SXSW: Lil Wayne's YMCMB Showcase At Austin Music Hall

photos by Marco Torres
"I believe in three things: I believe in God; I believe that I ain't shit without you, and I believe that I ain't shit without you!"

- Lil Wayne to his fans

After being shut out of the T.I./B.O.B show at La Zona Rosa by order of the fire marshal, I headed over to see Lil Wayne at the Austin Music Hall. This was the first stop on the #DEWeezy campaign, a new partnership between the New Orleans rapper and soft-drink company Mountain Dew.

Tunechi rolled to the stage on his skateboard, bright neon green soda in hand. He offered up "I'm Going In" and "A Milli" before apologizing to the fans for his tardiness. He compared life to skateboarding, saying that even after falling multiple times, you just have to get up and try again until you succeed

"Its not what you do, its how you do," he added. "Find your thing and DO YOU!"

The skateboarding rapper with an affinity for zebra-striped pants certainly abides by the philosophy he preaches. He raps how we wants, wearing what he wants, using unconventional beats (Harry Belafonte's "Banana Boat Song" comes to mind), amassing a loyal following in the process.

He has come a long way from those days as a 16-year-old member of The Hot Boys. He may have lost a few fans since then, but dammit if he isn't one of Rap's most influential forces.

Rumor had it that both Drake and Nicki Minaj were set to make a surprise appearance. Texas Hip-Hop ambassador Matt Sonzala confirmed that Rap-A-Lot's J. Prince and Maybach Music Group boss Rick Ross were among the V.I.P.s backstage ready to support Weezy.

Sadly, neither of them made their way onstage, but that did leave room for other YMCMB products Gudda Gudda, Shanell, Bow Wow, and Birdman. Is there anything cooler than a full venue singing along to "Stay Fly (Gator Boots)"? I thinks not!

He ended the night with "6 Foot, 7 Foot" and "The Motto (Y.O.L.O.)". Impressive, high-energy (drink) fueled show by Weezy. He has become so big that catching him performing in a medium sized venue (bigger than a club, way smaller than an arena) was a real treat.

Greatest rapper alive? Not quite, but definitely one of the better showmen in the game.

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