So here's how this happened:
Thursday night, while prepping the next installment Houston Press Underground Rap Awards, which we were planning on featuring in this space at this exact moment, a side note for an award spiderwebbed into a way-too-long e-conversation with several people that was superfluous at best and annoying at worst.
The premise was fairly simple: Which Houston rap characters would serve as historical analogues for all of the new guys in town - like, who's the new Devin the Dude, who's the new Z-Ro, and so on? That rolled into descendents of singular legends - who's the new Pimp C, Who's the new Scarface - nd that rolled down to a final topic:
You have to recreate the Geto Boys using only Houston rappers under 25. Who goes where*?
After a considerable amount of time, no final lineup could fully be agreed upon - in part because it's a difficult question, but also because people that write about music for money are just about the worst people on the planet to argue with.
Talking about music with music writers in person is vaguely tolerable and only mildly grating**, but doing it via email and text is as productive as trying to make friends with an angry pit bull. Have you ever tried to reason with a pitbull when he was trying to bite you in the nuts? Good fucking luck, bro. Consider those nuts bitten.
At any rate, after X amount of time and X amount of emails, here's an extra-flexible, mostly flimsy list of under-25 Houston rappers that could get away with playing parts of the Geto Boys, one of the greatest, most dynamic musical trios of ever.
*Word to Delo, who asked basically this exact same question about two months ago.
**Not-word to the four guys that we worked with on this. Buncha bastards.
It feels like the obvious choice here would be Propain. He seems to be the meanest, most naturally aggressive (-sounding, at least) guy from the new crop. But a big part of Willie D's persona was just blatant, hardcore, fuck-your-mother disrespect, and ornery as he may be, Propain appears to actively sidestep that sort of thing. He would probably never take a woman to a chicken fight, so he'll have to fit in elsewhere* here.
*"He'd never take a woman to a chicken fight" might be the most bizarre criticism of any person ever.
Guys Who Might Fit: Kritikal (certainly mean enough, and capable of a proper amount of disrespect), Mug of SDS (mean, has a menacing enough physical presence), The Aspiring A.D.D. (he has Big Mello's blood in veins, and Mello's Bone Hard Zaggin' was extra tough), KAB (duh), Delo (everyone saw how effective Angry Delo was on HP2), Kirko Bangz (not the first person you think of when you talk about Willie D, but some of the pieces are there: he definitely has the disrespecting girls bit down pretty well already; he'll almost certainly have a CD where he's on the cover of it shirtless in overalls), Scooby and Pyrexx (What's iller than a white Willie D? Nothing, son. Nothing.).
It wouldd appear that this would be a hard role to fill, what with the terrible shortage of tiny Jamaican men Houston is currently suffering through, but really, that was only a small part of his importance to GB. The roles: 'Face was the genius; Willie was the muscle; and Bill was the crazy one.
You might try and argue that the craziest song that he ever made ("Chuckie") was written by someone else, and that means that he maybe ain't all the way crazy, but fuck, man, the guy basically forced a woman to shoot him in the face just because. He was crazy, and that means this is an easy role to fill because all you have to do is find someone who maybe wouldn't mind occasionally saying that he wants to eat baby brains and whatnot.
Guys Who Might Fit: Show (If someone said, "Hey, you heard about that Houston rapper that got caught eating baby brains," the first thing we'd say was, "Dang, what did Show do now?"), Coyo, Kritikal (Bushwick Bill was/is perpetually underrated, a fate that has befallen the very talented Beltway Krit), Hollywood Floss (an awkward pick ostensibly, but he just seems waaay too nice not to be a complete animal in private), Doughbeezy (mainly because they might be the same height).
This is where it got beyond impossible. You're talking about replicating one of the greatest rappers in the history of the universe, and that's a silly amount of pressure to put on someone. All of the under-25 guys are just too young. It was like branding a kid in the fourth grade the next Michael Jordan. Remember what happened to Harold Miner when people started calling him the next Michael Jordan? He Harold Miner-ed himself right out of the league.
But if we strip away the historical perspective and focus entirely on the "Who Could Adequately Lead This Group of Men" aspect, then all you'd need is someone that you could argue was the best of the bunch, and then it becomes a bit more manageable and opens the ballot up exponentially.
Guys Who Might Fit: J-Dawg (not sure if he's under 25, but he's all state so you pretty much have to have him here), Killa Kyleon (incidentally, Kyleon is the only guy in the history of tracking historical analogues that could serve as one for himself), Delo (talented, respected, will likely age to be very insightful), Propain (he manages to look important while standing still), Marcus Manchild, Kane (among the new crop, if Kane sayeth, thy will be done).
That said, we semi-settled on two separate lineups that would function properly:
1. Pyrexx as Willie D, Kritikal as Bushwick, J-Dawg as Scarface. This is the bruiser version, the version that would drive to your house, kick your door in, punch your daughter in the stomach, take a dump on your kitchen table, set your home on fire and then go eat at the Taco Cabana down the street.
2. Delo as Willie D, Show as Bushwick, Propain as Scarface. This is the sleek version, the version that would meet your girlfriend after a show, convince her give all of them a blowjob, then make fun of her on Twitter while @-ing you.
Those are the two soundest, most appropriate possible lineups.
Really, you could make arguments for guys to go anywhere - why couldn't The Jett I. play Scarface; he has all of the fundamental qualities - just as easily as you could pick them apart. Delo recorded a three and a half minute love song to his infant daughter; Willie D would have never done that. You can see how this gets dicey. Whatevs.
Next Friday, we'll post the third installment of the prestigious Houston Press Underground Rap Awards. It will be the last go-around before December's official end-of-the-year crownings. There are more than 20 awards this time. It is proper long (this whole Geto Boys thing, all 900-plus words of it, was originally an aside to the awards.
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Oh great - Ed.
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