I first got put on to "Bugatti," at the embarrassingly late date of "a month ago," during a set by Crank City DJ's infamous DJ Horse Hoof Haver (a.k.a. my friend Jackson). In my defense, I'd been out of the country for six weeks — but really, that's no excuse for failing to keep up with the latest in advanced American radio rap technology. Because when you first hear a song as massively and perfectly, to borrow a phrase from the children, "turnt up" as "Bugatti," you feel as if you might not have need for any other musical sounds ever again. These particular windows-down volume-all-the-way-fucking-up jams, you see, they lay waste and salt the earth. And that first time with "Bugatti," I felt that way, even though DJ Horse Hoof Haver was peppering his trademark "horse neigh" drops all over the place.
South by Southwest will always be the place where it all began.
My first trip to Austin for the festival, last year, was my first big assignment. The objective: go, do things, write about them. That's all. While that was important, it also was the first real example of my Internet world coming to life. Mysterious, funny Twitter handles suddenly drinking beers, wearing tank tops, and ferociously taking notes together on their phones. Finally.
After last year's 10-day bender came to an end, I knew that in addition to the new real-life colleagues whom I now refer to as "friends," I had also found my happy place. My adult summer camp. My extremely tiring vacation oasis. And, more than anything, I knew I was coming back the next year.
The lead-up to last year's SXSW was a very confusing time for me, because I didn't know what I was doing. About a week before the festival, fellow Grantland staffer Amos Barshad graciously sent me a giant spreadsheet that was making the rounds of every single thing that needed to be RSVP'd to, along with the amount of free food and drinks that would be supplied and which musicians would be in attendance. I was eternally grateful, because up until that point, I hadn't ventured beyond SXSW.com.
This year, I made the spreadsheet. I was ready, and even though the time between SXSW 2012 and 2013 had seemingly taken six years off my life, I was convinced I could do the full 10 days again, but even better. And if the high right ankle sprain, hoarse voice, wristband tan, scruffy face, and occasional dizzy spells are any indicator, I'd say that my goal was achieved.
I have a beard, I own both What's Going On and Thriller on vinyl, my collection of rap magazines with Rick Ross on the cover is impressive, and on overcast days I'm usually posted up inside the crib, making cat videos. This clip settles it: I am only a skull-candle (and several bazillion dollars’ worth of jewelry) away from being Rick Ross.
"I used to be a way better writer and a rapper when I used to want a black Carmengia.
Now a n---- speedin' in a Porsche, feeling like I'm going off of course."
— André 3000
Three notes here:
The one obvious criticism: I really don't like how André 3000 is TOTES ripping off Kendrick Lamar's style here.
Chill, bro. That's a joke. Stay out of my inbox about it.
By the time you get to the end of this song, chances are you'll forget that T.I. is even alive because André 3000 is GODDAMN TOUGH here, son. If you're a rapper and you're on a song with him and he starts doing that hyper-nasally sing-song thing that only he and God can do, then just fuck your life. You're taking that L, that's all there is to it.
Before you get into the story, let me preface it by saying that it does not end well.
It's not a tragic ending, now. Nor is it even a particularly interesting one. Sad to say, it's just another one of those times where nobody gets eaten by a mountain lion.
The plan seemed solid: I’d go to the mall to purchase an anniversary gift for my wife (a disaster every year). While shopping, I’d listen to a motivational mix of cutting-edge rap music in my headphones. I’d select the perfect gift. I’d take it home. I’d hand it to her. I’d tell her to open it. And then I’d watch the surprise on her face as she realized that for the first time in 1,000 years, I did not screw up the gift-giving process.
As it does every year, XXL has just released its 2012 "Freshman Class" cover, a collection of MCs the magazine has decreed to be ascendant, near-world-conquering types. Considering the basic facts of the exercise — the max number of people that can be represented, the implied attempt at diversity in the selections, the sheer impossibility of getting a bunch of rappers together in the same room at the same time — the omissions and inclusions on this list always piss people off. So, congratulations to: Machine Gun Kelly, Danny Brown, Kid Ink, Future, Roscoe Dash, Hopsin, Macklemore, Don Trip, Iggy Azalea, and French Montana. Now here are the manners and reasons as to why people are mad at you on the Internet right now.
Please, allow this nice gentleman to welcome you to the new Black Keys album. It’s called El Camino, it’s out December 6th, and it is apparently so good it’ll make you want to lease and operate a motel just so you can dance in front of its offices whenever you want.