Inside Common’s SXSW party with Porsche and The FADER

Inside Common’s SXSW party with Porsche and The FADER


Common at Porsche X FADER at SXSW 2023.


 

It’s about 10 minutes before the legendary artist Common is set to perform at this year’s Porsche Full Service event at South by Southwest, and the room is bumping. There’s a mass of people surrounding the stage, as other attendees hang back a little further, drinks in hand, standing maybe a little too casually next to the sleek, brand-new electric Macan out on the floor

There, Kenneth Richardson and Nicholas Navarro are taking everything in, swapping memories about FADER Forts of the past like notches on their belts. They’d attended those showcases for more than a decade, and they remember catching Cardi B’s set in 2017, months before the release of “Bodak Yellow” turned her into a household name. Then there was 2016, when The FADER Fort capped off their weekend lineup with a surprise performance from Drake. And in 2014, they caught SZA, well before the debut of her breakthrough album, Ctrl, along with a few other memorable acts. “Remember that was the year we saw Disclosure and Sam Smith?” says Navarro. “They blew up here.”

“They always blow up at The FADER,” Richardson says.

Inside Common’s SXSW party with Porsche and The FADER


DJ Diamond Kuts at Porsche X FADER at SXSW 2024.


 

That spirit is still alive tonight, with new opportunities to discover up-and-coming artists, or finally catch an iconic act. Already, the crowd seems impressed by Tina Dunham, better known as the Philadelphia-born DJ, Diamond Kuts.

This year, the scene feels more intimate. As Richardson and Navarro bob their heads along to Diamond Kuts’ set, they agree that it feels like they’re here to witness something special. For the second year in a row, The FADER teamed up with Porsche Cars North America, Inc. (PCNA), this time as part of Porsche’s immersive Full Service exhibit in Brazos Hall.

It’s a fully interactive space, designed to connect the past and the future of Porsche, weaving together elements of their history as a legacy luxury brand and highlighting their evolution as they drive into the future with their all-electric models, the Macan and Taycan. A tour that stimulates all of the senses, the Full Service activation begins before guests even set foot inside, with the exterior of Brazos Hall repainted to look like a full-service gas station that’s been updated to service all-electric vehicles.

Inside Common’s SXSW party with Porsche and The FADER


Porsche 356


 

During the day, guests entered through the Pit Stop, painted in a vibrant Riviera Blue, before walking through the “carwash,” and stepping out into the Porsche Motel, where the classic Porsche 356 was parked. With five motel doors, guests entertained themselves throughout the night by opening each one, finding sensory surprises like Porsche air fresheners, swatches of Porsche interiors, and lollipops that referenced the brand’s most famous colors, like “Irish Green Lime,” and “Ruby Red Guava.” Elsewhere on the floor was “Ferry’s Garage,” to showcase where the brand first began with founder Ferdinand “Ferry” Porsche, and highlight elements of their design and lifestyle brands by incorporating their e-bike and their Porsche luggage stacked onto the Taycan’s roof rack.

“It’s all meant to encapsulate where we started while also speaking to the future of Porsche,” says Ayesha Coker, Vice President of Marketing for PCNA. “It’s these little details of the exhibit that bring our past into the present, with references to our founder throughout the space to the U.S. debut of the new all-electric Macan and Taycan. Tying that to mainstream culture with a partner like The FADER amplifies the experience for a new community.”

As the Austin night cooled down, the party at Brazos Hall only kept heating up. Upstairs, guests enjoyed the rooftop lounge, where they could cozy up under the heat lamps while watching a livestream of the set. Downstairs, DJ Diamond Kuts was on a mission: “I’m here to get everyone hype,” she said before her set.

Inside Common’s SXSW party with Porsche and The FADER


DJ Diamond Kuts at Porsche X FADER at SXSW 2024.


 

This was far from her first rodeo. Over the years, the DJ has spun for President Obama, onstage at the Grammy’s during last year’s Salute to 50 Years of Hip-Hop, and made multiple trips from her home base in Philly to perform for The FADER. So when they offered her the chance to be on the lineup with Common this year, she didn’t even need to question whether she’d say yes. “I just said, ‘Where do I need to be?’”

Diamond Kuts doesn’t plan out her sets, she takes the temperature of the room and spins accordingly, getting a feel for that particular audience and finding out what makes them move. Knowing that Common will be drawing a huge crowd makes her job a little easier, she says, because she can get a feel of the kind of music they might be expecting to hear. Still, she’ll always put her own twist on it.

Throughout her set, it was clear that Diamond Kuts was locked in. Those closest to the stage had their hands up, getting energized as she transitioned from 90s and 2000s rap and hip-hop bangers like Biggie’s “Mo’ Money Mo’ Problems,” and Ludacris’ “Move Bitch,” before taking it into R&B and pop by mixing in Beyoncé’s “Get Me Bodied.” Even those moving around the interactive space, taking in the installations might not have realized it, but she had them bobbing along to each new song. By the time it was ready for her to pass the booth over to 9th Wonder and Common, the crowd was electric.

Inside Common’s SXSW party with Porsche and The FADER


Common at Porsche X FADER at SXSW 2024.


 

The space around them told a story of the past meeting the present, making Common the perfect choice to headline the night. “He’s a true lyricist,” said Coker. “He represents himself in such a positive and uplifting way. He knows how to tell a story, and that’s what we wanted to do with our event.”

Inside Common’s SXSW party with Porsche and The FADER


Ayesha Coker and Common at Porsche X FADER at SXSW 2024.


 

Ahead of the show, the artist asked the organizers to bring the crowd control barriers as close to the stage as possible. He was there to throw a party, and he wanted as little standing in his way as possible.

Inside Common’s SXSW party with Porsche and The FADER


Common at Porsche X FADER at SXSW 2024.


 

“My people from Texas!” shouted Common, making his way onto the stage as a wave of cellphones went up, ready to capture the moment. Showcasing the power of FADER to pull together a varied crowd, he listed off the state’s biggest cities, getting wild applause for Austin, before getting cheers from New York, Los Angeles, and, of course, his own native city of Chicago. Effortlessly, he brought everyone together within seconds, perfectly segueing into his first song, “The Corner”: “If there’s one thing about where we all originated when it comes to this hip-hop thing,” he told the room. “We all started on the corners.”

Inside Common’s SXSW party with Porsche and The FADER


9th Wonder at Porsche X FADER at SXSW 2024.


 

Inside Common’s SXSW party with Porsche and The FADER


Common at Porsche X FADER at SXSW 2024.


 

Constantly jumping around, and deftly maneuvering around a pristine Macan Turbo Electric on the stage, Common made sure that no section of the crowd went unnoticed. Fans rapped along to every word, listening each time he asked them to put their fists up. It was clear that he was feeding off of that energy when the artist decided to invite someone from the audience to join him on stage.

Inside Common’s SXSW party with Porsche and The FADER


Rachel and Common at Porsche X FADER at SXSW 2024.


 

As longtime fan Rachel Ezeh joined him from the front row, the room felt supercharged. Known for his freestyling prowess, the artist launched into an unforgettable marathon of rhymes, wrapping in references to Rachel, the FADER, Porsche, his past visits to Austin, and even his recent Apple TV+ show, Silo. After the show, Ezeh was still beaming in disbelief. She’d waited for hours in the FADER line to be close to the stage, but never expected to get pulled up. “I’ve been a fan for so long,” she said. “My brothers are all fans. They’re gonna flip out when I tell them.” She’s remained a loyal listener for more than a decade because, in her words, “Common never compromises real hip-hop.”

Inside Common’s SXSW party with Porsche and The FADER


9th Wonder and Common at Porsche X FADER at SXSW 2024.


 

It’s true, the artist used the latter half of his set to take the audience on a journey through his career and through hip-hop’s history. Perhaps taking inspiration from Porsche’s road trip-inspired activation, Common ended the night on a high, incorporating a tribute to the late J Dilla, and going from his hit 1994 track “I Used to Love H.E.R.” to the chorus of Biz Markie’s “Just A Friend,” and introducing his song “The Light,” (his first to chart on the Billboard Hot 100 in 2000), as a tribute to International Women’s Day.

As he capped off the night, he ended on a triumphant note, making sure that the first weekend of SXSW started on a high: “Let’s celebrate life, y’all. Let’s celebrate good times.”

Inside Common’s SXSW party with Porsche and The FADER


Common at Porsche X FADER at SXSW 2024.


 

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