By Ramon Ramirez
Editor’s note: This article was originally published March 15, 2014
Yeah, Future is a genius and I’m a better person for having experienced the hip-hop hit man’s live spectacle Friday afternoon. It helps that the venue soothed like a jacuzzi.
The annual Stubb’s Spin magazine day party is more or less impeccable in terms of programming. The event realizes like the most vital food trucks—flavorful, sharp, juxtaposing ingredients with an eye toward the big picture.
For the first time, stages doubled and Stubb’s used the full football field to the tune of "North" and "South" stages. But where a lesser machine would segregate sounds, here Black Hippy’s rude big brother Schoolboy Q performed before the suburban existentialism of punks, Cloud Nothings.
Q was having too much fun, actually—pushing his set times, getting cut off for overextending his allotted minutes, and stage-diving.
South By heroes Against Me! mowed through punk karaoke staples like "New Wave" and new gems like "Pretty Girls."
"I Was a Teenage Anarchist" still bites like the private scribbles on a Trapper Keeper.
The afternoon belonged to Atlanta icon, Future.
Free drinks abound, the crowd passed around a life-sized cardboard cut out of the innovative rapper, producer, singer. It touted the release of next month’s sure fire "Honest."
He teased the thing with raps about wax, gold bottles, and Frank Lucas. But because everyone was excited to be there, sold his presence on his hooks. Future, just FYI, turned fringe critical acclaim into a deep run of massive choruses for leading rappers.
For songs where he assists, like Lil Wayne’s "Love Me," he’d comfortably let the verse play out as a game crowd sang along.
About that crowd, Future’s DJ said it best, "This daytime show got me thinking it’s night time—they so turnt up right now."
Cameos on-stage from multi-talented pop player B.O.B. (he and Future were Christmas card bros in matching black sweatshirts and gold chains) and Texas delegate Bun B (2005’s "Draped Up" is always exciting even though the Houston icon pops into SXSW annually) were afterthoughts. Future stood tall as a solo breakout icon.