A backbone provides the structure necessary for a body to grow, a pillar the support that a building needs to stand. Calling a white emcee from Iowa the backbone of the scene is perhaps too bold a statement but Adam Protextor has undoubtedly made himself a pillar of the Austin hip hop community. With his first major festival appearance at this weekend’s Sound on Sound Fest, he is well on his way to becoming the backbone. Protextor is known equally for his music, event organizing, and as the face of the weekly Austin Mic Exchange.
You can find him every Wednesday hosting the event at Spiderhouse Ballroom. AMX is an open performance space for Austin rappers, and performances are selected on a first come, first serve basis – I have seen the best and worst of Austin hip hop on that stage. He founded the event four years ago and has given countless emcees a stage and a voice.
Protextor’s music is constantly evolving too – Adam does not seem content to make the same songs over and over again. His earlier music sounds like industrial rap, experimental in a very Marilyn Manson kind of way. Nowadays he makes chill groovy rap you could play at home when hanging out with all of your friends. P-Tek’s music is fun, light and engaging – the perfect daytime mix for Sound on Sound. It blends pop sensibility, his quick wit, and community building prowess. It feels amazing to have an Austin based rapper get some recognition, playing on the same stage as Run the Jewels and Aesop Rock. He will be taking the Forest Stage at 2:20 Friday for a set with Suicide Camp Death Squad and beat-boxer extraordinaire Ben McNasty Buck.
P-Tek was one of the driving forces behind the Weird City Hip Hop Festival, Austin’s first rap festival. The plan behind the festival was to showcase local talent alongside headliners who would draw in a huge crowd. The Weird City’s original lineup boasted Danny Brown, Aesop Rock, Jay Electronia and Freddie Gibbs… alas a hundred things went wrong with the event and it had to be rescheduled with a different lineup. I’m sure it will not be the last festival Adam promotes.
Aside from Sound on Sound P-Tek has a music video in the works with Austin auteur John Valley – whom he attended the University of Iowa with. With the unparalleled quality of Valley’s videos I expect it will tackle issues beyond the scope of P-Tek’s previous videos.
Without further adieu, here are my top three tracks.
“Everything Don’t Stop”
‘Everything Don’t Stop’ is a feel good song about overcoming stress and depression. There’s some excellent wordplay and a key rich beat that warms the soul. His flow at the song’s climax showcase Protextor’s ability to mix intricate flows with social commentary. Also, the hook will get stuck in your head.
Off his new album ‘Shift’, ‘The Help’ is about the struggles facing artists working in the service industry. One of the most magical things about Austin is that virtually every waiter or cashier you meet is an incredible musician, this track captures both the triumphs and tribulations of that phenomenon. It boasts a beat by Ruler Why and instrumentals provided by Mother Falcon members guesthouse and Matt Puckett, who I should mention, has previously won a Grammy.
“This Bridge Is Burning For You”
Before moving to Austin, P-Tek honed himself in the Iowa rap scene. The Midwest has some of the best hip hop in the country, and one of his first opportunities was opening up for Doomtree. It was then that he attracted the attention of Dessa, one of the top ten people I love to hear on vocals, and she blesses this song like a priestess. The track sounds good enough to be a cut from one of Doomtree’s records.
Speaking of dope female rappers – one of my favorite artists, Anya, will be taking the Forest Stage Saturday at 1:30. If you enjoy thoughtful and inspiring lyricism set atop soulful beats, look no further. Peep three of my favorite Anya tracks and learn more about her here.