While the majority of the (Black) music coverage at SXSW has focused on the huge celebrity hip-hop acts (50 Cent, T.I., Kanye, Snoop Dogg, etc) a few of us actually went down to Austin with the intention of music discovery. I had the opportunity to hear some amazing musicians whose lyrics I didn’t already know and I can’t wait to pass them along. Check out my fave five.
1. Allen Stone
Close your eyes and you might think Allen Stone is Maxwell’s long lost cousin. Open them and you’ll see an odd-looking, red framed glasses wearing, off-centered white guy whose incredible vocals belt out surprisingly soulful tunes that will make girls and guys swoon.
2. Blitz The Ambassador
Ghanian born rapper, producer and musician Blitz The Ambassador plays a soulful hybrid of hip-hop infused with big band-esque instrumentation. Citing Rakim, Public Enemy and Nas as a few of his inspirations, Blitz lyricism feels effortless, his voice adding another musical dynamic to the stunning sounds of his band. Words don’t do it justice, take a listen.
3. BJ The Chicago Kid & Kendrick Lamar
@bjthechicagokid & @kendrick_lamar
By now, you’ve heard of Kendrick Lamar, but you may not be as familiar with BJ The Chicago Kid, a young Chicago south-sider whose vocals are giving us D’Angelo meets Jaheim with a bit more soul if you can imagine it. If not check out the song below which has become a personal favorite for me. Kendrick’s story telling is incredible and BJ kills it on the hook.
Bumped in to this super hip looking band on the convention center floor and though I wasn’t able to check out their live show, I did some YouTube research and found out these Kenyan crooners will bring you to tears.
5. Zuzuku Ponderosa
I stumbled upon this group literally on accident and ended up having the best time. I think this is a Brazilian band and the lead singer has mad sex appeal. She’s based in New York and describes the music as “Rio Neurotic Bass”. Whatever it is, I dig it.
Follow me on twitter if you want to know more about these artist and here all about SXSW @Leighdav