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SXSW’s 1st Ever Christian Rap Stage a Smashing Success

sxsw-pressrelease-200-christianraphiphopnewsHouston, TX – April 5, 2008 – Christian hip hop explored new territory on March 21, 2009 with the first ever gospel rap showcase at the SXSW Festival in Austin, Texas.

South by Southwest (SXSW) is the premier Austin-based company dedicated to building and delivering conference and festival events for entertainment and related media industry professionals. Each March it draws nearly 12,000 registrants from all over the globe.

SXSW hip hop booker Matt Sonzala offered the George Washington Carver Museum and Cultural Center for the venue and specifically requested that rappers Dooney da Priest (Dallas, TX) and Lecrae (Memphis, TN) be a part of the program.

Additional performers on the The Life in Hip Hop stage included B.L.U.E (Austin, TX), The W.A.R.R.I.O.R.S. (Austin, TX), Kaboose (Bemidji, MN), Braille (Portland, OR), and Houston’s Much Luvv Fam (Tre9, S.O.M., Von Won, Gifted.) Special appearances were also made by Christian rap radio DJ Special K and former 5th Ward Boyz MC 007. The event was hosted by Austin’s DJ D-Lite and Syntax Records’ DJ Promote manned the wheels of steel in between sets of the four-hour showcase.

Within 15 minutes of the doors opening, every available seat was taken. Fans were lined up outside the theater waiting for a free seat but many, perhaps 100 or so, unfortunately had to be turned away.

Each artist had roughly 20 minutes of stage time which they balanced between songs and testimony. Syntax Records’ Braille and Kaboose were particularly vocal about their faith as they introduced and explained their tracks that are typically layered in metaphors and other verbal gymnastics.

The Much Luvv Fam also impressed the audience by including a skit and several performances with the rock band Laden. They completed their set with the rap worship number “Closer” and most of the people at the Carver could be seen singing along with hands raised.

Austinites SaulPaul and The W.A.R.R.I.O.R.S also organized an official After Party at nearby Greater Mount Zion church. Almost all of the artists from the event took the stage there as well, which was no doubt a blessing to those that could not get into the Carver Center due to overcrowding.

The entire weekend was so successful that another Christian hip hop stage is being planned for next year’s SXSW and will be given a larger venue.

“We were extremely honored to be invited to such a widely known and well attended event,” Tre9 said. “We are very thankful for the chance to expose our music to a broader audience and know that we added to the overall SXSW experience.”

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