Mass Appeal brought their "Live at the BBQ" back to SXSW on Saturday night (3/17) at Stubb's. This year's was in partnership with Netflix and Def Jam, and it helped celebrate the launch of Netflix's new rap documentary series Rapture, which premiered at SXSW (and hits Netflix on 3/30). The showcase featured T.I., Dave East, Rapsody, and Just Blaze, all of whom have their own episodes in Rapture, along with Trae tha Truth, Wifisfuneral, Maxo Kream, Valee, Bobby Sessions, Tyla Yaweh, and Cuz Lightyear. Your host for the evening was Statik Selektah.

Pictures of Rapsody and Maxo Kream from "Live at the BBQ" are in the gallery above, and we wrote about those sets in our list of The 18 Best Sets We Saw at SXSW 2018. Here are a few other highlights from the show:

Cuz Lightyear (fka SL Jones), who's opening the Maxo Kream tour, started the show off with a bang. He channels the kind of rhymes that were favored during rap's '90s and early '00s era -- it makes sense that Killer Mike has been riding for him for a while (Cuz played his recent Killer Mike collab "Pots N Pans" at this show) -- and Cuz does a lot of justice to that era.

Bobby Sessions, a Dallas rapper who signed to Def Jam last month, put on one of the most unforgettable sets I saw all week. He dedicated a song to a loved one that was a victim of police brutality, and towards the end of the song he acted out being choked by a cop while rapping. First the crowd was speechless, and then erupted in huge cheers of approval and solidarity. It was very, very powerful.

One of the nights most fun sets came from Chicago's rising Valee, who has collaborated with Chance the Rapper and just released his G.O.O.D. Music debut, GOOD Job, You Found Me, a few weeks ago. He had a bunch of friends on stage, and he really got a party started both on stage and off. I went into the show without ever hearing his songs, but they were instantly-catchy live and that new G.O.O.D. Music EP sounds great. Check it out:

Houston's Trae the Truth was fresh off releasing his new album Hometown Hero the day before the show, and he used the opportunity to showcase the new stuff and hype up the release of the new record. Everything he played sounded great, and the crowd clearly approved.

Just Blaze went on right before fellow Rapture stars Rapsody, Dave East and T.I., and he had the packed crowd going wild to his DJ set that included a mix of Just Blaze productions and other songs by his talented friends and collaborators. He treated the crowd to a nice surprise when he brought out unannounced guest Beanie Sigel, who had the place going nuts:

Dave East, who released Paranoia 2 earlier this year, is bigger and better than ever, and that was very clear at "Live at the BBQ." His voice boomed throughout the massive Stubb's, and he continued to prove that -- though he wears his classic New York rap influences on his sleeve -- he's more than just a tribute to the greats of the past. He's increasingly becoming one of the greats of right now.

Wrapping everything up was the reason many people were there, the King of the South himself, TI. Tip kept this late-Saturday-night set to the hits, whipping out "24's," "U Don't Know Me," "Top Back," "Bring 'Em Out," "Rubber Band Man," and more, and he sounded as great as he did when those songs were all over the radio and MTV. If there was any doubt that T.I. is still at the top of his game, this show erased it.

Check out some pics and video of T.I.'s set:


photos by Amanda Hatfield

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