Welcome back to Five Spot. Every Friday, we'll examine a recent bit of music news and, sometimes awkwardly, tie it to a bit of Houston rap. It's five videos and occasional cussing. Send tips to firstname.lastname@example.org. Jay-Z is in town Monday. This is huge. Jay is the most commercially, mainstream successful rapper of all time. He made a gajillion dollars last year. He owns an NBA team. He wears wayfarer sunglasses everywhere he goes, even when he hangs out with the President. And he's got the baddest chick in the game wearing his chain. That said, he hasn't dabbled too much down here with Houston rappers. Of course you've got "Big Pimpin'," which is typically the first song people will mention when you're trying to tie him to any of our guys. And then there's the handful of songs that he and Scarface have done that get brought up next. But past that, there's not much going on, features or otherwise. Which is what made it interesting when, regarding a chain of emails pertaining to the upcoming Jay-Z show, we received the following from a dick who thinks he's super-smart:
"You're a dick that thinks he's super smart. Here's the game: You connect [Jay-Z] to five Houston rappers. 'Big Pimpin'' doesn't count. And don't pussy out and pick 'Guess Who's Back' or 'Can't Be Life' or any other Scarface songs. Everything else is open. But you can't connect him to anyone using a Houston rapper as a go-between."
To which we responded:
"Any five [we] want? Baby food. [We] can connect him to any five guys you can name, and [we] need exactly zero Houston go-betweens."
Fatboy: "Keke, The Legendary KO, Trae, Bushwick [Bill] and J-Dawg."
Cake. And we're off.Lil Keke, via "Southside" from Don't Mess Wit Texas
Let's get a bit obscure for this first one. The same year that Keke released Don't Mess Wit Texas Jay released In My Lifetime, Vol. 1. On Lifetime, Jay has a song called "Where I'm From" that talks about - surprise! - where he's from. On Don't Mess Wit Texas, Keke has a song called "Southside" that discusses - surprise! - where he's from. Also, the producer of "Where I'm From" was a dude named "D-Dot." The producer of "Southside" was a dude named "Double D." Booyah.
The Legendary KO, via incendiary single "George Bush Don't Like Black People"
Remember this song? It got a bunch of play when the KO boys put it out there. It samples Kanye's famous dig at George Dubya. Guess who not only can be tied to Kanye through 100 different ways, but also cosigned the premise of Kanye's statement about Bush? 2 for 2, we are.
Trae, via "Song Cry" from Restless
Trying to connect Trae to Jay-Z is about as hard as driving through Second Ward and trying to spot a Mexican. Trae calls him by name in the first bar of the song, which is one of the best songs from the best album he has ever made.
Bushwick Bill, via a tangle of extensions via "Fuckin' Wit Dre Day"
There's an easy way to do this and a confusing way.
The confusing way: Bill makes a cameo in Dre's "Fuckin' Wit Dre Day*" video from 1993. In the opening scene, there is a guy playing the role of a sleazy record producer. The character was based on a real producer from Interscope records. From there, you could go 30 different ways:
50 is a current Interscope artist, and spent much of last year trying to entice Jay into beefing with him; Lupe Fiasco is a former Interscope artist, and Jay has production credits from Fiasco's Food and Liquor; there's an imprint tied to Interscope through Universal called "99 Records," which is close enough to Jay's "99 Problems" to probably count.
The easy way: DJ Sane 720 worked on Bill's Gutta Mixx album. He also worked on Jay-Z's unofficial Red Album.
*Side Note: This is the video where Snoop coined the phrase "Bootylicious," which went on to become one Destiny's Child's more famous songs. Extra credit, that is.
[Ed. Note: Everyone at Rocks Off would also like to wish Dre a happy birthday... the Doctor turned 45 Thursday.]
J-Dawg, via some white kid in Pennyslvania
Ack. YouTube is the worst. Someone with the same name (but spelled differently) uploaded his own cover of Linkin Park's "Encore" to Youtube, complete with him "rapping" Jay-Z's part.
Admittedly, this connection is a tad thin, but if we were in a court of law it'd almost certainly be enough to draw a... reasonable doubt. See that? See what we did there? Because Jay-Z has an album called Reasonable Doubt. Isn't that neat?
Thanks for the support. Have a Jay-Z weekend.