Rob Gullatte & Show Louis: The Sophisticated Savages
The first time you're introduced to Rob Gullatte may not be in a public setting. Instead it may come behind a firewall, where his country drawl can be masked behind 140 characters -- but his affinity for the Dallas Cowboys, his Alief surroundings and wanting better for his son are as loud as a ringing klaxon. This is where you may see Gullatte, quick to declare himself The Best Rapper on Twitter, interact with common people; all while carrying the confidence of a man who may be 160 pounds, but would still swing on a super-heavyweight who weighs around two J.J. Watts stacked atop one another, too.
You may not enjoy this meeting with Gullatte, but you're intrigued that someone would at least dare bellow out of his chest that he is the best above all others.
The second time you're introduced to Gullatte may be in a public setting, one where he may go from calm demeanor to sweating, shirtless Tasmanian rap devil. He raps with his jaw forward, body constantly shifting from pillar to post, all in the name of street-related hip-hop. Gullatte's rap aesthetic derives from the old school, one where he found his voice as 50 Cent was clobbering album charts and battle-rap had entered its first little wave.
He's relatively thin, a Southern boy from near East Texas who discovered rap probably just as quick as he discovered Emmitt, Troy and Michael; or maybe even the Danny White doldrums period before Jimmy Johnson got there. The second meeting with Gullatte wins you over because he's an extroverted person with a twang and a knack for conversation about the court system, health care and more.
The third time you may have been introduced to Gullatte would be his catalog, expressive, at times vulgar and in other ways a glimpse into the ebb and flow that is living in Southwest Alief, Texas, and trying to raise a six-year-old son all at once. His last full-length project, titled Abortion, raised the hairs on the necks of people just because he rapped with a cuss and went for broke on several occasions.
"Screen Door" spoke of utter confidence through the most country and simple of appliances; "Trill Hip-Hop" earned him notice from SPIN magazine via its boom-bap vibe and his own idea of gangsterism; and "New Freak" discussed love and lust in a ball of fun without consequence. The third meeting with Gullatte wins you over with the idea of him being a credible rapper, talented and pained but not defeated.
So the next time you meet Gullatte, it may very well be with his latest self-titled release, an all-freestyle project that comes on the heels of his long-awaited joint project with Show Louis -- aggro-rap veteran, friend and rapping Swiss Army knife. Both projects are worth visiting more than once because of some key facts, listed below.
*** Gullatte raps in a noticable wheeze, the kind where you're about to enunciate every word and let every word be heard until you pass out. On Gullatte, he even brings up his middle-school ID card on "Used To," the punchy Drake moment from If You're Reading This It's Too Late and even reveals that Nasir Jones, Nas is his favorite rapper. He also offers a bit of congeniality before affirming that he's not here for the "fuck niggas."
*** There is no slur more powerful than calling someone a "fuck nigga." A "fuck boy" might be close, but there's some real venom behind uttering a "fuck nigga" at someone. A personal moment may be found with him jumping on top of "Ballin In the Mix" but it's merely a small sample of Gullatte at his aggressive best.
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*** Show Louis, a man -- who much like Gullatte -- has faced some trepidation thanks to run-ins with the law and raising a daughter by his lonesome, is also one of Houston's most notorious rhymers. Between him and Bigg Fatts, you're not going to find a more potent, or underappreciated, bar-for-bar rhymer in the city. The Sophisticated Savages, his joint effort with Gullate, is like watching Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier tag-team to go fight every Russian in the world during the Cold War. Show is a master at conveying his emotion and energy into bouts of energ; rapping is therapy for him, a lot cheaper than seeing a shrink or even a probation officer.
*** "I'll probably die in the town that I live," he raps on "The Hunt," the project's opening track, where he peers down on the city with a sniper's scope. He knows his sins but raps with such a drowsy inflection that those sins weigh on him at every waking moment. He pulls on cigarettes, offers zero regrets and does the sort of things that make Freddie Gibbs a fan favorite.
*** Show is unflinching. He may have baggy eyes, but he'll swing at everything if presented in front of him. It makes him a very dangerous typhoon of rap thoughts and manifestations.
*** The Sophisticated Savages and Gullatte are a combined 29 tracks of uncut emotion, where Hoodstar Chantz, Note, Bax Biggers, Quis, Esau Mack and M.A.C. of Undergravity all contribute in some capacity. Some songs that reference listening to old OG Ron C Fuck Action tapes, while others you literally want it to be your soundtrack through a shitty Monday.
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