Hip-hop icons to heat up weekend, draw fans

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Rapper Childish Gambino, whose real name is Donald Glover, performs at last year’s Fun Fun Fun Fest. He will be making another stop in Austin at Stubb’s BBQ tonight with Danny Brown.

Hip-hop heads rejoice: Thursday will feature two shows sure to appeal to both hardcore rap fans and music-savvy hipsters.

Comedian and witty wordsmith Donald Glover, commonly known as Childish Gambino, will be bringing his punch-line raps and charismatic stage persona to a sold-out crowd. Glover first gained attention with his hit song “Freaks and Geeks.” In early April of last year, the artist embarked on his first tour with a full-fledged band, the “I Am Donald Tour.” In fact, Glover has come through Austin on many occasions, including last year’s Fun Fun Fun Fest. Opening for Childish Gambino will be the eccentric Danny Brown, whose unkempt hair and gap-toothed smile has become a favorite of Austin alternative rap lovers.

Starting out as a graduate from New York University, Glover landed a role as a writer for the TV show “30 Rock” back in 2006. Balancing between jobs as a writer, comedian and musician, Glover found time to make new music. He released his latest album, Camp, in November of last year. Whereas his earlier releases showed him relying on gimmicks (2008’s Sick Boi), Camp shows the artist tackling more personal subject matter. He goes from talking about a relationship that will never happen (“Heartbeat”), to addressing all of his opposers (“Backpackers”), without losing a beat.

Senior nursing major Vanessa Mayanja hopes that Childish Gambino’s show will be as wild as his Fun Fun Fun Fest performance. “During his set, the crowd went crazy and started crowd surfing towards the front,” said Mayanja.

“Those of us at the front would throw them right into the security guards.”

Tech N9ne

Debuting back in 1999 with his first full-length album, The Calm Before the Storm, rapper Tech N9ne has released 11 studio albums since then, picking up a devoted fan base and multiple collaborations with artists like Lil’ Wayne and Andre 3000 along the way. Slaying his contemporaries with speedy and powerful verses, Tech N9ne, whose real name is Aaron Yates, received his stage name from fellow rapper Black Walt due to his fast rhyming style.

Opening up for the rapping heavyweight will be several artists, including Krizz Kaliko, Prozak and up-and-comer Machine Gun Kelly (Richard Colson Baker), who won the Breaking Woodie Award at MTV’s Woodie Awards last month, beating out Cloud Nothings, A$AP Rocky and Azealia Banks.

“I was definitely surprised because “MGK” is a very on-the-edge type name,” Baker said. “People either love me or hate me. Fortunately, my fans are relentless.”

Similar to Tech N9ne, MGK has also been praised for his fast rhyming deliver. His major label debut, Half Naked & Almost Famous, showcases the artist’s ferocious rapping technique and in-your-face attitude. MGK’s punk-rock energy derives from being influenced by groups such as Red Hot Chili Peppers and Anti-Flag.

“I love Anti-Flag,” Baker said. “I’m excited to see them perform during this year’s Vans Warped Tour, which I’ll also be a part of.”

Tech N9ne and MGK are sure to be spitting lyrical fire throughout the night, warming up Austinites for the weekend performances that await them.