Hard Feelings Mount Between Rival Houston Rap Stations

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A growing nastiness is brewing between Houston's longstanding rap-radio standard-bearer, KBXX 97.9 The Box, and the recently reformatted KKRW 93.7 The Beat. However, much of the venom has come from the side of the new station.

The latest salvo in Houston's brand-new radio war came early Tuesday morning, barely a week after 93.7 switched formats. Trae Tha Truth, Houston's own outlaw and the human equivalent of an otherworldly being with the ability to walk through fire, brimstone and his 2009 banishment by The Box and come out rather clean -- had a song of his on the radio.

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"Hold Up," a brutish piece of bravado punctuated by braggadocio from not only Trae's gravelly voice but Diddy, Grand Hustle capo T.I. and Young Jeezy, became the first song of his in more than five years to crack Houston's radio airwaves. It was the lead single from his I Am King mixtape, a project Rocks Off selected as one of the ten best rap releases of 2013.

Trae's "ban" from The Box has been discussed at length. Its origins stem from comments the rapper made about a then-local radio personality in the wake of her critique of his music following a 2009 shooting at his Trae Day event at Texas Southern University. It was of course idiotic and silly, and sent his career to a peculiar crossroads of sorts, but the end result saw Trae craft some of the best music of his career while in exile.

Now he can assert a small victory in the face of the feud, thanks in large part to the brand-new station that also has a gripe with The Box.

Story continues on the next page.

Of course the news was met with huge fervor on social media, which saw the hashtag #937TheBeatSupportsTrae pumping out of that echo chamber as loud and repetitive as possible. The man himself was humbled by the notion, saying on Twitter, "This Shit Feel Like When We All First Heard Me On 104.9 For The First Time!!! #NoLie... Now I Can Continue Makin The World Respect Texas."

It's not just one thing to get the attention of the station down the block by calling them out and sending not-so-subtle messages to new listeners about "stepping outside the Box" and being here to "beat the Box up"; it almost feels like someone inside 93.7 has been listening to the complaints of listeners and rap fans inside the Loop and figured they'd do something about it.

In less than a week's time, The Beat has established itself as direct competition to the Box in more ways than just its format. It wanted to make a wave, and this was a big start: Fully embracing the "king of the mountain" atmosphere that is Houston's underground scene is the proverbial ball that needs to get kicked.

For now, The Beat is doing everything right for a city that was starving and salivating for competition, a break in the monotony. Now it's got the city's best-known "asshole" on board as well.


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