On Saturday night, the city’s art and music elite collided in observance of a notable five-year dynamism in promoting San Antonio’s talented artists and musicians. Though the special guest artists of the night — Dave Crosland (King Gum) and Jim Mahfood (Food One) — could have easily eclipsed the auditory artists in attendance, our musical whiz kids were up for the challenge. Not even Austin’s variation of Deer Vibes could subdue veterans like OBX, DJ Tech-Neek, One Last Shot, and Czars.
Without question, OBX was the thief of the night, accompanied by the unassuming DJ Tech-Neek. OBX hit the stage vigorously in a bright green Adidas track jacket matching that of the evening’s host, Scuba Gooding Sr. OBX is no stranger to the scene, which quickly became obvious in the flood of head-nodding fans deserting paint-splattered asphalt for an agreeable spot in front of a foggy main stage.
Now, I’m not going to pretend to be a hip-hop advocate, because I admittedly know fewer San Antonio hip-hop artists than there are fingers on one hand, but when an artist has a knack for storytelling even an outsider like me becomes enthralled. OBX’s gritty voice and Tech-Neek’s finger-licking scratches intermingled to yield an unrefined and straight-up raw sound foreign to your standard radio-dial abuser. OBX explores real-life situations and puts himself at odds with the mainstream’s focus of superficiality in an attempt to restore hip-hop back to the days when rhymes held substantial significance. OBX’s nonconforming brand of Latino hip-hop is honest and relatable. It felt like home: Spanglish, SA references, and chingos of attitude.
Both OBX and Tech-Neek performed in an effortless style, bearing unpretentious demeanors. Track names were omitted as one song merged into another. Interaction with the crowd was dangerously low for my liking, as was the concision of the performance. Unfavorable circumstances for a new listener, but the enigmatic nature of the performance ignited an even greater curiosity about this hard-hitting, modest rapper. Modest in that he barely even mentioned the fact that he would be one of the artists showcased at the coveted SXSW 2011. Had Scuba not mentioned it, it probably would have slipped his mind. My guess is he will keep his promise to “hold it down for San Antonio” come March.