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SXSW 2015 Thursday Hip-Hop and R&B Highlights: A$AP Mob, Earl Sweatshirt, ILOVEMAKONNEN, and More

Plus, BJ the Chicago Kid and Rich Homie Quan tear up the Texas festival

A$AP RockyA$AP Rocky

AUSTIN, TX - MARCH 19: Rapper ASAP Rocky performs onstage at the Samsung Milk Music Lounge featuring A$AP Rocky on March 19, 2015 in Austin, Texas. (Photo by Rick Kern/Getty Images for Samsung)

Rick Kern/Getty Images

Though there are still two days left of the Music portion of SXSW, we are going to make a bold proclamation: It’s going to be tough for any group to top A$AP Mob’s concert last night at Samsung’s Milky Music Lounge.

Here’s our recap of the A$AP squad’s show, plus other highlights from day three of Austin’s massive music festival.

A$AP Mob Takes Over Samsung’s Milky Music Lounge

A$AP Mob frontman A$AP Rocky addressed the elephant in the room early in their hour-long, 1 a.m. set at Samsung’s Milky Music Lounge. Even though his group, A$AP Mob, was performing at a private corporate event, their fans could rest assured that the Harlem squad would be keeping it raw. He kept his word. Rocky, A$AP Ferg, A$AP Ant, and the other members did not tone down their energy, song selection, or language, offering the feel of an underground set.

A$AP Rocky dedicated “Long Live ASAP” to the late A$AP Yams, co-owner of the A$AP Worldwide record label, who died in January. On Thursday, New York City’s chief medial examiner confirmed that Yams’s death was the result of accidental drug overdose, the New York Times reports.

The orchestration of the dozen-plus MCs rotating in and out of the stage spotlight was brilliantly executed, a bit of organized chaos operating at a level of 10 throughout. They sprayed confetti from the stage 20 minutes into their set. Rocky said he had good reason to celebrate. “I’m with my brothers,” he said. “I’ve never been so happy.”

Earl Sweatshirt Gives Audience a Little ‘Grief’

OFWGKTA member Earl Sweatshirt couldn’t hide his disappointment that the crowd at his 10 p.m. Pandora showcase seemed “sleepy,” as the rapper repeatedly vented on stage. He took a minute to use his comedic charm to point out individual members of the audience and ask them to commit to raise the excitement level at the outdoors venue. He had good reason for the antics. He was excited to share material from his record, I Don’t Like S***, I Don’t Go Outside: An Album By Earl Sweatshirt, that will be released next week. Though he was upbeat during much of the set, he was a bit somber when performing the last song of the night, “Grief,” that addresses the need to wean fake people out of his life.

BJ the Chicago Kid Is in a Giving Mood

BJ the Chicago Kid brought the soul to Pandora’s evening lineup at The Gatsby. He paid homage to a fellow Chi-Town great, doing justice to a cover of R. Kelly’s “When a Woman’s Fed Up.” And he also expressed gratitude for the opportunity to sing the hook for ScHoolboy Q’s “Studio,” the song he says changed his name from BJ the Chicago Kid to “Grammy nominated.”

ILOVEMAKONNEN Had the ‘Club Goin’ Up on a [Thursday]’

There was nothing grand about ILOVEMAKONNEN’s introduction when he took the stage Thursday at a YouTube event at Coppertank. He walked out without a proper set up. There was no applause or other kind of reception, and he was unbothered. He just began singing. That’s pretty humble for a rising pop star with a hit song (“Club Goin’ Up on a Tuesday”) featuring Drake in heavy rotation on radio stations. ILOVEMAKONNEN’s easygoing disposition matches his simple, sing-a-along lyrics, and is a part of his appeal.

Rich Homie Quan Is a Good Sport

It’s fair to say that Rich Homie Quan had fun on the Pandora stage. His set was full of admissions – he introduced “Blah Blah Blah” with a joke that he was a little late because of a call from his child’s mother; he acknowledged that he was buzzed; and said he could use some TLC after taking a slip. But there was no stopping the Atlanta rapper, who also played his solo and collab hits, “Some Type of Way,” “My Hittas,” and “Lifestyle.”

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