Notes from Ram Of Optimo Radio's Birthday Bash At Isis
Photos by Larami Culbertson
Back in June, we made mention of Optimo Radio, a tiny online radio station that, miraculously and wonderfully, had set its playlist to Only Houston Underground Rap and refused to deviate from it. Since then, the station has grown fairly quickly in popularity.
Now, that's not an attempt to try to connect the dots between our championing Optimo's cause and its subsequent successes; no, not at all. It turns out - and make sure your shoes are tied, because this is about to blow your shoes off - that if your business supports local artists, they and their fan bases tend to support you in return. Gasp!
Mutualism is an abstract concept in the entertainment industry, we know. But Optimo Radio seems to have banked its livelihood on it.
It's largely why it wasn't that surprising the station's founder/host/front man Big Ram turned his recent birthday, which he celebrated last night at Isis, into more of an artist showcase than a self-congratulatory pat on the back for the work he's done these past few months.
Hit the jump for some notes from the party.
Killa Cal-Wayne (in green shirt) and friends
There were a ton of performances at the party, the most surprising of which being the ten-minute explosion Killa Cal-Wayne put on. Two things about his performance you didn't expect: 1) He has a noteworthy ability of being able to translate his brand of thug-rap to a live show, which has been a hindrance for a lot of similar artists not named Trae or J-Dawg. With the exception of the first minute or so where he was performing the perfunctory Song About Swag, he managed to corral the type of aggressive, emotive earnestness that made his About My Brother's Business mixtape enjoyable.
2) He's a tiny fellow. Not so tiny that you'd try to fuck with him - he's from Cuney Homes, or, as local realtors refer to it, The Place To Go When You Want To Get Stabbed In The Chest - but tiny enough to make you go, "If he weren't from Cuney Homes, I'd make a joke about him being tiny."
• "Swag," by the way, a term used to reference one's own arrogance, is a mostly awful thing. There is one cool thing about it though: There are about a billion different forms of it, a lot of which are semi-humorous in their existence. The best ones we've heard so far: Fat Girl Swag, Pretty Boy Swag, Homo Swag. Some less popular forms that we're hoping catch on soon: Absentee Father Swag, Bad Breath Swag.
• The thing that's made Ram successful is that he seems genuinely interested in promoting lesser-known Houston artists. What's more, he seems to understand and appreciate how he's put himself at the doorstep of doing something fairly important within the Houston music community. More on this at another time.
• Preemo showed up to do a set, and did what Preemo does.
• If you're onstage performing and the crowd is into it and you're into it and everything is going well, then it's a cool effect when the stage's smoke machine kicks on and surrounds you and everyone else in fog. When people aren't up there supporting you, though, it looks awful lot like a metaphorical hook trying to pull you off stage. Or like the Devil is booing you.
We're almost certain that if the Devil were to go to a concert, not enjoy himself, and feel the need to boo, it'd be accompanied with smoke. And kitten blood. The Devil definitely has his Concert Booing Swag at a hundred thousand trillion.
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