SXSW: Rhymesayers Acts Rep Hard at Mohawk, Big Year Sure To Follow

The other night we caught the first couple sets of an Agency Group showcase at the Mohawk, where we got a focused snapshot of what's to come from indie hip-hop's most dominant label in the next few months. Sure, there's a new Atmosphere album on the immediate horizon, but if there's ever been an imprint that relies on its entire roster – from the grandest headliners to up-and-comers – for deep, tremendous releases, it's this one.

First came Blueprint, who is no Rhymesayers rookie, but who's never been on the forefront of operations either. With that said, his solo joints and Soul Position work with RJD2 have been stacked with major moments, and it sounds like his upcoming Adventures in Counter-Culture will hit even harder. This cut (video above), which I think is called “Go Hard or Go Home,” is masterful, with Blueprint “shitting on this industry and all of these circle jerks.” For sure one of the best things I've seen in Austin all week.

Rhymesayers newbie Grieves (with producer Budo) also came on strong for a crowd that had been waiting several hours outside. You don't get on a label like this without building chops first, and Grieves handled the mic with pro intensity, though his performance is anything but a locomotive type of ride. In the past couple of years, I've seen a lot of hip-hop artists swing through SXSW with increasingly more convincing, even soaring vocals threaded through their acts. Grieves is out ahead of that pack, with a voice that's sure to resonate way beyond the indie rap bubble.

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