While SXSW prides itself in breaking new artists (or being the place where old artists try to tap into the youth market), it seems to quickly forget the up and comers a year before. In a sea of cooler than you SXSW showcases MTV Woodie’s stands alone in trying to award slightly more established acts for their grind. This year’s edition, in addition to an awards ceremony, had victory lap performances by Trinidad James and Macklemore along with new upstarts like Haim.
One of the most promising rap crews in the past few years, Pro Era, made a big splash at the Woodies. Lead by fresh faced Joey Bada$$, they put on a professional show with high quality rapping. What was most surprising is that even though Joey is the breakout star, they all had comparable stage presence; trading verses and microphones like seasoned pros.
Another solid performance was pop rap act Timeflies. Anchored by rapoper Cal Shapiro and producer/instrumentalist Rob Resnick, they brought a more traditional MTV sound to the proceedings keeping the crowd smiling in the sun.
Those who were hoping for more hardcore hip-hop had to have been pleased when Pusha T hit the stage. Rapping hits from dozens of guest appearances in the past few years he whipped through a setlist heavily laced with some of the biggest hip-hop hits in recent memory.
The biggest breakthrough act that performed had to have been Haim. Formed by three sisters (Este, Danielle and Alana Haim) along with drummer Dash Hutton they played a flirty and at times aggressive set. After winning the crowd over with their breezy melodies they ended on with all the members on percussion with a Carnival-esque jam while the sun went down.