Of all of the festivals that occur annually, SXSW has become one of the most anticipated weeks for artists, fans, critics and industry insiders alike. The festival, which spans for a little over a week, has become one of the biggest institutions in relation to the live show circuit.
Initially geared towards providing a platform for independent artists and musicians to widen their reach and maximize their buzz, SXSW has become as much of a hub for established superstars, with the likes of Kanye West, Migos, Gucci Mane and more also putting on performances and making Austin, Texas the place to be. However, SXSW remains a major event for up-and-coming talent as well, with artists on the cusp parlaying standout appearances into record deals, critical acclaim and more.
Over the course of the past week, there were many performances, antics and other happenings that caught the attention of the rap world and caused quite a stir. From Wifisfuneral to Lil Wayne and more, we've compiled 10 of the more notable moments from the 2017 edition of SXSW that had everybody talking.
Wifisfuneral Signs a Record Deal
SXSW has been a launching pad for rising rap talent for quite some time, with a few of the biggest earners in rap having made stops in Austin to perform in front of the most powerful and influential figures in the industry prior to becoming household names. This year, Florida rapper Wifisfuneral capitalized on the opportunities that SXSW presents by impressing Interscope/Alamo Records execs enough to be offered a recording contract. The 19-year-old rapper was able to lock down the deal and sign on the dotted line while in attendance at the festival. Fresh off the release of his When Hell Falls mixtape, Wifisfuneral has been one of the more buzzworthy rappers out of the Sunshine State as of late and this latest move should raise his profile even further.
D.R.A.M. and Yachty Perform at 2017 Woodies
The 2017 MTV Woodies went down at SXSW this year, and included appearances and performances from an array of musical talent. D.R.A.M. and Lil Yachty were among those who graced the stage, with the two teaming up to perform a medley of records, including "Broccoli," their standout 2016 collaboration.
PartyNextDoor Wins Songwriter of the Year at 2017 Woodies
PartyNextDoor may be a recluse, but the enigmatic crooner issued a rare public statement after bringing home the award for Songwriter of the Year at the 2017 Woodies. The MTV Woodies, which took place in Austin, Texas during SXSW, bestowed PND with top honors off the strength of his pen being responsible for hits like Rihanna's "Work" featuring Drake, and Major Lazer and Nicki Minaj's collaboration, "Don't Run Up."
“Writer of the year, thank you @mtv God is the greatest,” PND wrote on Instagram. “This was a goal of mine coming off that world tour in ’15. New music for this spring/summer and thank you to my fans!!”
Lil Wayne Calls Out Birdman
The ongoing saga of Lil Wayne's fight for independence from Birdman and Cash Money Records has recently rose back to the surface following Weezy's own acknowledgment of the elephant in the room last week. Taking time out to thank his supporters and send a blatant jab at Birdman during his performance at SXSW, Lil Wayne assured fans that the bitter battle has not defeated him.
“In all honesty I know y’all do know I am going through some bullshit with my muthafuckin’ career and niggas is trying to steal my career without letting me do or say a damn thing. But it’s moments like this that make that bullshit this big to me, and I appreciate it,” Weezy said just before performing “No Worries.” If you think that I am stressing or letting this shit get to me, please remember, there’s too much good pussy and too many great muthafuckin’ loyal fans to worry about bullshit-ass Birdman.”
Lil Wayne's words may have been spurred by an early preview of Rick Ross' scathing "Idols Become Rivals" record off his Rather You Than Me album, which sees him undressing Birdman and shining light on his sinister tactics, but were undoubtedly one of the highlights of SXSW.
Lil Yachty Puts Fan in His Place
Known for his jovial spirit and lighthearted humor, Lil Yachty showed fans a different side after getting a little testy during a performance at SXSW last week. After not taking too kindly to the crowd's reception following his performance of his 2016 hit collaboration "Broccoli," Yachty aired his grievances, prompting a fan to point to the rapper's lack of energy as the reason for the crowd's lack of enthusiasm. The exchange would anger Yachty's entourage, leading to an exchange in which both parties doused water on each other, making for a heated standoff. Although the incident would not get physical, the moment was one of the more talked-about instances to take place at SXSW this year. Lesson to be learned from this moment: Yachty's not one to mess with.
Snap Dogg Makes Some Noise
SXSW is built around showcasing artistry from fresh talent and Detroit rapper Snap Dogg found himself as one of the more talked-about rising rappers at the festival. The OTF member rolled deep. Check out what went down during his time at SXSW below.
The West Coast has seen a resurgence in terms of producing rap artists that seem to stand out from the pack, and if their showing at SXSW was any indication, Bay Area reps SOBxRBE appear to be the next thing smoking out of the Left Coast.
The amount of rappers looking to make a name for themselves in Austin this past week may have been superfluous, but the rapping quartet managed to hold the crowd's attention with electric performances, prompting critics, fans and industry insiders to take note. With their self-titled album making the rounds and sold-out shows, SOBxRBE rose to the occasion and were one of the pleasant surprises at SXSW this year.
Rapper Shows Up to SXSW Wearing a Diaper
Hilarity ensued at SXSW when Charlotte rapper DaBaby showed up to the festival wearing nothing but a diaper and a pair of Jordan sneakers, a sight that created much chatter amongst people who caught wind of his look.
Accompanied by his entourage, who held up signs with a picture of a smiling baby donning gold chains, DaBaby strutted around the festival, chanting his own name and turning heads in his direction. While publicity stunts are nothing new in Austin during middle of March, this one surely takes the cake and gets a best moment spot just for laughs alone.
NoName Hits the Big Stage
2016 was a breakout year for Chicago rapper/poet Noname, with a high-profile appearance on Chance The Rapper's Coloring Book album, and the release of her own project, Telefone, but 2017 may be an even more eventful year for her. Noname may have been a recognizable name for the average SXSW attendee, but by the time the festival had ended, her name was on the tip of everyone's tongue, as she delivered a breathtaking set that earned the respect and attention of those lucky to witness at all, let alone live. SXSW has been a pit-stop for acts that have gone on to accomplish big things, and Noname has found herself as part of that lineage, as her presence was definitely felt in Austin.
Jidenna Lives Up to the Hype
Jidenna may have been a bit of a dark-horse coming into 2017, but the rapper's debut album, The Chief, has been touted as one of the best releases of the year and exceeded expectations many had for the dapper lyricist. However, critical acclaim hasn't whetted the Epic Records signee and Wondaland Records rep's hunger for more, as he showed during his busy week at SXSW, which included a slew of performances alongside the industry's biggest and brightest names. Holding his own and receiving rave reviews for his stage show across the board, Jidenna's time at SXSW marked the arrival of a budding star with a ceiling yet to be defined.