The Beatnuts, Back Room, Saturday, March 17

Live Shots: South by Southwest 2001

The Beatnuts

Back Room, Saturday, March 17

New York owned the stage Saturday night as NYC's Beatnuts and the X-ecutioners' Mista Sinista posed the musical query, "How high can the beat take the crowd?" The Beatnuts, one of the few headliners of South by Southwest hip-hop who have not crossed Austin stages, were part of Loud Records Showcase that headlined the night with performances that included tha Liks. On this night, with guest DJ Mista Sinista, the Beatnuts also had with them old-school MC Greg Nice for an all-around ridiculously full presentation that surpassed any expectation of the duo. The Beatnuts, who are notable for their limitations in rhyming, seemed confident of their capabilities to rock the crowd with each beat that had the audience up from the first note. As producers of the music, Psycho Les and Juju reserved the position of mere conductors of their pieces, allowing both Sinista and later Nice to enhance the musical massacre. Primarily known for their in-studio production, the duo allowed the beats to talk for themselves, leisurely requesting Sinista to throw on jam after jam, while reciting lackluster lyrics in the meantime. Sinista, like requested, kept the beats flowing as the duo took the crowd through a hip-hop anthology that went back to 1989, including tracks from Intoxicated Demons as well as their upcoming album Take It or Squeeze It. Defining the performance was Nice, who beatboxed the audience through his retelling of hip-hop hits before dropping the classic "DWYCK," which literally stunned the crowd before a simultaneous riot erupted. Nice went on to become a constant source of energy throughout the Beatnuts' performance, forcing frantic participation out of the crowd, keeping their hands continuously pumping, and commending the Austin crowd for their hunger for hip-hop. The Beatnuts then took over with a rendition of "Watch Out Now" before advancing to the final track "No Escapin' This," from Take It or Squeeze It. The Beatnuts were always exciting on LP, and only more so live.

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