Quartet of Rising H-Town Rappers Shines at Warehouse Live
Photos by Marco Torres
Live Life Experience Feat. OneHunnidt, De'Wayne Jackson, Stoppa & Doeman Warehouse Live August 8, 2014
This past weekend, the world experienced something called a "Super Moon." Apparently, that means that a full/new moon coincides with the closest approach to our planet on its elliptical orbit, resulting in the largest possible size of the lunar disk as seen from Earth. This doesn't happen too often, although when it does, the results are spectacular.
At this time, whether due to celestial alignment or other factors, the status of the Houston rap scene is also on the rise. The four individuals who performed at Warehouse Live last Friday night are as bright and brilliant as the moon in the sky, and they seem to be on a trajectory to continue to shine for an extended period of time, regardless of what the moon or the Earth or the haters are doing. It's their time; we are just living through it.
The only notes I took at the show were the following:
Forever In Our Hearts. JJ. February 4th 2010.
JJ's brother took the stage first on Friday night. Although the set began with technical difficulties and invited guest rappers failed to show, Onehunnidt still shook off the obstacles and performed gracefully. With a focused gaze and an emotional smile, he rapped up to the heavens with the last track listed above.
The Houston Press Music Awards were held the night before in the same building, a showcase where Onehunnidt won "Best Mixtape" and "Best Solo Rapper" two years ago. Its easy to see why he is so likeable. He lives true to his namesake, always honest and respectful, as quick to help out a friend as he is to spit a verse.
He provided his own take of "No Flex Zone" to open up, followed by his newest radio single "Ain't Mad." "You ain't gotta lie to kick it," he raps. A trio of tracks from his new Summer Breeze mixtape rounded out the set. He may not have attracted as many fans to the show as the three rappers that would follow him, but at the end of the night, Hunnidt piqued the crowd's curiosity and people knew his name. How fitting that JJ's last tweet read "take your time, and it will come." Wise words for real.
The next performer walked into the venue with more than 20 friends and family in support. De'Wayne Jackson is the youngest of the group, who at 18 years old emits an energy and aura that is way beyond his age. His nickname is "Wavy," a name his crew all sported on their T-shirts. He secured a spot to perform at this year's Free Press Summer Fest, although his set was rained out. He calls the recently released Halftime EP with producer/DJ Donnie Houston the "best work I've ever done," and we agree. It may be one of the best projects of the year, with a solid combination of old-school samples and fresh rhymes and flow.
He opened up with "Metaphors," whose opening line reads, "I just wanna be remembered/ I lost friends cuz I'm trying to make this dream happen." That type of drive will certainly aid Jackson in his endeavors. The catchy question song "Who Is He?" is a funky track that serves as Jackson's introduction to the world.
It was a bit difficult keeping this dude within the crosshairs of my camera lens, what with his bouncing and shuffling and kicking and dropping to one knee as he performs. It was a mix of Kendrick Lamar and James Brown, a young kid with classic attributes. I will anxiously await a full-length album from Mr. Wavy.
Story continues on the next page.
The third performer of the night was the excitable producer/rapper Stoppa. The name of the show was pulled from the first single from his mixtape, The YSL Project. With a ferocious and rapid flow, he mixes the realities of life with an optimistic and sometimes comical view of the world around him.
He led the crowd into a call and response of his adopted battle cry of "YaYaoo"! The track of the same name featured that phrase over and over, with a hypnotic beat and a Danny Brown-esque lyrical flow. His love for strippers is showcased in the trio of tracks "Couple Thousand Ones," "A Hunnit" and "Is That a Stripper." Not quite the combination of Juicy J and Mike-Will-Made-It, but pretty damn close. After a mid-set pump fake, he released the hardest track of the night called "1992 Dream Team." That boy balls so hard, mayne!
Last up to the plate was Doeman of DYNA Music Group. The recently released The Gold Blooded LP also ranks as one of the best local projects that have dropped this year. With a confidence and swagger overload, Doeman portrays his persona without arrogance, something that is extremely difficult to accomplish.
A boxer by blood, he works the stage as if it were a ring, hitting you with lyrical combinations and haymakers that force you to stay alert or risk getting knocked out. There hasn't been a rapper with this type of lyrical arsenal in Houston for a very long time, perhaps ever.
One of my favorite tracks from the tape is "Actavis," an ode to the purple stuff. Although the majority of the project freshly veers away from the stereotypical Houston topics of drank, swangers and blunts, this one gets a pass because it just hits so hard and strong, reminding me of my marching-band drum-major days.
Maxo Kream wasn't onstage this night, although on the track he helps Doe with his lyrical domination. Propain showed up to assist his "lil bro" with "Jodeci" and "How Can I Lose," proclaiming his approval and love for Doeman's rapid success and growth.
He ended with "Cool Enough," a track where he thanks his brother and mother for the support, and elaborated on the hustle to overcome the stuggles. If anyone can do it...get outta the hood, buy his mom a house and a Benz, and do all the shit that everyone else just raps about, Doe is the one who convinces me he actually can.
"Rappin' for my family, now reppin' for my city. When I make it I'ma take the whole damn H with me!" he proclaims. You've got my vote, homie.
Certainly one of the best shows that Warehouse Live has ever seen. Live life fo' sho!
Personal Bias: The future of H-Town rap looks very promising thanks to these youngsters.
The Crowd: Live, involved, supportive. Ya-Yaoo!
Overheard In the Crowd: "Have you seen Doeman? Is Doe here yet? Where is Doeman?" -- several lovely ladies as I walked around the venue. Teach me your ways, young pimp!
Random Notebook Dump: Watching Brad Gilmore perform the cover of "International Player's Anthem" is my favorite rap moment of the year so far. And I've seen it twice!
When he's not roaming around the city in search of tacos and graffiti, Marco points his camera lens towards the vibrant Houston music scene. You can follow his adventures on Instagram at @MarcoFromHouston.
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