San Antonio independent film director Buddy Calvo of Machina Cinema is all about his city. He films movies in his city and uses local city talent to make those movies, but when it comes to his flicks' soundtracks ... let's just say they couldn't be any more Houston.
Such was the case with Calvo's 2010 hit The Powderkids, a film about an academically troubled college student who returns home to find his high-school friends deeply involved in the drug trade. Our own rap underground has its signature all over it.
The films crew reached out to Rocks Off several months before the film was completed, and we sent them a slew of artists to consider. Four made the cut:
Talented businessman and longtime veteran Lucky Luciano; former Jay-Z signee Aztek Escobar; the highly celebrated Preemo; and the fast-rising Mayalino all found their tracks on key scenes in Powderkids, which generated lots of buzz in the San Antonio media and closed the San Antonio Local Film Festival.
"It seemed like hip-hop was the right kind of vibe for the film, even though the cast was little more [Caucasian]," says Calvo. "This soundtrack and story could have worked in Brooklyn with an all-black cast and people might have thought it'd make more sense, but when I was playing it my mind, nothing else seemed to fit.
"I love hip-hop. The main complement besides the technical aspect of the film was that the music was the coolest they've ever heard."
Right now, Calvo doesn't have a hard soundtrack CD to offer fans of the film, but he tells Rocks Off it's an idea that's brewing among the artists, and he plans on reaching out to the soundtrack's contributors to discuss the idea. No need to worry. Rocks Off has Houston's representation.
We sat down with Calvo to discuss his music selection for the film.
"After a long day of shooting, we'd throw that song on in particular. It's a tough song. It's smart. It's innovative. When it drops and he starts rapping, it's heavy. It's a heavy tune."
"Aztek's [track] was one of the first ones we threw around for the trailer. It's gritty and street and when I closed my eyes I kept seeing the drug dealers driving around and popping that track in. It has just that right kind of drug, hip-hop, street feel."
"That track up until two weeks before the film dropped was the ending track of the film where the screen goes black. I love that track. It was perfect. It comes off hard. It synced up right for the film. We went with Preemo's because it was more mainstream, but Mayalino's track went along the lines of Aztek's. It's a tough street track. It's a damn good song."
Preemo, "Kites," "The Day Dream" and
"Preemo's the bomb. I don't have anything else to say." Note: but he does. "By far, the best rapper I've ever heard that's not driving a Bentley. It was really cool and refreshing to hear Preemo's stuff not be anything like [traditional Houston rap]. It's like someone dropped someone into the essence of Kanye West. The problem with Preemo is everybody doesn't know him. The whole world doesn't know him."
That's kind of changing fast.
Email Rolando Rodriguez at rolandorodriguezjr22 at gmail dot com.