Justin Durant is a linebacker for the Dallas Cowboys. He’s also a massive music fan with sharp taste. We met up in Austin for the South By Southwest Music festival Friday with loose plans to catch bands and shoot some video. I asked him ahead of his flight to Texas from his home in New Orleans to text me his must-see acts.
The top of his list: Kalela, Schoolboy Q, Phantogram.
Kalela was only Washington Post pop critic Chris Richards’ No. 1 overall seed coming out of South By. Schoolboy Q is a one-man defibrillator to gangsta rap, and Phantogram’s bold and beautiful new album, Voices, has critics dumping praise.
It’s important to point out how low key and humble Durant is. I expected a buoyant extrovert with a marketing agenda, but I instead met an even-keeled and deeply passionate music nerd. There was a point where Durant and the producers spent almost an hour off camera playing fantasy rap album—how we’d budget guest performers and collaborators if a major label hired us to record a debut streets masterpiece.
Our director Stephen Whiting suggested calling this thing “On the Beat with JD” since Durant’s 48 hours in Austin were about finding new favorites. Durant was down, but suggested we drop the “The.” This is a new Daily Dot music segment we’ll be revisiting again. Welcome to “On Beat with Justin Durant,” South By 2014 edition.