Despite what many people may think, Nicki Minaj has proven to be an ultra-feminist many times before, but with "Anaconda" she is really making it clear. "Anaconda" is clearly a parody, both satirizing and disproving the hyper-sexualization of women's bodies in hip-hop. Although it only samples one ... More >>
Drake vs. Lil Wayne Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion September 27, 2014 "He flew across the stage on the stripper pole?" And so the summer of 2014 concluded with two best friends forever trading insults about themselves and the quirks that make them who they are. It's been a summer of awkward dance ... More >>
Mary Sarah Firehouse Saloon, September 26 On her remarkable album Bridges, 18-year-old Houston singer Mary Sarah goes well beyond holding her own against some of the greatest talents in country-music history, from Dolly Parton and Willie Nelson on down. This is no stunt record. Just about anyone wh ... More >>
Someday, when I'm old and pretty much still a sarcastic short man, I'll explain to my kids why Drake, a guy from Toronto who at every single walking turn gives out praise and love for Houston -- got a day named in his honor. How he came to Houston, threw a free concert, almost got their father kille ... More >>
What is love? Love is creating an exact replica of the face of the famed Screwed Up Records & Tapes. Love is letting your appreciation show by opener Lil Keke hitting all his cues on "Pimpin Tha Pen." Love is letting Yungstar follow him, then ESG, then Trae performing H.A.W.K's verse from "Swang." ... More >>
"Best I Ever Had" Every dude wants to be the best his girl has ever had, and this So Far Gone track solidifies Drizzy's over-the-top confidence one hashtag-rap line at a time. It also perfectly samples the amazing Hamilton, Joe Frank and Reynolds song "Falling In Love." MARCO TORRES "Don't You Hav ... More >>
Who should be producing Xscape?
Kirko Bangz, Progression IV A Kirko Bangz mixtape released in the tail end of March exists only to serve two real purposes. One is to keep your little sister at bay while Bangz's Bigger Than Me project continues to be tightened up until its scheduled June release; second, to toss out a handful of ne ... More >>
When KPTY Party 93.3 signed off for the last time in March 2009, who knew it would be almost another five years before the city of Houston would see another fully developed hip-hop/R&B station in its aerospace? In other words, hip-hop fans in the city have been longing for such a move since KBXX 97. ... More >>
In a way, hearing the words "Bun B" joined together with "new album" should make people throw rice in the air. It doesn't necessarily meet with the same amount of fanfare in 2013 as it would have in 2005, say, but that's only because the idea of Bun B in 2013 is vastly different from the one in 2005 ... More >>
Rap superstar Drake performs in his spiritual hometown.
Drake, Miguel, Future Toyota Center November 13, 2013 "I been waiting for this motherfucker the entire tour!" a more than jovial Drake announced to a near-capacity crowd at Toyota Center Wednesday night. "Everybody knows Drizzy Drake was born here in Houston." He doesn't attempt to keep his distan ... More >>
Josh Groban Toyota Center, November 12 An all-American opera-singing pop star you can take home to Mom, Josh Groban almost doesn't seem human: he's smart, good-looking, self-deprecating, and his radiant baritone can thaw a glacier. It has no trouble filling sports arenas, that's for sure, a good th ... More >>
A new song seeking to build support for the Astrodome referendum may do just the opposite.
Recently I addressed a subject close to my heart: bands I wish everybody would stop talking about for even five minutes. I even liked some of those bands, but I just can't stand to listen to them anymore because of overexposure. Thanks, social media! Well folks, it's time for another intervention, ... More >>
Today Drake will officially crown himself the current king of not only the rap charts, but moving the needle (both on and offline) with the release of his third album, Nothing Was the Same. The buzz around the rapper, ne Aubrey Graham, has swelled to almost insane levels thanks to Nothing's album ar ... More >>
Canadian rap superstar Drake and R&B phenom Miguel will share a bill at Toyota Center on November 13, Live Nation announced earlier this morning. Tickets go on sale at 10 a.m. this Friday at livenation.com, houstontoyotacenter.com, 1-866-4HOUTIX or at most Houston-area Randall's stores. Drake will ... More >>
All month long now, the AV Club has been running a new feature called State Songs featuring performances of famous songs revolving around each of the fifty states, one state per month. This month was Texas, so of course it caught our attention here at Rocks Off. But it made me think about something. ... More >>
Lil Wayne loves weed. He loves it so much that he got "baked" tattooed on his forehead.. Yes, I'm serious. It also apparently refers to Baker Skateboards as well because skating is the only thing Weezy loves as much as weed. This joins the litany of other stupid things tattooed on Lil Wayne's face w ... More >>
Some weeks ago, Rocks Off told you that one of our writers, Shea Serrano, had constructed a Tumblr featuring his drawings of various rappers and curated by the King of the Trill, Bun B, called the "Rap Coloring Book." We were proud of him then (we always are), but we're even more proud of Shea now. ... More >>
The Go-Go's Monday, House of Blues God bless the Go-Go's. If Monday's House of Blues show is anything like last August's all-killer-no-filler HOB date - and it should be, since the reunited five-piece isn't pushing any new "product" - you're in for a real treat. Listen to "Lust to Love," "How Much M ... More >>
By the time you finish this sentence, the 2012 MTV Video Music Awards will have been over for more than 12 hours (unless they're still killing you with that damn endless loop). Your brain will have turned to mush, your Twitter and dFacebook timelines slowly rebuilding themselves from ash and your co ... More >>
July 4 is truly America's national holiday, because it combines two of the country's grandest traditions: Taking the day off work and blowing shit up. Because freedom isn't free, fireworks and other explosives are embedded in America's formative myths and our national character. Also, they're pretty ... More >>
You are a human and you have eyeballs and you also have the Internet, so you've likely read some things. That's sort of what this is, except sort of not too. We went through a ton of headlines of hip-hop "stories" from the past week, picked out the most egregious one, pasted them below, then added ... More >>
For those who may not know, being a blogger and writer also means you sort of have to support yourself with a 9-5. Some chose teaching, others chose busting their ass at a prospective company. Somehow I chose to be a town-car driver. An entrepreneur, a goddamn transporter of people. There are perks ... More >>
Drake is in concert in Houston tonight. I'm covering the show. And I've been thinking about him a lot. So, 50 questions about Drake: Is Drake for real? Or did he just never stop acting? Is there anything that can be written about Drake that hasn't been written already? Did Drake break criticism? C ... More >>
No dalliances, do wayward (and likely unrelated) anecdotes, no nothing. Just good, interesting music: Chief Keef, "I Don't Like": There are some details* behind this song that might be interesting to, like, 80 people or so, but mostly this song is important because IT FUCKING ROCKS TITS. Plus, it ... More >>
"I believe in three things: I believe in God; I believe that I ain't shit without you, and I believe that I ain't shit without you!" - Lil Wayne to his fans After being shut out of the T.I./B.O.B show at La Zona Rosa by order of the fire marshal, I headed over to see Lil Wayne at the Austin Mu ... More >>
SPOILER ALERTThe best thing about the annual Grammy nominations and awards shows is the clamor of anger that rises up when the mere mention of the event even comes up. Immediately people begin calling it a travesty, trotting out all the people who have been snubbed -- Jethro Tull beats Metall ... More >>
There's this deli across the street from our work. It's an okay place to get a cheesesteak but it's an excellent place to get a burger. And for a brief period last year, it was A1 territory for fistfights. Kids were going nuts with that shit. They'd show up, fight, record it, then run home and pu ... More >>
And by surprises, I mean that I didn't like most of the albums in the top ten. Usually I fall lock-step in with the crowd, but this year not so much, with my love for arena-rock and Americana dominating my list. Pazz And Jop is the Village Voice's annual critics' poll, with critics from music ... More >>
The hip-hop world is a less than sensible place - lots of times, you're even required to clarify when bad means bad and when bad means good - so once a week we're going to get with a rapper and ask them to explain things. Something you always wanted to ask a rapper? Email firstname.lastname@example.org.̴ ... More >>
[Note #1: Drake's Take Care leaked this past weekend. We didn't download it illegally, that's for certain. But if we had, here's the review we would've written.] Listen to this while you read this. Thanks. Drake's Take Care. Lilly. Dander. Cotton. Wine, cheese, grapes, crackers. Bubble bat ... More >>
A cursory glance at the year-to-date urban radio chart reaffirms an age-old music industry adage: Sex sells. You can see the Top 10 at the bottom of this post, but first let's talk about a few of the chart's recurring themes. Sex Sells: Miguel's "Sure Thing" occupies the top spot with 86,785 spins, ... More >>
Lady Gaga kept a poker face after her Montreal fall.Concert performances and award shows can sometimes really put the pressure on artists, who often get so nervous or excited that they may just faceplant the stage. We've complied you tube clips of some of the best mid-performance stumbles. So ... More >>
The Boss Hogg Outlawz, Slim Thug's stable of gorillas, have been dormant long enough. They are readying the newest piece in their Serve and Collect series, Serve and Collect 3. That tape, a proper album, will release August 30. In the meantime, you get the holdover Outlaw Wayz, which they're ... More >>
Marco TorresBig Sean at Reliant Arena Wednesday nightEvery rapper brands himself as an original, but few merit that distinction. The ones that do rarely profit from their innovation. When it comes to emceeing, those who favor intricate rhyme schemes will scoff at a technique known as "hasht ... More >>
Some rappers happen to be thoughtful, intelligent people. Every Monday that isn't the day after a major local music festival, but sometimes on Tuesday anyway, Rocks Off will have some of them here discussing issues relevant to their culture. Photo illustration by John Seaborn GrayThis Week's ... More >>
Photos by Marco TorresLil Wayne, Nicki Minaj, Drake, Rick Ross, Bun B, Trae, Yelawolf, Travis Barker & Mix Master Mike, Twist, Shanell, Birdman Toyota Center April 16, 2011 7:22 p.m.: We had not planned on getting here until way later tonight, but Bun B mentioned on his Twitter that the show ... More >>
DTF for sure.Ever seen a nonsensical, irrelevant Britney Spears or Drake lyric on your Facebook news feed that made you cringe? We have - about 56, and the workday isn't even over yet. Some lyrics should stay on the radio and off the Facebook circuit. Perhaps instead of simply asking, "What' ... More >>
Lightnin' Hopkins finally gets his own historical marker.
Some rappers happen to be thoughtful, intelligent people. Every Monday (that isn't a national holiday) Rocks Off will have some of them here discussing issues relevant to their culture. Photo illustration by John Seaborn GrayThis Week's Panel: Chuckway, Renzo, Kyle Hubbard Not Invited: Our ... More >>
West VitaRight here, right now, and in print all damn week, you can read the Houston Press' interview with perhaps the hottest new band on the South 40, San Antonio's Hacienda (above). Whether or not they go on to become a South Texas Kings of Leon - Hacienda is also three brothers and a cous ... More >>
Lo-fi crushers Woven Bones would remake Pink Floyd's The Wall if they could.
The hip-hop world is a less than sensible place -lots of times, you're even required to clarify when bad means bad and when bad means good- so once a week we're going to get with a rapper and ask them to explain things. Have something you always wanted to ask a rapper? Email it to sheaserrano@gmail. ... More >>
Houston's history is dotted with albums that, fairly or un, have been swept aside. We'll examine them here. Have an album that you think nobody knows about but should? Email email@example.com. Drake Thank Me Later (Cash Money, 2010) No, Drake isn't technically from Houston, but he likes ... More >>
Photos by Marco Torres 8:11 p.m.: Aftermath ends up having to park three floors down in the underground Bayou Place parking lot. We elect to take the stairs up to the street. We do this in part because it seems really lazy to take an elevator up three floors, but mostly because underground ... More >>
Every Friday, Rocks Off will beam hip-hop artists into our demented, imaginary, incredibly witty, fantasy world of pretend scenarios. We predict it'll soon be known as a feared interrogation of hip-hop artists, revealing their innermost thoughts and desires. In reality, it's just a fucking cool Q&am ... More >>
Jemina Pearl breaks free of Be Your Own Pet on Break It Up.
Amid a wash of national phooey, plucking Houston rap's pivotal 2009 moment is easy.