Dallas Trolls Say Their Hip-Hop Is Better Than Houston's
H-Town's starting lineup, c. 2014
Photo by Marco Torres
I respect you as a city, your hold on your (deceased) J.R. Ewing and Dallas Cowboys — Dez Caught It! — and rather unique flair for being the bourgeois, snooty brother in that Texas music trinity Houston shares with that hippie we all visit once a goddamn year in March.
However, as much as I respect you for attempting to beat your chest and proclaim that you have a better hip-hop scene than Houston, allow big brother "swamp city covered in fog" (what are we, the fucking Blue Lagoon to you?) to knock some sense into you. You don't. You haven't. You're trolling in the best possible way: to elicit a response.
OK, Big D, we'll give you Lady Badu.
Photo by Marco Torres
Your wave was all of nine months in 2007 when Big Tuck, Tum Tum and Dorrough (before he attached Music to his name) hit MTV. That's it. Oh, and boogie music with The Stanky Legg, The Rack Daddy, The Dougie and Flexing. You created some of the best club music of my early college years but I can't "Tussle" with the best of them anymore. Or throw up "Oak Cliff". Oh, and if you want to claim The D.O.C. then that's perfectly fine, because your most universal classic-rap record that people know nationally?
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Came out almost 25 years ago.
Fine, you have Erykah Badu (who wouldn't want her?), and a guy by the name of Fat Pimp who we're quite fond of. You also have JT, Blue, the Misfit, Cashmir, Bobby Sessions, Tunk, A.Dd+ (who own the last really great Dallas rap album), -Topic, Sam Lao, Dustin Cavazos, the Cannabanoids, groups and artists whom we love and respect. However, this isn't JJ Watt getting held 94 percent of the game by the Cowboys and you wanting to gloat because Tony Romo evaded a sack, oh no. You don't exactly have eight real reasons to declare you're better than Houston, rap-wise. You barely, truly, have six, to be honest.
I could drop the mike right after this, "Our biggest rappers are Vanilla Ice and Justin Bieber's weed carrier, Lil Twist," but I respect you a little too much to not watch you completely nullify your own damn argument with Lil Twist.
But hold on, I have to be childish for a second.
[Runs outside] HOLY SHIT LIL TWIST IS THE BIGGEST RAPPER IN DALLAS?! DEAR GOD. HE [gasps for air for laughing so hard] HE DIDN'T EVEN GO WITH YUNG NATION. HE [falls on the floor like a child laughing hysterically] OH GOD, LIL TWIST.
Okay, let me compose myself and break this down like an adult. Ready? Ready.
Eclectic Set of Rappers? This was argument one. By definition of any lead argument, it's your crux argument. I've mentioned some of your acts that get love because they don't necessarily fit the mold of what Dallas should sound like. Matter of fact, you've left boogie music behind all together and for the most part your original "sound" borrowed bits from Swishahouse and the Screwed Up Click.
I digress. Your eclecticism doesn't stick soundly compared to artists like Tawn P, who could go gospel, could go R&B, but would rather rip your head off spitting bars. Or the fact we've found a way to have street rappers, club rappers, spacious rappers, and weed heads. We're the goddamn rap rainbow coalition over here.
Dr. Dre? I love JT. I think what he's doing with Dr. Dre is a pretty big damn deal and I commend you for it. I'd argue he's probably helping Dr. Dre patent another line of Beats By Dre but that would be shortchanging all that JT can do. Try this, you've heard of the Sauce Twinz, right? The two guys who got shouted out by Drake on Instagram and are set to blow up even more when the "Legited" remix drops? Exactly. BeatKing's Underground Cassette Tape Music was listed as one of the 30 best rap albums of the year by Rolling Stone.
Know the LAST DALLAS RAP ACT TO DO THAT? THAT'S RIGHT YOU DON'T CAUSE IT DOESN'T EXIST.
Vanilla Ice...Cool As Ice Cool As Ice has absolutely nothing on Slim Thug's upcoming Hogg Life documentary. Or the fact that Jason's Lyric was shot here. Or that Boyhood, yes Boyhood gives credit to the University of Houston and Minute Maid Park. So what if Richard Linklater doesn't have bars like Paul Wall, his Oscar is gonna shine like a disco ball. Claim Dallas Buyers Club if you want but guess what, it's setting is '80s Dallas. LOOK WHO'S LIVING IN THE PAST, D-TOWN.
Producers ... Better? You have S1, Play N Skillz, Cardo, Blue, the Misfit and a host of others. I've talked to some of them; their resumes back it up. Hell, I'd brush my teeth to "Power" every day if I wanted to. But ... there's also Travi$ Scott, Mr. Lee, Chris Rockaway, George Young, Trakksounds, Cy Fyre, Jett I. Masstyr, King Henry, Beanz N Kornbread, GL Productions, Donnie Houston, Mike Dean and others.
Plus, we have an entire producer competition, the Space City Beat Battle (Dallas folk have come here and participated, no lie) that cultivates new producers every other month. By the way, Charity E. Vaughn won the title this month. Does Dallas have a female producer of note? Yeah, we'll stop there.
Dallas Has Next...Year Allow me to drop a megaton bomb of talent from within Houston city limits that's gotten national acclaim within the past 24 months. Doughbeezy, Maxo Kream, Le$, the Sauce Twinz, BeatKing, Roosh Williams, Rob Gullatte, OneHunnidt, Propain, DeLorean, Boston George, Doeman. We've been spotlighted from NOISEY to Grantland to Rolling Stone. 'Nuff said.
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Free Press Summer Fest Oh goodness, how remise could I be without mentioning our own homegrown festival, which sits as one of the BEST MUSIC FESTIVALS IN THE COUNTRY? That may not even be a hip-hop thing (although our locals usually kill that thing every year) but lord, I can't recall somebody tapping my shoulder, telling me I should head to Dallas for a rather big music festival. Sorry D-Town, I'm candy drippin', on a Chevy ... and riding my Caprice Classic right around the city.
We're Out of the Past Our legacy will forever be tied to slang we invented in the '90s, car culture, certain drugs and other vices that have since spread all over the country. Our influence maybe outside of Atlanta and the West Coast is absolute. Look at what A$AP Yams did in shaping A$AP Rocky, he TOLD him to sound like a Houston artist, to appreciate our culture.
The sound itself has migrated out of those muddy, organ-creaked concoctions and moved into the 21st century. We can be futuristic, we can still enjoy slow, we can still dance around with giant knocking 808 drums and put-you-on-your-ass bass. Even RiFF RaFF, who is a Northside Houston rapper by sheer aesthetic, has blended Lil Mario's old Swishahouse flow and worked it into conked-out absurdum.
Your DJs Come Here And Stay Here to Make Money We love DJ Mr. Rogers; absolutely adore what he's done behind the boards and what he's made for himself during his time here. Wait, I forgot he went to a college near Houston, spins at the hottest clubs here and has his own timeslot on one of the city's three prominent radio stations. Fine, we have joint custody of Rogers.
Drake and a couple of fans at not-Dallas Appreciation Weekend.
Photo by Marco Torres
Drake Without even mentioning the "Legited" remix (again), tell me this. Even though we don't outright claim Drake as part of the Houston rap scene, he's arguably our safest ambassador. Last summer, said ambassador brought the entire music world to the city for a weekend in his honor. Trying to think of when the world comes to Dallas and Arlington...hmm... sporting events. And ... sporting events.
Unity Has Dallas, for an entire 12-month period, decided to pause their own Royal Rumble aspirations of jumping on one another to get on top and just united? Or is Dallas still fighting itself as opposed to cherishing its own homegrown, sparkling talent? Don't know yet. But for that lone reason among the others I've clearly stated, you're still the Confederacy to our Union. Suck it, Trebek.
P.S. Sam Lao may leapfrog everybody and be the next big thing over there. But that's only because I care about your music scene doing something.
Note: Brando wrote this in about an hour Thursday afternoon. We tried to interrupt his flow as little as possible.
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