The Best of SXSW Music: Saturday 3/17/2012

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Marco Torres
Thre3Style feat. Z-Trip, Nas, & Erykah Badu - Red Bull Energy Station Red Bull may not have been able to outshine last year's epic Thre3Style SXSW showcase, but they sure as hell tried their best! The all-star line-up of talent this year included DJ Jazzy Jeff, Erykah Badu & The Cannabinoids, The Crystal Method, and of course, the master mash-up artist DJ Z-Trip. A full city block of downtown Austin was transformed into the largest dance party SXSW has ever seen, hosting nearly ten thousand fans of Hip-Hop and Electronic Dance Music. Two "very special guests" were also set to join in on the fun, but their identity remained a secret until the very end.

Jazzy Jeff has taken the concept of "The Mix" to a state of perfection that has been achieved by only a handful of DJs, playing everything from jazz to soul and even some rock. The Crystal Method followed with their brand of movie soundtrack worthy techno music, including their track from the Re:Generation Music Project Movie that they created with Martha Reeves. Erykah Badu & the Cannabinoids hit the stage with their brand of jazzy R&B, neo-soul flavor.

The headliner Z-Trip began his set with tracks by House Of Pain, appropriate for this Saint Patrick's day. His mixing style also jumps from genre to genre, from country to rock to rap, but it is taken a step further by overlapping the beats of one piece over the lyrics of the other. In that respect, he may offer a Johnny Cash song over a Dr. Dre sample. His special invited guest was none other than Mr. Made-You-Look himself, the legendary rapper Nas. "Hip Hop Is Dead", the rock guitar laced track that Nas offered up a few years ago as a call to arms to the rap game, sent the crowd to the tipping point. The Queensbridge rapper had just finished performing his classic album "Illmatic" in it's entirety at the ACL Live theater, and was still gracious enough to give the Red Bull fueled crowd a steller, albeit truncated performance. What a perfect way to end this year's SXSW. -- Marco Torres

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