In 2008, the San-Francisco-born rapper Roach Gigz visited New York City. He went out to Southside Jamaica, Queens, the area 50 Cent and his G-Unit crew mythologized in rhyme. He visited Harlem, where he bought two small pet turtles for $10. And he fueled his trip by wolfing down $1 slices of pizza. For Gigz, the voyage was a chance to play the rap tourist. But on his next visit to the networking center of the hip-hop world in 2011, his schedule is all business. Touching down in N.Y.C. after the Presidents' Day weekend, the 22-year-old is seeking face-to-face connections with industry folk. It's a fist-bumping approach he hopes will convert the hype he has cultivated online into a shot at real-life stardom as he gears up to drop his debut album, Therapy Sessions, later this year... Roach Gigz:
Barreling down the dusty roads of the West African country of Mali in January 2010, Jeremiah Lockwood and his Brooklyn-based band the Sway Machinery felt elated. They had just left an impromptu gig jamming with local musicians at a bumping riverfront juke joint. The Sway Machinery:
Pulled over by police for not having their identity papers after midnight, they were taken to the station, a concrete box with a corrugated roof and bonfires blazing outside. The band's guide begged the police to release them, but to no avail. He then called the owner of the venue where they'd been playing, and once she arrived at the station -- with her boyfriend, an army captain -- the musicians were immediately released.
Just three weeks earlier, the quintet was on its way to Timbuktu to play the annual Festival in the Desert. All of them spend time in other bands, including Arcade Fire, Balkan Beat Box, and Antibalas, but this journey was an endeavor for the voracious musical explorers of the Sway Machinery...
S.F. at SXSW: In a special section, we pick six local artists worth catching at the Austin music festival this year.