Do you know what today is? It's 7-13 Day. It’s the official holiday of Lil Keke who received an official proclamation from Mayor Annise Parker, becoming the latest rapper to receive an official day from the City of Houston after Bun B, Slim Thug and Trae Tha Truth. That’s the short of how great today is. The other thing? You get a brand-new Houston rap playlist to run with for the week, one where you can get a little chill via R&B but also run around attempting to tomahawk chop anybody who may be in your way. Let’s go ahead and get to being real for a second.
Hoodstar Chantz feat. Rizzoo Rizzoo, “Real Recognize Real”
I dare you to spend a period of time following Hoodstar Chantz on any form of social media. If he’s not talking shit and popping off about being the best, he’s daydreaming about landing the woman of his dreams or overcoming whatever may come his way. He’s got a mixtape coming in PREVAIL, his first official tape since signing with Scarface’s Facemob Music last year; on “Real Recognize Real,” he takes the concept of Manifest Destiny to heart.
You know Manifest Destiny, right? Where someone uses his or her God-given right, whether right or wrong, to claim something and run with it? That’s where Chantz is right now. Along with The Sauce Factory's Rizzoo Rizzoo, he can shoot a ‘90s-style music video where the crew scene looks grainy, you almost beg Chantz to spit high-priced champagne while rocking designer frames, and then some. “Real Recognize Real” locks in on one main focus: how awesome Chantz and Rizzoo happen to be. The strongest asset Chantz happens to have is his confidence, whether enlarged or not. “RRR” is a fair club record, and it’s far too hard to pass up.
Finally, some R&B from within the city limits I can sink my teeth into. If you know Lee-Lonn, then you know he records music at the most obscure times and finds a way to worm his way into your head with every single release. Like, every one. I started thinking about how often I’ve reached for my phone in the shower hoping that a woman would text me for a potential date or something. But that’s beside the point. “Invisible” is here. Chris Rockaway is on the production and it’s the sort of string theory that would make a James Fauntleroy fan blush.
Here’s the one nitpick with “Invisible," though. It lasts all of two minutes. Lee-Lonn’s voice, as sweet and diffusing as any kid in a Coke commercial, is now rounding even more into a soulful weapon. He sings to a woman, “Why am I invisible to you? Is there something I’m doing wrong?” In other words, Lee-Lonn is in the purgatory stage of being in love with someone, struggling to get recognition from a woman who’s thrown up a wall in front of him. So, when is the full tape coming, Lee? People want it.
BeatKing, “Going Down”
So BeatKing, what are you going to do less than a month after Houston 3 AM? Arguably his most to-the-point rap single yet. The fun thing about BeatKing is the risks he takes with production. Case in point: rapping over horror themes like The X Files for a standout track on a project, or flipping Mannie Fresh into a gigantic, fanged twerk anthem with Danny Brown. “Going Down,” with the assist from Stunt N Dozier, allows BeatKing to simply relax and work on call and response.
But the title is a misnomer to a degree. All of it sounds like a potential set up for something larger only that it never gets there. It does however, offers a glimpse into BeatKing’s entourage and allows him one little humorous dig at Ciara. “I got four strippers with me, and I ain't sharing/ They pop that pussy for that paper, and they ain't caring/ They take all your money, and drive off in a McLaren.” Well, at least you know strippers around BeatKing will make their own money. Just don’t expect them around him on wing night.
Slim Thug, “On Top”
To date, Slim Thug still has one of the greatest episodes of MTV Cribs ever. Not because he had some fresh cars (including a nasty Chevy Impala), but because he literally planned to be on the show and started amassing collectibles just to prove a point to the world. Hogg Life: Still Survin’ reunites him with Mr. Lee for an entire tape of glossy Houston boss-raps. On “On Top,” 2005 Slim with the Cribs episode gets to hang with 2015 Thugga, someone who can sing over a reworked melody of Dr. Dre’s “XXXplosive."
Somehow, Slim manages to do his best Z-Ro impersonation in letting his singing voice, via Autotune while showing off his house, know how it feels to ride backseat in a Bentley, float in a pool with a bad lady next to your side and literally swat down some individuals’ entire existence just by being Slim. I still stand by the belief that Slim Thug enjoys making haters sad and could buy their life like Brewster’s Millions if he wanted to.
GT Garza feat. BeatKing, “Crazy”
Nothing will stop BeatKing. As unapologetic as he can be in his verses, he’s far more rude when it comes to being a guest and offering a chorus or two. GT Garza can floss and laugh in the face of many and as the handpicked favorite Mexican of BeatKing, he’s getting the full kit in order to make his “Gotta Be Crazy” single. The thin-voiced rasp that has killed freestyles from sunup to sundown enters BeatKing’s world: cold drums, running hi-hats and moments where he can cherish a new addition to the family like a bad new Mercedes. Garza has always found a way to connect with audiences, even when he’s being just as menacing and hilarious as the Club God happens to be in terms of protection. To Garza, this is what the second amendment represents — protection from women and individuals who think he’s going to stop trying to get money and success. Although I’m here for any type of Donald Trump diss record between these two.
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Dat Boi T, “Seven Years Later”
The simplest explanation why Dat Boi T happens to have the fan base he does is loyalty. He’s loyal to the idea of keeping it simple for Mexican rap fans, whether they be diehard Screwheads or prideful Texans. He knows how much of an impact he’s had on lives. He’s also capable of taking out moments to show love to his fans by featuring them in his videos, one way or another. In all, Dat Boi T has shown love to the old guard of Houston rap and Mexican rap fans, steeped in traditions to the point where it may be ’98 to them forever, have followed him for the ride.
“Seven Years Later” doesn’t chronicle everything that’s happened in the Screwed Up Essay’s life. Rather, it condenses it to short gasps and pivotal moments. Like performing for large crowds, signing Jordans and genuinely being appreciative of his role as a Mexican Rap Superhero – whose blue Cadillac on swangas is like his Batmobile.
Guyton feat. Christine Angel, “So Low”
A few weeks ago, Q. Guyton hosted a Chicken & Beer event in Third Ward. The event space, Roux 38, has started to become a hub of congregation among the music community and beyond. It’s one thing to have a cabana outside where you can walk onto the patio and grab yourself something to eat. It’s another to do all of this while eating a waffle drenched in purple syrup that comes with its own baby bottle.
I digress. Guyton has been one of those known unknowns, a rapper who sticks to visual appeasement and presentation. That’s why a project like Blue Heart, a swampy affair where Guyton trades in rapping outright in some spaces for singing and contemplation comes looking like a starter pack to a late night. “So Low,” the first track, doesn’t fully outline the entire tape, but it does offer a view as to what is to come. Q. Guyton wants to play cool behind dark shades, less hurt in public than private. You can hear Blue Heart for yourself here.