We've written about Kickback Sundays before, an event hosted by clothing/apparel store SF2 that champions the Houston underground rap scene. The weekly (but seasonal) competition for upstart rappers offers an assortment of prizes, ranging from free CD pressings and beats from a few of the city's premier producers to the opportunities opening up for bigger-name rappers touring through town.
They are wrapping up their second season soon and, warm-hearted as they are, decided to make a cypher video commemorating their recent successes as well as promoting their upcoming concert, Raw Talent, which will be held at Warehouse Live on August 16th at 8 p.m.
We reached over to SF2 owners Teresa Waldon and Suzie Rivera and asked for a bit of background information on each of those selected to participate.
"We selected the lineup [during the] middle of June," says Waldon. "At that time, it was based on consistency [ten weeks attendance at Kickback Sundays], how the artists were working together, [if] they were open to critique, [if] they stayed until the end always showing support to everyone performing and, of course, diversity in styles as artists and as people.
"Of course talent was a factor," she adds. "If we had to pick ten artists at this time, the selection pool is way bigger because a lot of people stepped it up a bit. These 10 however, showed progression the fastest out the gate."
Here are her comments about the rappers, listed in order of appearance in the video:
ET was a crowd favorite from the very beginning of the program; high-energy, confident with crowd participation, consistent in attendance. He made the 90-mile drive every weekend from Beaumont to secure a spot on the list. [He was] always showing support to the other artists, standing up front every week cheering others on. He won the opening spot for Emilio Rojas.
Luke was so honest on the mike, bared his soul to everyone that he wanted to follow in the steps of Doughbeezy. He followed more people on Twitter than followed him and he didn't care. He has never missed a KBS yet.
His honesty and charm made it easy for him to work with others. He has tracks with at least ten artists in KBS. And the crowd loves the taglin,e "Who The Fuck Is That White Boy." He won an opening spot for Devin the Dude at The House of Blues.
C.I.T.Y., who was part of KBS season one, is a true example of "stage presence." He treats the performance spot of 5 minutes as a mini-concert. The preparation and dedication is seen every time he hits the stage. Although C.I.T.Y. has a different style of music, he has also worked with at least ten other artists from KBS. He won the opening spot for Curren$y at Warehouse Live.
Lyric was the artist who attended KBS by herself or maybe with 1 other friend but now has a family here. She won everyone over easy with her poetry mixed with rap, and a delivery that makes every one throw a fist in the air when she hits the stage. She stays until the end every week supporting, asks for feedback and applies the critique.
Returning from KBS season one, KDOGG bounced between cypher and performances from week to week. Consistent in attendance and a crowd favorite, he stepped it up. The punchlines and smooth delivery won him the infamous "I Killed It At Kickback Sundays" shirt early on. He is definitely one to beat in the cypher.
No one is more humble and friendly than C4. That goes a long way here at KBS. C4 appears to be reserved but on the mike he transforms! His single "Hot Boy" gets the crowd going every time and he is always up front supporting other artists from beginning until the very end, no matter how late we go.
Trail Blaze made his mark at KBS from the first week. At the time we selected the line-up, his record for cypher wins was seven out of ten weeks. Consistent is making the list every week, even with the 90 mile drive from Beaumont. Trail Blaze was also strong with performances, [and his song] "Show Out" has everyone dancing and participating. [He's] an all around humble guy with talent to match.
Mac is a little more seasoned than the rest of the artists at KBS. He has been performing and has a project out with videos. However, Mac still hits the list consistently and supports others. His style was different; it was refreshing to see a unique delivery like his.
Young G has improved the most out of any artist at KBS. From barely moving on stage, now he engages the crowd and utilizes the entire stage. He has stage presence now. Stand offish at first, only mixing with his click that he would come with, now he shows a level of confidence and has opened up, working with other artists. He took critique, listened and applied it. He is a true success story of KBS.
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By far the most animated, confident character in the lineup, Flame is an acquired taste. At times he appeared to be arrogant, but we found out later that he was so pumped up he could barely contain his energy. Flame is a go-getter ready to show everyone that he deserves to be part of Raw Talent.