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Oops, Miley Cyrus Was the Best Rapper Alive Last Night

Sometimes Miley Cyrus shows up at Austin's premier festival of culture and music because Miley Cyrus is cool as hell and that's just what she does.

Miley Cyrus / Photos by Ryan Muir, courtesy of Fader Fort presented by Converse

At this point, the glut of incredibly sweet shit that may or may not be real that you most likely will not get a chance to be a part of at SXSW is almost a standalone joke. If every secret Drake show that was rumored to happen in Austin actually happened, he'd probably have to rename his album Views From Sixth Street. But, hey, sometimes those rumors are real, and sometimes Miley Cyrus shows up at Austin's premier festival of culture and music because Miley Cyrus is cool as hell and that's just what she does.


So yes, it was fairly preordained that Mike Will Made-It was going to bring out some big guns for his headlining Fader Fort set in Austin last night. It was obvious that he would bring along Two-9, who were more explosive and tighter onstage than I'd ever seen them. It was self-evident that Mike Will's current Trojan horse hitmakers Rae Sremmurd would be leaping around the stage like excitable turn up dolls. It was a pleasant if not totally crazy surprise that Riff Raff showed up to do his new song with Mike Will, “Choppin' Blades.” And it was a blessing that Future, Mike Will's most reliable collaborator, could come and basically do a whole set of his more overlooked hits, including “Bugatti,” “Shit,” and “Move That Dope.”

Actually, let's hold this thought because, damn, I'd like to reflect on how great Future is for a moment. He was in peak form last night: If the last year or so has seemed to reflect a fairly troubled version of Future Hendrix to the world, a version that seemed to be bracing for his long, slow decline from the spotlight as his songs failed to generate the buzz they deserved, it was not evident onstage. Future seemed thrilled to be accompanying his frequent musical partner, and it was awesome to realize the sheer volume of hits the two have put together. Late in the set, he left the stage briefly, only to return to perform an old, pre-album hit, “Itchin'.” I was ecstatic. But the peak of his performance was “Fuck Up Some Commas,” a song that has slowly been building momentum and, in the last few days, has been everywhere. As much as SXSW is about getting a finger on the pulse of music through who is delivering the hottest performances, its DJ sets are also a great way to gauge what songs have incipient, party-starting buzz right now. Last year, it was all Young Thug. This year, I keep hearing “Fuck Up Some Commas,” a sign that people are rightfully coming around to Future's excellent and exciting recent work. “Fuck Up Some Commas” was a moment of pure, torrential ecstasy. But it was hardly preparation for what came next.


Miley Cyrus is one of the world's biggest pop stars, but the last two years have seen her transition into something far more interesting and exciting: a legitimately cool pop star. For all the hand-wringing about Miley's place in culture and the significance of her co-opting hip-hop aesthetics, it's abundantly clear that her and Mike Will's appreciation for each other is real and mutual. And that's cool because, as fun as it is to see Rae Sremmurd bouncing along onstage, at the end of the day, a Rae Sremmurd show might just be considered a rap show. But a Rae Sremmurd show is right in the crosshairs of our culture right now, and Miley Cyrus's enthusiasm for joining into it, for just being a part of it, is proof of that. Miley makes it a cultural event. So yes, Miley came out and ripped through “23” and people were literally running in circles in the audience yelling in excitement. And she sang “We Can't Stop” to a rapturous crowd that sang along and pushed to try to get closer.

The highlight, though, was watching her fill in Nicki Minaj's parts on the next hit on the Rae Sremmurd assembly line, “Throw Sum Mo,” a strip club anthem that's so stupidly fun it would probably feel wrong and too serious to actually play it in a strip club. It was absurdly wild to party to, and it was also the essence of what a big event that gathers together hundreds of artists in a tiny urban radius should offer: a sense that the turn up transcended individual egos for the greater cause of having a ridiculously good time. Miley danced around onstage, placing the spotlight on Rae Sremmurd and Mike Will, and the all-around excitement made the central point clear: Music, especially this music, is fun as fuck to party to.








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