Though burgeoning hip-hop talent from cities all across the country filled Austin, Texas bars and clubs at this year’s South by Southwest (SXSW) music fest, there was a considerable lack of fresh-faced MCs out of New York. However, Duck Down Records, celebrating its 15th anniversary and the birthday of co-founder Dru Ha, provided the veteran presence from hip-hop’s birthplace Friday night (March 19) at the Scoot Inn.
New signee Pharoahe Monch made a boisterous entrance on the barnyard-like stage, dipping into his Desire LP and classics cuts such as “My Life” and the deafening highlight of the night, “Simon Says.”
Almost the entirety of the label’s roster performed, including newer acts Kidz In The Hall and Marco Polo & Torae. Longtime associates Tek and Steele of Smif-N-Wessun also performed their legendary A & B-sides, “Bucktown” and “Let’s Git It On,” before giving way to Sean Price, who held down his native Brownsville with a freestyle over Jay-Z’s “Where I’m From,” among other choice cuts.
Co-founder Buckshot first hit the stage with 9th Wonder, but with DJ Evil Dee on the one’s and two’s earlier in the evening, Buck revisited their Black Moon days, delving into the seminal LP Enta Tha Stage to close out the night with help of his Boot Camp Clik fam in attendance. —Devin Chanda