The Austin, Texas Hip Hop/Rap scene is chalked full of talent and creativity. There are shining stars from all different genres and the dedication and drive is unmistakable. Acts such as Eson and Anya stand out as well polished professionals, delivering meticulously crafted messages with stylistic variety. Newcomers Pennywise SynDaGod and NuffxSaid keep the East Coast well represented with merciless aplomb.
From a more urban perspective, stalwarts from the P.I.E. brand continue to shine with added verve from the likes of Tha Juan of South Side based Kriminals lore. Big waves are made during performances from Trap Skwad and K Stones. On any given night, an innocent bystander or casual music observer can be vanquished to a realm of prose draped in pain, initiative and creativity that one might not expect from an Austin based group but can undeniable challenge the machinations of any underground or mainstream movement in existence from any corner of the lower 48.
And why not?
Austin is an international city with an exponentially growing population and also endowed with a rich and fascinating history. We are known for our culture of intellect and acceptance while still hanging on to our Southern roots. The mantra of "live music capital of the world" carries weight internationally with landmark festivals such as SXSW, ACL and Fun Fun Fun Fest. Yet this remains a central cog in the wheel of criticism facing the submerged Austin landscape. Although beats and rhymes are universally received and accepted throughout the city regardless of cultural proclivities, there is a palpable discord from the upper crust of Austin's establishment which can not also be said for "more palatable" mainstays like country, folk, alt rock and world music. Venues are quick to promote the use of djs, but reluctant to nourish the scarlet letter of "rap/hip hop club".
Successful events are not always well received by venue ownership despite their popularity or luctrativness because of stigma. The city is less likely to subsidize these cultures despite the similiarities in crowd reaction to heavy metal, punk and rock.
Indeed, Austin offers much for the night life enthusiast. But there is simply not enough supply for the lyricist aficionados due to lack of opportunity, though there are a handful of proper outfits promoting the lifestyle well and making us proud. College of Hip Hop Knowledge (CHHK), Weird City Hip Hop, Pound the Pavement Entertainment, Adino the Classic and of course the inimitable Lil Sicc and #2Stoned throw good shows and the 4 Pillars of Hip Hop live on. As far as showcases are concerned, the hordes of aspiring wordsmiths is quite a feast. I love my gangsta ass shit, but please stop filling your sets and mixtapes with autotune and no more imitating Future and Migos. Let them own their style and lets keep autotune in the 80's or at least use sparingly and tastefully.
The saga continues. Everyone keep networking and synergizing. We can't control if the rest of the world prefers to keep their head in the ground but by supporting each other we can easily develop a scene that other cities could only dream of, given the level of skill which dwells in these hallowed halls and bastions of Central Texas.
Hope to see you out on the town. Come and play. Come and play.
Clay-Doh the World Destroyer is a nationally syndicated writer and entertainer from Austin, Texas. His sophomore album "Lost in Austin" is available on all online music platforms and at www.planetclay-doh.com