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Kendrick Lamar, SXSW 2012: Rapper & Black Hippy Crew Rip Austin

Johnny Nunez, WireImage

The hip-hop presence was at an all time high at SXSW in Austin Thursday night (March 15), with Lil Wayne announcing a partnership with Mountain Dew, Snoop Dogg handing out Doritos, Nas, B.o.B. and T.I. rocking the Warner showcase, and Danny Brown getting pelted with a lemon, all on entirely separate stages.

Perhaps one of the most buzzed-about events of the night was Black Hippy‘s showcase at Clive, across the interstate, far from the major label fracas, thanks to the Kendrick Lamar-fronted group’s recent signing to Interscope Records.

Ab-Soul kicked the event off with a short, blunted set, followed by an animated Schoolboy Q, who once again ripped the stage in his bucket hat, tearing through ‘Bet I Got Some Weed,’ ‘Druggys Wit Hoes Again,’ ‘Hands on the Wheel,’ and several other songs which evoked his possession arrest at last year’s festivities.

“S— changes,” the Interscope-signee announced, towards the end of his set. “S— changed for me, living out my backpack with three pair of drawers, got the random socks. S— changed for me, now I got he polo socks!”

Things did seem different for the Los Angeles-based crew. After a too-short, but lively Jay Rock set, Kendrick hit the stage, all smiles in a denim jacket, opening with ‘F— Your Enthicity,’ running through ‘Hol’ Up,’ ‘P & P,’ and several others from his catalog, before being joined by his whole team and A$AP Rocky for rowdy, stage-diving renditions of Schoolboy collabs ‘Hand on the Wheel’ and ‘Brand New Guys.’

There was a bit a of a snarl in Kendrick’s voice, but it was hard to tell if it was from fatigue — the Dr. Dre protege has been performing relentlessly in Austin this week — or confidence.

Elsewhere, Snoop rocked ‘Gin and Juice’ at the Doritos stage (in the shadow of a building decked out as a giant vending machine), while outside Machine Gun Kelly made an appearance in an impromptu street music video, after wilding out at the Woodies, Raekwon paid homage to fallen Wu member O.D.B., and the night ended on a smoothly, with reggae legend Jimmy Cliff performing an adult contemporary set of his classics at the Hype Hotel.


Watch Black Hippy and A$AP Rocky Perform at SXSW 2012

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