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Aloe Blacc returns to rap roots at Okayplayer SXSW showcase

Deborah Sengupta

Editor’s note: This article was originally published March 15, 2014

Soul singer Aloe Blacc broke big in internationally last year with the song “Wake Me Up,” a chart-topping collaboration with Swedish electronic artist Avicii. With a new album that mixes rootsy folk with serious soul and thunderous SXSW buzz, he seems poised to break big stateside in 2014.

But years before he was pushing his soulful pipes, Blacc was working alongside producer Exile in the hip-hop group Emanon. Last night at Vulcan Gas company he returned to his rapping roots, throwing down a fierce set that showcased his old school 90s flow. Exile was also on point ripping up two turntables and at one point pummeling an MPC mixer with percussive karate chops.

The set took place at the showcase for Okayplayer, the website, record label and hip-hop community site established by The Roots. It was amble evidence that over 15 years after the site launched it’s still a leader in quality hip-hop and innovative grooves.