FREEWAY came to prominence as a member of Rocafella Records during the label’s heyday. Since parting ways with the label FREEWAY has independently released a series of albums, mixtapes, and collaborative EPs, including an unexpected collaborative EP with Girl Talk in 2014. FREEWAY has an energetic stage presence that matches his well-known brand of aggressive lyrical delivery and is a show worth seeing. FREEWAY is confirmed to perform at Trinity Hall on Friday, March 20. FREEWAY’s collaborative EP with Girl Talk, Broken Ankles, can be streamed or downloaded for free via DJ Booth. The lead single from the EP can be viewed below.
When Freddie Gibbs first gained attention outside of his native Gary, Indiana with his mixtape The Miseducation of Freddie Gibbs, he seemed destined for stardom. Five years, a couple EPs, and an independent album later Gibbs seems to be nowhere near the stardom some expected from him. There’s no doubt that the mainstream music audience noticed him; a member of the 2010 XXL Freshman class, a highly publicized friendship and then falling out with rapper Jeezy. So, why is Gibbs making EPs with lesser known artists like Statik Selektah and Madlib? Why did he only have mostly little known guest rappers on his album? Because he likes his specific brand of music and is clearly only interested in mainstream success if it means not compromising his artistry. Expect an authentic show to compliment his incredible delivery at his SXSW 2015 performance. Follow the jump for video.
IAMSU! is one of the more talented acts to come out of the California Bay Area, post-Hyphy movement. IAMSU! has been making a name for himself on the west coast for a number of years and is also one of the founding members of the Heartbreak Gang (aka HBK Gang) rap group, which also includes Sage the Gemini, famous for the 2013 hit “Gas Pedal”. IAMSU! performed along with HBK Gang at Fader Fort last year and is returning for several shows this year. Confirmed performances include Bar 96 on 3/19 and Clive Bar on 3/20, along with another unspecified confirmation.
In an interview during last year’s SXSW, California bay area rapper G-Eazy likened E-40’s influence in the bay area to Jay-Z’s in New York City. In terms of originality, innovation, longevity, relevance through several eras of hip-hop, and business prowess, it’s hard to argue 47-year-old E-40’s importance in hip-hop. This influence even includes E-40’s 27-year-old son Droop-E, who has been successfully producing for a bevy of west coast artists since 2004. One of my favorite revelations about E-40 came in 2014 when it was discovered that E-40 used more unique words in his work than Shakespeare in a side by side comparison of the first 35,000 words used in each artist’s work (he wasn’t the only rapper who out did Shakespeare, but definitely the only rapper in his genre of hip-hop). E-40 has been putting out a minimum of two albums per year since 2010 with his most recent album including guest spots from Dej Loaf, Ty Dolla $ign, Kirko Bangz, and others. And we all heard E-40’s verse on Big Sean’s break up anthem from 2014 “IDFWU”. E-40’s presence at SXSW is a huge deal and should not be missed. He’s scheduled to perform at The Roosevelt Room on Friday, March 20, 1:20 a.m.-1:50 a.m. E-40’s “Tell Me When To Go” from the height of the Hyphy movement is below.
Since debuting in 2011, Atlanta-based rapper Scotty ATL has released six mixtapes and one EP, and is showing no signs of slowing down in 2015. The blend of his thick southern draw and sometimes gritty, sometimes soulful beats should provide for an authentic Atlanta hip-hop live show. Scotty ATL has confirmed a couple performances during SXSW, though specifics are still TBA. Scotty ATL’s project OTR2SJ, released last summer as part of Scion AV’s hip-hop series, can be streamed or downloaded via LiveMixtapes. The lead song off of OTR2SJ is below.
Wu-Tang Clan member and legendary hip-hop icon Raekwon is returning to SXSW again this year. While Raekwon has a lengthy discography of solo material and work with Wu-Tang Clan and its affiliates, Wu-Tang also came out with a new album at the very end of 2014 and Raekwon has a new solo album due out at the end of April, so expect to hear a mix of old and new. No dates or venues have been officially set, though Raekwon is confirmed to perform during SXSW 2015. Raekwon’s newest single off his forthcoming album features French Montana and Busta Rhymes. The song can be streamed below.
Taylor Gang’s self-proclaimed Drug Store Cowboy, Berner, is returning to Austin for SXSW 2015. Berner performed several times throughout the week at last year’s SXSW, including a free Taylor Gang showcase that featured an impromptu one and done performance by label head Wiz Khalifa. This past year Berner put out a free mixtape with Cypress Hill frontman B-Real entitled Prohibition, continuing Berner’s history of excellent taste in beats and stoner-friendly lyrics. No specific shows have been set but Berner is officially set to perform at this year’s SXSW.
Snow Tha Product is one of the most slept on rappers today and at the very least deserves a mention in the best active female rappers conversation. After her 2010 debut album Unorthodox put her on the map, Snow Tha Product has remained relevant ever since. 2014 was her biggest year yet, which included a verse on one of the 2014 BET Awards cyphers, a guest host spot on an episode of the Brilliant Idiots podcast, and her own “Fuck Your Plans” 34-city tour that kicked-off in Austin. Last year’s tour made her unable to be a part of SXSW 2014 but she is officially set to perform this year, though no dates or locations have been set. Snow Tha Product has a lengthy catalog of songs and videos that are worth listening to and watching on her YouTube channel and Soundcloud page. Her most recent mixtape Good Nights & Bad Mornings can be downloaded for free from DJ Booth.
Legendary hip-hop duo M.O.P.’s recent EP Street Certified is a return to form for a group most recently associated with a Muppets-themed viral video. The lead single from Street Certified, “187”, samples the Tears For Fears classic “Head Over Heels” and is also a throwback to the Cash Money & Marvelous 80s party anthem “Ugly People Be Quiet”. “187” is an expression of frustration from M.O.P. towards today’s state of hip-hop. The music video is also a very purposefully gritty reminder of the side of New York City where hip-hop culture and music originated.
Chicago-native King Louie, sometimes known as King L, is considered part of the Chiraq (pronounced Shy-Rack) movement in hip-hop, though he continues to put out a considerable amount of uncharacteristically Chiraq music. Most Chiraq music has loud, abrasive beats paired with loud, ultra violent, often gang-affiliated gangsta rap (think Chief Keef), but a number of King Louie’s songs are almost the complete opposite; subtle, smooth, relaxed, and slow (though he has plenty of characteristically Chiraq music). His appearance on Chance The Rapper’s brother Taylor Bennett’s single “New Chevy” was indicative of this, as well as his more recent song “Right Now”. King Louie performed at SXSW the last two years, so there’s a high possibility he’ll be in town again next month. “Right Now” can be downloaded for free via Audiomack or streamed below.