Don Toliver Hits With the Focus of a Guided Missile to Close Out SXSW 2022

For two days at Stubb’s BBQ, some of the hottest names in contemporary rap and hip-hop made their presence felt at SXSW. Babyface Ray, Jasiah, Guapo, BillyRacxx and Sheck Wes all made dramatic appearances at RapTV’s Rolling Loud weekend showcase. But it was Saturday’s headliner Don Toliver — a Houston native still riding high on last year’s Life of a Don — who arguably did the most with his allotted time onstage.

If there was any criticism of the mini-festival, it’s that many of the performers seemed rushed, with artists just running through their songs. Toliver was aware of this and edited his set to include at least a portion of all the hits his fans wanted to hear. “Can’t Feel My Legs,” “After Party,” and “Lemonade” crackled with electricity and highlighted Toliver’s command of a stage.

While the rapper showed up at Stubb’s just as SXSW was winding down — and while there were some vague hints of exhaustion floating through the crowd on Red River — the audience, especially those squeezed into the front of the stage, rallied for his intense set. The bass hit with the force of a guided missile, an intensity that was countered by Toliver’s relaxed, chill delivery. He never pushed the crowd, but instead guided them, presiding over the last genuine party of SXSW 2022.

Additional reporting by Salihah Saadiq

Don Toliver, SXSW

Don Toliver onstage at Stubbs BBQ in Austin.

Salihah Saadiq for Rolling Stone