Law & Order: Houston Rap/R&B Edition
Normally television on the weekends is a drag, a malaise of programs you find yourself absorbed in but would easily skip during the week. But come Saturday and Sunday, you're glued to the couch, and no show pulls this off more consistently than Law & Order. Doesn't matter, the show could use the old NWA's damn "Freebird Rule" and string together a slate of quality episodes from Law Order, SVU and Criminal Intent.
There probably will be a moment when I decide to crank out a spreadsheet of my favorite L&O episodes mainly because they're consistent guilty pleasures. You know when someone is guilty because they decide to call someone a "bitch" or break down sobbing. God forbid you match up against Elliot Stabler in an interrogation room; he's like the JJ Watt of police interrogators, bar none
In a perfect weekend, you'd probably watch Law & Order reruns and watch your productivity slide straight off a cliff. Because they're consistently that damn good, much like our mixtape of the week.
Easy Yves Saint, Sincerely, Yves Last year, Yves of The Niceguys stepped inside of Warehouse Live and accepted an award. It wasn't the first time he'd done so, but this one was different and far more important than the previous affairs. He acknowledged the fact that James Kelley, the group's sophomore release, had won Best Local Recording at the 2013 Houston Press Music Awards.
An album that, lyrically, he was chiefly responsible for.
The Niceguys may be on hiatus, splintered into different areas of producing and creating, but there's still a bit of family and loves abound for Yves to embrace and continue branching out from. Unlike many in the city, he can reach out to his crew or a slew of rappers on speed-dial, but Yves feels as comfortable about his rhyming capabilities as he does rocking a tracksuit and sipping a brew. It could be misconstrued as arrogance or New-York-to-Texas bullshit but that's Yves in a nutshell -- adaptive and confident.
Sincerely Yves is his first project he's released as a solo act, and it's skimpy. Thin. Okay, it's six tracks of mean, partially autobiographical thoughts tossed in with bravado and output. There's layered metaphors and punchlines, his standard approach, but he also finds middle ground in the lyrics, not necessarily dumbing things down but picking his spots. It's a smart effort on his part, not trying to fully break listeners but instead inviting them into his head. (Note: not to give anything away, but watch for more on Yves later on this week -- Ed.)
Best Track: Where could you go wrong on a six-track EP? Here there are two bests, "Blur" and "Elevators," two moments where Yves lets his mind dig into the recesses of his past, those hazy nights that wind up moving in full bloom.
Law & Order Character: Rey Curits (Benjamin Bratt). Even when you think he shouldn't be cooler than everyone else in the room, he finds a way.
Tony Del Freshco, "Take It Off (Hennessy)" This isn't "ripped from the headlines" by any means, but it definitely takes on a kind of mutated form of watching stick-up groups like Detroit's the Chambers Brothers, et. al. Tony has always been about high fashion, moments when sneaker culture envelops his brain, and just being fly; here he plays narrator to breakfast and a good bottle of Hennessy. Normally you'd think this would be the perfect brunch after spending a night at Chachos, but if you're talking about your boys getting jacked by women with assault rifles, wouldn't you want some brown liquor to deal with?
Law & Order Character: Fin Tutuola (Ice-T). When you've done dirt and turn good, you have to act like Ice.
Story continues on the next page. ch-CHUNG!
Bizzle, "Chi-Raq Freestyle" Am I going to lazily characterize Bizzle as a gospel rapper? No. As a matter of fact, let's completely bury the idea of what that is for a moment. Just because someone happens to mention "God" and salvation more often than most does not typify him or her as strictly creators of nonsecular music. Remember, Scarface talks about the Lord plenty of times and might be the most menacing figure we've ever seen grace the earth.
A mini-rap civil war broke out a couple weeks ago when Los Angeles rapper Tyga got into a war of words with Chicago rapper Lil Durk. Threats were involved; Los Angeles rapper The Game decided to channel the ghost of "control," Kendrick Lamar, for a retaliation verse; and then Chicago fired back via Count of the L.E.P. Bogus Boys. But leave all that alone -- this is the "Chi-Raq" track you need to hear.
By the time it's done, we might move on to the next track or freestyle, but I'll be remiss if I didn't say Bizzle absolutely got serious here and decided to make us all wonder what exactly we should and shouldn't focus on.
Law & Order Character: District Attorney Jack McCoy (Sam Waterson). Moral compasses are always necessary, and good ol' Jack was good for about one every four episodes. Considering he was around for 300-plus episodes straight, do you know how DEDICATED THAT IS?!
Lee-Lonn, "Shower" Praise the heavens, Lee-Lonn Walker is back to crafting music. Somehow R&B in Houston has found its creative middleman in producer Chris Rockaway, who, if he's not crafting blues-heavy Redding-like slushes with Jack Freeman, is making airy lothario records with Walker. On "Shower," Lee-Lonn is sprung in a good way over a woman for whom he'd stop his entire life. That's right, do the unthinkable and get his iPhone wet if it's possible just to talk to her.
We need more love songs in the world, man, even those that aren't about lust but rather spending time.
Law & Order Character: Senior Detective Ed Green (Jesse L. Martin) It would have been far too awkward to label him a Benson or even, you know, Stabler since Lee isn't about to fight you over these things. Ed still exhibited the same sort of cool that Reyes did, just differently. Like our boy Walker.
ROCKS OFF'S GREATEST HITS
Get the Music Newsletter
Keep your thumb on the local music scene with music features, additional online music listings and show picks. We'll also send special ticket offers and music promotions available only to our Music Newsletter subscribers.