For a night, it was South By Kanye West.
The rapper performed twice Saturday at the annual South By Southwest music conference and festival, dominating the final night of the live music event mostly populated by lesser known acts.
In an expected but not officially announced show earlier in the evening, West performed beneath a tent as part of a party sponsored by Fader Magazine and Levi’s. He put on a lengthy show, mostly alternating songs with lesser known rappers from his G.O.O.D. Music record label (it stands for “Getting Out Our Dreams”).
“It feels so good to rock for you tonight,” said West, who also streamed the concert online.
West was clearly out to promote his label’s talent, including rappers Consequence and Kid Cudi, who performed his hit “Day `N’ Nite.” But the concert culminated with cameos from West’s fellow Chicago rapper Common and the R&B singer Erykah Badu, both of whom were cheered wildly by the thousands in attendance.
West, who noted that Fader was the first magazine to put him on the cover, may have been feeling nostalgic. He played a number of “old school joints” from his first album, 2004’s “College Dropout.”
A few hours later, West also made an unexpected appearance at Perez Hilton’s party, held a few block north in downtown Austin in a converted grocery store. Hosted by the celebrity gossip blogger, the party has become one of the bigger private events at SXSW.
West performed a handful of songs (this time without guests) and said he respected Hilton (whose real name is Mario Lavandeira) for being “real” even when he has made fun of the rapper.
For his part, Hilton was redeemed after another performer, the British rapper Lady Sovereign, canceled on him. An angry Hilton – who said Lady Sovereign was a late scratch due to sickness – repeatedly used a vulgarity to refer to her, bragging that his slandering of Lady Sovereign would be big news.
A publicist for Lady Sovereign didn’t immediately comment early Sunday morning.
On Wednesday, West was charged with misdemeanor battery, grand theft and vandalism over the destruction of a paparazzo’s camera at Los Angeles International Airport in September.