SXSW Music Review: Boy Better Know Collective

London grime collective seizes Seventh Street

Boy Better Know, a grime collective from the United Kingdom best known for JME and Skepta, revels in solidarity. Headlining halfway across the world from his London home, Frisco (Deshane Cornwall) turned in a pungent, boisterous culmination to Tuesday night’s 13-act installation at Scratchouse.

Frisco (Photo by Gary Miller)

As host and showcase co-promoter, he stood inside the fluctuating capacity crowd nodding happily in approval for the highly interactive performance of English singer-songwriter Tiggs da Author (Adam Muhabwa) halfway through the run of talent.

“Your set is going so well, I want you to carry on,” announced Frisco onstage as he gave TDA more shine in his Austin debut.

In front of the stage, a contingent of Londoners transformed the venue into a FA Cup Final at Wembley, chanting and jumping proudly to every song. More Americans crept into the venue for the bass-heavy, obnoxious SXSW debut of Austin rapper Shirt Off Fe, but stayed for the impressive display put on by 22-year-old London grime artist Novelist (Kojo Kankam). The MC’s sharp flow prompted a few attendees to jot down his name.

Afterward, set times disregarded, BBK members Frisco, Jammer (Jahmek Power), and Shorty (Aaron Lawrence) performed a few posse cuts such as “Athlete,” a track full of dark synths and heavy basslines that caused the air vents to scratch and creak. Out of nowhere, seemingly every performer from the night suddenly stood onstage, freely letting off entire rounds while dancing in front of a wild audience like Jesse Lingard at the Emirates. Mic issues and poor acoustics muddied vocals, but not many cared.

For one night, Grime took over Seventh Street. The energy in the room caused rainfall outside upon the end of a crazily frenetic showcase.


Tuesday, March 12, 12:55am, Scratchouse

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Boy Better Know, SXSW 2019, SXSW Music 2019, Frisco, JME, Skepta, Deshane Cornwall, Tiggs da Author, Adam Muhabwa, Novelist, Kojo Kankam, Jammer, Jahmek Power, Shorty, Aaron Lawrence

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