So, 2012 is 33 percent of the way done. And (thankfully) the antiheroes of Houston's Underground Rap World have been just as busy trying to make music being made in the rest of the country entirely obsolete as they were in 2011.
Seems fitting then: Let's run through the first installment of the Houston Press Underground Rap Awards, shall we? There will be three sessions this year, culminating with the official Houston Press Music Awards. Let's all e-drink and be e-merry.
Now, enough pre-tomfoolery. To the actual tomfoolery:
The "Best Mixtape of 2012 So Far" Award: Dustin Prestige
A new face. Everyone, meet Dustin. Dustin, everyone.
Here's how this goes: We say, "Plaid is the best tape that's come out this year. It justbarelybythismuch topped the third go 'round of Delo's Hood Politics series, Doughbeezy's Blue Magic and Mug's Money and the Pain."
You say, "Man, hell no. [NAME] killed it. Instant classic. It's been in the deck nonstop since [DATE]." We say, "Respectfully, we disagree."
Plaid is an engaging, creative listening experience. It might not be a strict rap album in its entirety, but there's no better way to describe it. He took the best parts of his fun-but-slightly-scattered EP from last year and evolved them here, and that makes it even better than it would've been otherwise.
He flexes a fake Jamaican accent at one point, but whatevs, so has Z-Ro. What part specifically did you think was lackluster? You say, "I didn't listen to it." Then we shake our head and purse our lips.
The "Best Logical Extension of a Song" Award: The Niceguys
The Niceguys had a song in 2010 called "Toast." It was tempered and it was soft. This year, they grew it into "#Overtoast," a sudden slang word that, in essence, means "getting, or have gotten, fucked up." It is better than the original in every single way. Those guys don't miss often, do they?
The "Best Music Video of 2012 So Far" Award: Michael Artis
We are actively petitioning to get an official Best Music Video category added to the ballot of the Houston Press Music Awards. There has just been too much quality directing going on to ignore any longer. To wit, Michael Artis's spin on Propain's "My Life." It is appropriately dark and appropriately bleak and somehow aggressive without being ostentatious about it.
The "Fuck Your Hustle" Award: Doughbeezy
He went from obscurity to MTV in a matter of months. It shouldn't even be called a "work ethic" anymore, it should be called a "doughbeezy." As in, "Amare Stoudemire is good on offense, but on defense he just has a poor doughbeezy." Can we get this to happen, please?
The "So Can Everyone Gloat Now?" Award: Mug
Going into the new year, the dominant story line (as dominant as underground rap story lines go, anyway) was that Mug, one of the Boss Hogg Outlawz's more imposing forces, was going to release a tape called Money and Pain and it was going to be good. Then he released Money and Pain, and it was good. So can everyone gloat now?
The "Most Anticipated Tape" Award: Delo
Actually, by the time you read this, Purple Politics, the official Chopped Not Slopped version of Hood Politics Vol. 3, will be out*. No never mind, though. Delo has cultivated an undeniable sonic identity (mostly it's that rugged, sultry thing).
To have it pulled through the turntable sludge by the Chopstars, OG Ron C's camp, is as enticing a musical proposition as you'll ever find on planet Earth. Or something.
*DLed it yesterday. It's pretty brilliant.
The "Hey, Stop Going to Jail, Man" Award: Rappers
ATTN: Underground rappers: Hey, stop going to jail, man.
The "Welcome to the Show" Award: Short Dawg
He was left out of last year's Underground Rap Awards because his location wasn't confirmed. After some super-investigative reporting (sending him a few text messages, basically), he's been verified. Welcome, Short Dawg. Play nice. Have fun dominating this thing soon.
The "So I Guess We'll Just All Keep Ignoring This Guy, Then?" Award: #Thurogod
You guys understand that the #Thurogod is a really good rapper, right?
The "Excuse Me, But Did You Notice Houston Has a Legitimate Rap Star Again?" Award: Kirko Bangz
Were you aware that Kirko Bangz's "Drank Up in My Cup" broke into Billboard's Top 10 Hip-Hop chart? His next tape is rumored to be relatively close to being released. If he scores another legit hit, that should be motivation enough for his label to promote a proper album. After that, it's a wrap, son.
The "LOOK AT HIM" Award: Le$
Boss Hogg Outlaw Le$ has been releasing music at a maniacal pace this year. His tape last year rated as the second-best music project in a deadly collection of music. He has it. Someone, anyone, everyone: LOOK AT HIM.
The "He's Not That Special" Award: Kyle Hubbard
Doesn't even get a blurb. That's how not special he is. (Get it? Eh, eh?)
The "Don't Let Him Get Ahold of Your Instrumental" Award: Killa Kyleon
Rules: You don't let a handsome man become friends with your woman and you don't let Killa Kyleon get a hold of your instrumental. Because if you do, someone is getting screwed.
The "Is This Guy a Genius?" Award: Sherro
His erudite single, "Doin' Extra," is as emphatically soaked in club-rap culture as any song that's been made in the last few months. Its chorus is a catchphrase, it hat-tips several other successful club rap tracks and flexes a bucket full of bizarre enunciations.
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Sherro is either a gaudy music genius or his brain is made of Jell-O. Those are the only two reasonable conclusions to draw.
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