Devin the Dude Warehouse Live April 20, 2011
Rare is the artist that transcends his purpose as entertainment to become an essential ingredient in a fan's lifestyle. That list is a very short one, and Devin the Dude is on it. For weekend cleaning music, you go to RJD2. For coital activities, you turn to The Isley Brothers. For subversive alterations of consciousness, Devin the Dude is your man.
Warehouse Live was packed to the brim with fans ready to alter their consciousness Tuesday night. And while many of them were already higher than the Williams Tower, a good chunk of the concertgoers were waiting for The Dude to arrive so the party could begin. This group held out their perfectly rolled blunts, patiently awaiting Devin's arrival.
They had to persevere through a string of middling openers, including some band led by some guy in a tight-fitting polo. He bounced from one side of the stage to the other, as the rolls of burritos he devoured the previous night tried to bust through his shirt. Whataever they were playing sounded like the stomach rumblings of a dog.
Then came a rousing set by Austin rapper Phranchyze. Remember him? He's the guy who made some good rappers sound like amateurs, en route to a Freestyle crown. Anyway, he had an interesting playlist.
Flanked by two hypemen, each the size of a bearbrick, Phranchyze kicked off his set with a song about how huge his name is. A psychologist might call that self-fulfilling prophecy - a false assertion of a situation that somehow transforms the original definition of the concept to reality.
Another song was entirely about our favorite childhood time-waster, Street Fighter. The chorus, "Up, Down, Left, Right, AB, Start," drew blank stares. His attempt to get the crowd chanting it fell flat. Our guess is that the hook had too many combinations, and it's kinda hard to keep up with combos when you're thoroughly baked.
But this dude has a tattoo of Chun-Li on his arm, so he's awesome in our book.
As the clock slowly approached midnight, the crowd started to grow weary, and a handful of people had already started lighting their trees. A young lady in a blue spaghetti top and white short-shorts gradually made her way to the right side of the stage and started dancing.
In her head, she was a sizzling stripper named Cyclones. In reality, she was entirely too drunk to be attempting the Grinding Circle and came dangerously close to falling off the stage a couple times. Still, that kept the crowd entertained for a few minutes.
A few ticks before midnight, DJ Domo started to spin a smoothed-out mid-tempo number. Devin gracefully walked onto the stage, and you could almost hear a thousand lighters go off simultaneously. Soon, the smell of 420 different flavors of cheeba mixed with the sound of a crowd intent on having the best 4/20 party ever.
Devin rolled out the green carpet and kicked off the party with an assortment of staples: "Lacville 79," "Mo Fa Me," "Do What You Wanna Do," and more. He later passed the mike to his Coughee Brothaz crew to showcase some new tunes from their latest, Fresh Brew. The concert took on a life of its own - hands waving, heads bobbing, weed smoke spiraling into the air and disappearing almost immediately.
Next time someone tells you that Devin the Dude is a weed rapper, remind them that Devin is a brand name, like Pepsi. He stands behind it, he guarantees it.
They should know that, even if they don't know him any more than they know the chairman of General Mills. And if you're feeling extra defensive, be sure to point out that Devin is one of a handful of hip-hoppers who can rap, DJ, break-dance, and beat-box.
And he's from Houston.
Personal Bias: None
The Crowd: A diverse mix of young hip-hop heads.
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Overheard In the Crowd: "I smoke weed every day, dawg"
Random Notebook Dump: A young man up front dropped his blunt in a puddle of alcohol and still proceeded to smoke it.