SXSW 2016: The Velvet Rope Effect Part 2

his year’s SXSW Interactive Music Festival was non-stop litness, jam-packed with every artist topping today’s charts… and Nardwuar. Vibes were on high as music from new-age internet rappers like Lil Yachty, Lil Uzi Vert, 21 Savage and Playboi Carti comprised the soundtrack to this year’s festivities. The teen rapper, Desiigner, also held some weight this year, as mascot pandas roamed the streets of downtown Austin whippin’ and dabbin’ to his The Life of Pablo-featured song, “Panda”.

Though rap newcomers flexed all week, the legends were still heavy in attendance. Erykah Badu performed a DJ Set at SXSW Takeover and Nas threw his annual Live at the BBQ showcase, harboring a slew of hip-hop heavyweights and icons. DJ Khaled played ringmaster of the night, rounding up a lineup of surprise guests that included Wyclef Jean, 2 Chainz, 2 Milly and Texas’s very own Bun B. Other performers included Nas’s protege Dave East, Yo Gotti, Just Blaze, Trae Tha Truth, Mannie Fresh, Buckshot, Smif N Wessun, Bas, Freeway and DJ sets by Cipha Sounds, DJ Green Lantern, and Large Professor.

Last year, rumors surfaced that Kanye West would be performing at Fader Fort. This year, Drake and Skepta kept whispers on repeat all week. After Drizzy followed up with a surprise performance at Fader Fort, rumors spread that the Top Boys would do another impromptu set at Illmore. But for their very last show ever, Illmore had a completely different lineup of special guests.

Here’s a look at the epic week through a series of photos I captured. 

GOOD Music’s latest signee, Desiigner performing his hit song “Panda” at Def Jam’s #BriskDX showcase.


GOOD Music’s president, Pusha T, blessing the Def Jam stage.


Nardwuar the Human Serviette making major moves post heart surgery.


Buckshot peacing out after Live at the BBQ.


Rock of the legendary Heltah Skeltah paying tribute to the group’s late member, Sean Price.


DJ Khaled graced the stage with some surprise guests.


Cousin Stizz.


Comedy duo, The Lucas Brothers, after their set at Fader Fort.

Dee One backstage at Vibe Magazine’s BudLight showcase.

Radamiz of Mogul Club gracing the Ethik Clothing Co. stage. What you don’t see here is Gold Link and Chaz French turning all the way up in the audience to Mogul Club’s set.

G Herbo and Lil Bibby made an appearance and did a joint performance.

Chuck Inglish and Sir Michael Rocks reunited and hit the crowd with some of The Cool Kids’ classics. The duo performed at the very first Illmore showcase years ago, so it was only right they bless the masses for the final event.

Tory Lanez was the surprise headliner for Illmore’s last show.  Lanez vowed to give the best live show of any SXSW performer this year. Competition pretty stiff but Lanez just might be in first place after closing out Illmore.

Alex Oka