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Hothouse Flowers

Groceries spoil in the heat, while the rest of Houston's music community blossoms

Of course, having pretty young thangs serve Saint Arnold during a Cory Morrow performance doesn't hurt either. -- C.D.L.

Critic's Pick: Cactus Music and Video

Best World Music
D.R.U.M.
D.R.U.M. lead man Alafia Gaidi had a bit of a case of nerves when he accepted the award for Best World Music this year. Oh sure, his group has won this damn thing a bunch of times before, but that was back in the days when we used to call the winners beforehand and tell them to show up at some Mexican restaurant on Richmond to pick up their award. This year, it was all pins-and-needles -- and he says it's the first time it has happened: "I think this is the first time in our 13 years of being together, and probably, in all the years that's we've been nominated -- that I actually had butterflies."

Wow, we did that? Damn, we must be getting more and more important every year!

But this is about D.R.U.M. and their latest win, which, according to Gaidi, couldn't have come at a better time. Gaidi confirms D.R.U.M. will finally release that long-awaited album they've been promising fans, as well as a live CD, in the coming months. They are also still breaking in their newest member, drummer and former band groupie Robert Smalls, who accepted the award along with Gaidi that night. "I used to pop up years ago," says Smalls. "But now, since it's official, it's enhanced what I do, and I love it." That's D.R.U.M. for ya, giving people unlimited amounts of creative strength since 1990. -- C.D.L.

Critic's Pick: Sound Patrol

Best Lounge DJ
DJ Sun

Remember when we said a couple of issues ago that DJ Sun should just pull a Cosby and not accept another HP Music Award, seeing as how he has received enough awards throughout the years to start up an awards ceremony of his own? Well, that didn't happen this year.

Sun graciously and unapologetically snapped up this nod for Best Lounge DJ. For Sun, more wins means more gigs and, to paraphrase a R. Kelly song, only the loot can make Sun happy right about now. "I just wanna say, to guys like yourself and other people who told me not to accept -- I need the money!" exclaims Sun. Most likely, he needs the money to get some studio time so he can compose new, original music for an album he wants to start working on. This could also mean the possibility of Sun moving to another category, like, let's say R&B or jazz, thereby giving the nominees in those slots a headache. But Sun wants everyone to know he's still a DJ, and it's a community he'll always be proud of. "In all seriousness," says Sun, "it's good to represent DJs. I'm all dedicated to it. I'm devoted to it. It's what I do with my life." By the way, you can still catch him on KPFT's Soular Grooves every Saturday night, which is now back in its original, three-hour form. -- C.D.L.

Critic's Pick: Lushus Brown

Best Rap/Hip-Hop
Studemont Project
Even though this group is still in its infant stages -- rapper Emcee Caption says the group has only really been around about a year -- they've taken the heart of this city by storm, promoting relentlessly and performing almost weekly throughout the Montrose and downtown. Edging out artists like Hawk and Paul Wall & Chamillion is no mean feat as both had huge local hits on both of our urban radio stations this past year. Studemont Project comes from the Heights, and delivers their beats and rhymes a little bit differently from what has come to be known as the Houston sound. Theirs is an edgy brew that eschews the laid back vibe of Texas in favor of a more progressive, rolling boom-bap, but they don't sound like they are riding the coattails of either coast. "Growing up, I always saw something special about the Studemont area of Houston," says Caption. "The people, the art, the atmosphere. I was exposed to so many different types of music at a young age, local and non-local, and that reflects in our sound."

"I think hip-hop in Houston is moving in a different direction, and people should take notice," adds rapper Article C. "It's an honor to be recognized by the Houston Pressand by our peers in the scene." -- M.S.

Critic's Pick: Paul Wall & Chamillionaire

Best New Act
Clouseaux

Seldom does our Best New Act live up to the name of its award so well. Clouseaux is not only a new act; it's also a new type of act. The amorphous, tiki lounge exotica funsters range in size from ten to 14 members and when they say the music they play is what Ward Cleaver would use to seduce June you believe them. For bassist/creative force Jay Brooks, winning was an honor. "It's fun to get nominated and even more fun to win," he says. "Houston doesn't have anything like the showcase and the awards where everybody comes together." And Houston doesn't have anything like Clouseaux either. Right now, the band has signed with Burbank, California label Dionysus Records, and in the next six months they hope to release their two EPs and a couple of new tunes as a debut full-length. Meanwhile the band will be hitting the road, with New Orleans and Atlanta, where they will play the Drive Invasion with Southern Culture on the Skids, the Woggles and the 45s. -- J.N.L.

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