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This post-SXSW party was simply hip-hop done right. Nuff said.
When JCrillz told me about a post-SXSW house party, I really didn’t want to go. I mean, we were recovering from our epic SXSW afterparty at the time, and the last thing I wanted to do after an epic week of music and partying is go to yet another party. Reluctantly, I dragged myself out of bed, got ready, and headed in a cab with J and Vickey to a random neighborhood right outside of downtown Austin. I’m glad I got out of bed that Sunday, because this was hands down the best thing I saw at SXSW.
If you’re on the Best Coast then you might have heard about San Francisco based band The Park. The rhythm section holds it down every Wednesday in San Fran, and they also backed UK soul songstress Alice Russell on her North American tour. At the house party, the Park acted as the backing band, almost like a spine, as a number of MC’s took the mic for freestyles.
As someone who has pretty much given up on hip-hop, it was a beautiful thing. The mic was being passed around like a baton in a 6-hour relay race. Ego and bullshit were checked at the door, with artists such as Von Pea and Don Will of Tanya Morgan sharing the stage with DC stalwarts Ra The MC, and everybody in between. Males and females equally rocked the mic with no hesitation. All races and all faces were represented. East Coast, West Coast, and the Midwest were in the same building with no beef. It was a beautiful thing.
Far from the hectic nature of downtown Austin, a little house party in the neighborhood shows us how hip-hop should be presented. And let’s not forget The Park. Playing diligently for hours with only two breaks, the band is one of the tightest I’ve seen in hip-hop this side of The Roots. It was amazing to see how they would make slight adjustments when certain MC’s would take the mic, or how they would go to the bridge once an R&B singer took the stage.
In addition to backing rappers at the house party, SXSW marked the debut of their side project Grillade with Ragen Fykes. These guys are skilled musicians in their own right, and I hope to one day hear their sounds on our side of the country soon.
As night fell on the house party, The Park’s notable jazzy sound might have been too much for the neighborhood as the cops were called and the party broken up. I really hope this does not mark the end of this yearly SXSW tradition. There has been a lot of talk about the “death” of hip-hop. Even though I feel like calling the culture dead is premature, I do believe that there are issues that need to be addressed within the genre. However, the post-SXSW party was simply hip-hop done right. Nuff said.