Kanye West Shows Off Proteges at SXSW 2009 - Rolling Stone
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Kanye West Shows Off Proteges at SXSW Set

Before he popped into Perez Hilton’s “One Night in Austin” extravaganza for a quickie five-song set, Kanye West made a not-so-secret SXSW appearance at the Levi’s/Fader Fort on Saturday night, turning a label showcase for his G.O.O.D. Records imprint into a cohesive, star-studded, two-hour event. Special guests like Common, Erykah Badu, Fonzworth Bentley and 88 Keys all showed up to support. Although West did break out tons of hits (“Heartless,” “Diamonds Are Forever,” “Good Life”), he was clearly playing the role of an enthusiastic label manager. He told a long story about how he signed rapper Big Sean, said Canadian Sting soundalike Mr. Hudson will be playing 50,000-seat stadiums, and was sure to mention that he’s back in the studio with Common. People looking for West’s classic ego trips would have to wait for the next show — save maybe the defensive retort, “I do do my own blogs.”

(For photos live from SXSW, check out our gallery.)

West emerged at the top of the set wearing an outfit more in tune with one of the underground metal shows at Red 7: a gold bullet necklace, black sunglasses and a sleeveless denim vest. After his seven-piece band slayed a decidedly heavy version of 808s and Heartbreak‘s “Amazing,” West stayed onstage as his label roster cycled through their latest singles and their Kanye catalog guest spots. Longtime G.O.O.D. rapper Consequence was there for 2005’s “Gone,” GLC helped out with 2004’s “Spaceship” and Really Doe was there for “We Major.” Embracing the family atmosphere, these four rappers ducked in and out of songs, finishing each others’ lines. When they went solo, like for Big Sean’s latest single “Getcha Some,” West watched from the wings like a proud father. Although West might have been too relaxed around his family, as he regularly forgot the words to his own songs. “Crack Music” ended prematurely (“That’s all I remember!”) and his “Diamonds Are Forever” turned a fumble into a freestyle (“South by Southwest… It comes off the top and it feels the best”).

Special guest Fonzworth Bentley upped the energy in the room with his high-energy dance moves, 88 Keys made an appearance to do his Kanye-assisted hit “Stay Up! (Viagra)” and breaking star Kid Cudi got rapturous applause before he even opened his mouth — and leaps of joy throughout the Fader Fort for the extended, four-on-the-floor Clockers club mix of his single “Day ‘N’ Nite.” When a sweater-clad Common emerged unannounced for “Universal Mind Control,” the mood turned to total pandemonium, and Erykah Badu wasn’t too far behind to help with “The Light.” Most energized of all was Kanye, who stood at the side of the stage, totally amped, sweating through his jean jacket until Common and Badu invited him back to help do some freestyles. But maybe his enthusiasm did him in. “I got too excited,” West said after he totally forgot the words to his hit “Good Life,” seeking help from his bandleader more than once. But it all just made the night seem more relaxed and fun and unique, peaking with the entire revue joining him for “Love Lockdown,” complete with Common beating away on a tympani.

“Amazing” (Kanye West)
“The Good, the Bad, the Ugly” (Consequence ft. Kanye West)
“Don’t Forget Em (Consequence)
“Gone” (Consequence ft. Kanye West)
“Drive Slow” (Kanye West ft. GLC)
“Big Screen” (GLC ft. Kanye West)
“Spaceship” (Kanye West ft. GLC and Consequence)
“Disperse” (Consequence ft. GLC and Really Doe)
“We Major” (Kanye West ft. Really Doe)
“Plastic” (Really Doe ft. Kanye West)
“Crack Music” (Kanye West and Malik Yusef)
Malik Yusef interlude “Diamonds Are Forever (Kanye West)
“Getcha Some” (Big Sean)
“Way Out” (Big Sean & Mr. Hudson)
“Anyone But Him” (Mr. Hudson ft. Kanye)
“Stay Up!” (Viagra) (88 Keys ft. Kanye West)
“Everybody” (Fonzworth Bentley)
“Welcome To Heartbreak” (Kanye West ft. Kid Cudi)
“Sky Might Fall” (Kid Cudi)
“Buggin’ Out ’09″(Consequence ft. Kid Cudi)
“Day ‘N’ Nite” (Kid Cudi)
“Universal Mind Control” (Common)
“Get Em High” (Kanye West ft. Common)
“The Light” (Common ft. Erykah Badu)
Freestyles (Common, Erykah Badu and Kanye West)
“Heartless” (Kanye West)
“Paranoid” (Kanye West ft. Kid Cudi and Mr. Hudson)
“Good Life” (Kanye West)
“Love Lockdown” (Kanye West)

(Find all of our video, photos and live reports from Austin’s SXSW in our Rock Daily blog.)


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