Saturday afternoon Killa Kyleon, who just started up a new team he calls Team Run It!, hosted a release party for his new "Don't Mess With Killa" T-shirt that turned into a mixtape listening party that turned into a video shoot at Check Other Outfitters.
Rocks Off went, hung out for some time, lifted a copy of Killa's most recent tape, Candy Paint and Texas Plates, watched them shoot a video, then wrote down some words. Notes related to the tape will be preempted with "#TapeNotes" and notes related to the mixer will be preempted with "#MixerNotes." Mali-booyah.
#MixerNotes Among the more interesting things that Killa addressed at the mixer were a) his new tape is already finished, and includes features from Scarface(!), Devin the Dude(!), Miss Mykie and more; and b) he used to be, and possibly still is, a graffiti artist. Some of his work actually ended up at DJ Screw's house before he passed.
Never knew that about him. That's cool.
#TapeNotes Killa has long been known as a hijacker of beats. Candy Paint sees him steal songs from Wayne, Travis Porter and more, as well as make a 2011 adaptation of "25 Lighters."
#MixerNotes Um, if your shirt has a zipper anywhere on it, you're doing it wrong.
#TapeNotes This tape isn't as invigorating as his Natural Born Killa, which ranked among last year's best Houston efforts (part two is on the way, by the way), but it's enough to keep you satiated.
He shines on his redo of "Bill Gates" and his "Swang Real Wide" duet with Roel Osteen (both songs you've likely heard elsewhere), and is still better than most on tracks where he rates as average when measured against his own best work. Newcomers will likely not be won over, but existing fans will not be turned off.
#MixerNotes Among those in attendance: Bun B, who whisked in and out like a stealth bomber (he was expected elsewhere); hasHBrown, still the owner of this year's Best Houston Mixtape title for Relationsh*t; Zeak from Damage Control; Miss Mykie's Mohawk, Doughbeezy, who apparently exists in all places at all times; Hoodstar Chantz (who is one person); DJ Don, a producer with growing prestige; J-Mike, another newbie; Sais from the League of Extraordinary Gz, and more.
#TapeNotes Wiz Khalifa, just crowned hip-hop's rookie of the year by Rolling Stone, makes an appearance on CPaTP. He's shown an increasing appreciation for Houston rap recently, which is good to see. Curious to see if that has any trickle-down effect, similar to what happened when Lupe Fiasco (and even Drake) started doing similar things in previous years.
#MixerNotes Kyleon is a naturally charming fellow. He told several jokes, made several insightful comments, and went around and shook hands with every single person that was inside and immediately outside of the store. Several weeks ago we saw him handing out CDs at SF2's Kickback Sunday, remarking how if you're not up on your own shit, you can't expect others to be.
#MixerNotes If you're baby is still in possession of a hospital-issued blanket, he might be a little too young to be a listening party.
#TapeNotes Does anyone know how old Kyleon is? Sometimes it seems like he's 18, sometimes it seems like he's 40.
#MixerNotes At the end of the mixer, Kyleon ended up shooting part of an upcoming music video. Two things happened: All (or most) of the aspiring rappers made their way to the front of the crowd so they could be seen in the video, and all of the people who weren't supposed to be there ducked and dodged the camera like it was the business end of a shotgun.
Have you ever seen someone jog away from a camera? That shit is hilarious.
In addition to purchasing his new T-shirt and hearing a bit of his new tape - he played portions of it, most memorably a song titled "Letter To Pimp-C," a moment that would've been especially neat had Bun been there at that exact time - the primary reason we showed up was to further assess exactly where it is that Kyleon belongs within the Houston Rap Hierarchy.
See, Killa's been around for long enough to have an already established brand name, but most of that was fostered under the pseudo-tutelage of Slim Thug's Boss Hogg camp. And since he's left that party, he now seems to be both new and established at the same time, which makes his case among the more curious in Houston rap today.
This will be vetted out fully in the future. In the meantime, download his Candy Paint take here.