Written by Bauce Sauce (@BauceSauce)
I woke up at 10:30 am CST. Copy for Complex was due at 10:00 am EST. By my calculations that equals “not good.” I had a little too much fun the past few days; my body revolted against me. That strategic nap before going back out at midnight turned into a full-on multi-REM sleepfest.
I start flowing from the spirit scroll, and create some quality content. I send it off to my editors who are most likely not happy with me. But, hey… that’s SXSW (and being 27 years old, you are literally tired all the time). After yesterday’s shitshow, I decided the best thing for me to do is actively attempt to have fun, and good things would happen.
I put my headphones on and sauntered around UT-Austin’s West Campus (at one point I even skipped for a few paces without realizing it, so then I started pantomiming And1 moves to play it off). As soon as I approached the bus stop, a bus arrived. Things were already looking up.
The Thrasher x Converse Showcase was being headlined by a not so #secret, but still very rare performance by Brandon “Lil Boss” McCartney. I hadn’t planned on going here until this morning, but something deep inside the subcockles of my heart was pulling me to this show. The morning rain turned the outdoor venue’s ground into slop.
HBK Gang took the stage, and had the best performance of anyone I had seen hitherto. First off, their bassline-driven production works perfectly at festivals whose speakers only seem to produce bass. It immediately causes an instinct in your lizard brain to say “I MUST DANCE TO THIS.” Second, though there were probably 10 or more people on stage at certain points (any combination of rappers, crew members, and dancers), they were all having fun. Seems like a simple idea, right—to have fun while listening to music? Unfortunately, a lot of performers forget that aspect. From encouraging the crowd to move to yelling ad libs to throwing some of the illest Moving Like Bernie dances, it was overwhelmingly cohesive. It felt more like a party than a concert.
“Lil B Taskforce in here today. We gotta protect Lil B at all costs.” – Sage the Gemini
Less-familiar members of A$AP Mob were on next, and showed a tremendous amount of energy. They actually inspired me to go to the bathroom and purchase a magic potion known as beer. During A$AP’s set it began to sporadically drizzle. At first, the thought of it raining during Lil B’s set was depressing. But then as I thought about how everything happens for a reason, I realized that the idea of it raining while Lil B performed seemed very romantic, as if the heavens were crying in reverence.
Stunnaman opened for Lil B who he said “was in the car smoking a blunt.” When Based God glided onto the stage, the gloom that loomed over Austin, TX lifted. I took this picture of the sky to illustrate how powerful Lil B is. Mother Earth respects him.
Clouds dissipated. There was no more rain. There was no more sadness. Only joy existed.
Hyperbole pervades the language we use around The Based God. Some of it is sincere; the majority is tongue-in-cheek. I am being 100% sincere when I say that he is the most important human being in the history of human beings. I will die for Lil B. I will protect Lil B at all costs. I will take a bullet for Lil B. I will ask my wife to take pictures of her feet to send to Lil B. Whatever it is, I’ll do it. Based God is a rare and misunderstood, one-of-one creature. Exuberance swelled throughout my being, exiting my body in the form of a huge smile. I’ve been at SXSW running around creating content since last week. I miss my wife; I miss my daughter. But, I finally understood that Lil B landed on this planet to make it better—better for me, you, our children. It’s a marvelous and brave path Lil B has adopted. I just started crying writing this. I really mean this. These aren’t empty phrases to hit a word count goal, or to seem cool to the youth. I love Lil B so much.
“TINY SHIRT EVERYDAY,” Brandon screamed at the crowd while tugging on an impossibly tiny shirt. He must have melted down into an Alex Mack puddle and reformed with that shirt around him, because it was so tiny. I could not, and still cannot, figure out how he got it on. He ran through such classics as “4 Me,” “Texas,” and the David Banner career killer “I Own Swag.” RIP to all the haters who crossed The Based God. RIP David Banner. RIP Joey Badass. RIP Joe Budden. RIP Kevin Durant. There’s a reason Kendrick Lamar did not mention Lil B in his “Control” verse.
I was upset that he didn’t perform “Fuck Kevin Durant,” though it must have been for a reason. I do not question Lil B’s omniscience.
From there, I headed to The COMPLEX Complex just in time to see Cam’ron get out of his Tahoe and walk onto the stage. I entered the venue during his “Down and Out” performance at the exact moment of the legendary couplet “We sipping Sake on a Suzuki. We in Osaka Bay.” Today was perfect.
Finally, I was at a concert where I knew all the words and songs of the artist. On “Suck It Or Not,” everyone not only rapped along to every word, but did the stellar ad libs, as well—STURDY CHIN! After Cam, I thought Elijah Wood dressed up as a Counting Crows member was DJing, but it turned out to be Skrillex. It was dope because these people did this:
Starving, a group of us valet parked the whip at PF Chang’s (and the F is for phenomenal). It is nothing to stunt. I was anticipating my Illmore trip later as I heard that Lil Wayne and Gudda Gudda would be there. After scarfing down some of that delicious Chang’s cuisine, I set off to find a cab but couldn’t, and pick-up waits were over an hour. My karma was skrong today, so I felt I could snag something on the highway. There was a junky red GEO Metro at the red light whose driver was a white man with dreads. He looked at me; I looked at him.
“Can you give me a ride just down the street?”
“Surrrrre, dude. Hop… in.” he said with the drawl of a lifelong pothead.
Apprehensive, but optimistic that this guy had fried way too many brain cells in his life to attempt to murder or rape me, I hopped in his car and got out at The Illmore.
photo of bauce and p&p
I’m currently sitting next to Confusion of Pigeons and Planes fame on the floor in a side nook of The Illmore. I am an old man who needs an Epsom salt foot soak and has content to create. I’ve been at this event for four hours now waiting for a glimpse of Gudda Gudda, Birdman, and Lil Wayne. Why do rappers assume every person at an event wants to see a performance at 5 am? Like, Tunechi has a tour bus or a room that allows him to nap during the hours leading up to the event. All of us are standing around drinking Red Bull and vodka drinks trying not to fall asleep. I’ve heard Big Sean’s “All Me” verse more than five times tonight. This shit is terrible.
“YOUNG MONEY IN THE HOUSE WE JUST WARMING UP LET’S GO,” a DJ I’m too drunk/tired to know says at 4:23 am. Please, Young Money, don’t warm up. Just get on stage, and play the game.
I’m really starting to despise rappers, rap, and the overall concept of rhyming words.
But then Gudda Gudda emerged and performed the Sqad Up-esque “Gunwalk” off of Wayne’s critically slept on I Am Not A Human Being II album, and it was all worth it. Birdman rapped Big Tymer songs. Euro and Shanell said things on a microphone, too. Young Thug, my favorite rapper for the past two years and one of the only reasons I visited SXSW Music performed. I was tired, but it was enjoyable. Unfortunately, there were 30+ people on stage (few of which were girls who were on their fucking phones), and that really killed the vibe. There was no action, no room for an actual performance. Whoever had the microphone had to stand there rapping. I’m grateful for witnessing Lil Wayne essentially present Young Thug as the next star but I felt that the final product did not live up to the hype. Still, I was satiated.
I’ve had highs and lows throughout my time at SXSW, but this day was absolutely the best. I met a lot of people, heard a lot of music, and got to scarf down some Chang’s. The positive outcome was all shaped by my attitude at the beginning of the day. I was going to make the day great, and I did. At some point while drunk I twisted my ankle and didn’t notice until I woke up this morning with a bunch of swelling. I look at it like a bon voyage present from SXSW: “Thanks for the memories.” The same thing actually happened last year but instead of a swollen ankle I ruptured my Achilles. The swelling and excitement will linger with me for a few days before subsiding, but it’s nice to have a reminder while sitting in my cubicle crafting spreadsheets this week. The limp is noticeable, and people will ask me what happened. I will have stories for them if they want to listen. Ultimately, that’s what life is about: creating stories, whether good or bad. SXSW has no shortage of stories and no shortage of opportunities to create them. I think that’s my favorite part about the festival. I hope you’ve enjoyed mine. Thank you for reading.
Best Performances: Lil B, HBK Gang, Cam’ron, White Man in Dreads Who Got Me to Illmore
Performances I Wish I Had Seen: Rich Homie Quan, Ludacris at the Dorito’s event (I heard it while wandering for a cab, and it sounded amazing.
Bonus Lil B Rumor: He stopped a fight between A$AP Mob and Robb Banks when he told them “We need more positivity… Peace, A$AP Worldwide” then prayer hand bowed and retreated back into the shadows.
What I Ate at PF Chang’s: Beef Lo Mein, Crab Wontons, Dan Dan Noodles and Dynamite Shrimp. It was my only meal of the day.
Beers Consumed Throughout The Day:4 Shocktops I found in fridge of the house I was staying at when I woke up, 6 Lonestar Tallboys at Thrasher, 12 Coors Lights at Illmore.
# of People Who Recognized Me From My Blonde Sustache: 13