We know Odd Future's SXSW show will be swarming with … everybody, and admittedly, we add to that mass media feeding frenzy with our special spread in this week's print issue, out tomorrow. But we like being able to breathe a little bit (which is why we live in this sprawling, sparkly city, smogwhatsmog?) at our hip-hop shows, which is why we recommend the following Five Must-See L.A. Rappers at SXSW:
Until they dropped the mixtape Mania! Monday, the would-be mayors of L.A. had been a little quiet recently, leaving fans more than a little worried about their debut release with Universal Motown Records, Grown Kid Syndrome. Never fear, they say it'll finally be in everybody's hot little hands sometime between May and July. We're willing to go out on a limb and say they'll play some of that new material at SXSW. Even if they don't, the trio always makes good on 'Pac's claim that California knows how to party.
TopDawg Entertainment is strategizing the rap game like it's a war, and with two of its artists, Jay Rock and Kendrick Lamar, rising to national attention two years consecutively, they're winning. Smart money, then, is now on ScHoolboy Q, the latest rapper to emerge from their camp. Though he'll bare his teeth and spit out his lyrics, ScHoolboy Q's best when he's slouching through a song, easy charm and clever punchlines rolling off his tongue like in the breezy “#BETiGOTSUMWEED.” His friends probably will show up onstage at some point, but it's not like ScHoolboy Q needs any help–at Kendrick Lamar's Key Club show last month, Q revealed he's also got a penchant for the theatrical.
J*DaVeY & Blu
The tomcattin' Miss Jack Davey and Brook D'Leau, the beatsmith who lets her prowl the stage, are J*DaVeY, an every-funky-thing but the kitchen sink duo. With D'Leau's viscous beats throbbing underneath Miss Davey's softly panting vocals, the music's as seductive as their live show. Blu, L.A.'s most enigmatic, artistic rapper, is hitting a few of J*DaVeY's upcoming tour dates, so we bet they'll hop on each other's sets at SXSW, too. Every artist needs a muse, and Miss Jack Davey seems ripe for Blu's picking. Or vice versa.
The comparisons to Tupac are no longer just murmured; and true, Gibbs' assurance and lyrics, both literally and figuratively, reference L.A.'s other adopted son. But his phrasing, such as in “P.S.A.” or “National Anthem (Fuck the World)” is more aligned with someone closer to Gibbs' hometown of Gary, IN, Chicago's Twista. Yet Gibbs' sets, gallops through succinct, carefully considered lists, aren't the only reason to see him: For such rapid-fire lyricism, there's always an air of preternatural cool at a Gangsta Gibbs show. We figure you'll need that if Austin gets as sticky as spring in the South can be.
Kreayshawn and Speak!
Descending from the Lil B family tree (she's filmed videos for him), Kreayshawn is the wild card of our bunch. Recently relocated to L.A. from Oakland, she's been palling around town with one of our favorite loose cannons, Speak!. If you've ever seen him perform, you'll understand why we expect all things cray cray to go down at this show.
We might have preferences, but we still got mad love to give to other regions. Our very good friends over at The Smoking Section started unveiling their showcases yesterday, and all we can say is boyohBOY!