Every time somebody writes a cover story, there's an accompanying blog post that goes with it, giving some sort of back story or little anecdote or whatever. That's what this is.
This week, there will be, including the sidebar, a 4,000-word story in the paper tying what happened with Houston rap in 2005 to what's happening now -- essentially, potentially the beginning of another boom.
These long form stories are always fairly taxing. They require a lot of research and a lot of time and a lot of patience.
(Also, and I didn't know this until I'd written one, but they're tough on your stomach too, because after you write it, you have to submit it to The Editor and her Team, who, no matter strong your nerve is, will unsettle it. The whole group is just too, too smart for you and your shenanigans. Nothing but crisp, proper copy walks past them. If it's not that, you will crash and die and your wife will leave you and your mother won't love you anymore and the world will cease to rotate on its axis -- at least, that's what it feels like.)
To write this particular feature, I had to visit/talk/text/tweet/email a bunch of people. Some of them, we talked about this story specifically in the weeks leading up to it, others we'd talked about Houston rap in general at various points in history.
So, in no particular order other than the names I see as I flip through the notebook I used while writing the story, some thanks:
Thanks to Matt Sonzala, who will likely always be more influential than he wants to fully accept.
Thanks to Bun B, probably the only person that's called me a bastard and it somehow made me like him more.
Thanks to Slim Thug, whom I've yet to engage in conversation and have it end in any way other than "HUUHHHHH," regardless of format (in person, texting, tweets).
Thanks to Trae tha Truth, likely to remain the most intimidating civil servant the Earth has ever seen.
Thanks to Killa Kyleon, who is as fun a person to talk to about rap as you'd hope he'd be.
Thanks to Le$. He responded to more than his fair share of phone calls and texts.
Thanks to UZOY for not getting entirely frustrated that every conversation she'll ever have about music will eventually whittle itself to the same little, unoriginal premise of being a girl that's a rapper instead of a rapper that's a girl.
Thanks to the entire 2005 class for having such an interesting, dynamic story, including Paul, Cham, Mike Jones, Flip, Michael Watts and OG Ron C.
Thanks to Kirko Bangz for not trying to sleep with my wife. Yet.
Thanks to all of the guys that have worked so hard to create exciting, engaging music for this new generation of Houstonians, including but not limited to Kane, Delo, Fat Tony, Propain, Doughbeezy, Marcus Manchild, hasHBrown, FLOSS, Mug, J-Dawg, Preemo, Undergravity, KAB, One Hunnidt, Eskabel, B L A C K I E, Wreck, the G.R.i.T. Boys, The Niceguys, #Thurogod, Sherro, MC Beezy, Chane, Mr. Wired Up (Oh Boy), Dre Day, Dante Higgins, Renzo, Kyle Hubbard, Quis and everyone else that's ever given me any time.
Thanks to all of the guys that are going to be mad that they weren't specifically mentioned.
And thanks to music editor Chris Gray, who not only helped get the story assigned, but also took me to dinner the week before it was due and listened to me ramble incoherently about what I thought it should look like and then dismantled it and reassembled it into the far superior version that exists now. It took him all of six minutes. The guy is something.
Now, please go read the story.