Houston Music

If I Were Famous: Kyle Hubbard

Ask any artist why he or she creates anything, and “to become famous” is an unlikely answer. You’re more apt to hear “to express myself artistically” or “to forge a bond with other humans on the planet through the communicative power of art.” Even less noble reasons, like “to buy a Trump-like mansion,” generally check in ahead of finding fame. But what if fame did come? And not just the sort that elicits occasional nods of recognition, but the kind of fame that makes a man take things over. We’re talking "baby, remember my name" fame, the sort that’s associated with mega-celebrities like Beyoncé and Taylor Swift.

Because Houston boasts a wealth of superb musical talent, the chance one of your local favorites might someday join the ranks of the preposterously well-known is anything but remote. We decided to reach out to some of these folks with ten questions about fame and how they might respond to it. Our first subject, Kyle Hubbard, was a perfect choice. For one, he agreed to indulge us; second, he has the skills and appeal to boost him into this rare air. He also doesn’t take the whole fame thing too seriously, which is a nice attribute to find in the famous (or soon-to-be).

If you’re worried you might never see him again once he’s a global phenomenon, you still have a chance to catch him right here at home this week. Hubbard joins Nosaprise this Thursday for the 12th Annual Trills the Season holiday party and toy drive at Boondocks. Bring a new, unwrapped toy worth at least $10 to get in for DJ sets by Vic G, DJ Gracie Chavez and Fat Tony and performances by Hubbard, Nosaprise and Dirty & Nasty.

Houston Press: You’re coming back to H-town as a megastar. Which venue do you hold your triumphant return show at and who is your opening act?
Kyle Hubbard:  Much like Lady Gaga on her Bud Light-sponsored "Dive Bar Tour,” I'd want to make this performance intimate and not about money or gimmicks. Naturally, I'd gravitate toward the DIY aesthetic of the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion. To further promote the "for Houston, by Houston" feel of the event, the bar would be told to serve Karbach exclusively. I mean EXCLUSIVELY. Minors either get really creative or go thirsty. As far as openers, I would surely have to select Paul Wall so he can see what it feels like to be the "other white rapper from Houston" for once.

First thing you would buy yourself because you’re filthy rich:
The most gently used 2010 Ford Focus I can possibly find.

First thing you would buy someone else because you’re filthy rich:
The second most gently used 2010 Ford Focus I can possibly find...for my niece. She's about to start preschool and her parents are busy people. She needs a way to get herself to and from school.

Local act — just one — you would sign to your label since you could run your own label:
I know everybody is going to think that Fullmetal is my choice. However, Fullmetal is a far superior rapper than I am and that fact makes me feel bad about myself. That leads to an extra scoop or two of ice cream before bedtime. Basically, Fullmetal sends me on a shame spiral. Anyways, he would be fine without me...I mean, have you heard how good that guy raps!? Someone needs to sign him, but not me. My neighbor has a teenage son who always says stuff like "It was lit" when I ask how his day was, so I'd sign him or Corporate Dough. Whichever one knows the most about Star Wars.

Name one Houston celebrity-type person who is not in music that you’d make part of your business team, and why you’d choose this person.
I'd have to go with Clutch, the Rocket-scientist bear.

1. The dude's a bear.
2. His sunny disposition is infectious.
3. I'd be bulletproof. Who in his right mind is going to do bad business with a guy who has a bear on his team?
4. He never lets the fact he is a bear define him.
5. He's a goddamn bear.

What local charity would you align with as a super-powerful superstar whose influence could help others?
I think that I would put my efforts behind helping The Council on Recovery or another equally established charity in the same field. That isn't to say I think one charity is more important than another, but I feel like [if] I am truly going to make myself a part of one, it needs to be one that I can personally identify with. Addiction does some very not cool things to families. This is something that I've actually wanted to take on more directly in my music for years, but I have hesitated because it is all so personally delicate to me. There is only one way to do it right, and about a bajillion ways to do it wrong.

When people ask you how you got so damn famous, what would be your standard answer?
I would yell, "JUST LOOK AT MY FACE, YOU STUPID IDIOT!" while I pointed at my face.

You’re asked to invest in a Houston sports franchise. Which do you select, if any, and why?
I would put tons of money behind Booker T's Reality of Wrestling. Houston has legitimately produced some of the true greats of wrestling, including The Undertaker. The ROW roster is stacked with talented young men and women inside and outside of the ring; the next Undertaker could very well be among them. If I was rich enough, I would make serious efforts toward helping the organization expand regionally. No jokes here...this is a shoot. I would be overcome with joy to be able to invest in what Booker and his team are doing.

Answer either but not both of these questions: Name the first celebrity you’d bring home to introduce to your friends and family in Houston; or, which exotic animal you would purchase as a prized pet with your filthy riches?
Christian Bale. I really doubt my friends would be so eager to disagree with me when I say his Batman voice "wasn't that bad" when the man himself is sitting right across from them. You think those idiots are going to tell Batman he doesn't sound like Batman? No way.

To which Houston music writer would you grant your first interview as a big-time big shot?
A part of me wants to say Shea Serrano because he was the first person to ever write about me, but I will never forgive him for having the audacity to become significantly more famous and successful than 100 percent of the rappers he used to write about. With that said, I'd have to go with Nathan Smith. I don't think he knows how much I cherish the things he's written about me. Nathan wrote about me during the most important time in my life as an artist, which included my "comeback" to Houston hip-hop and the release of my best work to date. He's told my story better than I ever could myself. When my autobiography is released, I will proudly take credit for all of the writing he does for it.
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Jesse’s been writing for the Houston Press since 2013. His work has appeared elsewhere, notably on the desk of the English teacher of his high school girlfriend, Tish. The teacher recognized Jesse’s writing and gave Tish a failing grade for the essay. Tish and Jesse celebrated their 33rd anniversary as a couple in October.