Michael "5000" Watts Birthday Celebration & Swishahouse Reunion House of Blues June 9th, 2011
The premise was simple: bring together every Swishahouse artist, past to present, for a reunion concert, invite 2,000 of your closest friends, and profit.
Simple? Sure. Easy? Not quite. But if anyone in Houston can rally the troops to pull off this kind of momentous event, it would be the Northside rap label's founder and cornerstone, Mr. Michael "5000" Watts.
Walking into the venue just before 10 p.m., Aftermath was pleasantly surprised to see that the room was already almost to capacity. A trifecta of turntables was setup onstage, and DJ T-Gray, Watts, and DJ Mankind shook the crowd as MC Kane worked his magic.
The night shifted into gear when Treal Lee, Mr. Hit Dat Hoe himself, D-Town Boogie'd all over the stage. There was no hating on Dallas this night, as the crowd cheered Lee's enthusiasm just as much as every Jason Terry basket shown on the projector screens on each side of the stage. Lee shut it down in his own zone with the hit "Throwed Off."
Lil Keke hit the stage hard and ran through his classics such as "Still Pimpin Pens" and "Southside." Although hailing from the South, he signed with Swishahouse in 2005.
Watts then asked the crowd "Where my Latinos at?" and dropped the SPM classic "Merry-Go-Round." Lil Young, the first Mexican-American artist signed to Swishahouse, took the stage in a fresh white and black suit and shiny Stacy Adams. The Latino parade continued with the inclusion of Lucky Luciano and surprise guest Chingo Bling.
The R&B girl group Sophia Fresh then treated Watts to a soulful a cappella rendition of "Happy Birthday." It was a beautiful gesture that had Watts smiling ear to ear.
The ladies were treated to the sounds of Surreal, the only female on the Swishahouse roster. She performed her song "I Know' featuring DJ Chose, who put his uptempo bounce style into the mix. R&B singer Dallas Blocker gave the ladies even more reason to scream with "Rock Ya Body."
Slim Thug lumbered to the stage and with the assistance of DJ OG Ron C, and took us through a litany of classics set to a screwed-up soundtrack. Aftermath felt as if we were listening to the old mixtapes come to life in front of our eyes. It definitely took us back to 1999.
Thugga closed his set with the pivotal track "Still Tippin," and we expected Mike Jones to come out from behind the crowded stage, but sadly he was nowhere to be found. Also included was an awesome screwed and chopped version of "Wanna Be a Baller," which the crowd rapped along with word for word. J-Dawg took the mike after Slim and gave us his hit "First 48."
The last bit of the show was a mosh pit of the remaining Swishahouse artists and hits. We saw DJ Big Red, Lil Mario, Big Tiger, Big Pic, Magno, Coota Bang, Felo, and others. The night ended with "Drank Up In My Cup."
Last night's concert was definitely a success, even if several "confirmed" artists such as Paul Wall, Lil Flip, and Chamillionaire were unable to attend. Happy birthday, indeed.
Personal Bias: We hail from the Nawfside.
The Crowd: Swishahouse fans from head to toe.
Overheard In the Crowd: "This is my shit right here!"
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Random Notebook Dump: Shout-out to Sama'an Ashrawi who held it down last night.
See more photos from Thursday on the next page.