With so much news to that flies by in the Houston rap scene, luckily we're here to sit back and deal with it all. Welcome to our own version of March Madness, where every workday we're delivering stories to keep you occupied with the ins and outs of the Houston rap landscape.
"I hear Doeman's pretty dope, but does he rap about anything?"
Joseph "Doeman" Gonzales has been called a burgeoning star before. His life has two key points: before a car accident nearly took his life and the one after. His 2012 debut tape, The Understatement, showed early range for utilizing his good looks to pick up chicks and run the floor like James Harden to grab attention flow-wise.
Seriously, watch an early video from the tape Imperfectly Perfect. It's like watching a young rapper still deal with being on a VHS and not even DVD. Let's just say three years carving out not only a sound but sharpening his pen for further success.
When you're a Latin rapper, you in part take up the mantle of representing every single Latin rapper who ever existed. It's akin to being in a superminority. An entire book could be written about the specific demographic idiosyncrasies, but we'll hold off for now. Doeman may have a smooth face, mustache and enough scruff molded into a soul patch to be your little sister's Man Crush Monday. But he's evolved into a very capable and devastating rapper, about 1,500 percent better than that kid who awkwardly stared into a camera and made faces to try and convince you he was a rapper.
$tereo Type$ is the third full-length Dodi tape in 12 months. The first, the DYNA EP, firmly introduced him as the golden pick of Propain's Trill Forever imprint. The Gold Blooded LP established that he could mingle on tracks with other Houston standouts fighting their way to the top while also carefully picking his spots. "Jodeci" slowed things to a bit of a crawl, an enticing snare-and-sample piece of clay Doeman and Propain stomped all over for fun.
The cast of characters for Doeman's latest small musical jaunt are expressive: an eclectic mix of Houston's main quixotic figure (Devin the Dude); a burgeoning Atlanta talent with similar gifts (Scotty ATL); and Nadia, a relatively unknown singer with a little assistance from Happy Perez. It's not entirely a Trakksounds-produced product, but $tereo Type$ marks the first full project where the retro-future producer has his hands on a talent who is already well on course to be a supernova if certain things break.
"Perseverance" is the first outright sweep from $tereo Type$. The tape is built around overcoming obstacles, surviving the odds and fighting forward like a non-linear Rocky flick. If $tereo Type$ was a Rocky montage, it's basically Rocky and Apollo Creed running on the beach in Rocky III for more than 30 minutes. "Perseverance" drags along the same sample of Boom Clap Bachelors' "Tiden Flyver" that Kendrick Lamar used for "Bitch, Don't Kill My Vibe" for an even slower loop, one where Doeman can steady everything out about wanting more and where building a lane for he and his friends is the most straightforward goal imaginable.
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So for every little time Doeman grasps for the brass ring found on $tereo Type$, there are questions of what's next. Consider this. Doeman turns 21 later this year, and the idea of what he could be is rather endless. Where DYNA and Gold Blooded felt insular, like a rapper fighting his way out of his own head and figuring out the best course of action was to rap about himself and sit like a square-necked boxing superhero, $tereo Type$ feels as if it were meant for everybody. It's for Doeman's homeboy Mike, who's pretty much running the Dodi brand day-to-day. Or Trakksounds, who could create motivational music that could exist in the same ring as his retro-superfuture flips and piano takes. He can rap about chilling with friends and swiping your homeboy's girl out from underneath him, and he could also rap about how bothersome his life can be down the road.
That's sort of the thing about $tereo Type$. Where Dodi can stretch out of his own personal come-up for "Savage Souls" with Scotty ATL, he can still spot an issue from a mile away such as "Fake Love." "Andele" serves as a bonus cut to the project, but by then the damage is already done. Trakksounds and Doeman wanted to use the first part of his year to enlighten everyone around him.
Outside voices? Gone.
The Mexican Rap Joel Osteen, with Trakksounds hitting the organ notes in the background to exclaim every point? Possible.
The first boxer who raps his way down to the ring (better than Roy Jones, Jr.) before knocking out opponents in the ring? It could happen.
The supposed heir to the always sought-after rap crown for a Latino rapper? Just as possible. As long as Doeman keeps using his voice to make personal self-help tapes for his fans, that is.
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