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 email@example.com.
Undergravity Space Jams (Self-released, 2011)
Undergravity is a duo. The members - Adam Bomb and Mac - have, according to Mac, known each other since just about forever. (Us: How long have you all been a group? Him: Since about the 5th grade.)
Space Jams is their second album and, among other things, is especially interesting and aesthetically ironic because its best parts are rooted deep, deep, deep in the terra firma rather than in the expanse of space.
Y'allmustaforgotability: 97 percent
Most Unexpectedly Enjoyable Moment on the Album: All of it, even the less-than-great parts.
Here's what that means: Where their first tape, Starships and Rockets, tended to lack focus and cohesion, Space Jams feels flush and, at times, complete. There are parts that are unnecessary, as there almost always are on these sorts of homegrown products, but there are also parts that are gorgeously accurate.
"Invasion of the Fraud," for example, while hearty and admirable in its production, is too preachy and condescending to be effective. The intent is clear - it feels like a derivative of Big Hawk's 1999 track "What's Happenin' Out Here" - but they've not yet entered the phase of their career where these songs can be delivered with the supreme confidence required.
"Southside Summertime" automatically belongs in the Great Houston Summertime Rap Songs pantheon.
Psychological Phenomenon You Didn't Expect To Recall While Listening To The Album: The Primacy-Recency Effect
The album isn't entirely a time capsule from 1998; there are pieces that attempt to be newer and fresh. But the very first song and the very last song, which, incidentally, is the very best song on the album, are as thoroughly "Houston in the '90s" as anything that's been made since then.
The Primacy-Recency Effect essentially states that, when presented with a block of information, one is more likely to remember the first and last sections more readily. Big-up to psychology professor Dr. Sanford for passing that nugget along; it only took seven years after graduating from college before that came up.
No joke, they actually talked about this at a basketball coaching clinic we attended once. They weren't intentionally teaching us about this effect, but they basically were. The class of would-be coaches was told that, whenever disciplining players, always do so in the middle of practice.
When a parent asks their kid what they did at practice, the kid will immediately recall the first and last things they did. Be super-nice to them at the beginning and end, but work the shit out of them in the middle. This was a group of 11 and 12-year-olds we were in charge of, by the way. Sneaky-ass coaches.
Dr. Sanford is the smartest man we've ever met. He diffused every single argument or postulation we threw at him with remarkable ease and efficiency. It always seemed like he was toying with toddlers in his classes. Really a remarkably interesting person. If you've got a Google Alert on yourself, Dr. Glenn Sanford, then hello.
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Obscure Fact(s) You Can Pawn Off As Your Own So As To Make Yourself Look Smart:
This tape is not available for consumption in its entirety online. At the present time, you can only buy hard copies of it, and that makes it exponentially better in ways that can be understood but not adequately explained.