This past Wednesday, Rocks Off ended up sitting across from Lil' O indoors at the nearly empty Muldoon's Patio Bar on Westheimer. We spoke with him for about an hour or so, about all sorts of things. He was polite and friendly and wore one of those puffy sleeveless vests. Some leftover notes from the conversation:
First, and this wasn't the most surprising thing but was certainly the most obvious, is that Lil O looks good. He released his first album, the street drenched Blood Money, back in, like, 1984 or something. (1999, actually.)
We'd seen him from a ways back at the SUC Reunion show and he'd looked fresh enough, but we were anticipating that up close he was going to show a bit of wear, like how the dolphins at Sea World are clean looking until you get up next to the tank and see they're all scratched to shit. But nope. Lil O does not have dolphin scratches. And that means a lot.
Lil O says that his next album, called Grind Hard, Pray Harder, is the finest thing he has ever worked on. He was adamant on this point when he brought it up, but he only brought it up once or twice. The music will speak for the music, he says.
For a bit, he discussed all of the people in his life that he'd lost, counting them up on his fingers. He could easily fill up both fists and both feet keeping track that way. It's always remarkable to fully consider how much experience with death these guys have, especially the guys that haven't gone completely crazy like NIP.
Ooh, speaking of, Ganksta NIP sent us a message that he has a new album about to come out. And since we're talking about the SPC, K-Rino has a new album out right now, Alien Baby. Get it.
We mentioned the idea of the SUC being cursed, a dilemma E.S.G. christened with the term "Screwed Up Curse" when we interviewed him last year. O said, "I place too much faith in God to believe in that," which seemed like a completely reasonable response. Then he continued, "But I'd be lying if I looked you in your face and said I didn't consider it before, though." That seemed reasonable too.
We also asked him about the SUC losing much of its luster after the bulk of its leadership passed away, and people trying to siphon a bit of prestige from it now that it's so splintered and disjointed. He talked about that with a fair amount of insight, packaging the entire situation neatly into a roach metaphor.
If you've yet to hear it yet, grab O's The Flood 1.5. You can get it for free here. It's the most recent tape he has released, and is pretty indicative of the trajectory of his sound. Listen to it and then listen to Fat Rat.
It's near impossible to tell the difference if you only consider his voice. It seems like the remaining parts of the SUC - O, ESG and Lil Keke - never age. There has to be something mystical going on there.
More to come on Lil' O closer to his album-release date.
Keep the Houston Press Free... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Houston with no paywalls.