Spring in Austin is often warmer than we’d like it to be, but when these artists bring fire we’ll take the heat.
April 29: Joey Bada$$ at Emo’s. The young upstart from Brooklyn, whose arrival on the national scene as a teenager was heralded by 1000 (legitimate) Nas comparisons, is one of the most talented rhyme slingers of his generation. His solid 2017 release, “All Amerikkan Badass,” was a portrait of an artist trying to make sense of a country unable to wrest itself from the grip of the injustice silently entwined in its aspirational origin story. Now 23, and off the cannabis, he’s one of the artists leading hip-hop into a new golden era. $26.50-$28. 7 p.m. doors. 2015 E. Riverside Dr. emosaustin.com — D.S.S.
May 5 Jmblya at Circuit of the Americas. Once again, local hip-hop promotion powerhouse Scoremore has produced a stellar lineup for their annual turn up. Emotional rapper/singer J. Cole leads a bill that includes a powerhouse second tier featuring Cardi B. and Migos.Kevin Gates, Playboi Carti, Bun B and Trae tha Truth will also be in the house. Festival organizers say they have addressed the biggest problems from last year’s festival, heat and hydration. They promise expanded water filling stations, more bars and food vendors and shade structures in the field. $89. 2 p.m. gates. 9201 Circuit of the Americas Blvd. jmblya.com — D.S.S.
May 18: The Championship Tour with Kendrick Lamar, Sza at Austin360 Amphitheater. Kendrick Lamar is arguably the most important rapper alive right now. He makes sonically complex, lyrically dense music that still moves the masses. Powerful works like “We Gon’ Be Alright” remind even the most cynical among us that sometimes a song can change the world. This tour presents not just Lamar, but the whole Top Dawg Entertainment crew including first lady Sza, whose stunning 2017 release “Ctrl” was one of the strongest R&B albums of the year. The bill also includes Schoolboy Q, Jay Rock and more. Verified resale tickets available. 7:30 p.m. 9201 Circuit of the Americas Blvd. austin360amphitheater.com. — D.S.S.
May 25: Sa-Roc at Empire Control Room. The self-described Goddess MC from the Rhymesayers crew, tackles heavy themes like spiritual evolution and social injustice with powerful lyricism laid over soulful grooves. Her new single “Forever” is the flip-side of Beyonce’s “Flawless,” a self-love anthem that refuses to deny the struggle. She opens up about eating disorders, and episodes of self-harm and encourages the listener to never let the scars stop you from shining bright. $10-$15. 9 p.m. doors. 606 E. Seventh St. empireatx.com
May 26: Blackillac at Barracuda. The new hip-hop crew featuring production and vocals from Gary Clark Jr. and bars by Zeale and Phranchyze, debuted in February, but this is a project that’s been waiting to happen for well over a decade, since the three longtime friends were aspiring artists at Austin High. Sonically, the group covers a broad swath of territory, playing a mix of soulful love jams with catchy hooks, bass heavy club-bangers and “blaze one in the air” stoner rallying cries. This performance, part of the Hot Luck food and music festival, will be their first show in Austin with a live band which should take the steady-building hype around the group up to the next level. $15. 8 p.m. doors. 611 E. Seventh St. barracudaaustin.com
June 2: Brownout: Fear of a Brown Planet CD release party at Mohawk. Roughly a year after the 10-piece funk powerhouse hung up their Brown Sabbath-era devil horns and declared themselves “Over the Covers” with an EP of original material, they’re back to reimagining the classics. This time, they take on your favorite Public Enemy jams, songs like “Fight the Power,” “911 is a Joke” and “Don’t Believe the Hype,” with muscular, horn-heavy interpretations that throw down the psychedelic funk vibe you never knew these tracks were missing. Preview the album with this mixtape from DJ Eclipse that mixes PE a capellas with the new chunky grooves. Austin and San Antonio-based hip-hop trio Third Root and cumbia funk crew Superfonicos are also on the bill. $20-$25. 8 p.m. doors. 912 Red River St. mohawkaustin.com
MORE SPRING HIP-HOP SHOWS IN AUSTIN
April 14 Big K.R.I.T. at Emo’s (sold out)
April 16: Yung Gravy at Stubb’s (moved from the Parish)
April 19 Duckwrth (opening for What’s So Not at Emo’s)
April 24: Lizzo at Stubb’s outdoor (opening for Haim)
April 27: MC Overlord, Dirty Wormz at Come and Take It Live
May 3: Devin the Dude at Empire Control Room
May 10: Nav at Emo’s
May 10 Bali Baby at Empire Control Room
May 11: Skizzy Mars at Empire Control Room
May 12: Kid Koala’s Vinyl Vaudeville Floor Kids Edition at 3Ten
May 17: Khalid at HEB Center at Cedar Park (no, he’s not a hip-hop artist, but we thought you might want to know)
May 18: MC Chris at Barracuda
May 22: Smokepurpp at Mohawk outdoor
May 25: Chief Keef at Empire Garage
May 27: Questlove DJ set at Mohawk outdoor (part of Hot Luck festival)
May 27: Peanut Butter Wolf at Mohawk indoor (part of Hot Luck festival)
June 7: Flatbush Zombies at Emo’s
June 8: Ugly God at Emo’s