Pop Life

"I'm Sorry," But Koppo Is Not To Be Brown-Boxed

"I apologize I'm here/ It's my fault for trying to live/ My word is all I have to give/ So I'm sorry/ Now I know I was born into a world that I ain't my home/ Maybe they'll love me when I'm gone/ Til then, I'm sorry" - Koppo

Perhaps no rapper in Houston is better at lyrically capturing the plight of the tatted, thug-living Latino in the hood than the grime rhyming, sad-story telling Koppo, a "Mexican Z-Ro" of sorts who's managed to bring bullying delivery and some sorely needed lyrical sophistication and polish to the heavily saturated gangster rap scene of the Latino community.

The scene in no way lacks in fan following from its own, but it has yet to find a breakthrough artist who can effectively cross over to gain citywide respect and undeniable stature in Houston's crowded hip-hop underground, versus being immediately boxed in or pegged due to their skin color.

In blunt terms, the "Mexicans can't rap" stereotype has to be overcome. The stereotype represents the big brown elephant in the hip-hop room. And Koppo of The Fam Entertainment music label could very well pull a 187 on Dumbo.

He's a man whose style can either irk you or grab you at first taste. He regurgitates his own poverty- and death-inspired desperation and "fuck the world" sentiments with gravelly-sounding hooks and exasperating vocals. You get the feeling he's exorcizing anxiety, distraction and despair from deep within him. Depression's never been more fun to listen to.

When you get past the fact that Koppo is brown - which many non-Latino listeners have to when encountering a hip-hop artist who isn't black, because gold grills and brown skin can be a "shock to the system" contrast if you don't cross the tracks too often - you find a legitimate artist who should be integrated into the Optimo Radio playlist.

"I'm Sorry" was the track that got Rocks Off's attention. It's a life-defining piece for Koppo during a time when he was dealing with the shooting deaths of two close friends - one to the bullet of an HPD officer - and being practically homeless sleeping in abandoned homes at times, he tells Rocks Off.