- Posted on Mar 16th 2011 7:30PM by Charley Rogulewski
That's because Beats has made it to the stage of the Fat Possum Records "I'm An Alcoholic and I Hate You" day party at Club De Ville, his first of many shows at SXSW 2011 in Austin, Texas.
His partner-in-rhyme Left Brain interrupts: "Swag! Swag! Swag!" he chants, and then deadpans, "You guys know how to say swag, or what?"
But the crowd was clearly not prepared to go wild so early in the day.
"Aight, check this out," Beats interrupts and without any hesitation begins a machine-gun freestyle that lasts a good three minutes. Only five minutes deep into their first SXSW set and it's clear that MellowHype -- the Jekyll and Hyde offspring of hip-hop's newest collective, Odd Future Wolf Gang Kill Them All (Odd Future or OFWGKTA) -- are well worth the hype.
Last October, Brain and Beats released 'Blackenedwhite,' a 15-track street tape -- with appearances from other Odd Future members -- that was posted on the collective's website. It was free to anyone in the know. You might still find it floating around the Web, but since then, the duo have been picked up by Mississippi-based indie record house Fat Possum for a remastered version of the album (out later this summer), with additional guest features.
But 'Blackenedwhite' didn't seem like it needed any polishing at Club De Ville. The duo took no breaks between delivery; Left Brain is the low-voiced, slow-swaying MC you can lean on, while Beats is the mic trigger. In the live setting, it's obvious how they got their namesake. Banter between songs was the best part, coming off dirtier than a Chris Rock joke.
While they follow the quintessential structure of a rap song, the duo bring their own swagger. The message is more of a comical anecdote on about how not to f--- up in life, interestingly coming from juvies in the game who are gutsy enough to not feel like they have to entertain by using vintage raps' "I f---ed that s--- up" motto. Ironically, by showing their true colors, MellowHype still leave things in chaos.
During their first SXSW set, Beats tries to make some sense out of the situation at hand. On one of their earliest fan favorites, 'Gun Sounds,' he raps, "Man, when it came to school, I got bad grades/Now when it came to the law, I didn't know how to behave/But with music, music I'm on the honor roll/We on a roll." The young gun reflects before starting the song, telling the crowd that dropping out of school to pursue music was a "big adjustment" into the real world he wasn't ready for.
But perhaps its the real world that's making MellowHype live up to their lyrics and music's own honor roll. "This next song says f--- school," Beats says, "but, s---, look at where we at; in front of you all."
The group brought out Odd Future members like Tyler, the Creator, and later Mike G on 'Loaded,' and gave a shout-out to their missing-in-action member Earl, saying they were a "soldier down," before wrapping the show with his guest feature, 'Chordaroy.' (Rap, in general, is a man down today with the loss of Tha Dogg Pound member Nate Dogg.)
"Get ready for 'Blackenedwhite,' b----," Left Brain warned at the end of their 20-minute set.
Can you hear that? It's the crowd chanting: "Swag! Swag! Swag!"