(Photo: Daniel Boczarski/Getty Images for BET)
It feels good to be down with the kang. Fans who had the intestinal fortitude to stick around in the wee hours of the morning after a long day of performances at SXSW were treated to quite a few surprises at the BET Music Matters showcase last night.
Thanks to headlining act, T.I., and his star-studded cast of surprise guests, the crowd received much more than it bargained for at the start of the night. On an evening that started with stellar performances by BJ the Chicago Kid, Bridget Kelly, Joey Bad@$$, Chrisette Michele, LeCrae and ScHoolboy Q, the King of the South touched the stage just after midnight and proceeded to deliver an electric hour long set. A packed house rocked out to an endless string of Tip's chart-topping hits as he appropriately boasted, "I can do this all night."
After performing a few vintage Trap Muzik bangers ("24's," "Rubberband Man") and his mixtape remixes to crowd pleasers like The Throne's "N--- in Paris," and 2 Chainz's "Ridin' Round," Tip introduced some unexpected guests to the stage.
First, the revamped Grand Hustle roster was on full display as Tip performed alongside fellow ATLien Rich Kid Shawty, UK spitta Chip and Lone Star State legend Trae tha Truth. It was a semi homecoming for Trae as the Houston native received a rousing ovation from the crowd in Austin.
From there, the crowd got the biggest surprise of the night. As T.I. performed his latest single, "Memories Back Then," he wondered aloud what it would be like if the song's featured act, Kendrick Lamar, would sound like delivering his lethal verse. And just like that, Lamar hit the stage. As he was set to leave the stage, the Compton MC thanked T.I. for the opportunity, but the King wouldn't let him go without giving the crowd what they wanted.
Lamar went on to perform his chart-topping hit "Swimming Pools" and, at T.I.'s request ("perform that s--t I like"), he dropped a verse from his infectious "Backseat Freestyle." Tip led the audience in a chant of "rookie of the year" as Lamar left the stage.
The surprises didn't end there. T.I. went on to bless the crowd with some of his biggest hits, including "Bring 'Em Out," "Live Your Life" and "Why You Wanna." It was then that Pharrell joined him on stage as he performed his most ubiquitous single, "What You Know." Tip thanked Skateboard P for being one of the first A-list producers to work with him when he broke into the game.
All those hits, surprise guests and one blown speaker later, T.I. thanked the crowd for their support over the years.
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