[sxsw2012] There's a Fest Going on Outside No Man Is Safe From: A night with Mobb Deep, Vermin Supreme, and Wheelchair Sports Camp

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WARNING: This picture has absolutely nothing to do with this blog post!!!

There I was, trying to march crotch-first into a steamy mess of new hip-hop, when my wasted ass – detached from whatever cranial department it typically receives commands from – stomped across Austin for a set by Mobb Deep. I just can't resist Havoc and Prodigy; no little kid rapper with cool shades and an ironic t-shirt can curb that feeling. But before I got there, it was quite a trip through rap sub-genres and various flavors of inebriation . . .

Boston Phoenix in-house samurai and music beat writer Michael Walsh is helping guide this voyage of mine, guiding me to youthful and invigorated hip-hop next-ups (that's him in the back left corner of the pic below sporting the Richard Simmons tee). Yesterday Walsh lured me to catch Oakland duo Main Attrakionz (and their wild ass extended entourage) at Club Soho, and I'm still not sure what to think of them.

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I'd like to say that Main Attrakionz reflect shades of Odd Future and The Pack, but that's a copout, and I'm sure there are a number of intricacies that glided over my 32-year-old noggin. With that said, I have to salute the dude in the group who walked across the club to examine his gold fronts in a mirror near the bar, and to whoever wrote the hook, “You can catch the wall with it.” That shit is pretty genius, not to mention an indication that I still find excitement in arcane references to fucking, drug abuse, and/or pugilism.

And then it happened. I couldn't believe it, like some hybrid of an oasis and a miracle. It was Vermin Supreme, the world's friendliest (and perhaps most hilarious) anarchist, perennial presidential candidate, and all-around amazing guy. Vermin's never been to South-by before, but his handlers convinced him that the demographic was ripe for his message, whatever that may be, from mandatory toothbrushing to riding ponies into the future. They were correct; even to his amazement, Vermin is a hero to countless fun-loving party animals down here, former Texas governor Rick Perry withstanding.

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Riding high on my progressive nuts, I moved to check Wheelchair Sports Camp at Club 606, which I think used to be the Creekside. I've been a huge fan of theirs for years, and recently connected with their MC, Kalyn, a whole bunch online about Occupy. She's one of the most aggressive and intelligent rap activists out there, from her fiery rhymes, to her protest demeanor, to the fact that she's in a wheelchair and seems to navigate the largely inaccessible downtown Austin landscape like a pro.

I also have to prop the whole WSC crew; Kalyn's drummer Isaac smacks shit silly, while homegirl Abi's sax skills and golden pipes fit the organic mix something lovely. The Creekside set was killer; there wasn't a single ogling person in the venue who wasn't paying full attention to Kaylyn's liberal venom, and to her raw indictments of convention and oppression.

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Trooper that she is, Kalyn convinced me that it would be fine to smoke a joint at the Fake Four show at 512 Bar. Props to Fake Four by the way; Ceschi Ramos, Factor, and just about everybody else on that roster are marinating in a zone that others will arrive at . . . never. I only got to catch Sole – insightful and curmudgeonly as ever – but will certainly be looking out for the whole gang all week. Back to Kalyn though – we got kicked out of 512 for burning, and I have to apologize for bolting out of there like George Costanza in a house fire. Shit was definitely badass though.

If that wasn't hardcore enough, my next stop was to see Mobb Deep at Lustre Pearl. In all honesty, I didn't think the Infamous would really be there. Not because they're any less reliable than other hip-hop acts, but because the thought of catching Prodigy and Havoc in Austin was more than I could wrap my skull around. They did show up though. And it was amazing. Prodigy slugged through a couple of classics before being joined by Big Noyd, at which point the energy spiked. Noyd, for those of you who don't know but are for still reading this blog post for some reason, is Mobb Deep's battery, an unrelenting ball of hood energy and roughneck rhymes.

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I took zero notes as P and company paraded through the realest catalogue in hip-hop. Instead I just enjoyed myself, pounding these two fists at the sky all the way through “Shook Ones.” I wasn't alone; young cats, indie rockers, and a mess of other pot-bellied purists like yours truly all rejoiced in the mayhem, which piqued when Havoc emerged for a crush of verses. I'm still processing the experience, but one thing is for sure: there's a fest going on outside no man is safe from – especially a man who's trying to give a fuck about buzz rappers who couldn't carry Mobb Deep's jock strap in a U-Haul.

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