Grammy-winning rapper Kanye West helped ignite a traditional indie-based South by Southwest (SXSW) festival Saturday (March 21) night with performances and surprise guests.
Ye reportedly performed twice at the Austin, Texas venue showcasing artists from his label.
West performed beneath a tent as part of a party sponsored by Fader Magazine and Levi’s. He put on a lengthy show, mostly alternating songs with lesser known rappers from his G.O.O.D. Music record label. “It feels so good to rock for you tonight,” West said. He was clearly out to promote his label’s talent, including rappers Consequence and Kid Cudi. Cameos followed by Common and Erykah Badu. West played a number of “old school joints” from his first album, 2004’s College Dropout. (Associated Press)
Ye’s showcase sparked various Twitter messages from rappers including Texas’ own Chamillionaire.
“Man, Fonzworth was dancing hard,” Cha wrote unmodified. “Kid Cudi has a Koolaid smile on his face. I guess he’s in a better mood right now. Big from ‘Rob & Big’ said ‘Whaaaaaat up!!!!!!!!!!! Maaaaan, Common just killlllled it. Amazing. By the looks of this crowd, I don’t think Kanye is gonna go back to traditional rap. Dope freestyle session.” (Chamillionaire’s Twitter)
Cudi used his performance at SXSW to also clarify rumors of a forthcoming retirement.
“You remember when Spiderman didn’t want to be Spiderman no more,” Cudi asked the crowd. “‘Cause his personal life was so f*cked up, but he was just, like, killing sh*t as Spiderman?…I understand that I need y’all and y’all need me…So I can’t stop.” (Examiner)
The week-long annual festival was filled with various guest appearances by a variety of both rock and hip-hop acts.
Others appeared a block away from each other earlier in the week, at the westernmost edge of Austin’s nightclub zone. Tori Amos, the singer-songwriter and piano mistress whose passionate music first earned a rabid following in the early 1990s, played a 45-minute solo show at La Zona Rosa, while Big Boi, the rapid-fire rhymer whose group with Andre “3000” Benjamin, OutKast, helped redefine hip-hop a few years later, performed a set of about the same length a few hours later at the Austin Music Hall. (LA Times)