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Young Thug and Gunna set SXSW stage ablaze with Billboard hits, trap anthems

Earl Hopkins
Austin 360

A crowd of ticket-buyers and South by Southwest badge-holders filled Moody Amphitheater at Waterloo Park's lawn on March 17 to see trap music's hottest (and arguably drippiest) duo.

After mellowing through the outdoor space for more than two hours, fans' anticipation for Young Thug and Gunna's arrival grew as the entrance lines got longer and the evening sun crept further down the Austin sky. 

Rapper Gunna performs at the Moody Amphitheater in Waterloo Park on Thursday, March 17, 2022.

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The thick crowd, now shoulder to shoulder, cheered as the stage lights finally flickered and the thundering sounds of "Poochie Gown" blared through the stage's speakers. Gunna slid to center stage.

A current of exhilaration ran from the VIP section to the venue's far corners as the two hip-hop heavyweights set the stage ablaze with the Billboard hits and trap anthems that have made them household names.

Rapper Young Thug performs at the Moody Amphitheater in Waterloo Park on Thursday, March 17, 2022.

As they exchanged the evening spotlight, Gunna and Thug dug into their catalog of club bangers, deep album cuts and high-profile features. 

Gunna opened the show with "Too Easy," "Thought I Was Playing,” "Drip 2 Hard" and others before Thug zipped onstage for "Surf," with the two artists' inescapable chemistry further exciting the sea of fans.

The crowd belted out their melodic trap lyrics as they danced in their confined spaces, all while trying to avoid stepping on each other's feet and inadvertently twerking on others behind them. 

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The show's only lowlight came from Thug's other Young Stoner Life Records (YSL) artists, whose energy and draw failed to match the show's headliners. But once their moments were done, the crowd regained its energy. Gunna and Thug shared the stage once again for "Hot (Remix)," "Ski" and “pushin P.” 

The two superstars continued to steamroll hit after hit until the show lights began to dim, and by the end, fans clamored for a last-minute encore as the rappers walked off the stage and thanked fans for coming out. 

Their show kicked off Billboard's three-day SXSW showcase, which continues Friday with Kygo, and Shawn Mendes and Sebastian Yatra on Saturday.