I've been procrastinating about telling this story for a minute, but now that SXSW is coming up and "Oxymoron" is in heavy rotation, it feels like now or never. So without further ado, here's the "True Blogger Story" of the time ScHoolboy Q got arrested at my SXSW show.
Let's start from the beginning. Way back in 2011 major corporations hadn't really taken over SXSW and it was still possible for a humble rap site to put on a dope show. DJBooth joined forces with the good folks at 2Dope and Last Rights, and between us we managed to put together a line up that would prove to be impressively prophetic. I mean, just look at this shit. We're talking a pre-"Section 80" Kendrick Lamar, a pre-"The Heist" Macklemore & Ryan Lewis and a pre-Def Jam signing Big K.R.I.T. Some people might claim they supported one of those guys before they blew, but who else is on record that early with all three? Come on now son.
Anyway...for some reason every year at SXSW everyone expect bloggers to suddenly become veteran promoters, but really, everything I know about running a show comes from sink or swim experiences, and that first year it was hard not to drown. Have you ever tried to get 18 rappers to show up to something on time? You're not enjoying a minute of the show, you're only having a series of small heart attacks because these people are mad they can't get in, this artist is late, this DJ's cable doesn't work with that mixer, etc. etc. etc.
So by the time TDE shows up - Kendrick, ScHoolboy, Jay Rock, Ab-Soul* and their manager Dave Free - I'm thoroughly stressed. I get them set up in the back, make sure they know they're on next after Tanya Morgan, and then forgot about them while I make sure Freeway gets there soon. As Donwill and Von Pea's set ends the only thing on my mind is getting TDE on stage and then going outside to grab Free when a right hook (I think thrown by Jay Rock) goes flying over my head.
It was one of those moments when time seems to slow down and your brain goes into hyperdrive. In what felt like minutes, but must have been only a second or two, I process that TDE is throwing down with the venue's bouncer, and I find myself face to face with Kendrick. For a moment I feel this impulse to protect him - I really didn't need a future rap legend hit in the head with a bottle on my watch - but Kendrick was almost unnaturally calm. In the midst of the insanity he's casually leaning against the wall saying, "I'm good man, I'm good."
The fight's momentum begins to carry it outside, with Kendrick calmly trailing it, and as soon as it gets past the door my mind immediately begins running on damage control mode; the show must go on and all that. But I found out shortly after that the bouncer had decided it would be a good time to show how tough he was and make the TDE guys stop smoking weed backstage, that didn't go over well (shades of Action Bronson in 2014), and Q had eventually been arrested for marijuana possession under that time honored "we came all the way over here, we might as well arrest someone for something" principle of policing.
Afterwards, my main concern was that TDE knew we had nothing to do with the bouncer - he was on his own rogue commando shit - that was all good, and as time went by the event faded into history, although it has a way of coming up again and again. Every time Kendrick or ScHoolboy would reach a new height my brain would flash back to that fight, and in doing some research for my "Oxymoron" review, I realized Q's version of events were on his Wikipedia page:
"I got sent to jail for some weed. That was all bad. And I was the one that broke up the fight. And then my manager Dave he thought he was Tupac Shakur, 'Don't touch my artist! Don't touch my artist! Don't touch my artist!' I'm cool. I'm his artist. I'm like whatever. I'm straight then he kept going crazy. My ass went to the pen... Yeah, I got away and then everybody walked out like Tupac in MGM. Police was like 'Aww, there they go'. Of course I'm the only one with all the weed."
And then when I randomly found myself at dinner with TDE president Punch the other week, I introduced myself with "I'm Nathan Slavik from DJBooth, that was my SXSW show Q got arrested at." Punch responded by saying that he and Q were actually just talking about that day in Austin - after three years the charge will finally be cleared from his record. So the fight may be over, but it's (very small) legacy lives on, and I played a very small part in that very small legacy. In fact, in I'm willing to bet a lot of the other people involved - Shake, Meka, Joe, Numonics, etc. - and those who saw it have their own version of events, I'd love to hear them too. I smell a "30 for 30" doc in the making.
So that's the time that ScHoolboy Q got arrested at my SXSW show. Until next time, this has been another "True Blogger Story." Hope you enjoyed.
* To be completely honest, I don't actually remember Ab-Soul being there for some reason, but he must have been. I can barely remember what I had for lunch yesterday, so take my memories for what they're worth.
UPDATE: Meka from 2DopeBoyz came through with his version of events. Fuck yeah then.
By Nathan S, the managing editor of DJBooth and a hip-hop writer. His beard is awesome. This is his Twitter.