This week marks the beginning of SXSW’s music portion. The annual Austin-based event is commonly known for its eclectic roster of acts, and has grown to recognize rap/hip-hop music throughout the years. And this year is no exception: Kendrick Lamar, Chief Keef, Earl Sweatshirt, A$AP Ferg, The Underachievers. Whether you are attending SXSW this year or not, this list will inform you on who to check out and who you are missing out on.
10. Chief Keef
From juvenile detention to several SXSW performances Chief Keef may very well have the perfect narrative for his sophomore album. The Chicago native encountered plenty of opposition for his violent and near-indecipherable lyrical content last year. But through hit singles like “I Don’t Like” and “Love Sosa,” Keef’s appeal has gone from regional to national. Keef’s SXSW performances will be his first post-juvenile shows and considering Keef brought the GBE Squad along, he probably wants to make the most of his first SXSW experience.
9. Master P
Although P does not dominate the airwaves like he used to, the No Limit Records head-honcho still creates incredible music for his fans. (Seriously, have you heard Louie V Mob or Al Capone?) P, accompanied by the Mob, will be in full effect during SXSW. Let’s just hope the collective drops “Make ‘Em Say Uhh!” somewhere in their set.
Future’s underwater-like vocal gargles and half rap, half sung rhymes evoke feelings in listeners that other rappers cannot. Since last year’s Pluto Future has become rap’s go-to hook guy, and is planning on releasing his sophomore album, Future Hendrix, some time this year. He may play some new material or just put “Turn On The Lights” on loop, which would be cool too.
7. Katie Got Bandz
One of several female rappers a part of Chicago’s drill scene, Katie holds her own. “Pop Out” is phenomenal and like her Chi-town contemporaries, Katie has that staccato flow on lock. (Also whoever names their forthcoming mixtape, Drillary Clinton, is a complete badass.)
6. Souls of Mischief
The resurgence of golden age hip-hop has allowed some rap groups to receive the attention they deserved for years. Souls of Mischief is one of those groups. A four piece based out of Oakland Souls gave the world the highly-revered 93 ’til Infinity. Fast forward to now and the album’s title track can be heard on the playlists of hip-hop hipsters and rap purists alike. Age has not stopped these guys one bit. They still chill like they did back in ’93.
5. Bun B
Dude is a Texas legend. Enough said.
4. Pusha T
Pusha T is GOOD Music’s lone warrior for this year’s SXSW. Although Wrath of Caine was an enjoyable sample of what’s to come on Pusha’s forthcoming debut album, My Name Is My Name, it did not leave much of an impression. Hopefully Pusha’s live performances will do the opposite.
3. Joey Bada$$ & Pro Era
Joey’s been spitting hot fire since he was 15 years old and his entire collective can rap effortlessly. Although Capital Steez cannot be with the group (R.I.P. Steez) Joey and his Pro Era crew will surely put on some good performances.
2. Earl Sweatshirt
This past weekend Earl revealed three new songs during a show with Flying Lotus. Not only has the young rapper’s technique improved (dude still produces laid-back MF DOOM vibes but not as much) but the narratives seem more mature as well. Which makes sense: thrown into the Odd Future hype immediately upon returning home, and having to address his own popularity, Earl probably has a lot to get off his chest.
1. Kendrick Lamar
K-Dot is still on top of the world from last year.
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