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Don Toliver closes Rolling Loud's SXSW showcase with thunderous performance

Earl Hopkins
Austin 360
Rapper Don Toliver performs a headliner set for the SXSW Rolling Loud and RapTV showcase at Stubbs in the early hours of March 20, 2022.

The final hours of Rolling Loud's South by Southwest showcase were very, very Texas. 

After Houston legend Trae the Truth took center stage Saturday, drawing in lovers of syrup-sipping tunes from the city's musical roots, emerging trap-rap and R&B crooner Don Toliver crept under the platform's blistering lights to the horns of "After Party."

Fans jumped over discarded beer cans and water bottles inside the mosh pit, screaming "Donny" over the stage's booming speakers and whiffs of marijuana smoke at Stubb's Waller Creek Amphitheater.

As many fans as there were inside the venue, just as many were stacked inside the divided entrance lines, with many able to catch only the echoing sounds of Toliver's electrifying vocals.

The "What You Need" artist started out with ear-rattling tunes like "Backend," "Cardigan," and "HAD ENOUGH" before switching to his more atmospheric and wavier standouts.

His dark silhouette could be seen under the bright lights and smoke cannons while he zipped from one end of the stage to the other, enchanting fans with his fiery energy and harmonic runs as he transitioned between songs.

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The neo-Houston artist couldn't help but confess his love for his hometown and the city of Austin, where many of his day-one fans reside and have watched as he's grown in musical stature.

Rapper Don Toliver performs a headliner set for the SXSW Rolling Loud and RapTV showcase at Stubbs in the early hours of March 20, 2022.

Collaborations with artists like Kanye West and Kid Cudi on "Moon" and Eminem on "No Regrets" are evidence of his expansion since 2018's "Donny Womack" and a sign of what's to come from the 27-year-old headliner.

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As he closed out his set with "Can't Feel My Legs," Donny Womack gave his respect to Austin and Rolling Loud, which stood behind the emerging talent as he's racked up popular songs like "No Idea," "5X" and others from his deepening musical index. 

"Austin, I love y'all," he said as he walked off the Rolling Loud stage to a roaring crowd.