The Federation, the Pack Go Dumb, Get Hyphy at SXSW

“Get some ho’s in here!” demanded the Federation as they worked a tough, ho-less crowd during Friday night’s East Bay rap showcase; also featuring short sets from the Pack, Saafir, and Rico Pabon at SXSW.
Demonstrating the different strains of hyphy after some conscious raps from Richmond’s Pabon and Oakland’s Saafir, the Federation taught fifty attendees at the Beauty Bar exactly what “going dumb” looks like, dancing nonstop and playing several hyphy anthems including “18 Dummy” with improvised backup turf dancing by set openers the Pack. The Federation’s hit “Stunna Glasses at Night” brought out the big whoops and big sunglasses amid the ten or so hardcore Bay Area fans in the front, rocking the tiny space afforded to East Bay rap amid a 1,500-band line-up that leans hard toward guitary indie rock.

SXSW has also seen a private show from Oakland’s Mistah FAB and smaller showcases from Oakland’s Anticon label and smaller players like Jern Eye and Kid 606, but Friday night’s party represented the biggest collection of serious players in the Bay’s rap game. The Pack, comprising three young Berkeley boys, has more than 3.3 million song listens off its MySpace page, a deal with Jive, a bicoastal tour in May, and its first LP slated for June under the working title I Look Good. The Pack’s Young Stunna, Lil Uno, Young L, and Lil B are just just teenagers, but they demonstrate plenty of poise and an infectious party vibe to match their sound. Smiles simply surrounded the stage the second they started stomping on it.

Saafir found favor with his “Cash Me Out” single from his new album Good Game: The Transition, but he seemed distracted by the neighboring metal show as well as the audience’s patented SXSW malaise. (Hey, you go see fifty bands in three days and try not to get desensitized to orders for “Hands in the air!” and “Sing it!”) Puerto Riqueno Pabon demonstrated why he’s one of the more highly regarded conscious Bay rappers, hitting on the PATRIOT Act and the superficial rap game during a rapid-fire, erudite flow that managed to dodge didacticism.

The East Bay rap showcase occured in the back patio of the Beauty Bar, where awesome Chicago dance act Kid Sister and its openers Montreal’s A-Trak and Tampa’s Yo Majesty just killed it till closing. The entire room danced and whooped and blasted photos for three straight hours. It was so bananas, it became the first certified five out of five bananas-scoring show of Austin. Maybe that’s why some attendees had flown six hours and bribed the doorman with $20 and drinks, only to wait four hours to see the bands blow the roof off the joint. The place was nothing but heads dancing and screaming until the lights came on at 2 a.m.

Photos of the Federation, the Pack, Rico Pabon, Saafir, Kirby Dominant, A-Trak

SXSW night III
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