House Of Blues
November 1, 2015
A few weekends ago, I made my way up Interstate 45 for the "Straight Outta Dallas" show featuring The D.O.C.'s first performance in more than 20 years, along with a who's who of the D-Town rap and hip-hop scene. The show was excellent, although I came to the conclusion that as a Houstonian, I couldn't really enjoy or appreciate it as much as someone who was born and bred in Dallas proper. Songs by Dorrough, Fat Pimp, and Lil Wil are awesome tracks, but they didn't mean a whole lot to me. They weren't anthems or something I could listen to and immediately feel the connection, and later be flooded with memories just because of the song.
But Sunday night at the House of Blues, I felt the inverse connection. This time it was to Paul Wall, Slim Thug, Z-Ro, Bun B, and all the rest of the Houston OG's and heavy hitters who took to the stage to celebrate an H-Town institution: the Slab.
Its true that the Houston sound is a bit slower and a lot more syrupy that the music found in the rest of the world, thanks in large part to the city's infrastructure. Because of Houston's sheer size, and its very limited and uninviting public-transportation system, we are a car city. And in order to avoid being basic busta, we add flair to our rides. Regardless if we drive a big truck, a smooth Cadillac, or a classy foreign job, the upgrades will probably include shiny rims, a nice candy-paint job, and a booming sound system. And even of you can't afford those luxuries (I sure as hell can't), we still take pride in our vehicles, and still dream of one day owning and riding around knocking pictures off the wall in a slab of our own.
Coincidentally, the acronym S.L.A.B. translates into "slow, loud, and bangin'"; and that's just fine, although the cars you see on the Houston streets were originally called slabs because of how low they were to the Earth. They scraped the slab of concrete in the parking lots and the avenues during those cruising sessions many of us experienced back in the day. Some of us, like Paul Wall, have transformed slab-riding into a science. In his forever-sparkling red Caddy, with rims pokin' out and subwoofers booming, Paul glides through his city with the grace of a ballerina and the focus of a fighter pilot. His new album Slab God cements his already-won title of its most fitting name.
First on the stage we saw a pair of viral-rap veterans, artists hoping to extend one extremely catchy and successful track into a budding career. T-Wayne's "Nasty Freestyle" can be seen and heart in countless Vines, Instagram videos, and YouTube tributes. "A year ago, I was sitting on my couch" he told Sunday's early crowd. "I had no money, no job, no car. So I wrote a song about a Porsche. Now I've got two cars!" If that's not a testament to the hustling spirit of Houston, I don't know what is.
The other young rapper is Chedda Da Connect. Although Lil B may have a problem with it, it was most likely Chedda's track "Flicka Da Wrist" that inspired James Harden's now-infamous oncourt celebration. He is definitely taking his turnt-up, hashtag-rap, trap-king style to a whole new level with new tracks "Trapper of the Year" and "Bruce Jenner," whose lyrics are directed at "niggas who be actin like bitches." Not exactly classy or politically correct, but it will sell. Oh, and Just Brittany joined him on the track with her big, beautiful, voluptuous....orange hair.
Radio personalities Rudy Rush and Devi Dev took time out to thank their sponsors and employees of the radio station for their support and hard work. Rush also bounced his stand-up comedy routine off the audience. He's actually fairly funny, and time flew as we waited for the next artist to hit the stage.
DJ Chose was that next guy, and his energy woke everyone up. He also brought along BeatKing, a monster of a performer. "Throw Dat Ahh!" is almost as great live as it sounds in my headphones (stripper pole not included). Chose followed with "Everywhere I Go" and "Third Level."
The rest of the show can best be summarized through a poem I just wrote entitled "I Will Never Get Tired":
I will never get tired of being Straight Outta Houston. I always introduce myself as such, and will always be proud to do it.
I will never get tired of watching and hearing DJ Mr. Rogers do his work. Perfect selections, combinations, and mixes.
I will never get tired of OG Ron C choppin it up and not sloppin it up.
I will never get tired of ESG's "Swangin and Bangin'." So many artists use that sample for their own tracks, but the original is always king.
I will never get tired of "Knocking Pictures Off The Wall", "Wanna Be a Baller" and "Mind Playing Tricks On Me."
I will never get tired of seeing Slim Thug bless the stage like the Boss of All Bosses.
I will never get tired of watching Paul Wall showing off the disco ball in his mouth because it insinuates that he's ballin'.
I will never get tired of Pig Pokey's verse on "Maaan!"
I will never get tired of "Still Tippin'."
I will never get tired of Bun B making his not-so-surprise appearances at every Houston rap show, sporting event and restaurant.
I will never get tired of Lil Keke doing the Southside, chunking the deuce, and pimpin his pen. Forever reppin' seven-thirteen.
I will never get tired of seeing TV Johnny take the stage and dance to "Grillz."
I will never get tired of Scarface, especially when he raps "My Block" as an a cappella.
I will never get tired of listening to Beanz N Kornbread play backup for Z-Ro. So very smooth and soulful.
I will never get tired of watching these H-Town legends never get tired of reppin for their city.
I will also never get tired of this:
When he's not roaming around the city in search of tacos and graffiti, Marco points his camera lens toward the vibrant Houston Music scene and beyond. You can follow his adventures on Instagram: @MarcoFromHouston.