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Chingo Bling Gets New York Times Love - Food Love

Hey, guess what? A Houston musician finally got some love from The New York Times - not the semi-weekly Texas Tribune spread printed special for the paper's Lone Star press run, but the actual Gray Lady herself.

Guess what else? It's in the food section.

Sigh. Rocks Off should have known. The last few times the Times has been to the bayou, it's been all up in the city's food scene while enjoying, apparently, a totally music-free holiday. Shit, we're not even mad anymore.

Anyhow, in today's Dining section, John T. Edge discovers that besides some tough lyrics about immigration, Houston rapper Chingo Bling also makes a mean tamale.

"I'm trying to stay current in hip-hop. Lil Wayne has a style, and so does Jay-Z. But I'm not a gangster, I've never sold crack," Chingo says. "I'm Mexican-American. Don't pay any attention to the stereotypes. Our real hustle is selling tamales, our white powder is masa. I just try to represent that."

And no Times article about Houston these days is complete without mentioning Bryan Caswell, so Edge rings up the Reef owner to explain why he put a mural of Chingo up alongside Freddy Fender and Flaco Jimenez at his and ex-Press food scribe Robb Walsh's new Tex-Mex joint El Real.

"He's a rapper," Caswell says. "But he raps about Tex-Mex issues, about Tex-Mex ideals. His subjects are the family that gets together in the kitchen to make tamales to make extra money."

Congrats, Chingo. The article, by the way, appears to have come from the Masa Messiah's recent promotional trip to L.A., which Rocks Off's Marco Torres also witnessed firsthand.


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Chris Gray has been Music Editor for the Houston Press since 2008. He is the proud father of a Beatles-loving toddler named Oliver.
Contact: Chris Gray