Hopefully you’ve already read – and, most likely, commented on – Shea Serrano’s blow-by-blow account of last Friday’s Bun B concert at Warehouse Live . He wasn’t the only media wag in the house, though. No less than The New York Times sent one of its two chief pop music critics, Kelefa Sanneh, to review the show, leaving his elder colleague Jon Pareles to deal with the Grammys.
Sanneh has been a fan of Houston hip-hop for some time now, and like many others in the national media, he appears to have trouble viewing the city through anything but purple-tinted glasses. As he points out, “this is a city where record stores sell cough-syrup-flavored air freshener.” (Really? Can someone send me one of these things?) His article is as much an assessment of the numerous Houston rap figures who have succumbed to the lean and/or its attendant lifestyle – Pimp C, Big Moe, Fat Pat, H.A.W.K., Big Steve, Big Mello and of course DJ Screw – as it is a review of the show.
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“Now the boom has come and gone,” Sanneh writes, “leaving the survivors to plot their next moves.” If Houston and the hip-hop community The Times rightfully regards as “fertile” would like to be known for something other than being North America’s No. 1 pharmaceutical market (cough suppressant/expectorant division), step one ought to be figuring out a way to – finally – get past the purp. – Chris Gray