There’s no denying that the hip-hop scene has been booming. South by Southwest is a key spot to discover new acts and see the names that have been receiving all the hype lately. This year, SXSW has a ton of to choose from, so we’ve compiled a list of the 10 hip-hop acts we think you should definitely check out.
Here is a list of our top 10 hip-hop acts to see at SXSW 2019:
Dynasty: Royal. Purposeful. Powerful. Queen of her domain, undeniably reigning in her own lane…DY is NASTY on the mic. Queens-bred, LA Based hip-hop/soul artist, Dynasty, has the soul of a dreamer and the fearless determination to follow that dream wherever it might lead. DY writes from the heart yet at the same time, remains a beast on the mic. She has collaborated with legendary, world renowned artists such as Talib Kweli and DJ Premier who labeled her a “spit queen” based on her lyrical prowess. Influenced by gritty northern sounds and life’s adventures, she brings us a perfectly balanced raw and real experience through her music. She has toured internationally from Germany, France, Hungary, Italy to Romania and beyond, performing and connecting with people of all ages and backgrounds. There is no “set demographic” for D.Y., no gimmick, no crafted agenda aside from making beautifully raw music. Her authentic mass appeal transcends all boundaries.
Check out Dynasty’s SXSW schedule.
2. PJ Sin Suela
Pedro-Juan Vázquez, better known as PJ Sin Suela, is a Puerto Rican singer-songwriter. Since childhood, PJ was passionate about music, singing between classes and writing. He took rapping as a hobby while studying at the University of Puerto Rico. In his third year of university, PJ transferred to Villanova and his passion for hip-hop grew even more. PJ began to focus more on his lyrics and on studying hip-hop by rapping with Americans in college and writing even more. Soon thereafter, PJ. began his career as a soloist.
He went by PJ from a very young age because of his name Pedro-Juan, but the Sin Suela began in December 2009. Sin Suela came up due to several incidents, one being that he broke his soles playing basketball. PJ explains that it caused him curiosity since the sole is the most important part of a tennis shoe, but is the part people appreciate the least. He grew fond of the English word “soleless” because being the “soleless survivor” is the only one that survives, and also resonates with “soul less,” since PJ has said to have an obsession with writing about death and life. His vibe is sure to provide a solid show at this year’s SXSW.
Check out PJ Sin Suela’s SXSW schedule.
Drummer, DJ, producer, culinary entrepreneur, New York Times best-selling author, and member of The Roots – Questlove, is the unmistakable heartbeat of Philadelphia’s most influential hip-hop group. He is the Musical Director for The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, where his beloved Roots crew serves as house band. Beyond that, this 4-time GRAMMY Award winning musician’s indisputable reputation has landed him musical directing positions with everyone from D’Angelo to Eminem to Jay-Z. Questlove has also released two books including the New York Times bestseller Mo’ Meta Blues and Soul Train: The Music, Dance and Style of a Generation. One of his latest endeavors includes scoring Chris Rock’s film, Top Five, and also working as the music supervisor. He also recently produced the Original Broadway Cast Recording of Hamilton, alongside Alex Lacamoire, Bill Sherman, Lin-Manuel Miranda and Tarik “Black Thought” Trotter. He will also serve as the Executive Music Producer and Composer on the A&E Mini Series “Roots.”
Check out Questlove’s SXSW schedule.
4. Kari Faux
Kari Faux is a multi-disciplinary artist based in Los Angeles by way of Little Rock, Arkansas. Although her experimentation with a musical career started back in 2012, Faux has undergone a metamorphosis, shaking the scene with her 2014 mixtape Laugh Now, Die Later – a mixtape that would catapult her musical career, catching the attention of Donald Glover who remixed her hit “No Small Talk.”
Her unique style of rhyming, un-chainable confidence, and dashes of sultry vocal harmonizing make her a force to look out for. Her presence in the music industry marks a resurgence of fearless, outspoken female voices in Hip Hop; an attitude Faux exudes in all mediums of creative work.
Her first studio album, Lost En Los Angeles (2015) and her most recent EP Primary (2017) are testaments to her continual evolution as a recording artist and while she explores the limitations of her creative abilities, music is not her only skill set.
With her intentions set of releasing three projects in the coming year, Faux looking to dominate the music festival circuit and has already confirmed her presence supporting Mick Jenkins on his 2019 Pieces of a Man Tour.
Check out Kari Faux’s SXSW schedule.
Flohio (AKA Funmi Ohio) is a British-Nigerian artist, rapper and songwriter hailing from Bermondsey, South London. Building on the blueprints of UK rap, Flohio’s sound pulls in references that span electronic music. Her latest single ‘Watchout’ was dubbed Best New Music by Pitchfork who described the track as “a warning call to her enemies and skeptics”. ‘Watchout’ followed Flohio’s debut solo single ‘Bands’, both of which have given her a reputation as a genre-bending new artist to watch. Currently on tour throughout Europe, Flohio’s live show was widely tipped among the must-see performances at this year’s Great Escape festival.
6. Gaddafi Gals
Gaddafi Gals was founded by walter p99 arke$tra, blaq tea and slimgirl fat in 2016. They gained recognition pretty fast in Germany and Europe after realeasing their first EP “the death of papi” and the single “fila” a year later. Their Exhibition “GG-World” (Munich, 2018) gave an insight in the musical, aestethic and artistic vision of the whole project – “it’s more than music” (Juelz Santana). They now recorded their first full-length “TEMPLE” at the Red Bull Studios Berlin, which will be released in February 2019.
Check out Gaddafi Gals’ SXSW schedule.
PNTHN is a 8-man rap collective determined to destroy hip-hop through ritualistic voodoo. Founded in March 2017 in Central Texas, PNTHN gained popularity by hosting DIY events throughout the area because traditional venues kept their doors closed. In 2018 they gained international attention after dropping their first two EPs, POTLUCK and RICO, which have garnered over a million streams in total. It received widespread praise from publications like Pitchfork, Elevator, Lyrical Lemonade, Daily Chiefers, and more.
In December 2018, PNTHN toured three cities in Texas with Freddie Gibbs. Just two months later, in February 2019, they completed an 8-show run with Vince Staples across Texas, Atlanta, and Florida. The tour ended at iii Points Festival in Miami, where they performed for thousands of new and old fans. The group has sold out shows across Texas and been streamed in over 65 countries, all while maintaining the independent, DIY principles that helped them break the surface of local talent in the first place.
Check out PNTHN’s SXSW schedule.
Once dubbed ‘The Poster Boy of Grime’, Novelist (real name Kojo Kankam) has gone from strength to strength while developing his reputation as one of Britain’s most respected MC’s. Novelist, now firmly on the radar was earmarked as an emerging artist to look out for when chosen to be on the BBC’s Sounds Of 2015 list. Still aged just 17, Novelist was invited to feature on a track with Chase and Status, together creating the show stopping track ‘Bigger Man Sound’. Months later Novelist featured on veteran Grime artist Skepta’s award-winning Konnichiwa album. The two co-wrote a track entitled ‘Lyrics’, received as one of the best tracks from the album receiving critical acclaim.
Now 21 and having taken time away from performing to focus on business, Novelist decided it was time to give the world what it had been missing from his catalogue, separate to his popular EP releases such as Sniper,and Be Blessed gathering it was time to release his debut Album ‘NovelistGuy’.
An artistic and intricate album, ‘NovelistGuy’ showed the world the fullness of Novelist’s character, influence and musical ability earning him many honours but most notably his Nomination for the Hyundai Mercury Prize.
Check out Novelist’s SXSW schedule.
9. Yung Lean
Spawned from a nomadic upbringing in Vietnam and Belarus with a mother working with foreign relations for the Swedish government and father as poet/writer, Yung Lean seemed destined to seek out ways of finding common ground in new parts of the world.
Still merely 22 years of age, his tale is as unassuming as it is wildly exploratory, a contradictory narrative about a misfit stranger from nowhere who, together with his friends and producers GUD and Yung Sherman, became a worldwide phenomenon almost overnight a protracted and at times grievous metamorphosis from pubertal, postinternet novelty to D.I.Y icon with an extensive, organic influence over anything and everything from offbeat art projects and mainstream culture alike.
Check out Yung Lean’s SXSW schedule.
Building a following through notoriously explosive live shows across Norther Europe, Pasha is ready to make his first move in the U.S. via SXSW 2019.
Pasha kicked off 2019 with a video for his Jerry Folk-produced track “Right This Time (feat. Soul Gem)”, and the video was quickly picked up by taste makers such as Earmilk and Ebro on Beats 1. Being the first Norwegian rapper ever to be featured on Beats 1 Radio, Pasha continues to pave the way internationally for Norwegian hip hop – proving something that most thought was impossible.
Looking back, Pasha played 40 shows across Northern Europe following his album “PARK.”, had several tracks charting on radio and was highlighted by leading taste makers such as NME, Highsnobiety, Clash Magazine and Rap Nation for spearheading the Scandinavian hip hop scene.
Check out Pasha’s SXSW schedule.
South by Southwest 2019 takes place March 8-17 in Austin, Texas. Make sure to check out our SXSW Spotify playlist below. See ya there!