Houston's history is dotted with albums that, fairly or un, 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.
Herney the Great Diary of a Young Black Male (Self-released, 2011)
Herney the Great is an occasionally explosive, always frothy rapper from north Houston. He made his first Rocks Off appearance at back in December, when he was featured as our Artist of the Week, and has been on the radar ever since.
Diary of a Young Black Male is his debut album, a swarming, spiraling, unforgiving tape. There are pieces of it that seem to all rush at you once - "Stayin' Focused," for example, is ironically scatterbrained and loose - pieces of it feel completely natural and intimate, such as the acid-jazz atmospherics of "Let's Chill."
Y'allmustaforgotability: 94 percent
The Most Incidentally Enjoyable Aspect of the Album: It is chock full of neat little pieces to pick apart. The cover, for example, features Herney sitting next to a picture taken during the Civil Rights Movement , which is a hat-tip to a previous song of his where he states that he's making movements like the Civil Rights ("City Lights").
More than that, the Civil Rights picture, if you look close enough, features several watermark pictures beneath it, including Herney again and a woman in a bikini(!?). Good look figuring all that shit out.
Most Auspicious Sample: The grungey, dragging, five-minute-plus "Stoner Daze," wherein Herney samples Green Day and guest feature George Young uses the phrase "remarkable hobo" perfectly.
Third Best Line on the Album: "Love lasts just about as long as my erection."
Second Best Line on the Album: From "Diary," a choppy, frustrated track where Herney is assisted by the bizarre songbird Sydney: "When the fuck I'ma blow, getting real impatient. I just want my mama to get in the conversation and say that I made it." When he opens his veins, Herney is a handful.
1st Best Line on the Album: "I pass on Reggie Bush. Why? Because I'm a Houston Texan, bitch." That's just clever.
Best instance On The Album Where Technology Undercuts A Tough Guy Premise: On "A Nigga Like Me," an aggravated Herney barks, "She texting me all the time, but I reply whenever I want." Nobody has ever sounded threatening talking about text messages. Nobody.
Most Enjoyable Callback On The Album: On the above-mentioned "A Nigga Like Me," Herney proclaims that women "love an asshole." He then proceeds to rip through all sorts of crudeties about the opposite sex in convincing fashion. Then, on the pro-women, Charles Hamilton-produced "Heart Tale," he begins the first verse with an admission, "I know I'm an asshole." Juxtaposition is always fun.
Obscure Fact(s) You Can Pawn Off As Your Own So As To Make Yourself Sound Smart:
This album - the beats, the rapping, the everything - was lost to computer failures not once but twice. Ultimately, it made for a better album, says Herney, but man, what a bitch that must've been.
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Charles Hamilton is mentioned above as a producer. Yes, that's the same one that shot into indie-rap stardom, only to unravel in front of the entire Internet in the subsequent years.
Download Diary of a Young Black Male on Herney's Bandcamp page.