AUSTIN — Lil Wayne was the headliner of one of the most anticipated concerts at this year’s SXSW, which came in the wake of last week’s announcement of his partnership with Mountain Dew. “DEWeezy” posters splattered across the streets of Austin, Texas since Monday helped garner a line of Weezy fans two blocks long on the night of the concert.
Last week, Mountain Dew informally announced their partnership with the rapper. Wayne and Mountain Dew are teaming up for a specialized program, comprising advertising through out print, TV and digital landscapes. Both also plan to build skate parks around the U.S., starting with Wayne’s hometown of New Orleans.
As fans were ushered into Austin Music Hall at around 9 p.m. on Thursday night, whispers of Nicki Minaj and Drake appearances abounded in the VIP section of the venue. Sadly, they were quickly silenced by a representative from Lil Wayne’s camp, who said Drake is preparing for his European tour, while Minaj is busy with her own ventures.
Representatives from Mountain Dew circled around tables of sipping journos from Spin, Forbes, Grantland, Complex and more. A close source told Billboard that a deal with Nicki Minaj and a major brand is imminent, rumored to be as big as the DEWeezy campaign.
Before Weezy hit the stage, Cortez Bryant, co-CEO of Wayne’s management company the Blueprint Group, played host, introducing opening acts, G-Eazy, Kevin Gates, Chris Richardson, Lil Chuckee and new YMCMB signing Mystikal.
Mystikal made his first concert appearance alongside the Young Money/Cash Money crew since being announced as a member of the team in November. In high spirits, the MC won over the crowd, performing hits like “Shake It Fast” and dancing throughout his set, one time busting out moves from Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” dance number.¨At around 12:15 a.m., Weezy skateboarded out onto the stage while performing “I’m Goin In.” Three songs in and Weezy took a few minutes to have a one-on-one with his fans.
“If you get anything from me, it’s to find your name and do you because, ladies and gentlemen, that’s what I do,” Lil Wayne said. While holding up a bottle of Mountain Dew, Weezy told his fans that the night’s words of wisdom had been for a Mountain Dew commercial, which was taped on the spot.
Lil Wayne continued to dance around the stage, shirtless, performing a handful of his hits, from “A Milli” to “How to Love.” Throughout his set, Weezy brought out Young Money members Mack Maine, Birdman, Shanell and Bow Wow. Most of the appearances weren’t a surprise, as the DEWeezy launch concert was a billed YMCMB showcase.
Lil Weezy closed the night with “6 Foot 7 Foot,” bringing out featured guest Cory Gunz. In true Weezy form, Mountain Dew skateboarders, including Paul Rodriguez, joined the rapper onstage before the curtains fell.
And after the show, Wayne headed to a skatepark at 4 a.m. and didn’t get back until 11 a.m., according to Derek Jackson of Glu Agency.