Okayplayer went down to the Lone Star State to continue our 15th anniversary celebrations with a network-wide 4-party SXSW event series that featured everyone from Erykah Badu & Thundercat to Bunji Garlin to Aloe Blacc in rap mode as 1/2 of Emanon with Exile on the beats, to a host of Okayfuture DJs topped off by DJ Rashad and Falcons. Okayplayer, Okayafrica, Okayfuture and LargeUp all represented with live showcases that without exception earned accolades as the Best of South By Southwest.
Large Up and House Of Marley kicked things off on Wednesday with a special SXSW edition of the legendary Rice and Peas party. It was a sunny afternoon out on the patio with Trinidad, Jamaica, Brazil, the U.K., and NYC all accounted for. Screechy Dan got into the Texas spirit borrowing a ten-gallon-hat from the crowd and at one point yodeling his dancehall rendition of Hank Williams’s “Long Gone Lonesome Blues.” SouthBy’s second-ever soca artist Bunji Garlin and Fay-Ann Lyons closed out the day, bringing Carnival to a crowd that seemed well ready for Fay-Ann’s wine lesson.
Next up, Okayfuture and House of Marley teamed up to bring a night of curated bass and electronic music to Hudson on 5th. Top Artist to Watch Falcons came through from L.A. to bring that booty-dropping music and ‘Secret TEKLIFE artists’ DJ Rashad and Spinn took Austin to the task of filling its clubs with Chicago’s answer to ghettotech. Jay Electronica came true and joined us on the dancefloor too.
Friday night Okayplayer and Soulection joined forces at the first of our Official SXSW Showcases. Cape Town production duo Christian Tiger School set the joint off early with psychedelic foot-friendly beats. Aloe Blacc and Exile reunited on stage as the legendary Emanon. Quantic brought the house down with Afro-Colombian and Angolan rhythms before Sango and the Soulection crew set the whole damn roof ablaze. Surprise guest (and OKP First Look artist) Little Simz jumped on stage to perform her Sango-produced “Mandarin Oranges” joint in a real life dream Xchange. From then on out all the MCs that touched down in Austin had a tough time matching Simz’ prolific wordplay. We could have stayed and dropped down with Sango all night.
Saturday night was the big cherry on top of our weeklong party featuring Erykah Badu AKA DJ Lo Down Loretta Brown playing a set with Thundercat, plus performances from Daley, SZA, Petite Noir, THEESatisfaction and so much more. The joint was packed right from when Liam Bailey and then Deep Cotton delivered their good ol’ rock and soul wake up calls. Ultra surprise guest and resident bluesman Gary Clark, Jr. stopped by to join Cody ChesnuTT on stage in a bid of electric guitar slaying insanity. Young Fathers (backed by a full string section) were on some otherworldly dose when they performed “I Heard“– one of Okayafrica’s favorite tracks of the past year. Roman GianArthur had us speechless with his smoothly-calculated blend of professional moves and soul. Stas & Cat of THEESatisfaction performed their ultra-funky super crowd pleaser “QueenS” before DJ Lo Down Loretta Brown AKA Erykah Badu and Thundercat took SouthBy to a next level insanity just in the nick of time. The high energy 70s/80s/90s throwback set even left a minute for Badu to give Okayplayer a good ‘ol “weather man” nod and special happy birthday wishes that we won’t be forgetting. Watch the full recap of our SXSW takeover and look out for more breakthrough performances like Little Simz x Sango coming up on OkayplayerTV.