New Houston Rap: Beyoncé's Remix Isn't That "Flawless"
10:32 Saturday night.
That's when I got a phone call about a new Beyoncé remix hitting the Internet.
10:34 p.m.: that's when I realized Beyoncé decided to rap about that infamous elevator fight between her husband and her sister and laugh about it. The bar itself, "of course sometime shit goes down when there's a billion dollars on an elevator" has already become heavily quoted on Instagram, and used as gossip-blog fodder to become a clear "explanation" or "addressing" of said fight. It may be the most talked-about thing surrounding this "event song," rather than just another bar in a long line of great ones.
Think about it: the combined billionaire status of Jay Z and Beyoncé didn't make that elevator thing major -- Solange did. If that were the case, we'd hear about billionaires slap-fighting with one another all the time. Steve Jobs would have cold-cocked Bill Gates with an old Apple monitor; Oprah would have laid hands on Warren Buffett. And so on and so forth.
Matter of fact, are we sure Bob McNair never thought about punching out Jerry Jones? I mean, shit DOES go down when a billion dollars is in an elevator!
Two things come to mind regarding Bey's "Flawless" remix with Nicki Minaj. One, their universes should have come together a long while ago. It's one thing to say you did a track with The Lonely Island; it's another to play Six Degrees of Separation and go through Rah Digga, Bow Wow, Devin The Dude (worth it), Slim Thug, Bun B, Amil, appear in a Case video and, finally, be part of the worst song on your husband's great collaborative effort with the guy whose wedding you two avoided, before reaching Minaj.
The second? As a whole, the remix isn't even that good. Judging by Beyoncé's flow, where she riffs on dudes wishing she was their baby mama (among other things), we're thisclose to getting a full-on Beyoncé rap mixtape. She even mimics Nicki's animated voices to announce Minaj's arrival, only for Nicki to offer arguably the year's most cringeworthy bars by referencing Michael Jackson's death, Conrad Murray and the drug that killed him. Oy vey.
For a remix, "Flawless'" zaps any of the original's feminist and impactful power. The original half of the song is the one where we all had to "Bow Down" as Beyoncé sneered at us about not being just a wife but also being from Houston, while using enough local rap slang to evoke the need for a city-centric remix. That half is the one Nicki -- and for that matter Lil "Petty" Kim -- should have flexed all of her creative muscle on, rather than mucking up one of my favorite OutKast tracks ever, "SpottieOttieDopaliscious."
But at least the latest batch of Houston rap releases hasn't sullied my mood.
Lil Keke feat. Yo Gotti, "Work" When Lil Keke tipped down to Atlanta to help put together his Money Don't Sleep album, I'm pretty sure he saw Drumma Boy and immediately told him, "I need something to talk about making money and hustling!"
Fine, that's damn near every Lil Keke conversation, but "Work" is straight-up gothic trap gumbo from Drumma and a man who knows about more white than anybody in the South, Memphis' own Yo Gotti. Fans got an early preview of the record on Keke's Album Before The Album III project and here you can get yet another street anthem from Don Ke.
More new rap on the next page.
MIXTAPE OF THE WEEK
Doeman, The Gold Blooded LP After a bunch of talk and hype and angling for proper positioning in Houston rap this year, Doeman dropped his second project of 2014, The Gold Blooded LP on a Friday. In homage to the era where you'd hear about certain street albums via word of mouth and promotion, he held a release party at Urban Assault on the Southeast side of town and had plenty of people show up to support.
Digitally, the album found its groove all over the place, including Spotify where you can stream it for free before buying it on iTunes. It properly ranks as one of the year's best projects, a giant leap from what we got from his DYNA EP solely for the fact it's a smart expansion.
Doeman gets the point that he's like J.Cole in some senses. Not in that "dull rap with minor dabs of charisma" sense, but the fact that his rhymes are eventually going to carry him to the top. When you're relatively young and the only real mark on your life is a car accident and constantly being compared to family members, you're going to rap about what you see and experience. Referring to himself in the third person when dealing with women, four minor suites of stream-of-conscious flows -- this is Doeman's attempt at The Warm Up, Cole's breakthrough 2009 mixtape.
And for the most part he hits on every single cue Cole did, except for the one where certain things are thematically tied together. There are four separate rap suites on The Gold Blooded LP, three moments of frustration before an outright unleash on the album's final track. Everything else feels tied together by Doeman's propensity for rhyming over sampled production and proclaiming himself to not only be the best but the one most likely to steal your woman.
Best Song (That Isn't "Jodeci"): Out of respect for TrakkSounds for sampling Michael Henderson's "Let Me Love You" for "Hennessy Feelings" -- the best slice of production found on The Gold Blooded LP -- all apologies to what Yung Knight cooked up. "Hennessy" is a boozy, wide-eyed approach to a rap song that sounds straight from the bottle, like Doe probably can't even legally drink yet has sipped on more than one occasion. A solid runner-up? "IV," of course, since it properly ties the previous three free suites together. Buy on iTunes.
BeatKing, Pole Sex EP Even though it's still relatively fresh, BeatKing's last mixtape, the humorous and crude Gangster Stripper Music 2, outlined all of his relative parts. There's the serious gun clap, embossed quips from a "big dude" rapper, hilariously inappropriate one-liners that played out like the Dozens, and even a flip of Bell Biv Devoe's "Smile" just for sexual purposes. Along with the synthed-out wheeze of "Keisha," the latter birthed this entire mixtape dedicated to women in a sexual nature.
It's not as if BeatKing is making his own version of Pharrell's G I R L; oh, far from it. Skateboard P wouldn't be this blunt about receiving oral sex or any type of satisfaction, lest he choose to follow it with the "Jaws" sample and pounding 808 drums.
The artwork harks back to an era where sexual illusion was front and center in your face, when the Ohio Players made plenty of teenage boys into men. The music? Just as suctioned together as those guitar-heavy porno-movie soundtracks. Both "Smile" and "Keisha" appear on the Pole Sex EP, not for decoration but to properly give it context. There's genius in being an outrageous rapping personality; one who, on a song like "Have Her Like," can act like he's sitting in the barbershop riffing off the jokes of others.
Best Song (Not Named "Keisha" or "Smile"): On "1 Night Beatking," if you need any context as to why he chose a 2004 Lloyd record in "Feels So Right" for this then you need to understand this: Lloyd is underrated. He's made plenty of sex records that don't immediately say they're about sex, but you're damn sure close to having sex to them.
Here, BeatKing pretty much uses the Atlanta singer as a wingman to be smooth while he gets to the point. Only a woman who wants to hit BeatKing THAT bad would remember all of his songs and his flows; that is dedication. And you thought the girl who professed she wanted to give him oral sex on the radio was special. Download Here.
OneHunnidt, Summer Breeze Change of pace, anyone? Last week, OneHunnidt premiered "Ain't Mad" at 97.9 The Box. The Yung Knight-produced record basically asks Hunnidt to use all the things he's calmly learned while becoming a better rapper between projects. He had to be simple, witty and to the point. That record, which is front and center on his recently dropped Summer Breeze mixtape, places him in a rather interesting position.
Two years ago, his Keep It 100 won the Houston Press' award for Mixtape of the Year. Edging out plenty of others, that project found itself released in the sweet spot right before the nominations were released. In the two years since, he's been crafting the kind of music he's wanted to, trying to further shape what The Numbers Committee is, and trying his damndest to figure out what he wants to do as a musician. Field Sobriety was supposed to arrive a while ago and yet, absolutely nothing was shown for it aside from a myriad of loose singles.
Summer Breeze finds itself as a placeholder, at least temporarily. All of it differs from the offerings of Legacy of a Legend and small portions of Keep It 100. Aside from the fact so many industry beats find their way onto the tape, Summer Breeze contains the massive "Jealous, TX" record where damn near any Houston rapper of recent consequence appears, the constantly underrated Bigg Fatts shows up to decimate "No Flex Zone" and of the few "new" tracks, the only one that truly may give a glimpse as to who Hunnidt may be at this exact moment is "Sundress Season".
Best Song (That Isn't "Jealous, TX"): On "Sundress Season," Yung Knight found a perfect mid-tempo groove for Hunnidt to squint his eyes and be happy about one of the South's greatest mini-seasons. Aaliyah's "Come Over" is ethereal slow-jam music, and in Hunnidt's hands it operates in that exact same vein. Hunnidt is more a voyeur than Aaliyah ever was here, and those poems where females were always welcomed are something he always got right. Download Here.
ROCKS OFF'S GREATEST HITS
Get the Music Newsletter
Keep your thumb on the local music scene each week with music news, trends, artist interviews and concert listings. We'll also send you special ticket offers and music deals.