The lineup of official SXSW hip-hop and R&B parties was surprisingly light Tuesday, the first of five nights of the Music portion of the festival, but quality over quantity is always best. Vets Mary J. Blige and Ludacris each raised the bar for showcases to follow, and Dej Loaf and OG Maco were among the newcomers to make their mark.
Check out our recaps:
Mary J. Blige Beams
It's been 23 years since Mary J. Blige released her debut, What's the 411?, but the new girls still can't touch the Queen of Hip-Hop Soul. Blige looked, sounded and moved better than ever Tuesday during a private rooftop dinner party and performance for Samsung. The "No More Drama" singer showed off her svelte figure in fitted slacks and midriff-baring top as she graced the appreciative crowd with her hits, including everything from "Real Love" to "Be Happy" to the motivational "Doubt" from her new The London Sessions album. She closed the set with her dance floor anthem, "Family Affair."
Ludacris Acts a Fool for SXSWi Bash
This year Ludacris will release Ludaversal, his first album since 2010's Battle of the Sexes. Based on the reaction to his performance at the closing party for SXSW Interactive, his return will be well received. One attendee called his set, "respectfully, one of the greatest things to happen at #SXSW." See Luda throwing bows at Stubb's BBQ:
SXSW Didn't Dare Try Dej Loaf
The Detroit rapper featured singing the chorus on Eminem's "Detroit vs Everybody" was definitely among the most anticipated acts on ASCAP's showcase at Blackheart. Unfortunately, it was difficult to hear her addictive sing-song blend over her pre-recorded backing vocals, but the technical glitch didn't hamper her finesse. She played songs like "Blood" from her Sell Sole mixtape and had the whole house raising their camera phones to record her singing her breakthrough hit, "Try Me."
OG Maco Entices With Kanye-Like Rants
Not since Kanye West has another rap star hit the stage with as much bravado as Atlanta's OG Maco, who had no hesitation calling out the Austin crowd for not knowing all of his songs, and at one point asked, "Do you know who the f*** I am?" The rapper also known as OGG stayed in game face during his 20-minute set during DJ Drama and Don Cannon's segment of the ASCAP event. The more lackluster the reaction from the audience, the more intense OG Maco and his crew got. His hype man demanded the formation of a mosh pit for an energy boost, and it worked. By the time they reached his popular track "U Guessed It," OG Maco had folks talking and cheering him on.
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