-moment project with Trifeckta, one of the main producers from The Force. You may not know his name, but if you listen to my mixes, you know his work (Rockwell Knuckles’ Government Name & Shooting Star, Tef Poe’s Monster, Gotta Be Karim’s Early, Family Affair’s Sunshine & Vivid Imagination), and he won the St Louis regional Red Bull Big Tune beat battle last year before losing to eventual champ 14KT in the national finals. I put together a quick 29 minute mix demonstrating Trifeckta’s best beats, and it came out very dope, if I do say so myself. Check it out here:
Wednesday, March 16th
Homebase in Austin @ Loft 718 12pm-7pm: DJing for Gotta Be Karim
Thursday, March 17th
Friday, March 18th
Perfect Attendance @ Light Bar 1pm-7pm: house DJ (5-7)
Saturday, March 19th
Fader Fort: DJing for Killer Mike (6:45)
Rockwell Knuckles Official Showcase @ Nuvola 8pm
Fuggin Awesome @ Blind Pig 9pm-2am: DJing for Killer Mike
Hit me up for interviews, etc…