By Chris Lane
By Jeff Balke
By Aaron Reiss
By Angelica Leicht
By Dianna Wray
By Aaron Reiss
By Camilo Smith
By Craig Malisow
Song was one of 60 Houston acts performing throughout the day on July 16, in 12 different locales near Bayou Place. Some spots, like the Aerial Theater and the Mercury Room, were ideal for gigs. Some, like The Hub and its next-door neighbor on Main, No tsu oH, weren't exactly built for bands, yet in these atypical settings, the live music experience took on an edgy luster. Further proof that rock and roll can happen anywhere, at any time.
Diversity was the main element in this year's showcase, which attracted 6,500 people from cities as far away as San Antonio and Lubbock. The turnout was the largest in the awards' 11-year history. From jazz to funk to hip-hop to metal, nearly every genre was represented by at least one act. Saxophonist David Caceres packed 'em in at the Mercury Room. R&B act Fo Sho played to a steady stream of watchers on Spy's outdoor patio. And South Park Mexican pulled a larger crowd at his 9 p.m. Aerial Theater performance than national headliners 8STOPS7. Who says homegrown talent is lacking?
Racking up five awards this year (plus one for the label he owns and operates, Dope House Records), South Park Mexican has asserted himself as Houston's most potent creative force. Nothing unexpected there. Some new winners include Drunken Thunder (Best Metal), Houston Jazz Trio (Best Jazz) and Scott Gertner's Skybar (Best Jazz Venue). Mostly, though, awards voters went with the known names and commodities. The Suspects, the Hollisters, Texas Johnny Brown, TKoH! and Norma Zenteno made their usual appearances at the tops of their respective lists. Newcomers the Groceries won Best New Act. Here's to their ascension.
And here's to next year and even more quirky and diverse acts. -- Anthony Mariani
Last year, if you would have told Carlos Coy (a.k.a. South Park Mexican) that he would become the latest rapper to break out of H-town, that his albums would become regional best-sellers, that his songs would get continuous radio and club airplay, and that he would win every HPMA 2000 category he was nominated for, he would probably tell you to shut the fuck up and pass the damn blunt already.
My, how things change.
It's true. SPM has made a clean sweep, marking the first time a rap artist has won awards for best local musician, songwriter, song and album (along with the standard best rap/hip-hop honor) in HPMA's 11 years. His label, Dope House, also snatched up an award for best local label. But these multiple wins are just latest things for the optimistic orator to celebrate. Following in the footsteps of Suave House Records and Lil' Troy's Short Stop Records, Coy recently inked a deal with Universal Music Group. The mega-label will distribute Dope House's forthcoming compilation, The Purity Album, as well as Coy's next two solo works.
But just like Ol' Dirty Bastard before him, Coy is for the chil'ren. Through his flava, Coy wants to show people of every race, every color, every creed, that if a burly vato from the scorching streets of Hillwood can make it, hell, it's open season for everyone. "The only way to ever fight hate, and be successful, is to fight hate with love," Coy says. "That's the only way. I just want the world to know that's what we do at Dope House, and that's why we're so successful, because we're not letting anybody pull us down. We don't listen to negative things. We just wish the people who say them well." And to think, this is coming from a guy who once asked all the radio stations that weren't playing his music to suck his dick. My oh my, how things change. -- C.D.L.
Critic's choice: Musician of the Year: South Park Mexican; Best Rap/Hip-hop: South Park Mexican; Songwriter of the Year: Jimmy "T-99" Nelson; Song of the Year: "Wanna Be a Baller," Lil' Troy; Album of the Year: Sweet Inspiration, The Hollisters; Best Local Label: Dope House
Countless rock star wanna-bes have told their buddies over a beer that if they could get an impromptu audition with some big label, they'd be shagging groupies in the back of the limo within a month. Trouble is, most of 'em would simply soil their trousers if given such an opportunity. When this scenario popped up in front Justin Furstenfeld of Blue October, who signed almost a year ago to really big label Universal Records in L.A., he nailed the sucker. "I was talking to [label chief] Doug Morris, and that was nerve-wracking enough. Then he says, 'Well, since we're going to be a team now, how about playing a few songs for me?' So then I'm suddenly in his office, sitting cross-legged on the floor with my shoes off, playing this old 1920s hollow-body he handed me, trying, like, not to break the thing."