When I first began to listen to rap music as a student at Jesse H. Jones Senior High, it was mostly screwed-down versions of hits by UGK and freestyles by Lil Keke, Lil Flip and Yungstar. Only after I graduated did I begin digging deeper into rap's history, with East Coast lyricism pulling me one wa ... More >>
"All That Matters," Justin Bieber No R&B or pop singer decided to reinvent themselves musically and be taken seriously as the Biebs has in the past month or so. So sue me, Biebervelli might get tatted across my belly. BRANDO "Berzerk," Eminem All the old-school song samplings layered with Eminem's ... More >>
An essential new photo book surveys Houston rap's origins.
It turns out the murderous, crazed clowns from Insane Clown Posse have a side gig that we weren't aware of. Apparently, in addition to catching them holding court and downing Faygo at the yearly Gathering of the Juggalos, you can also catch them heckling the more "controversial" mainstream videos on ... More >>
For a venue celebrating its 10th year of operation, Toyota Center may have never experienced such high-caliber occupancy as it will this month. In late autumn, the murmurs from inside the venue's marketing department could be heard all the way across the street at the George R. Brown Convention Cen ... More >>
Can we just rename last night's MTV VMAs the MTV JTMAs? Cause really, now. Mr. Justin Timberlake dominated that stage the entire night, even with Lady Gaga warbling off-key and Miley Cyrus grabbing at her crotch every two seconds. It was teh impressive. JT performed a medley of what seemed to be ev ... More >>
Let's just jump right on in to this one, shall we? Blogs about musicians exhibiting extreme tool-like behavior don't need much of an introduction. A lot of musicians opt out of behaving like normal, rational adults, and we like to rag on them a bit, especially when they're misbehaving on some ridic ... More >>
So apparently there's been a legit hip-hop record deal offered to Amanda Bynes. By all accounts it isn't a joke, which is utterly mind-blowing. The guy responsible for this offer, Daniel Herman of Chinga Chang Records, has spoken out, claiming to have cleared the way with both Sony Entertainment and ... More >>
Jambalaya Festival Bayou Music Center May 23, 2013 Ingredients: Houston, Texas A roomful of screaming, dancing teens G-Eazy, RL Grime, Big Boi, Zeds Dead, Earlwolf Instructions: 1. Open the doors of Bayou Music Center at approximately 4 p.m. Allow scores of teenage hip-hop enthusiasts t ... More >>
As often as I've been complemented on my taste in music, I've been ridiculed for the horrible television programs I sometimes watch. Case in point: my DVR's arteries were recently clogged with episodes of the ABC celebrity competition, Splash. For those who may have missed it, Splash was a taped an ... More >>
When Chris Kelly, one-half of the teen-rap duo Kris Kross, was found dead of an apparent drug overdose last week, it was a tremendously sad day for Southern hip-hop. Not just because it provided a tragic ending to another tale of a child star struggling with post-fame adulthood, but because his pass ... More >>
During a certain period in time, any given date between 2003 and 2007, when Lil Wayne decided to fully abandon his cartoon-gangster image, the one who sported a Cash Money medallion almost everywhere he went and whose teeth were ripe for a jeweler's appraisal, into the hardest-working man in rap. ... More >>
Sprint Pre-Game Concert feat. B.O.b, Ludacris, and Ke$ha All-Star Jam Session at George R. Brown Convention Center February 17th, 2013 Sunday afternoon, as I was counting down the minutes until I had to leave an amazing All-Star day party, where I was making friends with a beautiful girl, drinking ... More >>
Two days ago, a complete stranger calmly approached me at the airport. Her demeanor was kind, she didn't have any noticeable body odor and gave off a friendly vibe. I smirked before she started the painstaking task of carrying out small talk. "Hey, are you from here?" she asked. My brain wanted my ... More >>
Last year Houston saw a wide range of artists from the urban field, including Kendrick Lamar (three times), A$AP Rocky, Drake, Nicki Minaj and more. In another year where performances and live shows may wind up trumping actual music sales, there's a slew of artists who haven't made a visit to H-Town ... More >>
2 Chainz House of Blues September 26, 2012 "It's ya birthday, It's ya birthday! Bad bitch contest, you in first place!" -- 2 Chainz At the #MadeInAmerica festival in Philly a few weeks ago, only two performers graced the main stage both nights. The first was Jay-Z, the mastermind and curator of th ... More >>
Nicki Minaj Bayou Music Center July 28, 2012 I am told by countless bloggers that Nicki Minaj is a "polarizing." Her Grammy performance, her lyrical abilities, whether she's a rapper or pop star, the quality of "Starships"; all have been debated endlessly on this here World Wide Web. Because the I ... More >>
Sometimes some musicians just can't even be put in the same sentence as one another. Depending on people's musical preferences. It's hard to compare and can be a bit confrontational. But one thing is for sure the day on which someone is born can't be changed. And then that's where astrology comes in ... More >>
When people start going on about a hip hop illuminati or the secret messages in Lady Gaga videos we tend to laugh at them, call them kooks, and suggest they spend their free time in more productive ways. Jay-Z is powerful but only a crazy person would believe that Blue Ivy Carter was some sort of hi ... More >>
The duo behind Houston rap's biggest hit in years, "Drank in My Cup," has plenty more in store.
This past weekend I was at Academy near my house filling out paperwork to buy a shotgun and the One Direction single "What Makes You Beautiful" was playing over the store speaker system. Before that moment I had thought that One Direction only existed in emails from PR agents, my music listings, and ... More >>
I listened to the new Justin Bieber album, Believe, twice this afternoon so I could write this. I am not looking for sympathy because I took it upon myself. I did this so you wouldn't have to, though if you are cool enough to read our blog, the thought of listening to Justin Bieber's Believe wasn't ... More >>
Fame and fortune might not be the ultimate goal for every person to ever write a song or learn an instrument, but it is for a lot of people out there. It would be lovely to believe that music is done 100% of the time for the "right" reasons, but most of us are cynical enough to know otherwise. Some ... More >>
Life may begin at 30, but it doesn't get real interesting until about 150. -- Author Unknown One hundred fifty miles per hour, that is. It's true. The feeling of an open road and an open throttle is unmatched. Rocks Off loves motorcycles. At one point, we owned three, until we found our bike of ... More >>
Sunday night, when Justin Bieber's new song "Boyfriend" dropped, the social-media landscape at large began comparing it to the work of Justin Timberlake, the music industry's somewhat dormant leading man. I was sad, because I like the Timberlake. Justin Bieber, I bought Justin Timberlake records, ... More >>
If you're familiar with chaos theory, which in its basic form is the attempt to find patterns in the random acts of shit on Earth, then you may understand the difficulty that comes with describing a full day at SXSW. To break down the bright, scintillating chaos, Village Voice Media's roving music e ... More >>
An old Mac Miller mixtape under his first moniker, EZ MacAs long as Mac Miller has been hot, we've been under the assumption that he only has shine because his indie labelmate Wiz Khalifa scored a radio hit. No one can actually like this dude because he raps well. No one could've possibly fol ... More >>
Photo by Marco TorresEvery time we hear a new Mary J. Blige single on the radio, we ask ourselves, "REALLY, MJB? Again? OK, girl." We literally said that in the car last week when we heard her new single "Mr. Wrong." Of course, the proclaimed "Queen of Hip-Hop Soul" has never given us reaso ... More >>
The pop and tabloid world was rocked last Friday as we got word that Russell Brand was divorcing his wife of 14 months, Katy Perry, smack in the middle of the holiday season. The pair spent Christmas apart, with Perry cavorting in Maui in a bikini - yes, there are boob shoots - and Brand repo ... More >>
Some rappers happen to be thoughtful, intelligent people. Each week Rocks Off will have some of them here discussing issues relevant to their culture. Photo illustration by John Seaborn GrayThis Week's Panel: Bun B, Slim Thug, medicine Girl, O.N.E., Preemo, Chane, Delo, Chingo Bling, Doughb ... More >>
In 2005, rappers put Houston on the map. Then the spotlight moved on. Some musicians are working hard to turn it back this way.
Houston's history is dotted with albums that, fairly or not, have been swept aside. We'll examine them here. Have an album that you think nobody knows about but should? Email email@example.com. Onehunnidt Legacy of a Legend (Self-released, 2011) Remember Onehunnidt? He's the uber-arti ... More >>
Hello? Is this thing on? Rocks Off has a feeling that a lot of folks are nowhere near their computers today. Must be some sort of holiday. It is, actually. Today, not Monday. It's Canada Day, or as it's known in the U.S., "What Is Princess Kate Wearing?" Day. (Also, Friday.) Honestly, Rocks ... 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 >>
Earlier this week, Chamillionaire, still glowing from being free from the tyrannical grip of Universal Records, released Major Pain 1.5. Thursday afternoon, he was polite (or politic) enough to take a few minutes to talk about the tape. The notes from the conversation and the tape are kind ... More >>
Happy San Jacinto Day, fellow Texans and people who wish they were; i.e. everyone else. If you don't know why today is special, shame on you. But since us Texans are a friendly sort, allow Rocks Off to fill you in. On April 21, 1836, Texian forces under Gen. Sam Houston (aka "Big Drunk") lau ... More >>
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: Lil Flip, Hollywood FLOSS, Yves of The Niceguys, ... More >>
Teaching is often cast as a thankless, glamour-free job. Nothing could be further from the truth. For the past five years, Rocks Off has taught at a Title 1 (read: poor) school in Hispanic-heavy South Houston. We've been thanked several times for several things. And we've been to several 4- ... More >>
Is LCD Soundsystem's party over on its latest â and perhaps last â album?
If you woke up this morning wishing for a Pimp C/Drake collaboration, then consider this your lucky day. You should also go ahead and play the mega-lottery while you're at it. Why, yes, the paths of Chad Butler and Aubrey Graham have finally crossed on "What Up," the lead cut from Pimp's f ... 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. Have something you always wanted to ask a rapper? Email it to sheaserrano@gmai ... More >>
Aerosmith expects first album in nine years.
How Bun B dealt with Pimp C's death.
Welcome back to Five Spot. Every Friday, we'll examine a recent bit of music news and, albeit sometimes awkwardly, tie it to a bit of Houston rap. We'll incorporate the number five in there somewhere. Send tips to email@example.com. Lionel Deluy/ Interscope Records50 Cent is one of th ... More >>
Hell's Belles guitarist Adrian Conner isn't put off by "Givin' the Dog a Bone."
Each Wednesday, Rocks Off arbitrarily appoints one lucky local performer or group "Artist of the Week," bestowing upon them all the fame and grandeur such a lofty title implies. Know a band or artist that isn't awful? Email their particulars to firstname.lastname@example.org. A snap judgment is the best. ... More >>
Ex-ballplayer and busker George Thorogood: Now playing in a kid's movie near you.
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 most-inner thoughts and desires. In reality, it's just a fucking cool Q&a ... More >>
Breaking Curfew, Houston rapper MC Kane explains the protocol for putting people down.
In which we advise our favorite people in the Houston scene on their goals for the coming year.