Hip-hop at SXSW

The many sonic facets of hip-hop were on prominent display last weekend at SXSW. Early on Saturday at Austin’s George Washington Carver Museum and Cultural Center, Texas emcee Bavu Blakes traded positive verses with Element 7D as part of his impressive new project World Trade. Blakes helped transition the event into an engaging panel titled “Hip-Hop, Politics & the Ever Changing Music Business.” The discussion bemoaned the current state of corporate hip-hop and featured panelists Davey-D, Tech N9ne, the A-Alikes, and Chingo Bling, among others. Jean Grae, Talib Kweli, and Ice Cube moved the crowd by Lady Bird Lake in the early evening, where Cube dipped into his catalog to deliver some high quality gangster rap. Some nice surprises in the evening included Atlanta crunk rappers B.o.B, L.A’s DJ NASA, and Washington D.C.’s Wale, who the proved to be the most understatedly charismatic emcee of the day.