I kinda slept on this Fear of God II album. Granted a good chunk of the songs are from the mixtape that shares the same name, it's still pretty solid. Pusha T, while limited in subject matter, knows how to make a song that makes you want to drop out of school, invest your college fund in cocaine and straight murk anyone who bothers to look at you while gettin' your Waka Flocka on to his music in your Volkswagen Jetta. Am I talking about me? Of course not. But damn this song has been in constant rotation for me when I hit the gym.
Man. What an intense intoxicating weekend. So much fun was had. So much sleep was lost. But it was all for the sake of good times, good music, good drinks, good food, and good memories. This my first real SXSW. The first one where I actually got wristbands, actually got to go to shows that I wanted to see, and had a real plan as to how I was going to tackle the schedule of shows that I wanted to see. Even though the back end of the scheduling fell through, I still had a blast. If all went like it was supposed to, I would have saw Kendrick Lamar and Black Hippy, The Dream, Miguel, Mumford and Sons, Edward Sharpe and Magnetic Zeros, A$AP Rocky, Action Bronson, Nas, The Roots, Raekwon, Rick Ross, and Erykah Badu. Due to oversleeping, registering too late, poor scheduling, or a combination of the three, I only got to see Kendrick Lamar and Black Hippy, Miguel, and The Dream. I honestly don't understand how people make it to more than 5 shows during SXSW. There is so much going on and so much free alcohol, it's insane.
Miguel was cool, even though his show got cut short. The Dream was an amazing live performer, he really surprised me. By far the best show that we went to (once at Mohawks, and once at the Fader Fort) was Kendrick Lamar and Black Hippy. For those of you who don't know the members that comprise black hippy, they are Kendrick Lamar, Jay Rock, Schoolboy Q, and Ab-Soul. Black Hippy is by far one of the most complete rap crews in the game. Every member brings their own unique twist to the group and each member is a true lyricist. It was also interesting to see the chemistry between them all. You could tell that these were all people who were actually friends, not just rappers who formed a label, but they actually care about each other. Jay Rock is the street, gritty, gangster rapper. Schoolboy Q is literally insane; this man jumped in the middle of the crowd multiple times and jammed the fuck out with us, awesome. He's also has gritty lyrics but has a little bit of a spastic rhyme pattern. Ab-Soul is like a hybrid of the two. He's lyrical, kind of scary, and crazy at the same time. The best way for me to describe Kendrick is the reincarnation of Andre 3000. From his rhyme pattern, to his beat selection, to his delivery, nothing is normal about Kendrick Lamar. His style is completely unorthodox and a breath of fresh air to a genre that is full of copycats. For someone so young and to be so early in his career, Kendrick has the stage presence of a performer with twice the tenure of his own. It's amazing to watch him command the attention of the crowd with such ease. If I had to choose which show was better, it would be the showcase at Mohawk's for the mere fact that it was a more intimate setting, and we were literally 2 feet away from the stage. That, and the fact that Kendrick closed the show with one of my favorite songs by him, "Michael Jordan". The crowd was so fucking hype. So much energy. Amazing.
Oh yeah, on our way to the Kendrick show we walked by the MTV Woodie Awards when a big black suburban (the SUV) pulls up on the curb right in front of us. Out hops Skrillex in all his middle school girl swagged glory, gives us a quick, "hey guys what's up!" and a wave and heads into the award show. Other artists that I was within 5 feet of during this weekend include: Chuck English (of the Cool Kids), Talib Kweli, Solange Knowles (Beyonce's little sister), Young Guru (Jay-Z's engineer), and Like (of Pac Div). All in all it was a pretty dope weekend. I didn't pay for anything and I had an unlimited supply of liquor. Next year I will definitely drink more water though, dehydration is a bitch. Here's a few pics I snapped.
Must've watched this interview 10 times now. It inspires me every time I watch it. Inspires me to use the disappointments of my past as the fuel for my future. Shows me that even the worst heartbreak can be overcome eventually. Shows me that one day, I'll be able to laugh at everything that's happened this past year.
As you may or may not know, I am a pretty big A$AP Rocky fan. So big, in fact, that I decided to make a trip all the way to Houston for his first show. Nisha, who was already going to see A$AP Rocky open for Drake on the Club Paradise Tour on the 27th in Austin, also decided to join me for the great A$AP excursion. I finally made it to Austin around 4 PM on Friday and man did I pick a great weekend to go. Nisha's boss had an engagement party and her friends were having a murder mystery party, both on Saturday night. Fun!
Friday was pretty chill, we went to this quaint little Thai restaurant (I sounded gay as fuck saying that) where we were served by the cutest, politest, stereotypically Asian waitress I've ever met. I couldn't get over it. Afterward, we hungout with Nisha's cool roommates Alisa and Nikky and her two gay friends, whose names escape me at the moment, but one of them was an amazing baker. Seriously, he made the best snickerdoodle cookies that I've ever tasted and the yellow cake he made for the murder mystery party was pretty fucking amazing too.
Saturday was pretty lazy up until the parties. First up was the murder mystery party. I had never attended one of these parties until Saturday, so I didn't know what to expect. The time period was the 40's and I think the setting was Germany during Hitler's reign. Nisha was given the role of an undercover lesbian sculptor and since I was added last minute, I was give the role of her handsome young French protege. Nothing could have prepared me for the surreal world that I was about to enter. From the minute we walked into the house, it was literally like stepping into another time period. Everyone was dressed for the role they were assigned and they were literally that character. It was kind of intimidating for someone like myself who had never done anything remotely like this, but at the same time it was cool to see the story unfold and see everyone play their character so convincingly.
Shoutout to Nikky for all the amazing pictures. The crazy part is that no one posed for any of these. Half of the time we didn't even see him when he took them. Amazing photographer.
After the murder mystery party, Nisha and I attended her boss' engagement party. It was so fucking amazing. The theme was plaid and everyone was dressed accordingly and the house that it was held at was dope as fuck. I loved it because it wasn't very showy on the outside, but once you got on the inside, everything complimented everything else perfectly, from the furniture to the layout of the house itself. These are the types of parties I always imagined having once I have a serious girlfriend/wife. I had never met Nisha's boss or her fiance prior to this night, but it always amazes me how the genuine energy and caring between two people can be felt by complete strangers. I didn't even know these two people, yet I was so happy for them. The food was amazing, and the drinks were prepared by a mixologist that added freshly minced herbs like mint and thyme to drinks and man were they good. While there, we met this lady who was in charge of taking pictures of the whole event. She was really cool and asked if she could take a picture of us, and after one picture she brings us into another room for an impromptu photo shoot.
Express Catalog 2012 and shit. Shoutout to the bottom of my worn ass shoes though. And Nisha's plaid tie, lol. It was only fitting that we capped off a night that began vintage with a vintage bar. We went to this dope spot that called Eastside Show Room that is truly the most unique bar that I've ever been to. The entire staff dresses 40's-50's-ish and all everything on the menu is a fancy old timey drink that has 30 different things in it, all prepared right there for you to see. I saw this guy make an old fashioned (remember that drink with the orange peel that Ryan Gosling makes for Emma Stone in Crazy Stupid Love?) and I instantly added "learn to prepare badass alcoholic drinks" to my bucket list.
The band that was playing was really good too. This is definitely a place to check out if you're ever in Austin. It was a fun night and a great excuse to get all spruced up and have a pretty lady on my arm.
To make up for my neglect of Cassidy's (the one in the middle) birthday the night before, I joined her and the other composites of the three amigas (Natasha and Joanna) for breakfast with two of their other friends at Kirby Lane. It was good to catch up with my favorite gringas and of course the food was good.
After the feast, it was time for to make the trek to the Purple City for the main attraction, A$AP Rocky. Once we arrived, we had a few drinks with Jasmine aka Jazzy Phae aka the only girl to ever turn down J. Cole and got ready for the concert.
When in Rome.
Pretty ass drink for a Pretty Muthafucka.
After a few delays, we finally got to the show. This show was important for two reasons. Number one, of course being the fact that I would get to see A$AP Rocky perform in the most anticipated place outside of Harlem, but also, the homie Eddie was going to be there as well. If you follow my blog, you know how far the swag sauce drippeth down the crack of the bro love butt cheeks that compose the sweet sweet bottom of the TrentTrizzy x JustNorman Gang. On a scale of 1-10, anticipation was at a 30. Upon arriving at the venue and weaseling my way through the crowd of Lil Boosies, Wiz Khalifas, and Medium Seans, I finally found the homie Eddie, who was accompanied by his equally based girlfriend. It was cool to finally meet and shake the hand of a person who I've become good friends with by way of multiple social networks. Unfortunately we didn't get to talk for long, but it was a good hi and bye, nonetheless. Above is a picture took to commemorate the event, and in fitting fashion, you can see that I dug into my plethora of douche poses and chose the ever so popular "shy toddler" edition while Eddie kept it gangster with the "fuck is this nigga?" pose. Bravo Trent. Bravo.
Quite frankly, I would have been disappointed if my first Houston concert didn't have the touch of authentic southern coonery that I had come to expect, and Houston didn't let me down. There were airbrushed tall tees galore and after protecting my pack from a near shootout, I was 100% ready to get my thug on to "Pretty Flacko", which was the first song of A$AP Rocky's set. I swear that song was made with the intentions of doing a drive-by on a minister's house. The beat is so grimy and the lyrics are tough enough to make a ginger named Trevor from Southlake dig into his trust fund and by a few pounds of cocaine with the intent to build an empire. By far the best possible choice to open the show with. After introducing himself to the crowd (as if that was really needed), Rocky ran through a few mixtape favorites like "Purple Swag", "Kissin' Pink", and "Bass", delivering each with the same raw energy that you get from an artist on their first tour.
One of the things that made this concert a must for me, was the fact that this was more of a "statement" performance than anything. Few acts outside of the name Jay-Z are able to sell out a venue, no matter the size, when touring in the South. The fact that A$AP Rocky reps Houston so hard guaranteed that he would bring out at least a few of the ambassadors of Screwston that co-sign him so strongly. This was evident by none other than the OG Bun B, the Father of Trill himself, coming out and paying homage with a performance of "Get Throwed". The crowd kept the spirit of Pimp C alive ripping through the first verse with an emphatic "Pimp C P-A Trill Nigga!" while Bun B recited the verse of his fallen brother with the composure and comfort that you only see when an artist has the home court advantage.
Slim Thug, the Big Bawse of the Sawf came through as well showing that even after Houston's big boom in the early 2000's, he's still tippin' and holding it down for the city he loves. I've been one of Houston's biggest critics regarding the lack of diversity and the one-dimensional slo-mo rap that they've become synonymous with, but after seeing the hometown heroes perform with none other than Michael Watts himself providing the beat, I felt a sense of belonging and for once, it didn't feel corny to throw up the H. Though the national spotlight may be long gone for these guys, it was easy to see why the city still fucks with them after all these years. The city of Houston now has my respect.
After the legends of the South put their two cents in, we were blessed with a performance from the second coming of Andre 3000, better known as Kendrick Lamar. Though it was only one song, this guy is definitely top-tier when it comes to performing. Reminiscent of the way LeBron drops no less than 35 every time he plays at Madison Square Garden, Kendrick Lamar stole the show with his performance of "ADHD" from the cult classic album "Section .80. There are few people that can take 5 minutes of a set and make it feel like their own concert. Kendrick Lamar can now add his name to that list.
After regaining the rights to his own show, A$AP Rocky kept the party going with songs like, Wassup" and "Trilla" before ending the show with "Peso". After "Peso" Rocky then began telling fans to join him on stage, even helping some of them up himself. After proclaiming his love for the Purple City, a shirtless Rocky, joined his Houston Mob for one last "hurrah!" with a quick rage session to the intricate sounds of "Knuck if You Buck" by Crime Mob. The video below does a pretty good job of summarizing the concert.
Though I feel like the show was a little lacking in structure, I feel like it made up for that in the abundance of energy. Most concerts are a novel. A$AP Rocky's felt more like Sparknotes; Pulling out the best and most important parts, the hell with the fluff and detail of a storyline. While some were upset with the feeling of an open-ended concert, I was more grateful than anything, to have to opportunity to see one of my favorite new artists in his rawest form; Before the labels and the industry get a chance to box him up and patent everything about him. Of course the rap game's Blake Griffin still needs to work on his ball-handling and his outside shot, but when it comes to slam dunking a performance, there aren't many that bring the crowd to their feet the way he does.
So there you have it. The literary diarrhea that composes my trip to Austin and my trip to Houston. Sorry it took so long but sometimes I need some space to compose my thoughts. If everything goes as planned, I should have a few performances to share with you guys from SXSW. Till next time.