Adventures at SXSW 2015… Rappers, kimchi fries, The Illmore

If SXSW started as summer camp, then just like real camp, the rest of the week flew by. It was non-stop 20-hour days packed with seeing amazing live music, reconnecting with my homies, eating more tacos than one human should and meeting new friends. By day 3, the rain started coming down, and everything became a wet, soggy blur of awesome (Little tip: Pack a few pairs of socks and shoes). So much happened! I took in panels at the Convention Center with my bae Devi Dev, had pedicab races around town with the Billboard crew Alex and Will and met Nardwuar! Stimulation overload! Notebook dump of highlights:

Selfie with the man, the myth, the legend…Nardwuar in my hotel lobby

Selfie with the man, the myth, the legend…Nardwuar in my hotel lobby

Ladies First: How to Be a Woman in Rap Journalism - My panel, How to Be a  Woman in Rap Journalism, was a total success. Moderated by yours truly, it featured Kathy Iandoli (Vice, ID, BET), Nadeska Alexis (MTV) and Georgette Cline (The Boombox) talking about the journey and challenges of being a woman in rap. Shout outs to all the friends and supporters who came through; I appreciate every one of you. After the panel, I was interviewed by a Chilean newspaper, so if anyone has the hookup in Chile, send me the link!

Ladies First panel…giving good face

Ladies First panel…giving good face

#EEEEEats - Before I even went to SXSW, everyone told me to forget my diet because the food is so tasty. They were right. I didn't get to really venture outside of the festival area (Sorry, Salt Lick) but the food trucks around town were perfect for quick, cheap and delicious sustenance. Of everything I ate, the Chi'lantro truck was my hands-down favorites. Korean + BBQ = Sowmya happy. The truck's most famous dish is  kimchi french fries…Exactly. You're drooling, right? Picture this: French fries dripping with oooey gooey melted cheese, kimchi and hot sauce, along with a bunch of other goodness. There's usually a line at the Chi'lantro truck and I'm not one to wait in line (See below) but OMG it's so worth it.You sometimes forget to eat down at SXSW in all the stuff going on, so downing a plate of fat, salt and cheese when you can get it, is kind of necessary to keep chugging.

On a rainy day, kimchi french fries are the best food ever. Sorry BBQ.

On a rainy day, kimchi french fries are the best food ever. Sorry BBQ.

The Music -  I saw so much good music down there that one post doesn't do it justice. Lucky for you, I wrote a full roundup of dope rap at SXSW for the Village Voice.  A$AP Rocky and A$AP Ferg killed at Samsung, The Weeknd was mesmerizing at the special VIP taping of The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, Snoop Dogg kept it West Coast and hazy at YouTube and Vic Mensa absolutely KILLED his set. I haven't seen Vic since CMJ 2013 so to see how his live show has matured was really dope (Plus, we got to connect for a bit after and flick it up). 

Midwest kids…me and Vic Mensa

Midwest kids…me and Vic Mensa

The Illmore - Now, you can't talk SXSW without giving props to The Illmore. The legendary after-party is where all the cool kids headed to after all the shows are over.  We piled into cars at 2 or 2:30am and drove to the middle of nowhere, to a storage unit facility where Chance the Rapper, A-Trak, Dej Loaf, Big Sean and other artists held court. What's even cooler than a rap show in a deserted storage parking lot was seeing artists and industry folks just kicking back and hanging out. Even when it was raining, folks were jumping puddles and scuffing their new shoes to get in. It's THAT SERIOUS. If you want to go to SXSW and feel really special, get inside The Illmore. Thanks to Sasha and the folks at The Illmore for being the plug and hooking me up with VIP access.

Thanks to the plug for The Illmore VIP access

Thanks to the plug for The Illmore VIP access