Music Speaker Profile: Rab Bakari

Written by Rory Burbeck | March 3, 2014

SXSW 2014 Music Speaker: Rab Bakari

Very briefly, what do you do and what is your session about?

I worked for Universal Music Group for 13 years as a Project Manager/Director of Premedia Services and Digital Workflow for all label groups under UMG in North America. I currently run a promotions, marketing and booking outfit called Mixerpot. Mixerpot concentrates on the modern music scene emerging from artists based in African nations and countries outside North America and Europe. My session is called Packed with Electronic Beats: Africa's Next Music Coming to America. We want to bring light to the new and innovative modern music emerging from various African nations. This music is becoming mainstream in several European countries. We want a in-depth discussion on how to duplicate that here in the USA.

How/why did you get started in the music industry?

I was born in New York City. My adolescence period was witness to the birth of the B-Boy and the whole sub-culture called Hip Hop. I was a direct participant and creator in New York Hip Hop Music via djaying, beat-making, digital sampling, vinyl LP collecting, rapping and true production/composition.

How many years have you attended/spoke at SXSW in the past? If this is your first time at SXSW, what are you expecting?

I first attended SXSW Austin in 1990 as a Hip Hop / Dance Music Producer participant. I did not return to SXSW as participant until 2009. My first panel/speaking engagement was 2013.

Best thing that’s happened in music in the last year?

The emergence and distinctive sound of the Anglophone, West African (Nigeria, Ghana) modern music scene.

Favorite new app/service/tech development in music?

iTunes Match service, SoundHound App; Algoriddim DJay 2 + Vjay iOS apps.

What’s the biggest issue facing the music business today? Can it be overcome?

Music executive cronyism at the label and corporate broadcast radio and television level. Yes it can be overcome through the power of internet crowd-funding.

What’s the last live show you saw that floored you?

Janelle Monae at AfroPunk Fest 2012 - NYC.

Favorite moment/weirdest thing you saw from a past SXSW?

Favorite? When the artist known as Prince did an impromptu showcase @ La Zona Rosa + adding the rap group A Tribe Called Quest to his showcase that night.

Weirdest? Too many things that ascribe to Austin's unofficial motto "Keep Austin Weird!"

What artist(s) are you most looking forward to seeing perform at SXSW 2014?

DJ/Producer Hunee.

Tacos or BBQ?

BBQ for SXSW! I rarely eat the meat of four-legged animals or the any type of poultry. The only time I do indulge is when the meat such as beef brisket or a turkey leg is slowly smoked to tenderness, central Texas style.

Hear Rab Bakari at the Packed With Electronic Beats: Africa's Next Music Coming to America session on Thursday, March 13th at 5pm in ACC Room 17B.

Photo courtesy of the speaker