The charm of the South By Southwest festival, which has been held for 30 years in Texas, not only in the number of participants from different countries and genres on it, but also in that it is possible to meet the most unexpected artists in the most unexpected places. The SXSW calls everyone, and the stars here often descend from the big stage to the site of the chamber club or even go straight to the crowd, as did the GZA from the Wu-Tang Clan team.
Participants in this New York group are considered to be icons of style: they are, without exaggeration, the best-known rappers in the world who, by the way, often came from the show to Russia (one of their loudest speeches was held in 2013 at the Kubana festival). Wu-Tang Clan is not just a collective, it’s a formation consisting of nine artists who come together to no more – no less to create their own hip-hop empire. They announced this, as soon as they appeared on the stage and, it must be said, achieved their goal. Combining street social lyrics with mythology of kung fu and high-quality production, musicians in the mid-90s revolutionized the underground scene. Being from it, they quickly became stars of show business, but this did not affect the ideology of their creativity. Wu-Tang Clan is still famous for its tough, uncompromising lyrics, critical attitude to the socio-political system and the music industry. Initially, the group worked on a pre-arranged plan. Each of the participants one by one released on a solo album, so they wanted to draw as much attention to their team, and they succeeded. At about the same time, there was a debut single, which became an underground hit.
At the Texas Festival Wu-Tang Clan not only gave a big concert, but also performed at a party in the courtyard of one of the clubs of Austin. The spectators were lucky: the oldest and most experienced member of the formation Gary Grice, better known as GZA (Jiza), came to them. By the way, he was the only representative of the clan, who recorded a solo record “Words From The Genius” even before the formation of the collective. The album, like the second disc of Jizy “Liquid Swords”, became a classic of the genre. Grice’s works differ not only in their specific sound, but also in encyclopedic texts – Genius (this is another nickname for the artist) and is known as the most erudite representative of the team. At the performance in Austin, the musician descended from a small stage and went straight into the middle of the crowd, joyfully singing all his songs. The listeners had a unique opportunity to enjoy the concert literally at arm’s length, and those who were lucky a little less gathered outside the fence, beyond the territory of the club.
If Brooklyn became a place where hip-hop developed actively, then punk rock flourished on the Texas underground scene. At the festival, the premiere of the documentary “As I Walk Through The Valley”, detailing its history. There are a lot of programs and books about the alternative scene of Los Angeles, the so-called “Chicano punk”, while the American-Mexican musical movement, which was no less vivid and interesting, for a long time remained in the shadows and undeservedly ignored. The Rio Grande Valley has become a junction of Mexican and American musical culture, it is here that a huge number of bands started to play punk with a special, Mexican “taste”. As in the case of the still Soviet semi-underground rock scene, the main motive force of this movement in Texas was social protest. Most of the activists were Mexican musicians. In total, the history of the American-Mexican underground scene spans about 40 years, during which it has been constantly transformed, generating new styles, new ideas. They still have an impact, including on modern Texas performers, which are extremely curious to watch.