"South By South West, what's happenin'?" T.I. yelled out, as he greeted the eager audience at Thursday night's (March 15) Warner Music Group showcase in Austin, Texas. Massive lines formed around the block of downtown venue La Zona Rosa hours prior to the hip-hop-themed final installment of "The Warner Sound Captured By Nikon," a two-day and three-night event whose evening shows were live-streamed via WMG's newly launched YouTube Channel, "The Warner Sound."
Before Tip took the stage, recent Atlantic Records signee, Snow Tha Product -- the only female rapper on the bill -- kicked off the night's showcase. Snow engaged the crowd with scrappy rhymes alongside not two, but three hype men. Closely resembling The Flinstones' Dino from afar, Snow's diamond crusted "Unorthadox" purple dinosaur chain was also hard to miss.
His third time at SXSW, Wichita rapper XV followed and drew a solid crowd reaction with "Awesome," featured in Verizon's HTC Rezound commercial. "I like winning people over a lot more than already having fans," XV told Billboard.com after his set. Kirko Bangz, the lady-panderer of the night, triggered an onslaught of female squeals with his hyper-sexual "Drink In My Cup."
Donning sweats and a blunt in hand, Curren$y followed. The laid-back rapper forgot his lyrics to "Super High (Remix)," endearingly manifesting his own ironic caricature.
B.o.B, hailing from Georgia just like Tip, was well received by the mostly-Southern fans in attendance. After performing a handful of his own songs, a dancing B.o.B threw the alley-oop to T.I. and left the stage. B.o.B later returned, tagging in-and-out of the ring with his label mate. Between crowd pleasers such as "Airplanes," "Beast Mode," and "Nothin' On You," Bobby Ray also performed his newest single, "So Good," for the first time.
"I ain't never been here," admitted SXSW virgin T.I., who, prior to a last-minute shift in the concert's set times, was originally slated to headline the show alongside B.o.B. Beckoning rumors that the change was due to a potential Rick Ross cameo appearance to support Stalley, Meek Mill and Wale, Rozay was a no-show.
Before launching into "I'm That N*gga," Tip made mention that it was the first song that B.o.B and himself ever recorded, and since they rarely perform together, asked that the crowd consider themselves "privileged and lucky." Those exact sentiments were portrayed regardless of demand. The house lights at La Zona Rosa went up when B.o.B finished his final song, confusing the audience and unfortunately coaxing many to exit before Stalley's short set even started.
Before launching into a slew of hard-hitting tracks from his mixtape "Dreamchasers," Meek shared how difficult it was for him to land in Austin. Meek Mill missed his inital flight but luckily made it to the venue on time. An appearance from Yo Gotti and songs like "Body Count," "House Party," and Hot 100 hit "I'ma Boss" made the audience lose their minds as the clock passed 1 a.m.
"This is some other shit," Wale said of SXSW, once Meek had cleared the stage. Rewarded for their endurance, the still-dwindling audience were joined by Wale, who jumped down to them and performed "Nike Boots" and "Ambition." Wale brought out wildly energetic Travis Porter to assist on "Make It Rain (Remix)."
Wale closed the show with his recent hit, "Bait," and left the crowd energized off the chemistry stemming from Wale and his eight-piece go-go band, UCB. Last night was the first time in "six months" since they've hit the stage together.