SXSW showcase reviews
Reviewed by Robert Gabriel, Fri., March 17, 2006
Back Room, Wednesday, March 15Drawing parallels between Bay area and Texas rap, Oakland's Balance teamed with Austin's DJ Rapid Ric for a compact set of hyphy allusions. Beginning with a freestyle over the beat to E-40's "Tell Me When to Go," Balance highlighted the nuances of sideshow culture within which the still-popular Ecstasy pill is known as thizz and marijuana as turtle. Brandishing an instrumental produced by E-A-Ski, Balance delivered "Gotta Get It" with an enthusiasm that typically finds listeners sporting spasmodic reactions. While Chamillionaire failed to join Balance for their collaboration "Roll Wit Me," Balance's solo performance made the connections between the Yay and Screwston readily apparent. As the longtime Rasputin's rap buyer put it, "labels weren't trying to mess with us, so we both had to go independent to bring our styles to the stores on our own." Known as the Bay Area Mixtape King, Balance utilizes any and every avenue available to him to shine a spotlight on the distinct rhythmic signatures of his home turf. As a champion of the "new Bay, new way, new song to play," he embodies the grinding ingenuity of rappers more prone to street sales than industry acceptance. Anticipating the release of his debut LP, Young & the Restless, Balance makes it his duty to "Let the Bass Go."