The first thing that jumps out about rising rapper Sugar Tongue Slim is his playful, funny, generous spirit. Surrounded by a lively and crackling backing band — a laptop, turntables, bass and a full drum kit — STS cut a smiling and conspiratorial figure on stage at NPR Music's SXSW day party, held Thursday at The Parish in Austin, Texas. Sandwiched on a bill between the jumpy Venezuelan rock band La Vida Boheme and the atmospheric pop outfit Polica, the poetry-slam veteran won the crowd over quickly ("I'm gonna make y'all work as hard as I work today," he teased between songs) and then let his appropriately sugar-tongued, impeccable flow take it from there.
Slim's band sneaked in a tricky array of samples — including slick appropriations of Gotye's "Somebody That I Used to Know" and Kavinsky's "Nightcall" — but they were all secondary to a live band that kept the beat and low end as flesh-and-blood as it gets. The goodwill kept flowing from there, with STS making light of his mid-afternoon time slot ("I'm gonna keep saying 'tonight,' 'cause it's cooler") by way of launching into an inspired take on his winning single "Here Tonight." A major talent with high-profile endorsements — and a killer debut in 2011's The Illustrious — STS looks fully primed for "We heard him when ... " status.
Producers: Robin Hilton, Amy Schriefer; Video by: XI Media; Audio Engineer: Kevin Wait