The hip-hop world is a less than sensible place - lots of times, you're even required to clarify when bad means bad and when bad means good - so once a week we're going to get with a rapper and ask them to explain things. Have something you always wanted to ask a rapper? Email it to firstname.lastname@example.org. Curious to know how outsiders view Houston's little corner of the great Human experiment, we tapped EX-L Eazy, a new Houstonian by way of St. Louis, for some intel. The interview did not get nearly as hot in herre as we were anticipating. This Week's Rapper: EX-L Eazy This Week's Subject(s): Outsiders' perspectives on Houston; who takes the blame for Nelly. Also, HAM! Ask A Rapper: We figure since you're not a native Houstonian, we can work from that angle. From the outside peaking in, what's the general perception of our city? And you don't have to lie and say how hot we are or anything; we're all aware that we haven't been on the national consciousness since 2005. Do you all see us as washed up? Forgotten? Irrelevant? What's the look? EX-L Eazy: My first thought was that I would see a bunch of "country folk," but when I got here I was like, "Wow, Houston is a big city with so much going on." Houston is also one of the hardest markets I've ever been in when it comes to breaking in as a new, non-native artist. I've learned that Houstonians love their local artists, and they support them in all kinds of ways. As a resident of St Louis coming to this area, I have encountered numerous trials, but now that I'm living here in H-Town. I can't wait to get some of that Houston love I've witnessed so many times. The Dirty South is my home now. AAR: We don't know if you know this or not, but Nelly was actually born in Texas. He moved to St. Louis as a teenager. What we mean to say is, you know that he falls to you all, right? Because we're sure as shit not claiming him. EX: I've performed with Nelly and his brother doing concerts in St Louis. I got love for them boys because they showed me love. I do me and just let them do them. But he reps for the same hood, so I can't help but show love. I know a lot of rappers who were born in one state but call somewhere else home. For instance, Soulja Boy who was born in Mississippi and Ludacris, who was born in Chicago, now he calls the ATL home. So if it works for them, it works for me. At the same time, do you, no matter where you from or where you at.
AAR: Each city has those right-place-right-time rappers that blew up for no real good reason. Like, there's no reason you can present that could justify Chingy being famous. From where you're sitting, who's that guy (or guys) from Houston? EX: I don't know about that one. If you make it, then it's your time no matter who you are. Obviously somebody or a lot of people were feeling your music at some point in time, so enjoy it. If you don't make it your mission to stay on top or if you don't succeed in staying on top then, that's your destiny, either way.
AAR: You've done some work with Yung Chill, who actually participated in this here column too. And you've also done some stuff with Miss Mykie, who was one of our Artist of the Week selections a while back. Why tap those two for music? We assume they're making some noise outside of Houston. Does any other Houston act's name ring out outside of Texas? EX: Actually, my marketing coordinator, Hope Means, and my manager, Arthur Bob, hooked us up. We all knew where we wanted to go and the type of music I wanted to make, so they pointed me in the right direction. Man, that Chill is da truth. He makes mad beats. Mykie was just a bonus from working with Chill. We vibe well. As far as other local Houston artists making noise elsewhere, I haven't worked with many, but we all know that Slim Thug, Chalie Boy and Bun B doing they thang. But I'm looking forward to working with all them boys in the near future.
AAR: As an aside, we'd just like to mention that the phrase "ring out" was not part of our everyday vocabulary until just a few weeks ago. We've been watching The Wire like mad over the holidays. How did it sound? Was it natural? Or did it settle somewhere closer to "Look at this lame-o trying to sound hip" levels of annoying? Give us an East St. Louis phrase we can start throwing around to make people think we're tough. EX: In the Lou, when someone is doing their thang hella crazy we like to say, "Man, they goin' HAM!," which translates to "Hard As A Motherfucker." Or we be like, "That boy super beasty," which also translates as "He a monster." As you say in Houston, "Already." Keep tabs on EX-L Eazy at www.myspace.com/exleazy.
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.