Each Wednesday, Rocks Off arbitrarily appoints one lucky local performer or group "Artist of the Week," bestowing upon them all the fame and grandeur such a lofty title implies. Know a band or artist that isn't awful? Email their particulars to email@example.com.
Despite his goofy name, Hollywood F.L.O.S.S. has quietly risen up our list of favorite local rappers this year. His patchy, translucent flow glows with potential, and when not caged in by dogmatic audio ideologies (audiologies?), seems capable of delivering just about anything with style. Plus, he's a skinny dude, and we always pull for skinny rappers.
The thing with F.L.O.S.S., though, is that there's no middle ground; he's either brilliant or contrived. For instance, his work on "Better Times," a track off his Art or Fiscal Intelligence LP, is a thoroughly expressive and unhindered soul effort (the vocals at the end are clearly iffy) but the braggadocio of "I'm Bout My Paper," from his Ari Gold Tendencies EP, is entirely clichéd and forgettable.
And since it appears that F.L.O.S.S. is on a track to become either a) MTV famous or b) a Sonic employee, we decided to hurry up and interview him before neither of us wanted to talk to the other. After the jump, read about Entourage's Ari Gold, listen to Led Zeppelin song he sampled and see why we now might actually hate him.
HF: I got started by just loving music in general. I couldn't sing or play an instrument so I used to buy singles and rap over the B-side instrumentals, so what started off as a hobby turned into rapping seriously. My influences include everything from Green Day to Al Green, but if it's just rap, Andre 3000, Cee-Lo, Eminem, Jay-Z and Lupe Fiasco.
RO: You've got an EP out right now with Sans Bayonet titled Ari Gold Tendencies. What exactly is an Ari Gold tendency? Would that be the tendency of overacting on a cable TV show? That doesn't really seem pertinent to your cause.
HF: [laughs] Yeah, the EP is production by Sans Bayonet and rap vocals by me. Ari Gold is a character off of [HBO's sitcom] Entourage and the songs are based off his tendencies or the traits his character has: selfish jerk, money-hungry, risk-taker, etc. [It's] just a fun project that I got to do that was out of the rap norm; my 808s and Heartbreak [laughs].
RO: What did you think of 808s? We thought it was fantastic.
HF: I thought it was great. I'm all for pushing the envelope and growing as an artist. It's not like [Kanye West] can't rap anymore; he's just having fun with music. The songs I like most on the album are "Paranoid," "Robocop," "Amazing" and "Heartless." I can't wait to get a girl who likes me more than I like her so I can hum "Robocop" to myself.
RO: That would be cool. Your Led Zeppelin song is a lot of fun. What made you decide to sample a Zeppelin song? It was Puff Daddy, wasn't it? Front if you want, but you know that "Kashmir" sample he did was dope.
HF: Actually, I cant take credit for finding the sample, that goes to my group member Kidd The Great. He came to the house with 40 rock samples ranging from Nirvana to Soundgarden. When I heard The Led Zep one, I loaded up the equipment and got right to making the beat. It spoke to me and I felt as if we could make a good rap song out of it.
RO: Yeah, Zeppelin has a way of doing that.
HF: How'd you know Sean Combs was my inspiration? Nah, I can honestly say Puff had NO influence. Take that, take that... Bad boy, baby!
RO: What with the year end creeping up on us, everyone is putting together their Top 10 lists. What are your Top Five Houston Rap Albums?
HF: Hollywood F.L.O.S.S., Art or Fiscal Intelligence; Scarface, Emeritus; K-Otix, The Reason; Presto, The Prestige; Devin The Dude, Landing Gear.
RO: Dude, we can't tell you how disappointed we are that Z-Ro's CD didn't make your list. We think that we hate you now.
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HF: No doubt a top 10 album this year from the area along with K-Rino's album, but I'm a naturally happy person and I get mood swings jamming Z-Ro, so I really have to be in that mind frame to listen to [him].
RO: The mind frame to murder someone, we presume. Anything you want to plug? Now's the time to mention it.
HF: Yes. Big ups to Kidd, Duce and Bad Tae, Rockaway Productions, Sans Bayonet, Courtney Adams and Gumo. - Shea Serrano