Five Hip-Hop Highlights At SXSW 2013: Wednesday, March 13

Billy Johnson, Jr.

Things were intensifying by Day 2 at SXSW. But I’m pretty lucky that I picked the Pandora party to attend last night. There, I witnessed some spectacular stage diving from two artists, and was introduced to the future of music. Earlier in the day, I saw some street dancers from New Orleans getting wicked. They gave me hope that this whole annoying Harlem Shake faze would eventually be going away.

Here’s my Hip-Hop recap for Wednesday:

1 & 2) Macklemore and Hopsin Take Stave Diving To Next Level
Macklemore and Hopsin both upped the ante for stage diving during their sets at the Pandora event at Antone’s. People are calling this crowd walking. Please don’t ask me who was better. They were both great, spontaneous and critical in immediately increasing the hype factor for their sets. Hopsin retweeted my flickr picture, and I have an incredible Vine clip of Macklemore. I was standing directly next to them which helped me get the footage.

When Macklemore trusted himself into the audience, fans raised their hands and he literally walked on top of them, keeping balance by holding onto the ceiling’s light fixtures. The crowd loved every minute of his show that included odes to gay marriage (“Same Love”) and Cadillacs (“White Walls”).

After taking on Obama and faith on “Nocturnal Rainbows,” Hopsin walked amongst—ugh, actually on top of--his fans. People lost their minds.

3) Smells Like Tween Spirit
Dead Prez
’s show had the crowd amped from the moment they hit the stage and, especially, when they cut into their first song “Malcolm Garvey Huey” that rocks over an instrumental of Lloyd Bank’s “Beamer Benz Or Bentley.” But they had a surprise few in the crowded venue could have expected. When they announced that they wanted to introduce us to the future, I was expecting them to bring a protégé act on stage. That newcomer was Stic.Man’s 11-year-old son Itwela “Small Axe” Ibomu. The handsome, confident and happy-going kid grabbed his electric guitar and blasted through Marilyn Manson’s “Sweet Dreams,” the theme from “Naruto” and Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit.” We can assume the boy will have a record deal before SXSW is done. He was amazing. He stayed with his father on stage for the duration of the show, bobbing and smiling as they played their hits plus new songs from their album Information Age.

4) Harlem Shake, Meet Your Successor – The New Orleans Bounce
You don’t need a platinum badge to experience all of the super cool things SXSW has to offer. A simple stroll down 6th Street lead me to the Game Ova Boyz. More than a hundred people were huddled around the three dancers who came to SXSW to give Austin a little taste of New Orleans bounce. Each dude was rocking, but this brother with the Trinidad James “All Gold Everything” face paint should get to play the Tin Man in The Wiz. He was killer, and this six-second clip does not do him justice. These guys could easily spark a Harlem Shake-like dance craze.

5) Is F**kin’ Awe-some
There’s nothing like processional music when exiting a building. But I give props to these saxophonists for seizing the moment to appease Macklemore fans when his show let out at 1:20 a.m. this morning. They were playing “Thrift Shop” with an unsolicited vocal assist from Justin Timberfake, who hopefully didn’t expect a cut of their donations. Sure, they could have rehearsed a few more times before taking center stage, but if you listen closely you can hear the melody for the part that goes, “This is f**kin’ awe-some.”

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