The legacy of club music as a whole is tied to a willingness to let go. To an extent, it's how commercial radio has been bowing at the every whim of trap music. Club music and trap music are first cousins, especially trap music as it currently sits. It hasn't morphed into a different form, it still is all about posture; mean mugs, watching money trapeze on an invisible line in the air, getting women. How you stand in regards to the club and trap music is what separates you from being exciting and from being in an awkward mess of mental clutter. Except BeatKing, he relishes stretching his mind on the simplest of topics.
BeatKing released so much music last year, starting with Club God 4, that he was inescapable. He didn't release as many viral freestyles because his structure found more effort given toward proper albums and tapes. Houston 3 AM was a late-night excursion that began peeling back layers of a comedian still willing to be self-deprecating. His proper album, 3 Weeks, was one of the year's best and allowed BeatKing to be free. Somehow, he shut his brain off long enough to stop and work on other fun projects. The chaos always starts with that childlike Jaws tag and finishes with his verse telling you something about himself. What BeatKing did with Club God 5, out since Sunday night, was merely display the cover and one single in "Bussibak." Fans ate it up and proclaimed him their father.
Chasing inspiration for BeatKing isn't a hard thing, yet he has always mentioned that if something isn't coming to him, he'll relent. Katt Williams, Kehlani, people have submitted requests to him to do what he does best. The only one he's publicly announced coming down the road? A takedown of Donald Trump. Yet BeatKing's freestyle that did make Club God 5 in "Red Lean" captures the loose freedom of his storytelling, tying the aesthetics of his truck to trust issues behind a swath of songs ranging from OutKast's "Jazze Belle" and Ginuwine's "Differences."
Club God 5 marks yet another BeatKing tape where his bluntness and revelry for the accessible are the main talking points. Everything regarding sex, having badder women now than in his past, the topics that roam in his head are those of elevation, personal success. He laughs all of it off when it comes to “It Don’t Matter,” the third to last track on CG5, where he mentions having only four outfits in school and being lame as hell before rap. BeatKing was a geek, someone who would get pissed off that you messed up his saved game tactic on Sega Genesis or couldn’t compete with him in Street Fighter. He’s an everyman, with an appetite for sex, strippers and the occasional wing dinner plate.
Lil O, The Re-Up
If one were to think about it, Lil O could be credited as one of the early pioneers of club music in Houston. Not of the bounce-your-ass variety, more of the standard “I’m better than you and don’t test me” kind. “Back Back” went national in 2000, and Da Fat Rat With Da Cheese has been smiling ever since. He still dips his toe into making straightforward club anthems such as the suggestive and up-front “Bet She Can’t,” and right now he’s got “Hi Sidin” from The Re-Up owning mix shows in the city. Houston veterans have old habits; Lil’ O’s happens to be a rather Napoleon-like complex to stunt on everybody within distance. Hustling, sharing time with the likes of Jack Freeman, Big K.R.I.T. and Devin the Dude on tape standout “What Iz Ya Talkin’ Bout” and playing Chris Paul to Killa Kyleon’s DeAndre Jordan & Chamillionaire’s Blake Griffin on “In Da Wind” are effortless Lil O moments. It’s a traditional Houston rap tape to the very end, something that Lil O will forever remind you of.
It’s not February, or even a day when you can force yourself to think about love, but NTheClouds, the duo of Boi Dru formerly of Solutionn and Jay Kell, went deep on it with their debut album. Decap and Brady Wyatt, the two main voices from a production standpoint, set up the NTheClouds duo with woozy bass lines, spastic drums and the occasional deep piano stab. For eight tracks, Boi Dru and Jay Kell detail all kinds of love, from sexual to longing for the right woman and being heartbroken at all of it ending. You could argue that “Have You Seen Her” and “Lookin For Ya,” two Decap productions, are nearly identical in thought but one’s merely asking questions while the other's asserting implied action. The chemistry between the NTC duo is pretty evident, both displaying effortless cool when needed and also fighting their own demons of past failed relationships. Both seeped in loving live instrumentation, NTheClouds decided to craft an album about love — and all the bullshit you go through to get there.
SONGS OF THE WEEK
A-N-T feat. Paul Wall, “Ol School Lac”
The initial thing about A-N-T’s “Oll School Lac” is how it toys with an organ before letting the keyboard and chopped-up vocals come in. So familiar from Houston’s past, A-N-T still represents the Southside of Houston as if it were still ’96 and there were still a civil war in the city. Paul Wall jumps in because he’s still the Slab God and if anybody’s gonna talk Houston car culture on a record, it’s Paul. You should move on to A-N-T’s Drop Top Music if you’re so inclined to stay rooted in the sound of the H in the early 2000s.
Don P, “Magnificent”
Don P, the collective duo of producer Donnie Houston and New Orleans rapper and underrated favorite Hot Peez, came together for one sole purpose: to make dope music with the influences both men were raised on. Peez’s White Hall tape was funky, somber and more than reflective in regards to adulthood. “Magnificent” is sort of like adulthood in New Orleans, only it marries cuts of famous NOLA Q&A raiser “where they at” with triumphant horns, slithery vocals from Peez and him falling in love with the wrong one.
Genesis Iver, “Second Chance”
I halfway wanted to chastise Genesis Iver’s “Second Chance” as a minor cry for simp life and attention. Then I realized how often we’ve all been there in regards to a breakup and wanting answers. Iver’s a newbie only in terms of public consciousness. Rapping over a muddy, heavier-than-a-rain-cloud version of Donell Jones’s “Where I Wanna Be” extrapolates his heartbreak over many levels, even when pushed to the answering machine and left wondering.
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Maxo Kream, “Big Worm”
Up until the moment BeatKing dropped Club God 5 and Wiz Khalifa made certain that Sosamann was TGOD, the early half of this column was to be about Maxo making the wait list for the 2016 XXL Freshman class. Kream’s gangsta identity translates better than almost anything on Earth, and “Big Worm” matches gangsta on two levels. One, Maxo’s double-time allows him to name-check Friday villains like role models. Two, it samples Wiley’s grime cult favorite in “Morgue.” Transcontinental thuggin’.
Stockz, “Some More”
Here’s how Stockz operates. When he lived in Houston, he managed to curate sounds of the moment; big bass, lot of melody, plenty of young man rapping. Now that he lives in L.A., it's more of the same. “Some More” ties in flutes, hard-hitting 808 drums and Stockz being in a self-assured moment where the only clarity he needs? Peace of mind and more of what makes him happy.