Pop Life

Behind The Lyrics: Trails, Taking the "What Ifs" Out Of Houston Hip-Hop

There are lots of "what ifs" in Houston hip-hop, too many if you ask Rocks Off. What if Pimp C lived? What if South Park Mexican and Bing didn't get incarcerated? You could play "fill in the blank" all day after "what if?"

And we've wondered if the up-and-coming generation of hip-hop artists will learn from other men's mistakes. Will they see what happened to the generation before them and make different decisions? We're not talking about just major mistakes like going to jail for murder or overdosing on drugs and dying, but allowing elements of street life to overwhelm and dilute the talent so many of these cats have when they step behind the mike.

We don't like reading too much into lyrics, because after all, they're just lyrics, but on a track called "Game I'm In" on Northwest Houston rapper Trails' new album Young Brown N Wreckin, the hook gives us some hope that maybe the new generation of hip-hop artists in Houston are seeing the light. Maybe not living perfectly, because no one does, but understanding that the music has to dominate the life they live versus the experiences they rap about. The chorus, sung by Southeast's Lil Villain (more on this guy later this month) goes:

"To all my patnas promise we gonna meet again/ Been through the struggle comin' up from boys to men/ My eyes seen sin, breaking the trend from hittin' the pen/ I'm tired of losing all my patnas from the game I'm in."

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Contributor Rolando Rodriguez is the co-founder of Trill Multicultural.