BY JAKE KRZECZOWSKI
For the Sun-Times
AUSTIN, Texas -- Chicago hip-hop -- in all its variety -- was on full display Thursday in Austin for SXSW.
Chance the Rapper led things off with the first of three sets for the day by rocking the Karma Lounge for the Drive The Noize Showcase put on by Chicago start-up CrowdNoize.
After the early afternoon set Chance, and seemingly everyone else associated with the words Chicago and rap music, descended on the Red Bull Sound Select stage for a Chicago hip-hop showcase featuring ShowYouSuck, Chance, Spenzo, L.E.P. Bogus Boys and a re-connection of the Cool Kids before Master P topped things off for the day.
During the four-hour marathon showcase of young talent from the Windy City, Treated Crew caps and Save Money shirts were everywhere. If Chicago is on the rise, Thursday proved the sky is the limit for the talented crop from the Midwest.
"I'm ecstatic about it, it's always good to perform in front of a crowd, but this was definitely a hometown show," said Moonie of L.E.P Bogus Boys. "Shout out to everyone who embraced our music tonight. Shout out to every Chicago artist with a deal or nearing a deal."
The party continued as Chance led fellow Chicagoans Spenzo, YP and King Louie, among others, with a rowdy crowd in chants of "Chicago!"
ShowYouSuck capped the night with one of the most raucous, off the wall hip-hop sets Austin has ever seen. The Bellwood native, joined by Augie The 9th is known for his wild party-like live shows and they certainly didn't disappoint, sending the crowd into a frenzy to finish off a long day of local hip-hop music down in Austin.
Late Thursday night, an official showcase of more Chicago rappers -- including King Louie, Lil Durk, Lil Mouse, GLC, Katie Got Bandz -- stocked the upstairs Club 119 in the shadow of the Texas capitol. MCs and DJs ringed the club's small stage, waiting to be tagged in like pro wrestlers. Vic Spencer worked the crowd, followed by the dynamic and engaging YP, who boasted of his East Side roots and led the crowd chanting the title of "Insane" (alas, no Rockie Fresh cameo). Chance the Rapper was here, too, working his own forceful rhythms despite the tempo of his soothing, soulful tracks. Chance dances like a boxer on stage, and his rhymes (even when not talking about "tabs of acid" in "Brain Cells") get pretty wild and surreal.
And lest you've fallen prey to the notion that all Chicago hip-hop is bleak and violent, Chance shouted with notable ferocity: "Make some noise if you love your mama!"