AUSTIN, TX – Days after President Obama came to Texas to speak at the tech portion of SXSW, Michelle Obama, accompanied by a panel of female superstars led by Queen Latifah, rapper Missy Elliot, songwriter Diane Warren, and actress Sophia Bush; spoke as the keynote to kickoff SXSW Music Week, Wednesday morning.
The focus of Obama’s speech was on her “Let Girls Learn” initiative, a program that aims to help improve education quality for the 62 million girls around the world who aren’t in school for various reasons. The panel also spoke about the new single that was recorded to promote Let Girls Learn, “This is For My Girls,” featuring Zendaya, Kelly Rowland, Lea Michele, Kelly Clarkson, Janelle Monae, and recent Parkwood Entertainment signees Chloe and Halle.
All of the panelists spoke about their experiences as women who never gave up on their goals, but emphasized that men and women should be allies in the effort to help women around the world. “There are a lot of ‘men only’ tables out there,” said Obama, “and if you want to strengthen your organization you have to bring women to the table as well.”
Obama cited economic reasons such as, countries with a larger population of educated women having stronger GDPs; and Queen Latifah pointed out that when women are able to be included in the professional workspace, it creates the ability to handle issues from a broader perspective.
Being that it was a music conference, the ladies also spoke about the artists they listened to growing up. Queen Latifah gave the most detailed response, talking about her experiences as the only girl in her crew as a young rapper and how that was a good experience for her because there was no sexism, just collaboration.
The First Lady wrapped up her speech with a couple questions from the audience, one of which created quite a stir. She was asked whether or not she would run for President. She unfortunately declined the possibility, stating that she’s had a wholesome experience as First Lady, and that it wouldn’t be fair for her family, especially her two daughters that are entering young adulthood. However, she did admit that she’ll miss being in the White House, and that she’ll miss helping and working with young people.
In a political climate where the loudest opinions always seem to be passionately against the Obamas, the First Lady’s discussion in Austin was in front of a friendly crowd that most likely wouldn’t exist outside of the city’s limits. She seemed relaxed and at home, which is fitting for a conference like SXSW where work and fun intersect every day, and stood as a perfect way to usher in the greatest music festival of the year.
-DJ Iron Mic
Iconic Hip-Hop label, Mass Appeal, held a showcase headlined by Nas on Thursday night at the Austin Music Hall, named after his debut guest feature, Live at the Barbecue. The showcase honored Golden Era Hip-Hop with opening performances by Smif N’ Wessun, Buckshot Shorty, and Freeway; as well as a special dedication to the late rhyme legend Sean Price.
Hype was generated for the event via DJ Khaled, who took to his notorious Snapchat account to let everyone know he was on his way to show some “fan luv” to the festival goers at SXSW. DJ Khaled’s list of famous friends is deeper (and cooler) than Jaden Smith’s raps, so it was a no-brainer that the WTB mastermind would be a ‘major key’to this event.
Khaled did not disappoint. He took the stage in front of an at-capacity audience that lost their minds at his presence. Then the surprises started. One by one, Khaled brought out super stars of the past and present.
First there was Wyclef, who sang his verses for Ready or Not and Fu-gee-la. Then the Texas legend Bun B, who sent the crowd into hysterics with his verses from Big Pimpin and International Player’s Ball. Then 2 Chainz came out to please the crowd.
All of the fanfare was a perfect way to usher in the performance of a legend like Nas, who took to the stage with his mythical hit, New York State of Mind. Nasty kept it classy with the classics, going through Hate Me Now, Made U Look, and the showcase’s namesake, Live at the Barbecue, joined by Large Professor.
This was a Hip-Hop head’s showcase. The most modern rapper on stage was 2 Chainz. But you can’t go wrong with classics no matter the demographic. This kind of sticking-to-the-classics approach is something that Mass Appeal excels at as a company. They stick to what they know, and they know Golden Era Hip-Hop, which made Live at the Barbecue a memorable event for anyone who just loves the culture.
– DJ Iron Mic
The final night of the festival brought monster performances all over the city of Austin. If one super power would be useful during SX, it would be astral projection, because there is seriously no way to see everything you want.
Redman got the night started right at Moody Theatre with one of the best performances of the night. The aging rapper still rocks a crowd harder than most, and had the audience jumping and screaming curse words at him.
G-Eazy followed him with a performance that was good, but not as good as Red’s.
Joey Bada$$ stormed the stage with his Pro Era crew and ran the crowd through hits from his new album B4.DA.$$. He led the audience in a moment of silence for his fallen Pro Era cofounder Capital Steez, then exploded into the single that started it all, “Survival Tactics.”
J. Cole hit the stage, reppin North Carolina to the fullest, and sending every females in attendance into hysterics.
The night ended at The Belmont, where Ghostface Killah and Raekwon celebrated the 20th anniversary of their classic album Only Built 4 Cuban Linx. They performed the whole record back to front for the fans. It was an epic performance that was a once in a lifetime show for any Wu head.
Here is DJ Iron Mic’s last day in Austin for South by Southwest. You can see some more pictures on our Instagram.
Day 4 at SXSW is when the weekend started, and things started to ramp up. The rain didn’t stop anyone from wildin’ out!
The day started with keynote speaker Snoop Dogg talking about his new album Bush, his youth sports and film ventures, HBO series plans, and Willie Nelson.
Hipnotic Brass Ensemble showed everyone that Jazz can do Hip Hop too.
Dej Loaf popped up out of no where at a random bar.
Killer Mike and El-P murdered the stage at Spin Magazine’s day party, and dared anyone to try to step on their stage.
Later that night I worked on the stage crew again at 720 Club, and got to see Montreal grunge metal band JPNSGRLS. They killed it, along with Atlanta’s Black Linen who put some soul back into rock!
Day 4 of DJ Iron Mic’s South by Southwest adventure.
Power producers Mannie Fresh, Just Blaze, KLC, and Young Guru held a panel discussion hosted by Hot 97′s Paul Rosenberg. They discussed production techniques and working with artists through the years.
Later on, Migos rocked the stage at Mohawk’s on Red River St.
I worked at 720 Club on Red River St. as a member of the stage crew this night, and got to see some killer indie rock bands.
Fotogramas came from Chile just to rock Austin, and did an awesome job.
The Nuns put on an impressive set, as well as a band from our neighboring state of Tennessee called Daddy Issues. Not to be confused with NC’s Daddy Issues.
It was another fun and music-filled day for DJ Iron Mic at #SXSW2015.
Vince Staples, Meyhem Lauren, Heems, Curren$y, and Action Bronson got it poppin’ to start the night on Day 2 at Scoot Inn, accompanied by a surprise appearance by the legendary Funk Master Flex! #noriots
The night was ended at Moody Theatre where Dipset reunited on stage, hosted by 2Chainz and DJ Funk Master Flex, to kick off their reunion tour.
DJ Iron Mic’s #SXSW2015 recap, Day 2.
Day 1 of the SXSW Music Festival brought ASCAP’s first ever Hip Hop and R&B Showcase. Andra Day, BJ Da Chicago Kid, OG Maco, and Dej Loaf killed a full house at The Blackheart to start things off right!
We’ll have more photos from Iron Mic’s trip to South by Southwest in the coming days!