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.
Eskabel Pep Talk (Black Shark, 2010)
Eskabel, the Missouri City spitfire MC who's just as likely to pick a guitar riff to rap over as he is an 808, is in no uncertain terms one of the most interesting students on the New Houston roster sheet. He's brazen and aggressive and witty, and occasionally wears winter gloves and a beanie with a muscle shirt while holding a baseball bat*. Pep Talk is his third mixtape.
*Holding a bat automatically makes any outfit cool, regardless of nonsensical it would appear otherwise.
Y'allmustaforgotability: 97 percent
Best Song on the Album: A lot of guys have taken a swing at Trae's "Inkredible," but Eska, with the help of hood politician Delo, does well to understand the trajectory of the production. Eska had some practice with beat jackin' on the aptly named mixtape, Jackin' 4 Beats, wherein he went in on 14 or so immediately recognizable beats. He's proven himself remarkably adept at it. He rates second on the List of Houston Guys You're Hoping Go In On Lil' Wayne's "6'7'" beat, finishing behind Killa Kyleon and ahead of Trae, hasHBrown and Bun.
Most Unexpected Sample on the Album: Eska samples a lot of stuff on this tape, bouncing all the way from Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody" to Player's "Baby Come Back." And though enjoyable - if you rap over anything Player did, people will automatically like it; that is a fact - this sort of helter-skelter approach to classic-rock sampling isn't exactly new.
Sampling Evanscence's "Going Under," as he does on "Livin' for the Moment," though, is a pretty sly move. Perhaps what's most interesting about the whole situation is that it does not immediately make you want someone to put a bullet in your skull.
Most Unexpectedly Enjoyable Moment on the Album: At the beginning of "1st Class, 2nd Seat" there are eleven seconds of Screwed vocals that, for reasons that escape general logic, are wildly mind-scrambling. There's really no way to explain how or why that bit is so brain worming, it just is.
By the way, the It Just Is chain of explanation is never appropriate when arguing with your wife about anything, not even something as mundane as "Why is your jacket laying in the middle of the floor again, Shea?" Jesus Christ, it's just a jacket on the floor, not a dead baby.
Moment on the Album When You're Mostly Likely To Wince Because It's Playing While Your Children Are In The Car:
On "Nasty As She Wanna Be" he brags about his girl is, "Super, duper nasty, suck the skin off if that coupe is super flashy."
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FYI, if anything is titled "Nasty As She Wanna Be" - movie, song, play, Web site - it's best to just go ahead and skip right over it when your kids are around.
Obscure Fact(s) You Can Pawn Off As Your Own To Make Yourself Look Smart:
Eska's "Michael Jordan" track, which he talked about here on Tuesday, is a late-in-the-year addition to the Houston's Best Eight Rap Songs of the Year discussion.
For whatever reason, these two charming-looking white people come up when you search "Eskabel" in Google Images. They most certainly are not affiliated with the Black Shark record label.