Bayou City

Houston Rapper Bo Bundy 1, Harvey Looters 0

Bo Bundy says he loves his city but he's not trying to be a local rapper.
Bo Bundy says he loves his city but he's not trying to be a local rapper. Photo Courtesy of Bo Bundy
A day before Mayor Sylvester Turner issued a citywide curfew, Bo Bundy sat on the balcony of his home with an AK-47 and two extra magazines by his side. The curfew, he says, really helped mellow him out.

“If you were on the northside that night, you would have understood why I was out there. I was out there from 10 at night to 6 in the morning,” he says. For some in the city, the rain and thunder-clapped nights that Harvey brought to Houston made the street resemble something out of the movie The Purge.

The 21-year-old rapper, otherwise known as Jorge Frias, wasn't spared Harvey's destruction. About three feet of liquid filled the home he shares with his two sisters, and his car was flooded. When it was said and done, their trees were down and he had to start thinking about the job of removing the walls in the home.

And maybe it was because the Walgreens near his home was robbed and that multiple people he knew had reported nearly being victims of violence themselves that Frias says he was a little on edge.

“I never thought I'd be out here on the roof with my gun just waiting for some shit to pop off,” he says.

But he says being from Mexico (or being undocumented from any country, for that matter) comes with its disadvantages during a crisis.

“There's a lot of undocumented people out there that are scared to ask for help, so it's harder for us,” he says.

“I know friends whose dads got deported, so they don’t have anyone to do the work, so they're scared to ask for help. They don't want to ask for help because they live in fear. People were scared to go to George R. Brown, because they think that they are going to ask for papers,” he says.

Indeed, the Mayor of Houston himself offered to represent anyone hit with an immigration charge because that person asked for help. ICE even announced it would suspend any enforcement activity during Harvey. Frias, whose family hails from Coahuila, Mexico, is immensely proud of his heritage, even singing in Spanish and dedicating songs to Mexican icons like Pancho Villa.

“I’m a northside Mexican; you don't see somebody like Kap G in on it, he don't know Spanish. I'm really about this,” Frias boasts. He’s only been seriously rapping for two years and like any millennial in the now, posts his music on SoundCloud.

His music is fun, droned-out trap that sounds distinctly H-town. There’s no shortage of Latino or Mexican-American rappers from the city, but Frias is hoping his “Northside Worldwide” attitude will help him break out of the local pack.

“I want Mexicans to look at me and say one of us made it,” he says.
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Camilo Hannibal Smith started writing for the Houston Press in 2014. A former copy editor, he was inspired to focus on writing about pop culture and entertainment after a colleague wrote a story about Paul Wall's grills. His work has been published in the Los Angeles Times and the Source magazine.