Fresh off a surprise appearance at Fader Fort, Detroit rapper Big Sean closed out the mtvU Woodie Awards at SXSW on Friday. An announcement during a commercial break said that those watching the awards broadcast from home would only see one song, but that those attending the show in Austin would be treated to an entire 20-minute set. And boy, were they.
Opening with “Blessings” and “I Don’t (Expletive) With You” off recently dropped album “Dark Sky Paradise,” Big Sean came out swinging with confident flow and a star’s charisma. The Kanye West protege also invoked his mentor visually and musically, wearing a black military-style vest and rapping his verses from G.O.O.D. Music songs “Mercy” and “Clique.” The aura of Yeezy season hung so heavily that it wouldn’t have seemed out of place at all for the elder rapper to cameo. (West cancelled a planned appearance on “Jimmy Kimmel Live” on Friday, and rumors of a surprise show have swirled furiously.)
The rapper performed “All Me” with a little help from Drake’s disembodied voice before ending with a reprise of “I Don’t (Expletive) With You.”
Before Big Sean’s performance, the Woodies delivered a jam-packed hour of a show, hosted by Bleachers frontman Jack Antonoff. Singer-songwriter James Bay and electro trio Years and Years performed, as did stalwart rock group Fall Out Boy, who became the first inductees into the ceremony’s “Hall of Wood.” Patrick Stump, Pete Wentz and the gang performed a medley of some of their biggest hits, including “Thnks fr th Mmrs,” “Sugar, We’re Going Down,” “Centuries” and “This Ain’t a Scene, It’s an Arms Race.”
Other guest stars at the show included Swedish pop phenom Tove Lo, rapper ASAP Rocky, actress Zoe Kravitz and Welsh fan-favorite Marina and The Diamonds, who presented an award with “Boyhood” star Ellar Coltrane. The actor sported a septum ring that he definitely did not wear to the Oscars in February.