CJLO Takes Austin: Hip Hop Recap

SXSW had a different feeling this year as artists pulled out of the festival in support of Palestine; Raytheon, a weapons company, had events at the festival, and though the rest of the artists came because of the opportunity SXSW provides them, some expressed that they do not support the US providing weapons to Israel and demanded a cease fire.

We landed in Austin Wednesday. The first event we attended was a networking event hosted by M for Montreal. Whenever M for Montreal hosts an event outside of the city they always have some Canadian treat for those in attendance and this year they did not disappoint, with Beavers Tails for dessert! Right after I went to the Pop for Montreal showcase which was adjacent to the event. There I discovered Montreal artist Hanorah who has a soulful sound and put on a beautiful performance. I couldn’t believe I never heard of her! Next was indie group Sorry Girls. The last performance I watched, and the reason I went to the showcase, was to see Janette King, a friend of The Limelight. It was so good to see a familiar face in a different city. She set the stage with roses and dim lights and began her performance which was soulful, sensual, she performed her newest track Nah Mek Me Fall which has a Caribbean dance feel to it.

Thursday I went to see The Beatbox collective from the UK. This is a crew that beatboxes sounds, beats and sketches. Each Beatboxer, Bass 6, Ball-Zee, Hobbit and MC Zani bring their own sound from Hip Hop, House and Pop. It was an amazing show, my mind was blown!

Friday I went to see Ho99o9, a group that Andrew our metal director and Allison our station manager attended. They mentioned that they blend punk with hip hop so I wanted to see what they were about. When they got on stage there was who looked witchy and a little scary and one dressed in a suit. Their sound had a heavy punk sound that they sung and rhymed over. It was a different sound for me but I got into it. What got me during the performance was that in between songs they would play classic tracks from Frank Sinatra to Crystal Waters, almost as if it was to balance the craziness of their performance. I found out later that a few of my friends know Ho99o9 so I felt good knowing I got to experience these artists and their unique style.

Later, I went to BBC Presenting, a UK showcase at The British Music Embassy held at the Sheraton where was two stages were set up outside. It was one of my favourite venues at the festival. Once again I was joined by our metal director Andrew to see Crae Wolf. She is described as rock and fantasy meets drill. Crae Wolf came off stage, told us her name and that when she says Crae, we say Wolf making it sound like Woof! The crowd loved it. She told us that she loved vampires and werewolves and you can tell by her goth style. She put on a great show, rapping singing over drill and rock beats. I had the pleasure of meeting her after her performance, not only is she a great performer and cool artists, she is very down to earth and humble.

Next I watched SANITY known for encapsulating a distinctive blend of Hip Hop and jazz. Her flow was smooth and her story telling was flawless. This was my favourite performance and discovery of the festival. She is now an artist in rotation on my show.

Overall the festival had so many artists to discover, I enjoyed that there were shows where the genres crossed meaning I got the see some of them with other MDs on the trip.

Amrew Weekes aka Lady Oracle is a co-host of The Limelight, Saturdays 6-8 p.m.