Base Raps

As if we needed any more proof that rock is, if not dead exactly, then certainly seriously hurtin' here in Houston, we have the musical aftermath of the Astros' clinching of the National League pennant.

You'd think that area rockers could crank out a fight song -- after all, we had that "Houston Oilers" ditty back in the Luv Ya Blue era, and those teams never even won the AFC Central, much less made it to the Super Bowl. And you'd also think that local rock radio -- eager to cash in on the latest local craze -- would bend over backward to play such a tune, even if it was made by a bunch of studio hacks trying to cash in. But no -- there's not really any such thing as "local rock radio," and so you won't be hearing any of these songs even if they are being made.

Here's what you will hear. On the Arrow, Clear Channel's local classic rock outlet, the suits have decided that Bachman-Turner Overdrive's "Takin' Care of Business" is not, in fact, an overplayed, worn-out slab of lame, 30-year-old Canadian cock-rock. No, to them, it summarizes a final, amazing triumph over 45 years of baseball blueballs here on the bayou.

Then there's the Buzz, which scoured through its stacks and stacks of Staind, Puddle of Mudd and Nickelback CDs and decided that, hmmm, there's one of these "rapper" guys…no, not the Beastie Boys, the other guy…the crazy one named after the candy. Eminem! That's it -- let's use a special remix of that song that was in that movie where he talks about puking spaghetti!

That's right. Our local alt-rock station is repping the 'Stros with a rap tune -- one they rarely played when it came out -- as the "official" song for the 2005 Astros. Oh, well, it could be worse. One of the Chicago stations is backing the White Sox with Journey's "Don't Stop Believin'." Or maybe it couldn't -- both these tunes mix in game-calls from Milo Hamilton, whose staccato, free-associative babble would be better wed to far-out tracks by the likes of Sun Ra or Ornette Coleman.

Contrast that with Houston's rap and pop stations. Cheap champagne was still dripping from Phil Garner's mustache, and KRBE, the Box and the Party had already rolled out original, custom-made tunes by local artists saluting this year's miraculous team.

Paul Wall retooled the lyrics of his underground hit "They Don't Know." It went from a tribute to Swishahouse, Michael Watts and Timmy Chang's to one that name-checks, well, everyone who set foot in the Astros clubhouse this year, George and Bar, Drayton McLane, Tilman Fertitta, a couple of peanut vendors and Stretch Suba. (Seems that way, anyway.)

Also, Wall's erstwhile potna-in-rhyme Chamillionaire put his Mixtape Messiah handle to the test by remixing his plinking, strip-club-friendly hit "Turn It Up" with new lyrics like these: "We're gonna show you how to get your shine on / Y'all know I got to rep for my home / Houston Texas baby is all that I know / and you don't wanna rumble with the Astros / They gonna show you how to hit a home run / Competition don't really want none / 'Cause Houston, Texas, got the competition runnin'/ Y'all know the Astros always No. 1."

"I remember when the Rockets were winning, when they were doing that two-peat, and how the city was lookin', the energy of the city…right now it's like déjà vu," says Chamillionaire, who admits he's a casual baseball fan who never progressed beyond Little League as a player. "Even now I'm riding around and I'm seeing cars spray-painted up with 'Go Astros!' and stuff like that. I just got back from Connecticut last night, and I'm finally getting to see this and I'm just glad to be able to lift everyone's spirits."

Cham cut the song -- which is now the most-requested song on Party 104.9 -- a couple of weeks back while he was on the road and the Astros were still tangling with the Cardinals. "When I recorded it, I called Universal and my management and told 'em I needed a studio. It was two o'clock in the morning and they found one -- we were in Chicago at the time. So I recorded it, they mixed and MP3'd it down, and the next day it was on the radio, and then we were playing Chicago. It's crazy, man -- people wanna know where they can get it, and I'm like 'People wanna buy an Astros song?' Wow, I wouldn't sell that. We're just gonna put it up on my Web site, and people can get it for free online."

Now there's someone who really is takin' care of business.


By Cole Haddon

How do you like to apply your makeup?

a. Eyeliner, eyeliner, eyeliner! (2 points)

b. I'm a dude, dude. Makeup's for queers. (0 points)

c. White foundation with black eyeliner and/or red/black

lipstick. (3 points)

When you open your closet, what do you see?

a. Khakis and Ralph Lauren polo shirts. (0 points)

b. Black band T-shirts with tiny holes in them and a black

trench coat. (1 point)

c. Infinite blackness (the same color as your empty soul), with

fishnets hanging from a hook behind the door. (3 points)

Your CD collection consists of:

a. Heavy metal, death metal and rock bands. Party on, dude!

(0 points)

b. Dark, ambient music makes my heart sing. Did someone

say trance? (2 points)

c. What a stupid question! (1 point)

d. Tim McGraw and Kenny Chesney, man. Have you heard the

new Brooks & Dunn? (-1 point)

Where's your favorite hotspot?

a. At the club, with industrial noise keeping me on the dance

floor. (2 points)

b. As far away from people as I can get, so fuck off! (3 points)

c. Lurking in a cemetery, crying because my parents didn't name me Louis. (1 point)

d. Moshing at a Marilyn Manson concert. (-2 points)

You spend your weekend afternoons (score for each selection):

a. Watching anime. (1 point)

b. Who cares about this fucking question? (2 points)

c. I'd answer, but I'm on my way to play D&D. (1 point)

d. Shopping at Old Navy. (-5 points)

e. Recovering from Friday night's art show -- damn you,

Absinthe! (1 point)

What's your attitude like?

a. Sigh, I hate everything. (2 points)

b. Leave me the fuck alone! (3 points)

c. I'm singing from mountaintops! (0 points)

d. Jesus saves. (-1 point)

When was the last time you read a book by Anne Rice or a comic book by Neil Gaiman?

a. This quiz is interrupting one, in fact. (3 points)

b. Sometime in the last few months. (2 points)

c. I saw the movies, including that shitty one with the dead

singer. (1 point)

d. Aren't Anne Rice books about gay vampires, dude?

You're such a queer. (0 points)

Total score:

(-9 to 0 points): You're as goth as Pat Robertson, Bill O'Reilly or Tom DeLay. Sure, Jesus might love you…but telling everyone He does makes Him hate you.

(1 to 8 points): Welcome to Moderate America.

(9 to 10 points): You're what's called a Poseur Goth. Return the foundation to the Marshall Field's makeup department and stop trying to piss off your parents.

(11 to 14 points): You're a Functional Goth. Basically, you dig the scene, but hey, a guy's gotta work, so the makeup is only for after the closing whistle blows.

(15 to 19 points): Your boss thinks you're weird but do your job well so he looks the other way, while your parents think you worship Satan and might be gay. Congratulations, you've been ostracized by society.

(20 to 22 points): Oh my Goth! Check your pulse, Prince of Darkness -- we've got a winner.

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John Nova Lomax
Contact: John Nova Lomax