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What Makes Cornbreadd Run

How the Houston rapper turned a near miss on MTV into a victory for himself — and his city

Knit-capped and bearded, DJ Dick Almighty says Cornbreadd was a regular guest on his KPFT show Reprogram Radio and now spins behind him at shows. To him, the MC is "Strong. Leader. Hustler." Tall, skinny redhead Curtis Cunningham, who does Thursdays at Citizen Lounge as DJ Courtesy, also knows Cornbreadd from Proletariat, "doing silly videos and making fun of his band." His choice of words is "larger than life."

And here he is, with an entourage of one — his girlfriend.

"Now that's a party...What's up, ­everybody?"

Cornbreadd (far left, with the rest of the cast) couldn't quite go the distance on MTV's 50 Cent: The Money and the Power.
Courtesy of MTV
Cornbreadd (far left, with the rest of the cast) couldn't quite go the distance on MTV's 50 Cent: The Money and the Power.
Da Doo Rag Rag: Cornbreadd spits at last year's Westheimer Block Party.
Photo Courtesy of Cornbreadd
Da Doo Rag Rag: Cornbreadd spits at last year's Westheimer Block Party.

Details

Tha Fucking Transmissions perform at Free Press Houston's 100th-issue party 8 p.m. Saturday, February 7, at Numbers, 300 Westheimer, 713-526-6551. Also on the bill are Monotonix, State Radio, Tontons, American Fangs and ­Rebelution.

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Soon Cornbreadd is passing out T-shirts adorned with his name in iron-on letters from his silver BMW 325i of a few years back. All four doors are open, and the stereo is blasting a track he just finished. It's called "Gorilla Muzik," and the beat is heavier than the Queensborough Bridge. It could have come straight from Camp Curtis.

"It's my subconscious message to G-Unit," he grins.

All told, there are about 18 people in the picture — black, white, hipster, ghetto, nerd, male, female, DJ, rapper, drummer, dreads, Afro, bedhead, ballcaps, wallet chains, shades, Beatle boots, Chuck Taylors, Puma, Adidas. It's quite a sight.

Another half-dozen or so are looking on; one is now blasting Cornbreadd's "Hold Up" ("let's get hot in this bitch") from the rehearsal space's PA setup. Another is Peekaboo Theory guitarist and backup vocalist Ramon Wakefield, who's known Cornbreadd three years.

"He keeps the grind on, and that's what it's all about," Wakefield says, then smiles. "But he don't have his own warehouse yet."

But how can he keep it real enough for people in the hood and at Poison Girl?

"That's who he is," the guitarist says. "He can flow because he's Houston, that's what Houston is. But he's an alternative cat too. He'll walk up to you and say some ill shit."

Meanwhile, Cornbreadd — wearing a shirt with his name on it about 50 times and "Houston, TX" about five — has an announcement.

"I want to thank everybody for coming out and help make this happen," he says. Forever hustling, he adds, "I'm sorry to say to everybody we gotta fold these shirts back up when we're done. They ain't been paid for on the Web site yet."

chris.gray@houstonpress.com

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