Since the inception of the New Houston Rap column, BeatKing has appeared more times than any other rapper. This may partly be due to his girth on the scene, how he fashions himself as a rapper who rarely wastes time when recording, and how nuanced he is in executing certain concepts in his head.
Case in point: much of his latest material has been propped up as "gangster stripper music," an amalgamation of Texas' hard-hitting, 808-mashing, call-and-response club scene and the steely-eyed, rowdy pimp talk that filtered through many a '90s Three 6 Mafia album. There's bits of California slang tossed in there for good measure, but BeatKing's baritone is so heavy that ultimately it's a Southern creation through and through.
If we long to say Big K.R.I.T. is a descendant of UGK's multifaceted approach to Southern living by mixing car culture, social commentary and his own prowess behind the wheel, then BeatKing is next in line to continue the Memphis sound erected by DJ Paul, Lord Infamous, Juicy J, Gangsta Boo and even Crunchy Black. He knows how to make the club tick, and even how to make you Stan out for a moment.
According to Gangsta Boo, the Memphis legend (now 36) decided to go into audio wedded bliss with the 29-year-old BeatKing to create Underground Cassette Tape Music despite never meeting one another. This all happened through the back-and-forth of emails, which eventually transformed the rough moments of murky Memphis chats and swooning into a private induction into the HOU-MEM cabal. All the joking and viral BeatKing songs that already exist are still only a small sampling of what he can truly do.
This tape, released last week, is the bridge between Memphis and Houston rap then and now, the way Suave House was once constantly referenced by Lil Keke and UGK and Three 6 Mafia let Pimp C break down iodine poisoning on the crawling "Sippin' On Some Syrup." And it unabashedly works.
A few weeks ago, rap duos were a hot discussion here, namely how chemistry between the two partners is essential for a project to work effectively. So this bears repeating: BeatKing and Gangsta Boo have never met in person. Yet BeatKing claims to be the biggest Three 6 Mafia fan around, and that rapping like Lord Infamous to Gangsta Boo is what really got her interested in collaborating in the first place, much less create an entire tape.
That's another misconception about BeatKing. For all of his pomp and huff in regards to slinging his dick to various women and then leaving them dry and hurt, he packs plenty of punches as if he were a battle rapper. He can talk tougher than Stone Cold Steve Austin, and matching him next to Gangsta Boo is akin to the Hollywood Blondes. You know, if Brian Pillman was a sassy female from Memphis who has threatened to rob people on records for years.
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UCTM isn't an outright tribute mixtape -- the rather modern and pedal-to-the-metal "Rambunctious," featuring Danny Brown and RiFF RaFF, appears here -- although BeatKing debuts the Lord Infamous flow early on. Classic Southern trunk-rattlers like Mike Jones' "Still Tippin" and Goodie Mob's "Cell Therapy" pop up, slightly rearranged and reimagined in the same way that David Banner and Lil Flip's "Like a Pimp" resurfaces as "Like A Pimp 2015."
Paul Wall also appears, toothy and fine on "Roll Hard," and Daz Dillinger stands for the West on "Dollar Signs." 8Ball elbows his way through tape favorite "Slab Crusher" and Flip, as one of Houston's first transcendent acts during the Screw years, offers a more than intriguing guest verse on "Like a Pimp 2015."
More on "Slab Crusher," which contains the most outrageous yet accurate punchline on the entire tape. Near the end of his verse, BeatKing surmises his trunk and whip appeal by checking what's playing on his screens at all times. The TV guide in the ride goes as follows: "Six screens with my trunk lean/ During the week they show pornos/ On Sunday they show Joel Osteen." Sinning during the week, evangelical on Sundays.
Remember when 8Ball & MJG came together with Bun B and David Banner for "You're Everything," off II Trill? Those same sad, greasy organ sounds return here, thanks to Mr. Lee and Pimp C knocking out the chorus for everybody. Somehow Gangsta Boo tackles her verse by not only thanking Pimp C but letting 8Ball himself get some time to shine as well.
UCTM is a coming-out party for BeatKing rapping over other producers' tracks; usually his voice commands his own slicing, bounce-heavy instrumentals. "Come Off Dat" finds Stunt N Dozier channeling bits of their own inner DJ Paul and Juicy J to let plinking keys and drums swamp BeatKing's own triplet-laced flow. By the time its 15 tracks comes to a close, you're already rewinding back to the beginning; criminally, it feels too short given how much fun BeatKing and Gangsta Boo have here.
All of this is to say that they've made a serious contender for Houston's mixtape of the year. They sure did.
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