“It’s what Austin is known for on the urban side of things,” says Mr. Greezo of the League of Extraordinary Gz. He’s talking on the phone about Texas Relays weekend, the annual spring athletic event that brings thousands of people from around the state to Austin, many of whom happen to be young African-Americans looking to socialize.
This year, his group is participating in the inaugural Texas Legends Showcase, an event that aims to cater to the urban audience the Texas Relays draw. The showcase, which opens tonight and continues Friday, Saturday and Sunday, includes everything from a freestyle rap contest to a nightly entertainment roster heavy with recognized rap talent from Houston and Austin.
Eight members deep, The League of Extraordinary Gz is an amalgamation of three solid local hip-hop groups, C.O.D., Dred Skott and SouthBound.
They blend gritty street poetry with club bangers and startlingly soulful playas anthems tightly laced with Southern harmonies so seductive you might miss some of the borderline offensive subtext.
We hit Greezo up for his thoughts on the ATX hip-hop scene, SXSW and what to expect from this weekend’s performance.
Music Source: You’ve been on the Austin hip-hop scene for a minute now, how have you observed it evolving?
Mr. Greezo: This year is probably the best year for the Austin hip-hop scene. As far different representations, now it’s better than it’s ever been.
How would you compare the local scene to Houston or Dallas?
I believe that Austin has the potential to be bigger than those scenes as far as talent alone. But what Austin lacks that those other cities have is the casual fan. There are people in Austin who are really dope that do music but it seems like the majority of people who know about them are other artists. It’s not too many casual fans who know about the League of Extraordinary Gz versus in Houston (people) who know about Chamillionaire or Slim Thugg. I believe a lot of it has to do with this city’s reputation as the live music capital, aka musicians play music, as opposed to hip hop. So you can be an indie rock group in Austin and have four or five thousand Austin fans who come see you each week and buy your merch and CDs and stuff and you can survive like that, but as far as hip hop goes that’s not gonna happen. I’m not saying that the casual fan isn’t out there because they are; it’s just letting people know that there’s legitimate hip-hop artists here who have talent and who are professionals about this so we can be taken in a professional light.
How was your SXSW showcase?
Aw, man it was awesome. Those are the times that let me know that Austin has potential, because we’re a local group, we’re not signed, but we packed out our venue. We got good reviews. It was a lot of our fans, but it was a lot of new casual fans that came and saw us perform and that was really good as far as letting me know where we can go.
What can people expect from your show on Saturday?
We’re definitely gonna do music for the Texas Relays crowd. We’re gonna party and we’re just gonna have a good time. When people come to our shows they can expect a lot of energy. They can expect a lot of jammin’ music. They can expect a lot of pretty girls in the crowd. It’s a good atmosphere and a good party and they can definitely expect it not to be any sort of bs going on. We let people know off the rip, leave that at the house. Don’t bring that negativity to what we’re doing. And it’s always successful.
The Texas Legends shows are all at Easy Tiger, 709 East Sixth St.; cover is $20 a night. The League of Extraordinary Gz play Saturday night on a bill with Houston’s KB from Street Military.