empire garage

VIBE SXSW 2017 Showcases at Mazda Studio at Empire: Rick Ross, Yo Gotti, Talib Kweli, JoJo and More

VIBE, SPIN and Stereogum (in conjunction with Mazda) have united to celebrate artistry and innovation in music and technology at the 2017 SXSW conference in Austin, Texas. The music brands will team up to take over the city’s stalwart Empire Control Room and Garage (606 E. 7th St.) for a heavily stacked series of day parties and official nighttime showcases on the Empire Garage Stage.

VIBE will present an inspired and wide-ranging mix of artists across its series of curated showcases on Thursday, March 16, highlighted by a special collaboration with Epic Records for a blockbuster Thursday night showcase. Headlined by the one-two punch of hip-hop heavyweights Rick Ross and Yo Gotti, the show will also feature heavily buzzed emerging acts including the Andre 3000-endorsed Divine Council, South Carolina upstart Nick Grant, Lil Yachty protégée Kodie Shane and “Pull Up” hit-maker, Swift. Special surprise guest artists are also expected.

Thursday, March 16, 7:00 p.m to 2:00 a.m.

Earlier in the day, VIBE will get the afternoon started with a power-packed daytime showcase including legendary rapper Talib Kweli performing with a full band, pop/R&B powerhouse JoJo, acclaimed Roc Nation rapper Rapsody, and emerging “Frustrated” singer R.LUM.R.

Thursday, March 16, 12:00 pm. to 5:00 p.m.

SPIN and Stereogum will also present showcases on the Empire Garage Stage including sets from Danny Brown, DJ Esco, Lil Yachty, Bibi Bourelly, Sleigh Bells, Mastodon, and many more. Meanwhile, the Control Room will host a series of official SXSW evening showcases for Neon Gold, Kitsune, Zero Fatigue, and JuiceLand Radio.

In addition, Mazda is set to unveil an opportunity to discover and explore Mazda’s design, technology and artistry first-hand through interactive installations with designers and brand experts who will host new activities each day.

See below for the complete schedule of SPIN, VIBE, and Stereogum events happening at the Mazda Studio at Empire during SXSW 2017, March 13-17.  

RSVP is open now at MazdaStudio.com.

Mazda Studio at Empire Schedule (March 13-17)

Presented by SPIN, Stereogum and VIBE



Heard’s 7th Annual Music Tech Mashup

11:30 Robert Glasper with Bilal, Terrace Martin, Christian Scott, Taylor McFerrin, Derrick Hodge, and Marcus Gilmore 10:00 Jacob Banks
7:00-10:00 Special Guest Local Artists


SPIN Day Party
4:00 Lil Yachty
3:00 The Drums
2:00 Sofi Tukker
1:00 Kweku Collins

Stereogum Evening Showcase
1:00 Sleigh Bells
12:00 Real Estate
11:00 Girlpool
10:00 Julie Byrne
9:00 Hurray for the Riff Raff
8:00 Mothers


Stereogum Day Party
4:00 The New Pornographers
3:00 Jamila Woods
2:00 Hand Habits
1:00 Tkay Maidza

SPIN Evening Showcase
1:00 Danny Brown
12:00 DJ Esco
11:00 Bibi Bourelly
10:00 Japanese Breakfast
9:00 Hippo Campus
8:00 Allison Crutchfield


VIBE Day Party
4:00 Talib Kweli with Live Band
3:00 JoJo
2:00 Rapsody
1:00 R.LUM.R

VIBE Presents Epic Records Evening Showcase
12:35 Rick Ross
11:55 Yo Gotti
11:15 Special Guest
10:30 Kent Jones
9:50 Divine Council
9:10 Nick Grant
8:35 Kodie Shane
8:00 Swift


SPIN Day Party
4:00 Kelela
3:00 Saba
2:00 Vagabon
1:00 Diet Cig

SPIN Evening Showcase
1:00 Show Me the Body
12:00 Mastodon
11:00 Beach Slang
10:00 Chastity Belt
9:00 Potty Mouth
8:00 The Regrettes


12:30 Cut Chemist Presents Tunnel Vision
11:30 Techno Self (Deantoni Parks)
10:45 Mr. Lif
9:45 Special Guest
9:00 Open Mike Eagle
8:15 Mobley

JuiceLand Radio Showcase
12:30 Daedelus
11:15 Octopus Project
10:00 Anna Wise
9:15 Eliot Lipp
8:30 Iman Omari
7:45 Capyac

Neon Gold Showcase
1:00 Bearson
12:30 Youngr
11:30 James Hersey
10:30 The Japanese House
9:30 Matt Maeson
8:30 Tei Shi
7:45 Flint Eastwood
7:30 Friendly Greg

Kitsuné Showcase
1:00 Tasha the Amazon
12:25 Sammus
11:15 Pell
10:40 Topaz Jones
10:05 Trapo
9:30 Rome Castille
8:00 oddCouple

Zero Fatigue Showcase
12:40 Smino
11:50 Monte Booker
11:00 Jean Deaux
10:10 Jay2
9:20 Via Rosa
8:30 Bari

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D'Angelo And Maxwell Were Originally Scheduled For A 'Verzuz' Battle

It's no secret. Swizz Beatz and Timbaland have been working hard to pair up some of hip-hop and R&B's biggest stars for their Verzuz celebratory battles. To date, the duo has successfully hosted 24 of these events on Instagram Live and their streaming partner, Apple Music. Now, what you rarely hear about are the matches that could have been. In a live conversation following D'Angelo's damn-near-solo set—that many R&B lovers didn't know they needed—Swizz Beatz and Timbaland revealed how the soulful crooner was originally scheduled to take part in Verzuz alongside fellow "neo-soul" singer Maxwell.

"I'm not gonna lie. That sh*t took very long. Let's give people the story," starts Swizz. "What was supposed to happen was D'Angelo versus Maxwell on Valentine's Day. That didn't work out, but the fact that D'Angelo was still ready to go and still motivated, we had to celebrate him— matter who was on stage with him. We had to celebrate that king because, as you can see, those songs that he played tonight, man, that's real music."

He continues: "This is a celebrational stage and we couldn't play around with him. We had to let him get his garden because he showed up and showed out. That man pulled up to Verzuz three hours early. D'Angelo was the earliest person in Verzuz history tonight so don't get him showing up [at] the time he did mixed up with the pre-show which was by DJ Scratch."

Message received, but could you imagine how many more ladies would've gotten their lives on that night of love? Can you imagine the attempted falsetto singing done by viewers on that special and rare night? It would've been nice to see D'Angelo and Maxwell on the same bill, that's for sure.

Watch Swizz and Timbo talk about the match that could have been while clearing the air about D'Angelo's start-time at around the 4-minute and 20-second mark of the video below.


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Rapper Bobby Shmurda poses backstage at Power 105.1's Powerhouse 2014 at Barclays Center of Brooklyn on October 30, 2014 in New York City.
Photo by Brad Barket/Getty Images for Power 105.1

Bobby Shmurda Returns Home After Serving 6 Years In Prison

After serving 6 years, Bobby Shmurda is finally out. The rapper, born Ackquille Pollard, was granted a conditional release from the New York state prison, Clinton Correctional Facility, on Tuesday morning (Feb. 23) and will serve the remainder of his 7-year sentence on parole. According to reports, Shmurda “will be under community supervision in Kings County until he completes his sentence on February 23, 2026.”

In true celebrity fashion, Shmurda was brought home in a private jet this morning. Earlier this week, Migos' Quavo told Billboard that he would do the honor of picking him up upon Bobby's release. "I'm going to get my guy. I'm personally gonna go pick up Bobby Shmurda. I'm bout to go get him. I'm gonna let him show you how I'm gonna pick him up, yessir. It's gonna be big."

And that he did.


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In December 2014, Shmurda was arrested at New York City's Quad Studios and was charged with conspiracy to murder, criminal possession of a weapon, criminally using drug paraphernalia, and reckless endangerment follow a two-year probe by the New York Police Department. In 2016, the former Epic Records signee and his childhood friend Rowdy Rebel accepted a plea deal and were sentenced to 7 years in prison.

“They kind of did it dirty at the end of the day,” Bobby explained in a phone interview with VIBE back in 2016. “They had offered me five (years) but then they said if I take the seven, then I’ll be taking it so that they could give Rowdy seven because they were going to offer him 12. I didn’t want my bro to do 12 years because at the end of the day, we didn’t really do nothing, but they playing dirty. So I’m going to take one for the bro.”

Now that Bobby is out, he'll be spending time with family and friends and getting his head back into creating new music. Watch his FaceTime call with his mother, Leslie, down below.

Welcome back, Bobby.

Bobby Shmurda on facetime with his mom after being released from prison pic.twitter.com/YvdaBzo1Y4

— Bobby Shmurda Updates (@bodboybobby) February 23, 2021

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Fred The Godson attends the Rhymes Over Beats Hip Hop Launch at The Griffin on March 31, 2014 in New York City.
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Fat Joe, Jim Jones and Bronx Community Celebrate Fred The Godson's Street Naming On His Birthday

Today (Feb. 22), the great MC, Fred The Godson, was honored posthumously with a street naming by his Bronx community and hip-hop industry comrades. Among the dozens of those that showed love to the rapper that passed away in April 2020 due to COVID-19 were BX native Fat Joe and Harlem repper Jim Jones. The street's South Bronx location of Leggett avenue and Kelly street will now also be called Fredrick "Fred The Godson" Thomas Way.

While snow fell heavily, the crowd of supporters and the organizers stood strong and watched as the sign was unveiled to cheers of joy. The Fred The Godson Foundation worked hard to make this day happen on what would have been Fred's 36th birthday. "Shortly after Fred’s passing, the Fred The Godson Foundation was created to carry on his legacy for his children and family, and the commitment to his dreams for the Bronx," says the foundation's mission statement. "The mission is to inspire, empower and nourish individuals, children and families in underserved communities, starting with Fred’s birthplace. The foundation will foster community unity through the common pursuit of wellness, prosperity, and opportunity."


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Known for having one of the most celebrated flows that included a barrage of double entendres and metaphors that were rarely matched, Fred was a respected MC with enormous skills that were able to get him featured on the famed 2011 XXL 'Freshman' class magazine cover along with Meek Mill, Mac Miller (RIP) and Kendrick Lamar. Jim Jones had some heartfelt words for the one named 'Gordo' at the ceremony, "Fred inspired me to do this music, a lot all over again. There was a time I really didn't want to do no music...and Fred would say, 'Nah, you gotta get in that booth Capo.'"


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The Thomas family announced thank you's and love to Councilmember Rafael Salamanca Jr. of District 17 in the South Bronx, Bronx Borough President Ruban Diaz, NYPD's 41st Precinct, and the Bronx community for helping make the Frederick “Fred the Godson” Thomas Way street co-naming possible.

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Much respect to the legacy of the husband and father, Fred The Godson.


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