Welcome back to Five Spot. Every Friday, we'll examine a recent bit of music news and, sometimes awkwardly, tie it to a bit of Houston rap. It's five videos and occasional cussing. Send tips to email@example.com.
Wednesday afternoon, Billboard announced that Cuban rapper Pitbull moved his Mr. 305 imprint over to RCA Music Group. Wednesday evening, we had the following in-depth Google Chat about it:
Rocks Off: Hey, fat boy.
[Note: We've called this person "fat boy" ever since he admitted to us one night in a College Station bar that he had a slight complex about his weight, which is the kind of the thing you should never admit to another guy.]
Fatboy: Yo. RO: Heard that Pitbull signed a deal with RCA or something? FB: ? FB: Heard that I took a dump this morning? RO: Good point. Later.
Pitbull, as our friend cryptically pointed out, is just plain shitty. (Admittedly, his latest single, "Calle Ocho," is nice, but in that same brainless sort of way that makes that ridiculous Halle Berry song fun even though you know you hate it.) His first CD, M.I.A.M.I., was actually kind of interesting. There was a clear sophomoric obsession with assimilating into the perceived American rap game, but the album possessed enough zest and ambition in and of itself to make it admirable - like when someone with no arms decides they want to swim across the Bering Sea.
Pitbull's second CD, El Mariel, was an attempt at infusing an actual idea or two into his music and was largely (and rightfully) disregarded. And nobody bought his third CD, The Boatlift, because everybody had already heard back in 2004, when it was called M.I.A.M.I. At any rate, we mention all of this only because it gives a reason to link to some V-Zilla videos, which we'd been trying to do for about four weeks now. Zilla is exponentially more talented than Pitbull, but he's not black and neither is Mr. 305, so we felt we could tie them together. Zilla is a Houston rapper who's managed to go largely unnoticed by the mainstream despite thoroughly not sucking. He's got a certain East Coast strut to his style - a very late-'90's hip-hop sound that's hard to believe was honed anywhere near Loop 610. To catch up on him, grab a few of his free mixtapes here or watch these videos. Either way, V-Zilla is a V-Badass."Headbanger Boogie Monster":
Seriously, are we the only ones completely tired of people inputting the "A [name] Production" or whatever into these videos like they're the ones who directed it? We want to watch the video, sir, not your really awesome Final Cut video edits."Chillin' With A Boss":
It's no coincidence that Zilla shines on a beat featuring a hook driven by the second greatest East Coast rapper of all time. "Takes a little getting used to like UK Grime." That's nice right there. We would love, love, love to see him on a track or two with a Houston-thick artist like Pimp C or Trae or, dare we wish, Z-Ro.(These next three are actually K-Otix tracks that feature Zilla, an impressive trio indeed.)
"Fragile": If we can veer off topic for a second: K-Otix is another Houston rap group that breaks the Houston-rapper stereotype and deserves more airplay. Mind you, it's great that these guys are out grinding, making stellar hip-hop mixtapes for us in-the-know types but it's about time for them to get some shine. Seriously. Madd Hatta, if you're reading this, stop playing "Bizzy Body" and give these guys some spins. Doesn't seem like too much to ask."Masterpiece Theater":
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You wouldn't be alone if you were half-expecting Raekwon to jump on this at some point after the first 15 or so seconds. That's a good thing, by the way.
Anytime someone ever threatens to remove our spine, we pay strict attention, and you should too. We mean, yeah, they're probably speaking in hyperbole, but what if they're not? How stupid are you gonna look when you're a pile of mush on the floor and someone walks up and is like, "Oh, man, what happened?" and you say "This guy removed my spine." And then they say "That's awful. Hey, at least he didn't tell you he was going to do it before he did." and you're like, "Well..." You gotta think ahead, man.