Houston's history is dotted with albums that, fairly or not, have been swept aside. We'll examine them here. Have an album that you think nobody knows about but should? Email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dustin Prestige The Kelly and Jessie EP (Self-released, 2011)
Dustin Prestige, an unintentionally enigmatic Missouri City MC, is an almost cautionary tale: Seemingly over the course of a single weekend, he went from nobodydom to near underground stardom two years ago, then turtled himself away shortly after when he became uncomfortable with the exposure and how it began to affect his music (See: Houston Presto Vol. 2).
Since then, he's popped up sporadically on this single or that feature, most impressively on hasHBrown's Forgive Me Not tape, but has mostly kept to himself. Now, at the tender age of 28, he is prepping the release of his first proper LP, The Prestigious, with a three-part EP series called The Saved By The Bell Drama, As Told By Dustin Prestige.
The first segment, The Kelly and Jessie EP, was just released and is now available on iTunes. The remaining two, To Lisa, With Love and Black Zach Morris, will be available before June 27.
Kelly and Jessie is springy and wiry and ambitious and generally indicative of the talent that had everybody clamoring for more Prestige when he first popped.
Y'allmustaforgotability: 94 percent
Best Song on the Album: "Army Of Me"
Though nearly a category stolen by album opener "2 Girls, 1 Presto," a Britpop/rock track that ends with Prestige trying to persuade Kelly and Jessie into participating in a threesome*, "Army Of Me" is the album's best song, emotive, original and intriguing. It is grimy and chunky and possessed of a mouthful of teeth. Also: It's a rap song only in the loosest terms. There are bloody drums and bleeding guitars and a bloodied Prestige, him crowing over and over again, "I'm a one man army, I'm a one man army."
The last minute and a half of the song consists of a bunch of you-broke-my-heart-themed Saved By The Bell sound bites. It's not as masturbatory as Kanye's album cut of "Runaway," but it's closer to that than not.
*There's no way this doesn't happen. Kelly always seemed to be maniacally sexual, though that might have been just how we saw it, and we all saw what Jessie did in Showgirls, or, as it's also called: The Greatest Cinematic Achievement In History.
Most Astute Line on the Album: "A style only mamas can love; I'm a T-Mac."
We'd be very surprised to learn that there was anybody on the planet that loves T-Mac that isn't his mother. Man, poor guy. Wait, is he still alive?
Most Interesting Argument To Have With Yourself After Listening to the Album: Is Saved by the Bell the most fundamental kid sitcom of the '80s-babies generation? It has to at least be close, right?
Remember the episode where Screech got struck by lightning and could temporarily see the future? Remember the one Zach kissed Lisa? The one where Slater was going to be shipped off to Hawaii? The one where the whole group started a band? The I'm So Excited, I'm So Scared episode? The one with Belding's brother? The one...
Obscure Fact You Can Pawn Off As Your Own To Make Yourself Sound Insightful:
This entire EP was produced by rising local personality Chris Rockaway. The second one, the aforementioned To Lisa, With Love will be almost entirely produced by the impressive Cy Fyre. The third, Black Zach Morris, will be produced by soulful sir Jett I. Masstyr.
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Why that's important to know: Three different producers for three different tapes from the same rapper within the same project is just about the closest anyone is ever going to get to designing a rap-based controlled experiment. It's a set of circumstances that transforms the infuriating, unnecessary Who's The Better Producer Among The Three? into an actual hypothesis.
For music nerds, this is an overwhelmingly interesting situation.