Bavu Blakes, with VG Skillz

Austin is not exactly a hip-hop mecca. In fact, if it weren't for Bavu Blakes and a few of his folks, it would be a hip-hop nothin'. Not to harsh on a great city, but that's the fact -- Austin's got the slacker country scene on lock and Houston's got the hard-core rap stars. But Austinite Blakes is neither slacker country nor hard-core rap. He's a lyricist with heart and skill and a knack for making any stage he steps on the center of the hip-hop universe. On his last trip to Houston he brought along a crew of B-boys to breakdance on stage while he won over a full house eager to see headliners De La Soul. While De La picked sides and yelled about whose portion of the crowd was the liveliest, Bavu wrecked the stage with straight skills. A lot of emcees chatter on about taking hip-hop back to its essence, but this cat really delivers. Also on the bill is local rapper V.G. Skillz -- and V.G. ain't no punk. Like the K-Otix, he just returned from a short tour of Europe, where he showed that part of the world that there's more to Houston than Scarface.

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