Bavu Blakes & Tee Double, Back Room, Friday, March 16

Live Shots: South by Southwest 2001

Bavu Blakes & Tee Double

Back Room, Friday, March 16

Those willing to take the untethered trail toward the underground of hip-hop during South by Southwest, which predominantly takes place in the downtown area, would have found themselves at the gritty Back Room on Riverside. With many heads packed into the dark, smoky venue to see what exactly lurks in the crevasses of hip-hop, it became abundantly clear that the best exists right here at home. The showcase that featured hip-hop groups from as far as Atlanta and Minnesota took second stage to the local powerhouse duo Bavu Blakes and Tee Double. After having torn down the stage on a Wednesday night showcase at the Mercury, the local emcees left their Hip Hop Humpday brethren at home to shine some light on solo projects that have brought them both personal accolades throughout their careers. They fleshed out their set by adding a few more elements of hip-hop, combining their rhymes with deejaying and breaking. The duo's two breakers, Romeo Navarro and Denise, directed the crowd on the proper etiquette on getting down with flying acrobatics, while saving some trick maneuvers for the more advanced. Still, the spotlight was secure on the two local MCs, who rocked the crowd by bouncing between mastered career hits and freestyles right off the head. Although it was hard deciphering between the two, Tee Double, who has obviously been in the studio of late, brought new beats that left headliners Atmosphere and the Micranots playing catch-up afterward. Blakes added some of his own material, and the energy climaxed when the two doubled over tracks where they seemed to be battling to get the crowd hyper. Most came out to check the Midwest sounds of Atmosphere and other out-of-towners, but as the performance continued the crowd shifted closer to the stage to represent for kids who reciprocated the love for the ATX. Fans whom would have otherwise written off Blakes and Tee as recurring local performers witnessed the duo take their level of performance to a higher plateau. As Blakes commented, "I was interested in seeing how Austin at its best could compare to out-of-town hip-hop." As Atmosphere struggled to keep the crowd hyped, despite ad-libbing past classics like Biz Markie's "Just a Friend," following their performance, it was clear who held it down.

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Bavu Blakes, Tee Double

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