Houston Music

After SXSW, Sosamann Is Ready for the National Stage

Last week during South by Southwest, one of the worst-kept secrets in Houston rap was revealed: Sosamann, The Sauce Factory's bright, colorful provider of raspy sing-song flows and shouts, had signed with Wiz Khalifa’s Taylor Gang imprint. Videos had already surfaced of Khalifa and Sosamann hanging tight, especially on the road. The news wasn't delivered with a massive roll-out or a press release. Instead, it found its way into a writeup in the New York-based magazine The FADER. A single, solitary sentence that was the lead before rolling into simplified fluff geared around song standouts and generalized topics. Guests are mentioned, and then it's left up to public discussion. That tape, Sauce Eskobar, is Sosamann's first solo tape to draw The FADER's attention. It’s also his first tape to find its way to a lot of national blogs while garnering attention from new fans alike. All from his newfound connection to Taylor Gang.

The most bare-bones story to tell about Sosamann, and in particular Sauce Eskobar, is that this rap tape was made by a personality who enjoys life now far more than during the sleepless nights on the 8900 Braeswood section of southwest Houston. Back in 2014, “Did a Whole Lot” established Sosamann as a solo act, a second figure in the Factory's "personality exceeds actual raps" department. Sauce Walka’s “Legited” is the record that kept TSF in the headlines for the right and wrong reasons; Sosamann ducked all of it and continued pushing. On Sauce Theft Auto: Splash Andreas, he was the glue between Walka’s brash, squelchy raps and Saucy’s pitter-patter of pimp talk  If one were to gander how Sosamann deals with things, he’s the tattooed diplomat who could be less Henry Kissinger and more gun blams; in his words, he's capable of putting a “hole through somebody like a bagel” if he wanted to. He just doesn’t. Instead, he turns into a somewhat scarred rock star with a penchant for chasing his idea of the American Dream.

National writers are going to immediately play the comparison game with Sosamann and his TSF contemporaries. He toys with vulnerability in ways that someone who smokes the pain away does. “Just Wanna Win” opens the tape with the base ethos of no longer wanting to see a certain level of the bottom: “I don't really wanna hurt no more." It climbs upward in different registers and tones, all with Sosa immediately pulling back from his moody, tonal singing into squirrelly, yelped-out raps. That particular pendulum is how Sosamann swings. He wants to ball like the most neon, shiny ’80s gangster-movie montage with help from Young Dolph, Walka and Khalifa. He also wants to find time to mourn the same individuals who he bled with and chased the edge with: “If P was here, he'd be next to me/ If DaeDae was here, he'd be next to me.” Sosamann wants this forever, even if it sounds like a pipe dream. Producers Bro Dini and JRag have toyed with Sosamann's vocals before, crafting big, blocky moments of drummed-out menace for "Did a Whole Lot” and stretching them into emptiness for “Just Wanna Win."

What Sauce Eskobar at least attempts to prove is that Sosamann is trying to craft actual songs. Trap'd Out and its sequel dealt mostly with blustery club moments of destruction; punch lines tucked in between ad-libs and boasts of pimping and Sauce-a-nese. Under zero circumstances would a puffed-up strobe light of a rap moment like "Private Show" exist on those tapes, yet it does here. The blind fun of "Not the Vine" would exist, but it wouldn't sound as big-budget and important as it does now. Speaking in terms of the Sauce means Sosamann is moving into that sort of goofy regional stardom his new good friend Khalifa experienced in the hazy days and nights before Kush & OJ broke him through for good. When he raps on "Not the Vine," you hear his chains clanking together over the mix. In other words, if he’s going to be a star, he's going to be a DIY one until you tell him otherwise.

Rizzoo Rizzoo, Death of Lit
At first I wanted to join in the party of considering Rizzoo Rizzoo a Lacoste ambassador who wasn’t really much of a rapper. He nailed hooks, but had zero confidence in laying down an actual eight- to 16-bar verse. Much like everyone else in TSF, aside from maybe Rodji Diego and Sauce Walka (when he feels like it), Rizzoo runs on the same spastic, delivery-is-everything tonal flux that permeates through the crew. His really big moment came late last year with “Off The Lot” and last December’s “#WWYD." Neither of those records made it onto his Death of Lit quick-strike tape. For all the commotion of dropping a rather sought-after tape during the middle of SXSW, Death of Lit understands its lean nature and barely jumps into foreign waters. It's 20 minutes, in and out, with raps about smoking big, balling bigger and flicking ashes in the front of haters. Seriously, “Happy Lil’ Family," the tape closer, is about sleeping with a hater’s girlfriend and being disrespectful during all of it. Rizzoo Rizzoo is having fun, and even he knows his limits.


GT Garza, “U Remember”
If you’re going to craft a “back then…” record, sampling Big Moe is an absolute must. Mike Jones may have had the marketing plan to stunt on people, but nobody matched Moe’s outright confidence on the matter. GT Garza’s mosquito-thin rasp actually sings on “U Remember," flipping the “didn’t know I was good at rapping and stunting” feel of the opening verse from “Just a Dog” just to drive the point on home.

June James feat. X.O & MC Beezy, “Hang of It”
If X.O properly claims himself to be the Rookie of the Year on “Hang of It,” June James jumps up and down like a 6’4” stunt record. The Jenius is more concerned about a woman hitting the strip-club elevator to success, while Beezy and X.O are too busy celebrating themselves like most players do.

Q. Guyton feat. Trill Sammy, Rai P & Doughbeezy, “Bands”
Doughbeezy is getting back to being in his bag on tracks: drawled-out enunciation and cheeky punch lines. Q. Guyton gave him a lift with last year’s “Diamond Chains” and in turn, the two crafted a video where one is a rap hero and the other is the goddamn Grim Reaper. “Bands,” from Guyton’s recently released Black Magic, is audacious shit-talk with Rai P and Trill Sammy doing their best to try to follow Dough’s one-liners.

Rocky Banks, “A Lot"
Tripped-out rap visuals are always a plus. Geto Boys set the tone with “Mind Playing Tricks On Me." In Rocky Banks's case, “A Lot," everybody played a trick on him thanks to his drug usage. In a rare moment of weakness, he ventures back to those points, his brain on drugs something far more startling than what Rachael Leigh Cook gave you in 1997.

Scarface feat. Z-Ro, “Fuck You Too”
Even as a kid, I knew never to look at Cuney Homes with any excitement. As an adult? It's still one of the more troublesome and historically tough neighborhoods in Third Ward. Yet Scarface and Z-Ro can walk all up and down those blocks for “Fuck You Too," spit O.G. wisdom and still live their version of isolation from it all. Between this and his assist on the “I’m-Not-Going-Back-To-Jail” record “Go Away”with Boosie Badazz, can we just go ahead and give Z-Ro his due already as a legend?

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Brandon Caldwell has been writing about music and news for the Houston Press since 2011. His work has also appeared in Complex, Noisey, the Village Voice & more.
Contact: Brandon Caldwell