Thursday, everyone in Houston was having some sort of music-related event.
R&B singer and former Artist of the Week Deandre Wright had a release party for her newest project. Jermaine Dupri and his creepy teeth were apparently in town throwing a party. Mr. Manchild, Mr. Dawg and Mr. Thugga were having a video shoot. So on and such and such.
Fortunately, Rocks Off was able to make it out to three separate events: Montana's EP release party at Check Other Outfitters, Fat Tony's release party for the Ron C "Chopped Not Slopped" version of RABDARGAB at The Flat and Undergravity's album release at Reggae Bodega.
Some #hashmarknotes from each are below.
#Montana Montana's a guy you've not heard too much about unless you're actively involved in Houston's underground rap community, in which case you've heard his name plenty of times. He shoots videos and makes music, though probably in the reverse order. He first made a bit of noise alongside group partner Church in their clever video for "Going ATW" following SXSW 2010. Thursday, he celebrated the release of his first solo EP, Lift Off. He did so at Check Other Outfitters, a trendy clothing boutique in Midtown, appropriate considering 'Tana is, in no certain, one of the trendier persons on the planet.
#Montana Incidentally, shortening Montana's name to "Tana" doesn't really feel like it works, does it? We gave it a go in our brain, but it's eventually no good. It sounds too much like the name a 30 year-old Puerto Rican stripper would give herself. "Gentlemen, welcome to the main stage... Tana!" Let's go ahead and scrap it as a nickname.
#Montana The attendees mostly consisted of industry folk and fellow artists, including rappers Hollywood FLOSS, hasHBrown, Easy Yves Saint, A.D.D. and Thurogood, and soul singer Jack Freeman. Freeman wore khaki shorts with what appeared to be little sunglasses sewn all over them. Anthony Hamilton would've been proud.
#Montana Lift Off consists of a handful of songs, and more thoughtful analysis will follow soon (it's never seemed right to listen to a tape once and try to write a review about it immediately afterwards), but know right now that it is good and interesting. A taste: "Leaving For," produced by Christolph of the Niceguys and featuring Yves of the same group.
#Montana Since the release party began earlier in the evening, the entire Rango Gang was in attendance. The Rango Gang is made up of Rocks Off, Boy A and Boy B. We're also known in the streets as the Skeleton Gang and the Monster Truck Gang. We run shit at the parks surrounding the greater Stella Link area. Ask about us.
While there, Boy A and Boy B ate four cupcakes, two bags of Cheetos, dirtied the mirrors at the back of the room and ignored all but one or two of the people that tried to engage them in some form of conversation. They're terrible party mates. They slept in the car on the way home, then talked about how much fun they had as soon as they woke up. Get some sons, yo.
#FatTony RABDARGAB rated as the fourth best Houston rap album of 2010. It was only right that Ron C chopped it up. (The Chop Not Slop thing is essentially Screwed and Chopped, except the name's been changed out of reverence to DJ Screw.) Lots of Tony's contemporaries stopped by, most notably Ron C, Bun B (who's become a supporter of Overweight Anthony) and B L A C K I E.
#FatTony Fat Tony played snippets of his album here and there, but settled in to a "Let's Appreciate Lil B's Vitruosity" mode pretty early in the evening, which was appreciated by the hipsters (and ADD) fully. There might be some things cooler than Fat Tony DJing a Lil B set at The Mink on a Thursday evening, but we can't immediately think of any.
#FatTony Purchase the new version of RABDARGAB here. It's equally as effective as the original. You're now free to engage in discourse regarding the cleverness of a rapper who's been noted for the entirety of career as the antithesis to traditional Houston rap mores joining forces with a man whose regional fame has come championing the latter.
#Undergravity Undergravity is group made up by Malcolm Allen and Adam Whitfield, two sirs who look far meaner than they actually are. They operate under a parent conglomerate called Space Age Fam. SAF consists of 290 or so other rappers, the most dominant of which is Dante Higgins.
#Undergravity Space Jams, not to be confused with Michael Jordan's Space Jam, is their first proper album and little more than a single listen is required to understand that it is a better, more fully vetted music project than anything they've released to this point. More on their project to come as well.
#Undergravity There were several recognizable faces at the Space Jams release party, including comedian Ken 2 the Fool, who has become a fixture at these types of events, and the omnipresent Doughbeezy. But the "Yep, I'll Never Ever In My Entire Life Forget That Guy" award goes to Terrell, a self-proclaimed "Yellowstone Nigga."
He looked like he either a) just got out of prison; or b) was heading there immediately after the show. He spent the bulk of the evening with his shirt off, rubbing towards women and pressuring anyone with a camera to take pictures of him. He literally had tattoos all over the upper half of his body, including his forehead and general skull area.
#Undergravity The duo performed a couple of songs off of the album, the most heartfelt of which being one that utilized the most line from Ahmad's "Back In The Day" as the hook. If you enjoy listening to rap music in the daytime - there is a distinct difference between recreationally listening to rap during the day and at night - you'll likely enjoy this album.
#Undergravity Hands down, the most uncomfortable part of the evening came when Ken, hosting the event, began wrangling all of the people who had wondered outside during an intermission in the performance. As he is wont to do, he began singling people out as a means to get them to come inside, making fun of each to do so.
He picked on Terrell the most fervently because he was slow about getting inside, remarking on his forehead tattoos by saying, "How doped up do you have to be to walk in a tattoo parlor like, 'Gimme the forehead tattoo, because I don't wanna get a job, ever."
He was relentless. The crowd was in stitches. Terrell came bulling inside, got onstage, took the microphone from Ken, then said he'd be quarterbacking the evening's festivities. He tried to make a joke about some novelty glasses Ken was wearing, saying he should take them off his face. Ken got the microphone and fired back, "I'll take this shit off my face when you take that shit off yours." The whole thing happened in slow motion. Ken 2 the Fool is goddamn fearless, son. Aces.
#Undergavity Terrell was eventually calmed down by a mother of one of the group's members (Malcolm). She was there the entire time, singing along and championing her son's efforts. She took him and Ken outside, said whatever it is that moms say in that situation to young men, and shortly thereafter they all came in together smiling and laughing. Nobody was murdered.