Widening Hip-Hop's Global ReachAustin Convention Center, Thursday, March 13
"Hip-hop is always a direct reflection of the people and places of those who embrace it," mused moderator and Bay Area hip-hop activist Davey D. Those places have long-included areas outside the U.S., as evidenced by the international flavor of SXSW 08, which includes Spain's Mala Rodriguez, Norway's Lars Vaular, and a British invasion featuring Dizzee Rascal, Jammer, Newham Generals, and Sway. "You can listen to grime and get a real sense of what life is like in London," Sway said. "It's a more real reflection than the stereotype that we sit around in castles drinking tea and eating crumpets." Chuck Creekmur said 30% of the visitors to his AllHipHop.com website are from outside the U.S. and compared the current state of global hip-hop to when New Yorkers ignored everything outside the Empire State. "The U.S. is the home of hip-hop, but the rest of the world does move on," he said. "People have realized they don't necessarily need the United States." Houston's Devin the Dude surprised nobody by showing up 30 minutes late and said he was inspired by the warm reception he got in places like Amsterdam. "There was so much love – and not just because of the red-light district."