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Bun B and Trae Tha Truth at Baybrook Mall, 6/15/2013

Zumiez Couch Tour feat. Bun B and Trae Tha Truth Baybrook Mall June 14th, 2013

SLIDESHOW: Summer Skate: The 2013 Zumiez Couch Tour Hits Houston

Music and skateboarding have always been interconnected. The influential 2001 documentary Dogtown and Z-Boys is remembered for both the skating featured in the film and the music included in the soundtrack. The widely popular Tony Hawk's Pro Skater series of video games introduced punk, grunge, and metal (and, to a small extent, hip-hop) to a new generation of fans.

Every video of a skate session uploaded to YouTube is incomplete without a jammin' and energetic song to complement it. Last Friday afternoon, that allure of skateboards mixed with music attracted hundreds of young people to the Baybrook Mall parking lot in the triple-digit heat for the Zumiez Couch Tour.

The fact that school was out for the summer was evident as the majority of the crowd were middle- and high-school-aged kids looking for an escape from the boredom of home. It actually gives me comfort that these kids chose to spend a few hours of their lives without air conditioning just to get outdoors and make new friends. No complaining about the heat here, they just dealt with it. Plenty of water and sunscreen was provided, as well as merchandise booths by apparel brands such as Neff and Oakley. Kids could even customize their skateboards with a variety of designs, and scribble on a graffiti wall.

Zumiez even hosted the "Best Foot Forward" amateur skate contest for those brave enough to enter into the arena. A set of 20 or so young skaters participated, some showing off their impressive skills all while avoiding serious injury. Lifestyle and apparel brand DGK's pro skate team was also on hand to showcase the advanced tricks, flips, and ollies, much to the appreciation of the crowd.

The crowd around the main stage swelled once Trae Tha Truth and his ABN Gang began their set. At first, I was uncertain that we could find more than a handful of actual Trae fans in this audience, but they certainly proved me wrong. With his gritty, real-life stories and his menacing but approachable demeanor (and his sparkling smile), Trae won the crowd over with his hits "Swang," "In My City," "No Help" and "Getting Paid."

To my surprise, most in attendance sang along and threw their H's up. To finish the set, in typical Trae fashion, he jumped off the stage and onto the barricade to be close to his fans. Strong set indeed.

An autograph sessions with the rappers followed, and the lined grew long under the menacing sun just for a chance to meet the H-Town legends. As the posters were signed and the pictures were taken, the DGK team mounted onto the skate ramps and rails for the day's pro skate expo. It takes a certain amount of courage and extreme skill to drop onto a twenty foot tall half-pipe, fly through the air, kick-flip, and land safely. Big props to all of the DGK skaters who endured the Texas heat for their fans.

The headliner of the afternoon was the King of The Trill himself, Bun B of UGK. Pimped out in a bright orange DGK tee and camo shorts, Bun took the stage strong with "Get Throwed." As the sun died down and a slight but cool breeze blew in from the Gulf, Bun seemed energized, prompting the crowd to vibe right along with him.

"Its hot as hell out here, but we are gonna turn it up for y'all anyway!" he asserted, enticing the approval of the crowd. He followed with "Draped Up" and "One Day," and the audience raised their hands in the air, wiped the sweat from their brow, and continued to rock along with the Port Arthur native.

Of course, "Big Pimpin" drew the biggest roar of the afternoon, with the forever classic line "WHAT Y'ALL KNOW 'BOUT DEM TEXAS BOYS?!" shouted in unison, putting a smile on the rapper's face. Bun thanked the crowd for the love, thanked Zumiez and DGK for the invite, and ended with his signature farewell, "International Player's Anthem."

RIP Pimp C... UGK 4 Life!

Personal Bias: If I ever go missing, the first place you should look is a Bun B or Trae Tha Truth concert. I'll probably be there.

The Crowd: Lots of kids in street wear and skate gear.

Overheard In the Crowd: "I'm trying to convince my mom to let me stay a bit longer so I don't miss Bun B's set!"

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Random Notebook Dump: I keep telling people that the secret to surviving the heat is 90 percent mental. Don't complain or think about the possibility that you might die of heat stroke... just stay hydrated, do your thing, and keep positive. You live in Texas, dammit. Deal with it!


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