Hip hop is alive and well in Austin. We may not be Houston or Dallas when it comes to scoring the major arena level tours or being the springboard for making Texas hip hop artists blow up in the national scene, but no city in Texas can compete with Austin when it comes to loving old school hip hop. Artists like The Roots, Common, Talib Kweli, Devin The Dude, Scarface and Dead Prez have made Austin a regular tour stop over the years with or without a new album to support. Why is that? Stoners love them some lyrical hip hop to smoke to, and they buy tickets. Thursday night’s sold-out Snoop Dogg concert at Stubb’s proved just that.
Of course no Snoop Dogg concert at Stubb’s would be complete without a local opening act. Austin
rapper JJ Shaw, who goes by Phranchyze, opened with show with DJ Kid Slyce. A known self-promoting hustler in the local scene, Phranchyze has a reputation for being a high energy party rapper. What attendees found out Thursday night is that Phranchyze has lyrical talent to go with that personality.
Performing tracks off his albums The Black Larry Bird and S.T.A.R.S., he won fans over
with funny one-liners (“stop wearing Tapout if you can’t fight”) and a confident swagger that’s needed for the big stage at Stubb’s. He did his job, warming up the crowd for the hip hop legend and didn’t do anything corny or cliché. If you get a chance and you like supporting Austin artists, look him up and check him out before he moves to another city as many local rappers do.
With no second opener or co-headliner needed, the Dog Father himself took the stage dawned in a
France jumpsuit, a rasta style knit hat and shades performing “ I Wanna Rock Right Now.” His entourage included three bootylicious backup dancers, two DJs, his mascot Nasty Dogg and his uncle Junebug. Shortly after his opening song, Snoop was joined on stage by members of Tha Dog Pound, or DPGs, Daz Dillinger, The Lady of Rage and Kurupt. It was like watching the ‘90s come back to life.
As expected, the set included Snoop’s “greatest hits” and verses he did on other artists’ tracks. Of course we heard classic like “Next Episode” and his verse on “Nothin’ But A ‘G’ Thang,” but Snoop made it a party by rapping over modern hits such as Drake’s “The Motto.”
Mid-set, Snoop performed the classic “Ain’t No Fun,” during which his mascot Nasty Dogg was slinging around a giant rubber penis to the beat. I guess he misplaced his giant toy blunt temporarily.
During what he called “a chronic break,” Snoop stepped off stage and Lady of Rage came out to perform her ’94 classic “Afro Puffs,” which was an unexpected treat for those who know their hip hop. It was during that same “chronic break” that Kurupt performed a verse of “Let’s Get High” from the Dr. Dre album The Chronic 2001.
When Snoop came back to close out the show, he got everyone dancing to “Drop It Like It’s Hot”
and “Who Am I (What’s My Name)?” After getting everyone amped up again and shouting out
his “homeboy” Willie Nelson, Snoop took it home with the anthemic radio hit, “Young, Wild and Free.” Everyone sang along, and Snoop thanked everyone for coming out and supporting him,
promising to always come back to Austin whenever we want him back. As long as he comes selling out shows and the cops in Texas leave his smoking tour bus alone on the way here, he’ll be back.