I spent some of my last hours in Austin for SXSW at the Fader Fort, as has become my custom. The event tends to produce unannounced special guests throughout the week, particularly on its closing night, although it downsized significantly this year, allegedly in an attempt to diminish the impossible expectation that they’d somehow one-up Drake’s appearance from last year. Still, there were a few surprises to be seen in 2017, such as the entire A$AP Mob (Rocky included) rolling through Wednesday evening.
On Saturday the wild card was superproducer Mike WiLL Made-It, who showed up between a casually electric Young M.A and a merely casual 2 Chainz to preview tracks from his imminent album Ransom 2, which had been heavily promoted with posters all over Austin last week. None of the many A-list stars on the album’s tracklist were there — though former A-list star Ma$e did emerge to perform a couple Bad Boy classics for some reason — so the actual performances were limited to Mike WiLL proteges like Eearz still waiting on their big break.
Thus, weirdly, the best parts of Mike WiLL’s appearance were the moments when he queued up a track from Ransom 2 and vibed out to it with his crew. He played “Gucci On My” with 21 Savage, YG, and Migos. He played the Pharrell-featuring “Ariges (YuGo).” He even played us a snippet of “Perfect Pint,” his collaboration with Rae Sremmurd, Gucci Mane, and Kendrick Lamar.
That last one was intriguing, but so far my favorite thing I’ve heard on the album (Rihanna excluded) is this other Rae Sremmurd track that I don’t remember hearing Saturday at Fader Fort. It’s called “Come Down,” and it finds the sing-rapping brothers teaming up with Chief Keef, another melodically inclined MC whose gruff Auto-Tuned hook mingles beautifully with Swae Lee’s high-register chirp. Check it out below.
Ransom 2 is out 3/24 on Eardruma/Interscope. Pre-order it here.