A Busy Thursday Night On The Underground-Rap Circuit

Thursday, everyone in Houston was having some sort of music-related event.

R&B singer and former Artist of the Week Deandre Wright had a release party for her newest project. Jermaine Dupri and his creepy teeth were apparently in town throwing a party. Mr. Manchild, Mr. Dawg and Mr. Thugga were having a video shoot. So on and such and such.

Fortunately, Rocks Off was able to make it out to three separate events: Montana's EP release party at Check Other Outfitters, Fat Tony's release party for the Ron C "Chopped Not Slopped" version of RABDARGAB at The Flat and Undergravity's album release at Reggae Bodega.

Some #hashmarknotes from each are below.


#Montana Montana's a guy you've not heard too much about unless you're actively involved in Houston's underground rap community, in which case you've heard his name plenty of times. He shoots videos and makes music, though probably in the reverse order. He first made a bit of noise alongside group partner Church in their clever video for "Going ATW" following SXSW 2010. Thursday, he celebrated the release of his first solo EP, Lift Off. He did so at Check Other Outfitters, a trendy clothing boutique in Midtown, appropriate considering 'Tana is, in no certain, one of the trendier persons on the planet.

#Montana Incidentally, shortening Montana's name to "Tana" doesn't really feel like it works, does it? We gave it a go in our brain, but it's eventually no good. It sounds too much like the name a 30 year-old Puerto Rican stripper would give herself. "Gentlemen, welcome to the main stage... Tana!" Let's go ahead and scrap it as a nickname.

#Montana The attendees mostly consisted of industry folk and fellow artists, including rappers Hollywood FLOSS, hasHBrown, Easy Yves Saint, A.D.D. and Thurogood, and soul singer Jack Freeman. Freeman wore khaki shorts with what appeared to be little sunglasses sewn all over them. Anthony Hamilton would've been proud.

#Montana Lift Off consists of a handful of songs, and more thoughtful analysis will follow soon (it's never seemed right to listen to a tape once and try to write a review about it immediately afterwards), but know right now that it is good and interesting. A taste: "Leaving For," produced by Christolph of the Niceguys and featuring Yves of the same group.

#Montana Since the release party began earlier in the evening, the entire Rango Gang was in attendance. The Rango Gang is made up of Rocks Off, Boy A and Boy B. We're also known in the streets as the Skeleton Gang and the Monster Truck Gang. We run shit at the parks surrounding the greater Stella Link area. Ask about us.

While there, Boy A and Boy B ate four cupcakes, two bags of Cheetos, dirtied the mirrors at the back of the room and ignored all but one or two of the people that tried to engage them in some form of conversation. They're terrible party mates. They slept in the car on the way home, then talked about how much fun they had as soon as they woke up. Get some sons, yo.

#FatTony RABDARGAB rated as the fourth best Houston rap album of 2010. It was only right that Ron C chopped it up. (The Chop Not Slop thing is essentially Screwed and Chopped, except the name's been changed out of reverence to DJ Screw.) Lots of Tony's contemporaries stopped by, most notably Ron C, Bun B (who's become a supporter of Overweight Anthony) and B L A C K I E.

#FatTony Fat Tony played snippets of his album here and there, but settled in to a "Let's Appreciate Lil B's Vitruosity" mode pretty early in the evening, which was appreciated by the hipsters (and ADD) fully. There might be some things cooler than Fat Tony DJing a Lil B set at The Mink on a Thursday evening, but we can't immediately think of any.

#FatTony Purchase the new version of RABDARGAB here. It's equally as effective as the original. You're now free to engage in discourse regarding the cleverness of a rapper who's been noted for the entirety of career as the antithesis to traditional Houston rap mores joining forces with a man whose regional fame has come championing the latter.

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Shea Serrano