Trae Tha Truth's Birthday Party House of Blues July 2, 2013
The last time Trae took the stage for his birthday at House of Blues, his special guests included Jadakiss, Waka Flocka, Yung Joc and Lupe Fiasco. And since Trae is good at making friends and
convincing inviting them to his party, the chances of an All-Star lineup Tuesday night at House of Blues was almost guaranteed. As one commenter put it, a Trae & Friends show usually has a better rap lineup than Free Press Summer Fest!
I walked into the venue at 10 p.m., surprised by what a small crowd was in attendance. There was plenty of room to roam downstairs, and the balcony was almost empty. No matter, DJ Mr. Rogers was on the mixers cueing up one of the best sets of H-Town rap imaginable. From Geto Boys to UGK, Lil Keke's "Southside," to Madd Hatta's "Down South" and Z-Ro's "Mo City Don Freestyle," and everything in between... It was an H-Town shindig top to bottom.
The first act of the night was the ferocious J-Dawg. The young Boss Hogg Outlaw is about as dark and menacing as a black hole, captivating with his emotional sound and intimidating with his animalistic scowl. J plays every show as if his life depended on it, never backing down, all hard and strong at all times.
"This is real nigga shit!" he proclaimed. "I'm starving, I'm here to eat!" Of course he spoke figuratively, but it would not surprise me if he actually picked up a hater from the audience and ate him.
From "Ride On 4's" to "Associates" and "First 48," there is no warmup for J-Dawg. Like The Incredible Hulk, the rapper is always angry. "Pray for me and I'll pray for y'all! G's up!" Nobody reps the "H" like J-Dawg.
The curtain was soon closed, and all kinds of commotion could be heard backstage. I soon found out that Trae was performing with a live band, and the set up was causing a delay. "Just be patient everyone," said Mr. Rogers from behind the scence. "Trill shit just takes a bit longer than bullshit." Very true.
Once the band was ready, a booming voice jumped on the mike. With the voice of a boxing announcer, Trae was introduced as both "The King of the Streets" and simply "The Truth." The curtain opened to reveal Trae dressed in all white, sitting on a throne.
"I guess a bunch of niggas forget that I'm the man!" rapped Trae. That is the first line of "Choppa Talk" from 2012's Tha Blackprint, and the large, bejeweled Asshole By Nature made his presence known right away. He also paid tribute to DJ Screw with "Grey Cassette" and Pimp C with "Long Live The Pimp".
The first guest of the night was comedian Lil Duval, who quickly made fun of Trae's deep, mumbling voice. Now, making Trae the object of jokes is usually not the smartest thing to do, but Trae was all smiles Tuesday. And so the comedian lived to joke another day.
Mystikal was next to hit the stage, looking fit and rowdy as ever. He ran quickly through a litany of hits, including "The Man Right Chea," "It Ain't My Fault", and "Move Bitch (Get Out The Way)," He recalled how Trae was supportive of him while he was incarcerated, and "held him down" when he was released.
Trae's tight and talented band included a keyboard player, a guitar, bass, and drum set, working well with both Trae and the DJ to accompany any song and direction commanded by the birthday boy. All onstage had certainly practiced for this show, and it was very much appreciated.
Big K.R.I.T showed up to wow the crowd with several tracks from his album Live From The Underground. Dressed in all black and with enough energy to light up the whole city, K.R.I.T. turned up the mood and kept it strong throughout his set. He always looks like a perfect combination of cool and crazed, with his magical southern drawl that reminds me of Pimp C. Always a pleasure to catch a Young Krizzle show.
"I know I promised y'all that my homie was gonna be here" started Trae apologetically. "But they just imformed me that my nigga missed his flight..."
Just then, Grand Hustle president Tip Harris surprised Trae, entering the stage to the roar of the crowd.
"Y'ALL LIED TO ME!" yelled Trae with a smile. Again, if this was any day besides his birthday, I'd be afraid of the repercussions of lying to the menacing rapper. But today, all is well. "I'm glad you're here, bro!"
With a smile as big as the ship channel, T.I. wished his labelmate a happy birthday, and bounced right into "What You Know" from the 2006 album King. Hands raised, back and forth, side to side, all grooving with the self-proclaimed King of the South.
"I've been in the rap game for over 16 years, and with your support, I'm gonna keep doing this for a long time!".
And we'll be there with you, Trae. Happy birthday, sir.
Personal Bias: I've said it before, and I'll say it again: "If I ever go missing, the first place you should look is a Bun B or Trae Tha Truth concert. I'll probably be there."
The Crowd: Small crowd of hardcore Houston rap fans.
Overheard in the Crowd: "You tell him that Tony Montana's baby momma is waiting out here!" -- some random girl trying to get backstage
Random Notebook Dump: First night of three back-to-back rap shows was a success. Kings of the Mike (LL Cool J/Ice Cube/DeLaSoul/Public Enemy) is tonight, Geto Boys on Thursday.
Trae set: Choppa Talk Still Throwed Grey Cassette Who's Tha Man Yea Hoe Long Live The Pimp
Mystikal set: Real In The Hood We Here I Got Em Problem I'm On
Big K.R.I.T. set: Screwed Up Dirty No Help Still Gets No Love Getting Paid
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T.I. set: Swang