SXSW Last Night: LL Cool J Knocks Out Red Bull Thre3style
The largest party of this year's SXSW included eight world-renowned DJ's, one legendary hip-hop group, a rap pioneer, and more than 10,000 screaming fans who took over a entire city block of Austin's Warehouse District Saturday night. Fueled by Red Bull and love of the turntables, both the artists and crowd experienced a magical evening that stopped traffic and sent the audience into hip-hop heaven.
We arrived in time to hear the vinyl scratching and acrobatic beat juggling of three time world champion DJ Qbert. His versatile mixing had everyone swaying to the beat, including the kids from the BBOY CITY break dancing crew who were positioned on a platform just left of the stage.
The next guest was none other than the master turntablist DJ Jazzy Jeff, who injected a bit of Philadelphia swagger into the mix. The former Fresh Prince of Bel Air star blessed us with everything from Biz Markie's "Just a Friend" to fellow DJ/producer Mark Ronson's "Ooh Wee."
Taking a break from the DJ action, Red Bull treated us to the sounds of the one and only De La Soul. The Long Island natives took us back to the days before digital downloads and iPods, hitting upon several hits from their nearly 25 year career.
DJ Jazzy Jeff
The headliner Z-Trip took his turn onstage, and with the capitol building in the near distance, he began with the de facto state anthem "Deep In the Heart of Texas." He quickly flipped the script to display his mastery of the art of mash-ups. He took us down memory lane and paid tribute to recently deceased West Coast rapper Nate Dogg, shuffling through several of Nate's most beloved hooks and contributions to the G-Funk era.
A special guest appearance from hip-hop trailblazer LL Cool J provided a crowd-pleasing twist that only an event such as SXSW can deliver. Mr. "Ladies Love" has recently been concentrating on his movies and TV shows and has not performed musically in years, but showed everyone in attendance that he has not lost a single ounce of his legendary skills.