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SXSW: Rapper Izza Kizza and the plight of the early afternoon performer

Izza KizzaIzza Kizza, killing it at 2pm. (Photo by Chris Richards)

By Chris Richards

With each passing year, the daylight hours have become more exciting at SXSW. With a myriad of unofficial showcases popping up at art spaces, restaurants, book stores and vacant outdoor lots, the chances of happening upon your favorite new band at 3 in the afternoon have become pretty great.

But that doesn’t mean the shows aren’t sometimes awkward. Take URB Magazine’s “Next 100” showcase, a daylong marathon of up and coming rappers playing early on Thursday afternoon to a teeny-tiny crowd of the groggy hip-hop heads.

Georgia-based rapper and Timbaland protégé Izza Kizza was one of the first emcees to grab the mike at the “Next 100.” He greeted the sparse crowd by asking, “How many y’all performing?” (A majority of the hands in the crowd shot up.) Then, wearing a towel fastened to his head with a pair of ski-goggles, Kizza tore through an emphatic 20-minute set as if the club was sold out.

(Tough crowd or exhausted crowd? Read more, after the jump)

But when Kizza asked the audience to throw their hands in the air, they couldn’t be bothered. After another song, no one applauded. Everyone seemed too tired.

After his set, the rapper seemed a little irked. “I respect everybody’s hustle,” he said. “If someone tells me put your hands up, out of the sheer respect for the love hip-hop, Imma put my hands up. I feel if someone is up there putting out energy, you should put out some energy too. That’s what you put out into the universe. If you don’t feel like being here, don’t come.”

But he said he also understood the SXSW revelers might be tired and that he definitely didn’t regret playing the show.

“It’s good to have hip hop going on in broad daylight,” he said. “It shouldn’t only be happening at night when everyone’s running around drunk! You can hear it with a clear mind in the daytime, so it feels good to be a part of this.”

Izza Kizza performs at the 9:30 club on Sunday, April 18.

By Chris Richards  |  March 19, 2010; 11:32 AM ET
Categories:  SXSW  | Tags: Izza Kizza  
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