- Posted by Dave Morris
Wed., March 16, 12 Midnight CT (into Thursday), at Kiss & Fly (404 Colorado St.)
J&R Music World, Flickr
Roc Nation isn't just a glorified filing cabinet for Jay-Z's endorsement contracts. It's also an artist incubator -- and North Carolina MC J. Cole's star power has been growing steadily with the release in late 2010 of his acclaimed 'Friday Night Lights' mixtape; a new video, 'In the Morning,' featuring Cole holding his own alongside Drake; and a slew of guest spots on records by Reflection Eternal and Wale.
Roc Marciano, Gangrene (Alchemist and Oh No), Shad, Freestyle Fellowship, Classified
Sat., March 19, 9PM CT, at Fuze (505 Neches St.)
Courtesy Roc Marciano
What happens when you put two of the grimiest acts in the game (Marciano, whose 2010 LP, 'Marcberg,' won ample year-end kudos, and boom-bap-loving 'Gutter Water'-slingers Gangrene) with Aceyalone-fronted L.A. backpackers Freestyle Fellowship and two Canadians (Polaris Music Prize nominee Shad and Juno nominee Classified)? A dope rap show, possibly with some discussion of maple sizzurp.
Big K.R.I.T., Cyhi Da Prynce, Freddie Gibbs, Immortal Technique, Mac Miller
Wed., March 16, 12 Noon CT, at Mohawk Patio (912 Red River St.)
At other music conferences, they give lyric-writing tips. At SXSW, they gather some of rap's smartest, densest lyricists (from veteran iconoclast Immortal Technique to lauded rookie Big K.R.I.T.) and snappiest personalities (Mac Miller, who has amassed a fratboy fan base on wit and charm) and let the fireworks fly. Take notes with one hand, since you'll need the other to throw in the air.
DJ Premier, Nick Javas, NYG'z
Wed., March 16, 1:15AM CT (into Thursday) at Fuze (505 Neches St.)
Moritz Guth, Flickr
The icon behind the Gang Starr sound will man the ones and twos in this showcase for his label Year Round Records, where DJ Premier stays on his A&R grind. (Need we remind you who put M.O.P. on the map?) Bronx duo NYG'z have been keeping it gutter for years, while Jersey MC Nick Javas will show and prove inna East Coast style. RIP Guru, who would have approved, mos def.
Das Racist, the Cool Kids, Freddie Gibbs, Asher Roth and Nottz, LEP Bogus Boyz
Fri., March 18, 8PM CT at Emo's Main Room (603 Red River St.)
Eric B., Flickr
They might write amusing rhymes, but these MCs ain't no joke. The thread that most of these acts share is wit -- though there's nothing funny about LEP Bogus Boyz' La Roux-sampling bank robbery jam 'Goin' In for the Kill,' Freddie Gibbs' tales from the mean streets of Gary, Ind., or Das Racist's references (W.E.B. DuBois to Lionel Richie). Well, OK, rapping about Lionel Richie is pretty funny.
Dan Charnas Signs Copies of His Book 'The Big Payback'
Wed., March 16, 3:30PM CT at SX Bookstore (500 E. Cesar Chavez St.)
He's not an MC or a producer, but Dan Charnas is guaranteed to kick knowledge when he discusses the record business as it pertains to hip-hop. Breaking down the moves made by moguls including Diddy and backroom figures such as Lyor Cohen alike, 'The Big Payback: The History of the Business of Hip-Hop' is essential reading for anyone who is interested in pimpin' his or her rap game.
Fri., March 18, 12 Noon CT at Beauty Bar, Palm Door (401 Sabine St.)
Nicole Kibert, Flickr
He called his breakout mixtape 'Fashionably Late,' but maybe Donnis is just taking his time. The Atlantan opened for stars such as T.I. in the unlikeliest of spots: Tokyo, where he was stationed while in the US Air Force. Donnis signed to Atlantic in 2010 and has already dropped an EP, which means he's in a similar position as B.o.B. at SXSW two years ago -- primed for the spotlight.
Black Milk, Hieroglyphics, Rah Digga, eLZhi, Moe Green
Thu., March 17, 12 Noon CT at Scoot Inn (1308 E. 4th St.)
Vince Kmeron, Flickr
If you don't know who these folks are by now, you better make like Clinton Sparks and get familiar. Detroit producer/MC Black Milk's 'Album of the Year' and Flipmode Squad (Busta Rhymes' crew) veteran Rah Digga's 'Classic' lived up to their respective names. Now we're just waiting for eLZhi to deliver on the promise implied by the title of his 2008 album 'The Preface': When can we hear Chapter One?
Michael 5000 Watts
Thu., March 17, 12 Noon CT at Fuze (505 Neches St.)
Courtesy Michael 5000 Watts
Houston hip-hop isn't quite as trendy as it was a couple years back, but the footprint of screwed 'n' chopped music exists in the sound to this day. You haven't lived until you've experienced it live, and who better to introduce it than Swishahouse label head and DJ Screw mantle-bearer Michael '5000' Watts? Grab a cup and pour up.
The Vibe House
Wed., March 16 to Sat., March 19 at Venue 222 (222 E. 6th St.)
Kid Kameleon, Flickr
Some of the best sets and parties save their lineup announcements until the last minute, so be prepared to change your plans at a moment's notice. Along with mainstays like the Fader Fort, which has hosted Kanye West, Bun B and Bone Thugs-n-Harmony in recent years, Vibe magazine and the Cashmere Agency's Vibe House is rumoured to have a superstrong lineup; rumblings have put forward names like Curren$y and Mike Bigga, aka Killer Mike, with more to come. Keep an eye here for info.