Trae Day, Trae Tha Truth’s annual giveback to the city of Houston via carnival, charity and concert, celebrates its tenth year of existence this weekend. The beauty of Trae Day is its boldness, a block party that swallows up an entire area of the city and can employ the following appeals of life: decked-out slabs, colorful and resplendent; a large bounce house; the occasional rim giveaway and of course, Trae Tha Truth in full hood-regal splendor, riding a camel. Normally Trae Day takes place in the middle of July, weeks after Trae Tha Truth’s actual birthday, but this weekend bears a certain significance. Trae Tha Truth found a way to align both Trae Day and the release of Tha Truth Pt. 3, his loaded and very excellent new album, to arrive at the very same time.
There is an odd, outside quirk about Trae Day and Houston Appreciation Weekend (HAW), Drake’s now-annual “giveback” to the city full of both club affairs and charity events. Whereas Drake’s visibility is squared off to select blocks of time such as Thursday’s BBQ in Emancipation Park, Trae is literally everywhere with Trae Day. You couldn’t miss him if you purposefully tried to.
Every detractor of HAW seems to have a false association with it. “Is Drake doing anything for the city? What about the artists; is he going to appreciate them too?” I’ve called the man Rap Game Hillary Clinton in the past after claiming our “culture” when announcing a pop-up strip club during last September's HAW 2016. I also realize that Drake, like many a so-called “Houston rap fan” cares more about the past and paying homage to that rather than actively seeking out what’s new and what is buzzing within the city. HAW was never about the newer artists, it’s about the clubs and the people.
When it was first announced four years ago, HAW felt weirdly apropos. Drake had rapped about Houston to a point where he had interjected himself into a solid 60% of the daily life. If everyone had a Houston-centric song in regards to the nightlife, Drake had them aplenty. So, HAW was born, thanks in large part to a massive, community wide clean up for concert tickets at Warehouse Live. The event was exclusive to a point where even certain media couldn’t get in. It still remains Drake’s best solo show, ever.
Since then, HAW has emerged as both a must-attend event for anyone wanting to spend a random weekend in the city, but also a launching point for vitriol. No matter what Drake may do whether it be celebrity basketball and softball games, dinners and honors for the likes of Bun B and more, it will all look and feel like a giant money-grab for club promoters and his close confidants. This year, there is no major concert being thrown, no royal proclamations by sports teams. (The Astros already honored Drake; even he has his own official day in the city.) This year is without question the most low-key and simplified version of HAW yet.
#HHGB #Houston Salute @Traeabn! This weekend the 10th ANNIVERSARY of #TraeDay and giving back to the community! Rp @traeabn I Appreciate Every One Who Support & Posted This #TraeDay Weekend Flyer ... All Luv Fo Keepin It 1000% . #HipHopGivesBack #Community #Tecas #TexasHipHop #AngelByNature #HTown #HoustonHipHop
Trae Day, on the other hand, won’t be as simple. It will be gargantuan inside of Discovery Green, and would be infinitely better if somehow the Texas-shaped pool at the new Marriott could be involved somehow. It will never feel like an attention grab of goodwill. Instead, it’s genuine charity as Trae, a native Houstonian, cares very little about the celebrity aspect of it and would rather give in ways he wasn’t afforded as a kid. The charity may be a little different, but ultimately the city of Houston wins — in one way or another.
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“This is Houston Appreciation weekend because we all love Houston,” Drake told the crowd at Emancipation Park yesterday during the HAW Charity BBQ. “I hope to see you around the city and I hope you enjoy yourselves and stay safe.” He said this as Trae was right by him onstage, the two of them looking more like city ambassadors cut from different cloths.
Credit to @adamwayne91 : #HAW is here is upon us and this pool party will be a movie! Have you reserved your section yet?! (**TICKET INFO IN BIO**) 3PM-8PM @clehouston /DM ASAP • • • • #HAW #OVO #OVOXO #Houston #HTX #HoustonAppreciationWeekend #Drake #Baka #BakaNotNice #RoyWoods #DomPerignon #Domluminous #Greygoose #GreygooseVodka #Clé #Clehouston #Keytoagreattime #Clegroup #Cleangels
Over the next three days, there will be numerous parties hosted by both men. Some at a pool, some at any number of clubs from Set to Spire. There will be a celebrity bowling match hosted by comedian DC Young Fly on Sunday. People will spend money, people will do their best to snap off photos with IG captions highlighting keywords and phrases such as “big bro” and “we working just wait on it.” You can get your jokes off about grown men pushing women out of the way to try and grab a photo with their favorite celebrity. James Harden may randomly pop up somewhere. Chris Paul may leave early because he’s a family man. But overall, a wide number of people from kids to adults will take in this weekend as another to party, drink and be merry.
Sometimes appreciating this city means recognizing its low-level Sin City vibe. Where humidity and relaxation can lead to wide smiles, grins and the occasional story to tell.