More than one row of attendees to Andy Mineo's SXSW 2016 performance seemed to know his lyrics as well as him.
On Wednesday, Mineo participated in a 12-act showcase at the Half Step bar in Austin, Texas. He was the only explicitly Christian rapper on the bill, which concluded with Tory Lanez, but Mineo had no trouble moving the crowd.
"The majority of the people at the front, I'd say more than 90 percent, were Reach Records fans already," rapper/songwriter Promise said. "You could tell because they knew the words, and there's apparel on."
"I was actually impressed at how much Reach supporters came out," Dru Bex, an artist signed to Toronto-based Role Model Records, said. "And honestly man, it makes all the difference because anybody watching who sees that, they're going to be, 'Who is this guy whose got all these people chanting his lyrics?'"
Six songs made up Mineo's set — "Never Land", "Say I Won't", "Lay Up", "Know That's Right", "Hear My Heart" and "You Can't Stop Me". After "Hear My Heart", he shared the heart behind his music.
"I think one of the things I feel most compelled to do in music is to bring truth and beauty to a space where there's a lot of craziness," Mineo said. "I understand there's times sometimes for music to party, but I think my calling, what I want to do, is bring beautiful music with style and substance.
"I want to remind people of their value. I want to remind people what they're supposed to be; what they were made to be. We're made to be a lot more than what we're living for right now. God has made us, he's designed us and he's given us purpose and value and beauty. I want to see everybody walking in that, so I want to make music that's going to encourage the soul and empower people to be who they were made to be."
On the final hook of "You Can't Stop Me", Mineo parted the crowd like the Red Sea, leaped off the stage and jumped around with his fans until the song ended.
Christian artists in attendance were impressed by Mineo's performance.
"He was dope, he was unashamed and everybody jumped," New York-based artist Angie Rose said. "I thought the stage was going to break, but it didn't."
"It was super dope to see a diverse group of people — non-believers, believers — in one area, and you got Andy spitting hard," Grand Prairie, Texas-based artist Street Hymns said. "He had the people literally just listening and feeling him while they're drinking their drinks, while they're chilling with their friends, having a good time. But in the midst of all that, it's dope to see Andy being out there, intentional, and not forsaking who he is and what he represents, which is 116."
Marco Guerrero, a DJ at 91.1 KSGR in Corpus Christi, Texas, said someone in front of him turned around and asked who Mineo was and, after finding him on the internet, started filming his performance with his phone.
"I think it's always interesting when a Christian is placed in this kind of setting," Shopé, another Role Model artist, said after the set. "I think Andy held his own as a dope performer, but also someone who stood for truth, specifically as a Christian. ... Right now, the crowd has sort of thinned away, so he did it in a way that even non-Christians were like, 'Wow, this is really dope.'"
Promise, who also praised Mineo, said he watched how people in the back of the crowd reacted to his performance throughout.
"A lot of people at this event listen to a certain type of music, which is the majority of the artists on this bill — ignorant, ratchet," Promise said, "so those people are here for that and that only. But they were still listening. They were taking in Andy. They might not have been turning up with him, but they were recognizing, 'Oh, this kid's nice. He's not really doing the ratchet thing, but he's nice.' And they can't discount that."
Well into the performance by the next artist at the showcase, Mineo was still taking pictures with fans.
Credits: David Daniels,Reporter,Rapzilla.com