Master P

  • biqhead/Wikimedia Commons
  • Master P

I haven’t been to the Fader Fort, which Fader magazine and a handful of corporate sponsors put on annually at SXSW, for a few years. Last time it took place in what seemed then like a relatively spacious outdoor area attached to a building with a couple of lounges and sponsor-branded interactive features. Now it takes up several acres of land just across I-35 from downtown Austin, and if you airlifted the whole site to Chicago it could easily work as a stand-alone festival. SXSW badges will help you get inside faster than the badgeless masses that line up by the hundreds to wait for a spot, but you still need to RSVP. The unofficial events orbiting SXSW are starting to eclipse the actual festival, and big time.

Yesterday I made my first visit to the Fader Fort to watch Trinidad James, the young Atlanta rapper who last year leveraged a viral YouTube hit, “All Gold Everything,” into a major label contract that allegedly runs to seven figures. James is a divisive character in some quarters of the rap world. He’s been called a novelty act, a symptom of the erosion of lyricism in rap music, and a throwback to the days of American minstrelsy, among other things. The people calling him these things are going to be bummed when he blows up this year.