Houston Music

Big Moe

Taken with Big Moe's debut, City of Syrup, Purple World will have people thinking that all Houston is awash in codeine, that we're addicted to the poor man's ecstasy from Clear Lake to Tomball. They would be wrong, of course. While there are plenty of neighborhoods here where people can be found snoozing behind the wheel at traffic lights, nodding off on a milk crate on the corner, or listening to DJ Screw while "balling out of control," the entire city is most certainly not drenched in the sticky purple opiate.

But in Moe's world they are, and while the syrup may slow the pace of these microphone fiends, it doesn't cut down their jammability. Moe's rumbling, intoxicating, singsong flow is what gets him over, as it always has. He flipped the script on people every time he touched a Screw tape. While other Houston rap luminaries like Fat Pat and Lil' Keke would rap hardcore and edgy for what seemed like hours on Screw's compilations, Moe's lines switched the vibe completely. Many southside players thought they had found their Isaac Hayes.

Break-out hit "Purple Stuff" features Moe and labelmate D-Gotti encouraging their slowed-and-throwed fan base to toss their hands up and wave them side to side -- assuming they're awake. It's a playful history lesson of sorts that outlines the purple glory of his career, from his early days with Screw to his ascent to stardom.

But because many people outside the dirty dirty just don't know what the hell Moe's talking about with all his purple this and purple that, it would be no surprise if the smoothed-out bounce of "When I" became the true hit of this set.

Other highlights include the driving bass line and raucous horn section behind "Cash" (with Pimp C of UGK and Wreckshop boss D-Reck), which picks up the pace a bit, while "Dime Piece" sounds like something your father might have thrown on the turntable in hopes of seducing your mom. "It's About to Go Down" (with Lil' Flip, 3-2, Noke D, Toon and D-Gotti) and "Thug Thang" (with Big Pokey, Dirty $, D-Reck, D-Gotti and The 1st Lady) are both anthemic power jams designed to get the party crunked up.

Purple World is full of some of the most soulful hip-hop ever laid, a classic testament to Houston hip-hop in 2002, but Moe should remember that it's his voice that keeps his fans as addicted as the fiends he sometimes raps about. These collaborations are tight, but Moe needs to showcase himself more.

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Matt Sonzala
Contact: Matt Sonzala