It’s the most…. wonderful time… of the yeeeeear! SXSW is back, and we couldn’t be more pumped to attend again this. For as much as we make sure to take full advantage of this festival every year to discover new sounds and find new bands to follow, we always make time to show some love to our favorite Chicago acts playing down in ATX.
So if you’re going to be in Austin, Texas this coming week to attend the massive festival, these are the artists from our hometown that you definitely need to check out. This isn’t all of them (and it’s definitely not the only ones we’ll be catching down in Texas at this festival), but these are the artists we’re definitely not missing out on!
The Cool Kids
Chuck and Mikey are back! The legendary duo may have been laying low for a while, but they’ve returned in full force and are ready to reclaim the throne that’s rightfully theirs. It’s not like Austin needs to get any cooler, but if it does improve, it’s because The Cool Kids are in town.
This up-and-coming rapper has been gaining a lot of buzz among the POD crew, and for good reason. The MC draws from the sounds of eras that preceded him but he owns that expertly like he’s been making music for decades. Young rappers with the ability to give you the nostalgia feels without resorting to simply recreating the past is our kinda jam.
This is your rapper’s favorite rapper… And one of our faves as well. Her lyrical style is enough on its own to prove her insane ability, but she also has a knack for stealing the spotlight on consecutive features for Chance The Rapper… You know, in case you needed some more perspective. Her 2016 project Telefone was a masterful debut, and it translates finely on the live front.
The strongest act on this list, Joey Purp is about to blow up in a major way this year. I’ve been saying it for a while now that Purp’s got everything to be the next Chicago act to do it big, and SXSW is the perfect place to show the rest of the world who most deserves their undivided attention.
SaveMoney’s Kami de Chukwu has gone through a complete rebranding transformation, going in a new artistic direction with his sound and now going by the name of KAMI. The New Wave sound comes courtesy of a partnership with Knox Fortune and it’s definitely caught our attention, so this festival will be the first chance we get to see the fresh sounds coming out of this new project.
This multifaceted artist is a real gem. He’ll feed your soul with some straight-up knowledge packaged as dope Hip Hop, making sure you get down with the wokeness while having a damn good time.
This producer’s got an imaginative sound that’s ushering in a new wave for the Chicago scene. I don’t know what it is that fuels this guy’s creativity, but whatever it is, it’s dope and if you enjoy brilliant music then you need to hear Booker’s tunes live to fully appreciate them… Let’s not forget he also works with St. Louis’ Smino a lot, so if we get these frequent collaborators together doing what they do best, you can expect to be compelled to shoot out the fire emojis on your Snapchat story.
This guy is catching my attention more and more these days, leaving me with the impression that he’s on the cusp of dropping something supremely dope that will propel him to the forefront. One thing that’s interesting about Ohana Bam is that though he’s a Chi-town artist, his sound doesn’t exactly adhere to the music that’s part of the burgeoning Windy City scene, offering a sound all his own that’s proving to be worth your time. Also, let’s not forget that this guy got a hold of some classic Kanye beats and dropped some bars on em for a 7-track project. That’s dope.
We first saw this band when they supported The Orwells at their Midwest Shitfest show, and I was sincerely left in awe in their live show does. Post Animal’s music draws from Psychedelia, Folk, and other vintage sounds, and they can really jam! If you can catch em in a poorly lit dive bar that somehow has a good sound system, you’ll want nothing more than to have these boys on stage.
When you listen to the music you’re instantly captivated by its creativity, and above all, you get lost by how damn good it is… And then you hear that she’s only about 17 years old! Can you believe she’s still a teenager? But you shouldn’t think of Lenae as “good… for a teen,” this little lady exudes dopeness. Her music is like R&B from space, personified not only by her penchant for including the moon in the title of her projects, but it also feels like it’s coming from out of this world somehow.
One of the all-time POD faves, Saba is among the Chicago Hip Hop elite class. If you want to see an artist that’s really come into his own, then right now is the time for you to get hip to the music of Saba. The Pivot Gang member really brings the energy and his latest release, Bucket List Project, is a fine demonstration that Saba’s one of the best and brightest minds in our hometown’s scene.
Supaaaaaaa! If you want a raucous of a good time, you better not miss Supa while he’s in the Lone Star State. He’s got bars for days, but you can’t truly appreciate them for everything they’ve got unless you catch this guy live. Not to mention he’s on a roll, releasing new music about once a week lately, giving you plenty new jams to look forward to that you certainly haven’t experienced before.
*Honorable mention (out-of-towners of the Chicago scene):
The STL rapper has been taking Chicago by storm since relocating within our city limits, and in the process he’s obtained a local audience that follows him as if he were a hometown hero. Every time he releases something new it’s exciting, and every time we see him perform he’s always left looking forward to his next show… So we can only imagine he’s bringing something special for SXSW.
I mean, he’s as much a Chicago scene act as anyone else on this list, but facts are facts… He’s an Evanston dude, so just like the suburb that borders the Chi, we have to place Kweku on this other side of the list’s border (lol sorry). Anyways, this guy’s music is brilliant. His forté is Hip Hop that doesn’t sound like traditional Hip Hop, with inventive production and a vocal delivery that’s got a cadence that draws you right in and takes you for a ride.