Words by Thomas Galindo / Photos courtesy of John Cotter
A year after we saw Rolling Loud and company highlight a tremendous week for hip-hop’s new wave in 2022, a new crop of events took the torch this time around. For SXSW 2023, events like Rolling Stone’s Future of Music on Tuesday (March 14), Restless Fest on Wednesday (March 15) and Dr. Marten’s Presents on Thursday (March 16) got our juices flowing ahead of a thrilling weekend.
Check out some of our favorite shots below!
On a quieter, rainy Thursday afternoon, we stopped by Danny Brown‘s headlining set for Dr. Marten’s Presents at Clive Bar. Following up immediately after a performance from Armani White, Danny had the stars out for his March 16 birthday. Bringing out JPEGMAFIA to join him for a performance of their latest collaborative single “Lean Beef Patty,” Danny also saw Hannibal Burress in attendance for his set.
Prepping for his impending March 24 Scaring The Hoes, Vol. 1 joint album with JPEGMAFIA, Danny gave his current hometown a stellar performance of some of his best career hits like “Monopoly.” Ultimately, while Thursday saw other shows cancelled due to inclement weather, Danny Brown persevered to deliver for Dr. Marten.
Restless Fest at Far Out Lounge consumed our entire day on March 15. Early sets from Shorty Jah, Dom Corleo, NXG and Rich Amiri made way for fiery evening performances. Four back-to-back consecutive appearances from Dro Kenji, DC The Don, midwxst and JELEEL! captured the youthful essence of the underground Restless aimed to showcase.
Whether it was Dro Kenji bringing out Mike Dimes for “Step Back,” DC The Don and JELEEL! awakening rockstar energy ahead of upcoming albums Funeral and REAL RAW! or midwxst continuing his week-long SXSW run, the nightcap was worth the wait. Additionally, midwxst and Dro Kenji even got together post-fest to duel in a wildly entertaining pickup basketball game.
The music festival portion of SXSW officially lasts from March 13-18 this year. On the 14th, we hit the ground running with two of the biggest shows of the night. Along with catching a headlining set from JID at the Moody Theater for Rolling Stone’s show, the Our Generation Music crew also hit up midwxst’s set at the Half Moon showcase at Empire Control Room.
After opening stints from Armani White, who did several shows throughout the week, and Chicago’s Saba, JID performed Forever Story fan-favorites like “Dance Now” and “Surround Sound,” along with “Ma Boy” from the recent Creed III soundtrack.
When attending Half Moon less than an hour later, midwxst gave the intimate crowd passionate performances of songs like his Whethan–Yeat–Matt OX collab “LOCK IT UP” and his recent Denzel Curry joint track “Tally.”