Home to some of the most talented emerging acts we’ve seen over the past five years, Dreamville showed up to SXSW and didn’t disappoint. Dominating the popular Austin venue Old School, each of Dreamville’s artists took to the stage; introduced with a soulful set by popular producer and keyboard killer Ron Gilmore.
One by one we watched as Lute, Ari Lennox, Omen, Cozz and Bas cemented their seats at the label and reminded the audience that the pride and joy of J. Cole is just getting started. With all except Ari Lennox debuting music on the during the show, it’s apparent that the collective has a busy year ahead. Lute used the time to announce West 1996 Part 2 with two new tracks.
Not to be forgotten is Dreamville’s newest addition, J.I.D. who was the standout of the night. Giving a high-energy performance featuring a live display of his new project The Never Story the Atlanta rapper won the crowd with his hybrid of lyrical complexity and high energy. From climbing on the venue’s speakers to jumping into the crowd for an interactive performance, J.I.D. worked every angle of the room making anyone that didn’t know who he was very familiar. Joining him for the latter half of his set was a surprise from his Slum Village family, Earthgang.
According to DJ Nitrane (who keep the crowd engaged between breaks with some of J. Cole’s best work), the showcase was the Dreamville camp’s way of just “getting ready for the tour” referencing J. Cole’s upcoming 4 Your Eyez Only tour kicking off this summer.