Only in Houston
I have a love-hate relationship with my suburban lifestyle. For instance, I love sitting in my backyard, drinking cold beer and tending to something sizzling on the smoker. I hate getting threatening letters from the hypercritical HOA doofuses who apparently have nothing better to do than measure how high the grass is growing at my place.
This is a good place to wear slippers, watch TV and keep a dog. It's pretty horrible if you want to hear a live band and revel in any of the nightlife fun that accompanies that exercise. For that, you need to go into town. That's where you'll see these 23 things you won't see in the suburbs:
• Skanking. No one skanks in the suburbs.
• Taco trucks.
• Two attractive females full-mouth kissing in the middle of the dance floor. Awesome? Awful? Not for me to say. Just reporting what I saw.
• Suburban lifestyle wear: yoga pants. Shorts and flip-flops. The occasional muumuu. No studded jackets.
• Those little cartoon booklets passed out by the holy rollers as you're exiting the black-metal show. However, the Jehovah's Witnesses do stop by every other Saturday morning.
• People drinking outside the convenience store. Note: Can actually be found in some Houston-area suburbs.
• Set lists. No, a honey-do list is not a set list.
• Dudes urinating in public outdoors.
• Photographers. Nobody questions them shooting bands or show audiences. It would be brilliant to see them snapping high-speed photos of shoppers selecting toilet paper at the neighborhood Kroger.
• Middle-agers openly embracing their alcoholism. In the suburbs, it's a dirty secret. In town, it gives us a smashed couple waiting to purchase a bottle of wine at the store next to Rudz discussing their "poop chutes" at the sales counter.
• Show flyers. All that's posted on the neighborhood bulletin board are garage-sale notices.
• Japanese punk rockers standing around watching punk rockers from Japan perform.
• Stage-diving. In my 14 years in the 'burbs, no one's ever done a stage-dive off the backyard deck.
• Homes that transform into venues for paying customers to attend shows featuring traveling bands. We did once have a brothel in our neighborhood, though.
• Penises drawn on restroom walls.
• People bumming cigarettes.
• A dearth of law enforcement. In my neighborhood, the po-po is always strolling by. They're nowhere to be found at venues where teens are pregaming in the street before a show.
• The all-ages "X" on the back of a hand.
• Fire twirlers.
• One handsome guy telling another, "I'm not gay...but he was so good I had to kiss him." Awesome? Awful? Not for me to say. Just reporting what I heard.
• The older people who look out of place. Older people never look out of place in the suburbs; that's our domain. At shows, I am one of the older people who look out of place.
• Hipsters. Grew up in the suburbs. Moved to Montrose.
Hit the Bricks
You won't believe this Bushwick Bill story...but it's all true. (Allegedly.)
Later this month, the men who put Houston on the hip-hop map will be headlining 93.7 The Beat's "Welcome the Houston" concert at Arena Theatre. While Scarface, Bushwick Bill and Willie D alone would be enough to get us down 59 South, the show is also set to feature Z-Ro, Paul Wall, Slim Thug and Lil' Keke, so go ahead and pencil it in as the biggest H-Town rap concert of the year.
Not a bad way to introduce yourselves, The Beat. Not only are you getting the Geto Boys together in Houston for the first time since July 4 of last year, giving local hip-hop heads another chance to experience their musical birthright, but you're pairing them up with four more of the city's most beloved stars. If you could now play them on the radio as well, we'd really have to hand it to you.
As it happens, the Geto Boys were already on our minds, as this was also the week that we were introduced to a recent episode of the podcast The Champs with Neal Brennan + Moshe Kasher, which included one of the funniest and most harrowing Bushwick Bill stories to surface in years.
Neal Brennan, as many may recall, was the white guy who co-created Chappelle's Show with Dave Chappelle, and was probably as least partly to blame for the show being so fucking funny that Chappelle now can't go anywhere without people screaming "I'm Rick James, bitch!" at him. Moshe Kasher is a nice Jewish comedian from motherfucking Oakland, so you know he's pretty tough to kill. The pair has their own podcast, and earlier this month hosted MC Serch from early-'90s rap group 3rd Bass.
If you remember 3rd Bass at all, you probably recall that Serch is not a shy man. As the default front guy for the first racially integrated rap group to break into the mainstream, he was loud and up-front at all times, dancing proudly in a fashion that would be far, far too embarrassing for any white man to attempt in 2014. Since he's gifted with a mouth that never closes, there's a good chance something entertaining is going to fall out of it when MC Serch is around.
This suspicion is confirmed almost out of the box as MC Serch drops a frightening and bizarre tale of dodging murderous Crips in L.A. after a hit was allegedly put out on 3rd Bass by none other than hip-hop icon M.C. Hammer, of all crazy people. Right away, that sounds funnier than it does scary, but apparently the Crips weren't laughing.
Now, Bushwick Bill? What wouldn't you believe about that little dude? Never known for particularly stable behavior, Bill tossed local fans his most recent curveball at last year's Free Press Summer Fest, where he showed up too late to perform with the Geto Boys during their much-heralded set. Rumors flew regarding his absence, but longtime Geto children began acclimating to Bushwick's unpredictability around the time he drunkenly demanded that his girlfriend shoot him in the eye back in 1991.
So while Serch's story would've been unbelievable had it been about anybody else, it's not so much of a stretch to take it as gospel that Bushwick Bill brought him to a house filled with bricks of cocaine, took him out dancing with his pregnant baby mama, hit his own brother in the head with a brick of the non-cocaine variety and sold him out to the cops before having a gun stuck in his face by a limousine driver.
Serch says he never hung out with Bushwick Bill again after that night. Whether it was by choice or because he wasn't famous enough anymore, he didn't say. All that really matters is that it was the best Bushwick Bill story we've heard in years. Listen to the whole thing at thechamps.libsyn.com/mc-serch.
The Southeast Beast, local rapper Doughbeezy, unveils his latest work.
iMix Studios is a bunker nestled across a near-endless strand of apartment complexes on the southwest side of town. After I pulled open the main door one evening last week, the first big "wow" moment was a plaque given to house engineer Stephan Townsend for his work on 2 Chainz's album Based on a True Story. The second was the suffocating crowd huddled around Doughbeezy thanks to Footprints on the Moon, the Houston rapper's first big release since 2012's Blue Magic and one of the more eagerly anticipated tapes in recent memory.
Of course, nothing "private" in Houston is truly private, so even if the listening party was technically invitation-only, it turned into a minor family reunion anyway. Doughbeezy seemed joyous and relaxed, clad in a black sweater and framed glasses. Every song was introduced with a story, from already-released single "I'm From Texas" to definite ladies' favorite "She's on Top."
Every guest who made an appearance on the mixtape spoke, offering well-wishes as if they were sending the Southeast Beast on his way to rap college. Collectively, Houston is behind Dough more than any other rapper in the city at this moment. Everybody believes he is going to crack the ceiling.
Footprints was scratched from its original release date some months ago and reworked, but the tape is now much better realized. Its cast of familiar suspects such as Propain all build off their natural rapport with Dough. Everyone believes that this tape, with production from TrakkSounds, Donnie Houston and others, will skyrocket the rapper to somewhere the air is a bit thinner.
As a whole, Footprints understands what it's supposed to be — a showcase for Dough's lyricism and wit without attempting to create an even more potent syrupy mix. Unlike 2012's punch-line-heavy Reggie Bush & Kool Aid and even Blue Magic's darker moments, entire songs on Footprints stand out, instead of just a couple of quotably hot lines.
Dough's outlook has changed considerably from our first encounter at a Kickback Sundays event some four years ago. There he could slouch around and enjoy the scene without being second-guessed, here to destroy you on the microphone and shake hands afterwards.
Now he's one of Houston rap's more legitimate brands to come along in the past couple of years, one armed with charm and discernible skill.
Ask Willie D
The Friend Zone
A reader slept with one mutual friend and now likes another. Uh-oh.
Dear Willie D:
A good friend of mine invited me to her house to help celebrate her going-away party because she was moving out of the country. I have been to her house on a few other occasions, and have always had a good time. She has an eclectic group of friends who like to party, and all of them are doing good things in life [career-wise]. The last time I visited, she introduced me to her husband's friend.
We hit it off and decided to exchange numbers. After I talked to him on the phone several times, he came to my apartment and we had sex. On a scale of one to ten, his bedroom skills were maybe a two. I couldn't wait for him to leave my house, not just because of the wasted time I spent preparing for his arrival and sharing my body, but because he couldn't hold a decent conversation. I quickly realized that we were not compatible.
So anyway, at her going-away party, her friend whom I had sex with was there, but so was another "attractive" mutual male friend of hers and his. When the friend saw me talking to the mutual friend, he walked over, hugged me and half-jokingly asked, "What's up with you and my girl?"
The mutual friend respectfully excused himself, while I was left standing there with a simple-minded doofus who proceeded to tell me how close he is with the mutual friend. We had a one-night stand and that's all, but he seems to want more. How do I get him out of my life and pursue his friend without coming between their friendship?
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Getting Doofus out of your life may prove to be much easier than pursuing his friend without coming between their friendship. Men are uncomfortable with being friendly with a man who's been intimate with their woman. One of my closest friends, who was like a little brother to me, fell for a girl I used to date. We went from hanging out daily to not seeing each other for years at a time. They got married, had a couple of kids, divorced, and married other people. Now they hate each other.
Just be honest. He's a generic dude, so give him a generic dismissal. Tell him: "Hey, you're a great guy, but we're not compatible. I would appreciate it if you not call me anymore. It's not you, it's me." If he has a problem with that, wait a few days, call him and say, "I just came from the clinic, and my doctor told me to notify all of my sexual partners in the past ten years."
Ask Willie D appears Thursday mornings on Rocks Off.