CJLO X SWSW 2019: Hip Hop Recap

Photo: Xenia França by Thomas Artuzzi

At this year’s SXSW, I saw a lot of female artists.  On Thursday March 14, I saw Xenia França from Bahia, Brazil who was part of a showcase for world music day at the Austin Convention Centre. She put on an incredible show.  She sang about female empowerment and loving yourself while being backed up by her band playing sounds of Brazil that made you want to move.

Later that night I saw a all female showcase hosted by DJ C Devone with DJ Milan who didn’t just stay behind the turntables. She came to the front of the stage with a microphone singing and dancing to Cardi B’s “Money.”   The first act was Adeela, a Hip Hop artist from South Africa.  She was followed by Azia from BET’s reality show Hustle in Brooklyn who is pursuing a music career with help from her father.  Her act was entertaining with a lot of heavy bass and booty shaking. She even invited a man onstage to show him how to dance.  

The next act was Destiny Rogers.  This young girl came on stage wearing track pants and a white sweatshirt with a Hip Hop/R&B beat behind her. She got to the mic stand, put on her mic and started singing with a beautiful voice which led to cheers from the crowd.  She covered H.E.R.’s “Best Part.” She also sang Tomboy from her EP of the same name which is out now.  She told the crowd that we were dope but we all yelled enthusiastically “You’re Dope!” When she was done the crowd yelled encore, in my 3 years at SXSW this is the first time I saw this for a new artist.  After watching all female Hip Hop artists with their booty out and dancing provocatively, it was refreshing to see a talented young woman bless the stage and get even more appreciation than those girls.

Friday I went to a music showcase at Lady Bird Lake, a spacious outdoor area that reminded me of Osheaga.  I got to catch Abhi The Nomad, an Austin MC by way of India.   It was a great performance by a very clever rapper who enthusiastically received crowd participation. He was followed by Kota The Friend from Brooklyn, who reminds me of J Cole. He had done so many showcases at the festival his voice was on the verge of cracking which made me appreciate his performance more. 

Next up was Kari Faux, a female MC backed by DJ Domo from Little Rock Arkansas. This artist had a track appear on Issa Rae’s Insecure.  Another great artist who rocked the crowd and had us ready to see the next lineup.

The headliner for the night was Dungeon Family with Goodie Mob, Cee-Lo, Big Boi and Sleepy Brown.   They performed classic tracks including “Cell Therapy,” “So Fresh, So Clean,” “Kryptonite,” and “The Way You Move.” Cee-Lo sang “Crazy” and the crowd went crazy.  His voice is truly incredible.  

As an Outkast and Goodie Mob fan since the beginning this was my favourite showcase at SXSW.  Even though the group is older, they showed no signs of slowing down.  They were dancing in step reminiscent of soul groups like The Four Tops and Temptations. We were told that they have new projects coming out so I will be on the lookout for that.

After I left Lady Bird Lake I went to the Co-Sign showcase. I saw two cool acts, including Jerry Paper from Stones Throw.  I also got to catch up with our Co-Sign family which is one of the things I looked forward to on our trip.

Finally what would SXSW be without hanging out with my fellow CJLO music directors?  Fun times were had as we discovered what was happening at the festival as well as discovering a bit more of Austin which is now of my favourite cities.

Amrew Weekes aka Lady Oracle is CJLO's Hip Hop Music Director and host of The Limelight, Saturdays 6-8 p.m.