Last Night: Best Rapper In Texas March Finale At Midtown Lounge
Photos by Larami Culbertson
Best Rapper In Texas March finale Midtown Lounge March 17, 2011
10:38 p.m.: Tonight is the March finale of the Best Rapper in Texas competition, a now monthly event that takes place in two segments. Rappers sign up, work their way through a preliminary and then end up here. Ten rappers make it to each month's finals. The winner receives $500. The losers mostly receive condolences from their fans and comments about how they would've won were the entire contest not rigged.
It's always a fun event, but tonight is important because the rules dictate that a rapper may only win the contest three times before he is forced into retirement, and Doughbeezy, who has exploded into popularity these last two months, has won the last two. It's become like a goddamn monthly stipend for him or something.
10:48: Walking in and comedian Ken 2 the Fool is trying to convince Delo (who has everyone's ear right now) to do a song or two from his recently released mixtape Hood Politics Vol. 2. An auspicious start.
10:59: J Frank is up right now, whose best moment comes when he crushes a saxophone-heavy beat from DJ Don (sitting stage side expressing his pleasure). It's immediately clear that, in this setting, the eventual winner is going to have to do more than stand on stage on rap.
11:00: The show has been broken up into two segments. The second half of the show we're told, is where the stronger acts are, though prodding around shows that Yung Truth, who went on a little earlier, put on an excellent show too. The last time we saw him we made a joke about how he should call himself Middle Aged Truth on account of his old-facey-ness. He finds us, says some things, then wanders off. It's always excellent not getting beaten up after jesting at someone.
11:02: Hey, look, a guy with a ponytail. How can you be a grown man and not understand that a ponytail is not the shit?
11:04: Intermission time. Show, generally regarded as one of the city's most underappreciated rappers, is tonight's mid-show entertainment. He starts his set by saying, "I don't feel at home tonight. Before I start, let's do this: When I say, 'What's good?' you all say 'Fuck you, Show.'" Cool, cool.
11:04:30: "I have to go see my [parole office] tomorrow. If I don't go to jail, I'm going to Austin." - Show
11:12: Holy Christ. Show, all 5'7" of him, is a tornado on stage. Were he in the competition, he would've just won it. He has a few guys on stage with him (most notably, Kritikal) and they're all going apeshit.
11:14: Oh, hey, if you're starting to lose your hair, maybe you don't decide to grow a Mohawk with what's left? It just looks a little silly, is all.
11:16: Kritikal, still hype from Show's set, is performing his own material now.
11:16:15: And now he's standing on top of a four-foot-tall speaker.
11:16:30: And now his shirt's off.
11:16:45: And now his team of ape's are onstage again everyone is losing their shit again. This is excellent. How are these guys not booked to perform at every rap show?
11:24: Another guy with a ponytail? What the hell is going on? Is there a Vidal Sassoon conference going on downstairs? The ponytail-to-non-ponytail ratio is far too high right now. It's like a gangbang is about to start in here or something.
11:24:30: Yes, that was a shampoo joke and a porno joke all within the same timestamp. For real, why is there always at least one guy with a ponytail in every porno gangbang scene? That can't be coincidence.
11:31: And we're back into the competition. K-Yung is up. He's best when he's paired up alongside O.N.E., who joins him on stage for a song near the end of his set. Again, it's going to be hard to unseat Doughbeezy, who performs with a live band each time he's in this competition, without a big stage show of your own.
11:38: Dallas rapper Mo Money is up now. It's kind of hard for people to take a guy who's rapping about having a spaceship full of diamonds (we're interpreting) seriously when he's in shorts and tube socks.
11:39: Um, so a white (European white, not Alabama white) family just walked, a situation that isn't intrinsically weird (there are plenty of non-black people in attendance tonight) until you notice that they have a tiny teenage girl in tow. People bring their children to bars now? Cool, cool.
11:45: Despite actually being a good rapper, Mo Money isn't getting very much love from the crowd, minus Delo, who's standing near the front of the stage bouncing around and whatnot while he eats food from a styrofoam to-go container. Curious to see how this situation plays with the judges.
11:51: Krucial is up now. We've not written much about him yet, but know that his tape, Revenge, has some very high points on it. More on him to come.
11:53: Krucial's as good live as we'd hoped he'd be, but, again, it's just him and his mic on stage. He won't win tonight, but he'll likely earn a few new ears.
11:55: Coby, who's competed in this showcase before but has not won, is next. He's brought a full band with him, highlighted by a proper three-person drumline. People are standing up and moving towards the stage. It's already exciting.
11:58: Ack. Ponytail, ponytail, ponytail.
12:04: The drumline is warming up right now. The entire room is quiet, watching them go. They're focused and personable and talented. The buzz is palpable. Doughbeezy's title is now officially in danger.
12:06: ...And he's off.
12:08: There's an entire section of people screaming and cheering for him at the left of the stage. He's bouncing all around. It's a tad difficult to hear him, but beyond that, it's pretty clear that he's prepared hard for this show, which means that this performance means a lot to him, which is extremely endearing. You always have to appreciate a guy that does more than what's expected. Given some seasoning, young Coby will be an absolute headache.
12:10: He finishes with a lift of Kanye's "Flashing Lights." His fan section is uproarious. "COBY, COBY, COBY...!" He jumps off stage and his people begin the "Who's gonna follow that?! I feel sorry for who's next!" chants. Excellent.
12:14: Tyler Jets is up. He's markedly better than the last time we saw him, which is a very positive sign considering the fact that he still can't legally buy cigarettes. His mother is at the front of the stage going word for word with his music. He tries to open with a This Is For The Ladies track to open, a mistake because a) it will not get people hype enough to help his cause; and b) he's already a handsome kid, which means he needn't overtly try to make women like him because they naturally will.
He follows it up with something more upbeat and gets into a nice groove. His zest is fun. More practice, a little more originality (he's very clearly a Drake student), and he'll carve out a spot for himself here in town.
12:26: And here we are. Two-time champion Doughbeezy is being called to the stage. The Beez has his game face on. His backing band is just about ready.
12:27: The very first thing he says: "Imitation is the best form of flattery," a not-so-subtle jab at Coby and his band. Awesome.
12:30: He opens with his "Hi, Hater" song, which his keyboardist slyly tinges with a riff from Keke's "Southside." The crowd is pushed in. His supporters, a group of women that are always at his show, make show his efforts do not go unnoticed. He does his verse from the redub of "HAM" that he and Dante Higgins did, then finishes with that song about how he's so fresh you could smell him through a stuffy nose.
The place is going yo-yo. He's a bit hoarse from performing so much recently, but it appears that 80 Percent Doughbeezy might be enough to bring him his third straight title. He deliberately sets the microphone down gently in the middle of the stage and walks off. That has to mean he thinks he won, right? Like, it's a metaphor for how nobody will take the microphone from him, he'll give it up on his own terms, right? Cool.
12:45: Holy shit. So the judges are in the back deliberating, and Deeternal, a rapper that's white, has taken the stage as the intermediary. His show includes a boxer, an occasional European accent, proclamations that he will simultaneously save hip-hop tear this place down, and a pair of dancers, one of which is the aforementioned teenaged girl. This is the most surreal postmodernism of all time.
And what's more, while the girl is dancing, he squats down next to her and shouts, "SHE GETTING LOOSE! SHE GETTING LOOSE WIT' IT! 13-YEARS-OLD, GETTING LOOSE WIT' IT!" All of the ponytailed guys all of a sudden make sense. Please, please, please let "loose wit' it" mean that she's "getting crazy with it," otherwise we'll all be getting loose wit' it in prison.
12:46: What. The. Fuck. Just. Happened? Say this for Deeternal, nobody was not watching his show. When he walked off stage, his camp of people were going nuts. Good moment for him.
12:50: Ken 2 the Fool, who managed to stay quiet the entire evening, sprinted on stage to address the situation. He absolutely cuts Deeternal's legs off, most astutely saying: "He said he's going to save hip-hop?! This nigga couldn't save I-HOP!" and "He said, 'Ain't no party like a Deeternal party'?! I don't wanna go to a Deeternal party. It probably looks like an episode of To Catch a Predator." The crowd is rolling with laughter. Oh man.
12:52: Delo! He's been coerced to get on stage and, as he's wont to do, crushes it, burning through "AAGGHHH" and "Back Up In My City" and "One Shot." Were he a featured act, we'd write 400 words about how good he is live. Kudos, Mr. Delorean. Somebody please give this guy some money.
1:05: So after a bit of deliberating, Kelz, the guy responsible for tonight's show, has called four guys up on stage as part of his announcing of the winner. He brings Mo Money, Doughbeezy, Coby and Yung Truth. He goes through quick notes about each performance, then gets to announcing how they finished.
1:06: Third Place: Coby. (Ooh, that's a tough finish.)
1:07: Second Place: Mo Money. (Um, okay. Kind of feels like the contrarian pick, but sure.)
1:08: First Place: ...He's really drawing this out...
1:19: The Beez! Most of the crowd shouts in agreement. The Beez has done it. For the first time in the history of BRIT, a rapper will be pushed into retirement. Congrats to him and everyone that participated.
Personal Bias: At the moment, Delo's "Ain't My Style" is No. 1 on our 25 Most Played listning in our iTunes.
The Crowd: Was excited and bored and perplexed at various points throughout the evening.
Overheard In the Crowd: "It's hot as fuck in here." It was, in fact, hot as fuck in there.
Random Notebook Dump: We would've switched Coby and Mo Money in the rankings, but it all mostly seemed like a justifiable finish all the way through.
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