SXSW: The Recap Of A Battle Torn Team

Let us get this clear. We know this recap is late, but there are some things that must be established. The AllHipHop Team that went to SXSW was there for hard work and some fun. All things considered, we left physically spent, but mentally exhilarated. We saw the underground, we saw best sellers, we saw the future of Hip-Hop and then some. We didn’t see it all though, because its just about impossible to “see” it all. There is just too much going on. To be honest, it took some time to fully recover from SXSW, but here we are. Late, but present.

- Chuck “Jigsaw” Creekmur

This recap was based on the first hand experiences of Chuck “Jigsaw” Creekmur, Grouchy Greg Watkins, Jake Crates, Diane “Shabazz” Varnie, and Sigmund’s Dope.

WEDNESDAY MARCH 17, 2010 - DAY 1 – OGPR & ALLHIPHOP present: Paul Wall & Chamillionaire Reunion Show – “The Best in Texas” Show

JIGSAW: I was definitely excited to be a part of this – the kick off day of SXSW. I personally interviewed Paul & Cham to get their point of view about the reunion. The show was so ill, but I couldn’t get a good spot in the midst of chaos. Definitely had some great, behind the scenes conversations.GROUCHY GREG: Landed in one piece, got to my hotel room and relaxed for about an hour. Then me and Jigsaw headed out to the Best in Texas show. When we arrived, we were greeted with a packed venue and a full backstage area. I went out to the crowd and peeped some great performances. Trae the Truth's crew took over the entire stage. It was magic being lucky enough to stand on the stage and watch Paul Wall and Chamillionaire reunite and perform. Afterwards, we went to their tour bus and kicked it for about an hour. It was great conversation and Paul and Cham are some cool dudes.

JAKE CRATES: We arrived at the hotel and realized that the official SXSW bracelets are essential to getting into any event during SXSW so we scramble to call Matt (Director of all the Hip-Hop events) to find out if we can get some bracelets but the registration area is closed. Nas and Damian Marley are putting on a show at this point, which I heard about ALLLLL week. Upset I missed that because I heard they had a live band and Nas killed it!

That night we went to the Best in Texas showcase which featured Fat Pimp, Dorrough, Chalie Boy, Trae the Truth, Troublesum, Paul Wall and Chamillionaire and many others. Mike 5000 Watts was in the building too, it was truly a classic moment in Texas hip hop history.

The highlight of the show was definitely Paul Wall and Chamillionaire getting back together to do a show. The show was off the chain. They performed each of their classics and even gave the crowd a little bit of what they have coming up. The duo is officially back together and on tour and they are going to be putting out tons of product over the next year. Definitely look forward to a possible collaborative album if they can work out some of the details with respect to their labels.

THURSDAY MARCH 18, 2010 - DAY 2 - Digiwaxx Event, Klub Krucial

JAKE CRATES: Thursday was just as good as Day 1 (if that is even possible). By this point we got our bracelets and we were planning on hitting every venue we could, but it seemed like SXSW tried to schedule the most hyped events at the same time so that they spaced out the crowds as much as possible. It’s kind of cool because that way everyone’s music got heard, and it worked out because most artists performed at several different events throughout the week.

The Digiwaxx event on Thursday was slammin’. Mickey Factz, Esso, Shannell, and Fashawn definitely put on good shows and Alchemist and Oh No were the building to put on a performance towards the end. I can definitely say that the Mickey Factz performance was my favorite. He had mad energy, had no hypeman, his beats were completely different than most artists and you could tell he puts 100% of his energy into the shows! When the show was closing out, we saw Rhymefest, and he kicked AllHipHop an exclusive freestyle for the ages. Steve Raze and I were definitely lucky to witness that live! That’s just a sign of how the whole week was; seems like Hip-Hop royalty were just popping up out of nowhere and there was more content than anyone could have imagined prior to the shows.

JIGSAW: I was a bit upset that I missed Shannell, but I got a flick.She was really cool, especially for somebody down with Lil’ Wayne. I was also very impressed, by Mickey Factz. GROUCHY GREG: I have to give props to CL from Digiwaxx. Both of his events were smooth and run very professional. The DJ's kept the party rocking and there was even some B-Boying' going on in the crowd at one point. Mickey Factz's performance was impressive. The Alchemist came on stage and ripped it. Not only is he a legendary producer, but the cat can spit and hold his own on stage as well. At one point during the week, we ran into each other and he had two arms full of records. He let me go through them. Pretty tight right. 

JAKE CRATES: At night we hit Klub Krucial at the HiphopDX event, which featured Pill, The Jacka, Mistah FAB, The Pack, Cool Nuts, Killa Mike, and Freeway and YelaWolf also made appearances; definitely a classic show of up and coming artists that will be making a bunch of noise in 2010 and 2011. MistaH FAB shut it down for all the Bay Area fans that came out and even gave a shout out to in an exclusive freestyle for the crowd at the end of the show. Pill and Jacka were definitely also stand out performances at this show. Pill controlled the crowd and Jacka had mad support from Mistah FAB as he was right next to me for the performance rapping just about every lyric.

JIGSAW: If you think Hyphy is dead, you are wrong. I haven’t seen that level of Hyphy in years. I thought one dread was going to literally lose is head.

FRIDAY MARCH 19, 2010: DAY 3GROUCHY GREG: It's getting hard to recollect everything that we did, because we really did a lot. I know we ended up at the Digiwaxx again, because we hosted it, LOL. As soon as I arrived, I was ushered up to the VIP area, but not before I stopped and grabbed an ice cold Grand Marnier on the rocks. When I got the VIP area, I was pleasantly surprised to see Estelle sitting there. I sat down and struck up a gentlemanly conversation and ended up taking a nice picture with her. Then I introduced Estelle to the hungry crowd and she delivered. I admit, I was a little envious of the dudes she pulled up on stage to dance. Then again, I only know two dances: the two step and the grind. JAKE CRATES: Tired at this point from staying out ‘til 5 AM the previous two nights we ended up staying at the hotel ‘til later in the day and caught the Digiwaxx performance with Estelle, Strong Arm Steady and Talib Kweli.’s Steve Raze, Jigsaw and Grouchy Greg hosted the show and introduced all the acts once we got there. Talib’s performance was accompanied by a strong odor of good green and positive vibes. He performed all the classics the crowd would want to hear and performed as long as he could saying to the crowd that the venue wanted to shut him down but that he was going to keep rocking.

Duck DOWN!

SIGMUND’S DOPE: Like, Oh-M-Gee. Is that the right term to be use when it comes to encountering the essence of Duckdown? It was a sad feeling for those who couldn't make it through the fenced gates of the Scoot Inn because on the other side was a world of true hip-hop heads of every color, nation, gender and creed. After making the 12-block trekk with a random British dude and a drugged-out Schwinn rider, the overflow of musical enchantment was to be grasped for anyone who understood the plight of one of the most recognized independent hip-hop labels in the world. DJ Evil Dee was the HDIC (Head DJ In Charge for all those slacking in your language) and had the scene rocking as soon as doors opened, which in 5 minutes, was flooded with people nearly filling the venue. On top of tremendous performances from Torae, Skyzoo, and Kidz in the Hall, the root of Duckdown was heard in the raps of Sean Price with the now infamous "F--- Rap" shirt along with tunes from Smif N Wessun, members of the Boot Camp Klik and Buckshot. Having newly signed Pharaohe Monch drop "Simon Says" on that stage was supremely, literally feeling the ground shake. It was probably souls dropping because of how epic this event was. Nobody outside of this realm of listening understands how epic this anniversary showcase was...hmmm...wondering how many INSIDE this realm of listening understands how epic this showcase was....GROUCHY GREG: The Duck Down show case was really tight. We go a long ways back with Dru Ha, Buck and the other guys. Whenever we meet up, I probably tell the same stories about Wisconsin in 2000. LOL. Anyway, I got in and went up to the stage and built with Dru Ha. As I was standing there, Kidz in the Hall just busted on stage and started rocking it. I hadn't seem them perform in awhile, so it was great to hear them rocking. At this point, I got off stage and went to the back area to "get some fresh air." I ran into Freeway and said what's up. Dapped up Sean P and congratulated him on his new baby. I went around looking for my man Dice Raw, but it was pretty crowded. I went back to the stage and Sean P. was killing it. He's such an ill lyricist and should not be slept on. Duck Down has a wicked roster of Hip-Hop acts and it was really great to see how many people showed up to support them. They are shining examples of independence. You already know what Smif-N-Wessun and Buckshot did to the crowd. Destroyed it.

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JIGSAW: Now this is where I broke from the group. I heard Raphael Saadiq was playing and I had to be there to see the living legend play. I got there, with Jake and Steve in tow, and was supremely impressed by R.S.’s stage generalship. He’s a pro. I didn’t know it at the time, but Smokey Robinson was up next and he made it rain. On Twitter, I told people that everybody need to see this man live. He proved age ain’t nothing but a number! After that I went to see some random rock acts, because Steve and Jake bounced for the Duck Down event. Never seeing these two legends live forbid me from leaving. Murs was there too and he remained for the duration of the show as well.

Mr. Saadiq:

 “More cowbell!” – One of the random rock acts Jigsaw saw.

Quality! Showcase

DIANE “SHABAZZ” VARNIE: Presented by a connection of blogs including Blind I, IllRoots, DCtoBC, The Great Progression and Leaders, Quality! was one of the greatest to showcase multi-genre, upcoming artists. Hosted by Chicago frontman Hustle Simmons, the showcased artists ranged from all different cities around the states, including Detroit, D.C. and of course, Chicago. One of the artists to stand out to me who I wasn't hip to upon entering the show was this cat named Mic Terror. Though the crowd was dry to majority of the artists who they didn't know, Mic Terror surely made an impact with his cool moves while he "banged" and performed "Juke Them Hoes." The only thing wrong with this showcase was the attention span of the audience. I found myself the only one close to the edge of stage when unknown artists were performing. A lot of people drifted away but found their way back to the stage when a familiar act took the stage... ie Tanya Morgan's Don Will and Von Pea. Other artists noted to be apart of this showcase included Tabi Bonney, Bosco, Ro Spit and Raheem DeVaughn's artist, Phil Ade. You also saw familiar faces around the spot that included Black Milk and U-N-I. 

We Put the "A" in Austin Showcase

SIGMUND’S DOPE: Let's put it like this. Atlanta will be forever loved for busting through the doors of the music scene and being the trend-setters on setting up shop in the industry, F.I.L.A., whatever. Leave it to hard-hitting entreprenuers like Fadia Kader, SMKA, Esperanza, Mindzai and The Stadium to bring what the typical stream of media doesn't show about the musicianship coming out of Atlanta. Held at Lightbar smack in the middle of downtown, We Put the "A" in Austin had every element of sound possible ranging making it only definable by the city that the artist were representing. Artists included entities such as Pill, who is currently wallowing in ranking as one of XXL's top ten freshman class artists; Yelawolf- the light-skinned white guy that takes southern hospitality to the streets on a skateboard; Bosco- a new-type eperiemental soul hip singer who is better understood after one captures her indescribable sound; and the list really goes on. Donnis, Hollyweerd and Stat Quo were also highlighted during this showcase with many others who came strapped with lowercase "A's". Haha, lowercase a's...underline them though. These artists are on...and on deck.

The Smoker's Club

DIANE “SHABAZZ” VARNIE: As reggae artist Sizzla said: "Smoke the marijuana and get highhhh!" Presented by Cinematic Music Group, 2DopeBoyz, Creative Control, GYCNewYork, Play Cloths and UpNorthTrips, The Smoker's Club is where all of SXSW went if they wanted to indulge in herbal essence while listening to some of the best upcoming hip-hop acts. Though I mention the best upcoming hip-hop acts, I shall highlight the fact that The Smoker's Club was the only SXSW show to have Devin The Dude apart of it- and yes it was "highly" amazing. Passing blunts all throughout the crowd, Devin The Dude laid down the classics, giving the crowd nothing less than a true smoker's lounge. The compact space of the club made the performance intimate- it also made it hard for one to not catch contact from the marijuana smoke. Also complimenting the herbal indulgence was other acts such as Pac Div, Jay Rock, Smoke DZA, U-N-I, Theo Martins and Curren$y- whom fellow stoner sidekick Wiz Khalifa was right behind him rolling up a nice size doobie. Surely a showcase to go down in the books of SXSW history in my opinion. 

Devin The Dude lights it up at SXSW

The House Fire

DIANE “SHABAZZ” VARNIE: Just as The Smoker's Club aired out, it was time for round two. Using the same venue, Last Rights clothing company in conjunction with LAx Paperboys and The JBC, lit more fire with their The House Fire showcase. Though this was a three day event, the Friday showcase surely stood out the most. If you wanted to check out majority of XXL's "2010 Freshmen Class" while smoking all the weed you can get your hands on, this showcase was for you. Blessing the stage with rhymes through the weed smoke was Dom Kennedy (who had the whole the crowd chanting the famous "Menace Beach" line "If this was '92 they woulda beat yo ass"), Stalley, Freddie Gibbs, Pill, Aquaforce, Curren$y and Wiz Khalifa. With even more herb being smoked, this was another packed but yet imitate show. Despite my lungs being abused, it was great and really highlighted some of hip-hop's next best artists. I just admit, I didn't mind the consist weed smoke being blowed in my face. It was that good of a show.


Audible Treats Artist Showcase

SIGMUND’S DOPE: Presentation, presentation, presentation. That might be language of a pimp but when it comes to marketing and publicity that’s the standard to live by. Having teamed up with BRM (Beyond Race Magazine), Audible Treats---the Brooklyn-based entertainment and publicity firm made sure that it not only showcased their high-ranking clientele but also set trends in the method of promotion. Before any music was heard, the showcase was to be seen with the event trending #audibletreats on Twitter. It wasn't long before the live music took everyone into another level of hypeness as artist like Truth Live, Ill-Literacy and League 510 took the stage, slinging guitars and hair and everything. Enjoyable, yet centered as Audible Treats brought their hit-list of artist one after another, leaking sounds from the batting cages of Donwill and Von P of Tanya Morgan, Crown Royale, Finale, and the latest conglomerate, Diamond District (emcees XO, YU w/producer Odissee). The show closed with Black Sheep and Black Milk, which capped off the list of supreme beings that Audible Treats pushes on the daily. Great it was, especially seeing the support of master teachers like Alchemist in the building. It was a scientific method to the formula that Audible Treats stirred up. Any wise up-and coming artist would check their hypothesis.

JAKE CRATES: We started off Saturday with one of my favorite parts of the whole trip; interview with Bone, Bone, Bone, Bone, Bone… Bone… Bone Thugs in Harmony. Being from Cleveland, OH and growing up on "Days of Our Lives," "Crossroads" and E 1999 Eternal I was hyped. I won’t lie, Bone is my shit. Got people that live on St. Clair, grew up there, never really thought I would kick it with them. Def was an honor to be with them and hear about the stuff they did with Eazy E, Tupac and Biggie. Much respect to my fellow Clevelanders.GROUCHY GREG: Saturday we cooled out, caught some panels and went to kick it with Bone Thugs-N-Harmony. The weekend was beautiful weather up until this day. The temperature plunged to freezing and I heard people say it was going to snow. We got to Bone's hotel room and the guys were in pretty good spirits. We had a nice long convo and their always 100% real with Shout to my man Richie Abbott. So after that, we all went over to the Levi's Fader Fort. We wound up in the photographers pit, which was really great for me. We were right under the lights. After bone killed it, we went back to the their trailer. It was a very festive atmosphere. If I remember correctly a 30-something woman was all up in there hyped, along with her daughter, who was equally amped up to meet the Cleveland legends.

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Levis - Fader Fort

After that we went to the Levis - Fader Fort. Def the hardest place to get into to see an act of SXSW but we got in amidst the rumors that Kanye, Jay-Z, Drake and others were going to show up. They all proved to be nothing more than rumors. Really that didn’t bother me too much because Bone’s performance was legendary and I was definitely impressed with the way that they controlled the crowd. Bizzy was not there and Flesh wasn’t either, but even still the performance showed the fans that the music that Bone puts out isn’t going anywhere. History has proved it difficult to coordinate the schedules of 5 people after the success of a music group, such as Bone so I was happy with what I got and I am glad Krayzie isn’t leaving the group anymore.

Bone Thugs – N – Harmony can rock it, even as a trio.

JIGSAW: Anybody that was there can tell you the temperature dropped ridiculously low in Austin. But we endured.

Best of the West

 DJ Quik

JAKE CRATES: Afterwards, we hit Club De Ville which featured Murs, DJ Quick, Daz and Kurupt, Jay Rock and whole host of other West Coast that artists that came to shut down the spot. I saw QD3 Entertainment in the building, C-Rayz Wallz, Scoop Deville. In addition, Bone Thugs came out for a special guest appearance with DJ Quik. My homies from Cleveland shut it down again and DJ Quik brought the “Trauma” like he said he would when I dapped him up before he got on stage. One of the coolest and most talented producers in the game. Dude doesn’t get nearly as much respect as he deserves in other parts of the country, but he does have a loyal following that knows all his lyrics.GROUCHY GREG: Best of the West was something else and probably my personal favorite of the week, besides our OWN event, of course, :-). Seriously, the place was packed with people who loved West coast Hip-Hop, both old and new. I got in and got out of the cold wind, by huddling near the bathrooms. I saw my man Quincy Jones III (QD3) and we kicked it for about 10 minutes. We went to the inside bar area and before I knew it, people were buying shots. Great! I went on stage and had a great time watching Kurupt and Daz rock the crowd. Before I knew it, WE were on stage too, taking pictures with Elliott Wilson, QD3, my man Jigsaw and lots of other people. Next thing I know, Murs is on the stage. If you haven't seen this dude live you must make it a point to do so. He wrecked shop. Jay Rock impressed me and it was cool to see a bunch of people in Austin Texas who knew his lyrics word-for-word. My boy Wiggs came through with the rugby team from Delaware and we were on the side of the stage having a great time. DJ Quik gave a memorable performance. It was cold outside but it was really worth it.

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Murs speaks to!

Beat Society Showcase

DIANE “SHABAZZ” VARNIE: I only caught the last 30 minutes of this showcase, but I can say it was rather relaxing and entertaining for the remaining time. Hosted by Hot 97's Peter Rosenburg and DJ Rhettmatic, the event shed light on the art of beat-making and showcased some of the most known unknown hip-hop producers. Taking turns at playing beats were producers DJ Badu, Marco Polo, Oddisee, Kev Brown, The Are and Khrysis. Though it was a beat battle, acts Dice Raw, Diamond District and Torae also blessed the stage as well. This was surely a genuine hip-hop event. Amateurs were not allowed (lol).


DIANE “SHABAZZ” VARNIE: The connection with Hustle Simmons (who also hosted this event) makes me consider this part two to the Quality! showcase. This was one of the livest showcases I walked up to. First, upon entering there were a slur of random artists all hanging around outside- Curren$y was one of them. When you entered, you can see the swarm of people surrounding the performance platform. By Saturday, I was pretty hip to know who was representing what... and yes again Chicago was DEEP. I enjoyed this showcase because everyone has the intent to enjoy live hip-hop music and network. I don't know if I had a sign "I Write For" on my forehead but everyone bombarded me with free t-shirts, CDs, and business cards. Niceeeee! Also being totally different to the Quality! showcase, a lot of people stand put in their stance, supporting whoever was next to hit the stage. Some of the acts to bless this stage included Bobby Creekwater, Skyzoo, Curtains, Ra The MC, Ro Spit, Dom Kennedy, Hollywood Holt and more.

JIGSAW: Overall, SXSW was an incredible experience. The sad part was simply there is too much ground to cover and seeing it all is unfathomable. Next year, we’ll be present and accounted for and we’ll try to catch it all anyway.

More Sights and Sounds at SXSW!

The Cool Kids and

Zombie-like SXSW people wander the streets.

A cool slogan from the Fader Fort.

Bun B and Jigsaw at a video shoot

Jigsaw, Bobby Creekwater and Steve Raze at Klub Krucial in Austin, TX for SXSW

U-N-I keep it un-gangsta in a gangsta sort of way


More Video Treats from

J. Cole.

Bun B.