Current Events

Houston S.L.A.B. King's Sentence Commuted By President Obama

On "Tops Drop," Fat Pat's 1998 hit that became a posthumous reminder of what a talent he was, the heavy baritone squelched and boomed with glee. His idea of joy, outside of rapping to his heart's content was hanging with his best friend, Corey Blount. Blount, known to many Screwed Up Click aficionados as C.B., had another well-known moniker, “S.L.A.B. King."

"Me and C.B crawlin' dine on boys, right behind is the Lincoln, my favorite toy," Pat rapped. In the long-version video for the single, a woman tells a man playing Pat that Corey is on the way to pick him up. Blount served as a pallbearer at Pat’s funeral in February 1998, shaken at the passing of a friend he was inseparable from. On Martin Luther King Blvd, the S.L.A.B King's rides constantly kept eyes bugging: a Lexus, an Chevrolet El Dorado with vogue tires, a Suburban. His car shop continually rolled out these vehicles, tricked out and vibrant. The sheen from the paint created a neon glow, visible from sunup to sundown. The SLAB has been passed down Houston rap generations. Paul Wall called himself a Slab God last September. Lil Keke is an OG in the Slab game. And most of that lineage points back to Blount.

Pull up YouTube videos of old Screwed Up Click freestyles that mention his name and his name will stick out. Even on “Friends We Know” from Ghetto Dreams, Blount’s makeshift “rap” sounds as if he’s reading Fat Pat’s words aloud. Yet it was all real. “You can go to each and every one of the Screwed Up Click rappers and they are going to have about 30 to 40 raps about Corey Blount,” Lil’ Keke told Noisey in 2014. “These were the people building these streets and we were rapping about our stars.”

Blount's stamp on Houston’s music scene is indelible. It was he who passed E.S.G.’s “Swangin’ And Bangin’” to Screw, making ESG part of the SUC family. It was he who toyed around with Fat Pat to customize cars on Houston’s Southside. Without this merry-go-round clique of rappers, from self-proclaimed “golden child” Lil’ Keke to Pat and, later, Big Pokey and Big Moe, and Blount’s mindset of seeing a car as the vessel to pass the music along, Screw tapes may have never ventured beyond Third Ward.

The father of Houston car culture’s visibility has been waning for decades, however; he's become a ghost in a much larger machine. 
To Houstonians, Blount is revered, a local folk hero whose legacy is essential in discussing what Houston looks like. He never officially rapped, yet along with “drank man” Pat Lemon, he became a signature figure in S.U.C rhymes, one of the neighborhood stars who belong in the table of contents of key figures of Houston’s rap culture.

However, to the federal government, Blount is federal prisoner #83126-079. Uncle Sam doesn't refer to him as the S.L.A.B. King or one of the forefathers of Houston rap culture. Rather, he was was a first-time drug offender, the supposed leader of a drug ring that ran crack cocaine between Texas and Louisiana. According to court documents, Blount oversaw a trafficking operation that lasted from January 1990 to May 1998. He, along with his brother Ronald Blount, Jr. and four uncles, were sentenced to life without parole.

He was arrested and jailed only weeks after Fat Pat’s funeral.

"The crime, you have to pay for. I just don't think they should've had life sentences," Blount’s mother Ella told ABC 13.

The Blount family has renewed vigor, however. Despite exhausting numerous appeals over the past decade and a half, this week the Blounts finally received good news about their sons. On Monday, President Obama commuted the sentences of 111 nonviolent prisoners. Since he's taken office in 2009, he's commuted 673 sentences, more than the previous ten presidents combined. Among those 111, 13 are from the Houston area, including the Blount brothers. Ronald Jr. is now set to be released on December 28, after serving over 18 years. Freedom will also come for Corey, albeit longer than anticipated. His life sentence was commuted to 30 years, making him eligible for release in 12 years when he’ll be well into his fifties.

Still, the news is freeing a bit to his mother, Ella, daughter Courtney and a litany of Screwheads across the country. There more than likely will be a S.L.A.B. waiting for Corey Blount once he’s released, tricked out to all his preferred wants and needs.

Note: additional background material in this article comes from "'The Golden Boy of Screw': A Conversation With Lil Keke," by Douglas Doneson, which appeared on Noisey January 22, 2014.

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Brandon Caldwell has been writing about music and news for the Houston Press since 2011. His work has also appeared in Complex, Noisey, the Village Voice & more.
Contact: Brandon Caldwell