Latin Invasion feat. GT Garza, Dat Boi T, Doeman, Kleva & Coast Warehouse Live May 8, 2014
As he looked out upon Warehouse Live's packed Studio room, a sense of reflection took over the rotund rapper named Cassette Coast. "Why can't we do this more often?!" he asked out loud. "I love this, man! I love y'all! I'm here to party with all of y'all tonight!" Maybe it was the Hennessy in his hand talking, but Coast raps smoothly and honestly from the other side of his heart.
In fact, every act that hit the stage Thursday night brought something special. It was an intangible mixture of confidence and love, somehow portraying toughness without arrogance, and talent that many times goes unnoticed in this city.
A dynamic set by Northside rapper Kleva hit the stage as I walked into the venue. The jersey on his back simply read "DOPE." Not sure what it is about short rappers, perhaps they feel the need to exceed expectations and first impressions, but they always seem to perform harder and with a purpose. As he jumped up and all around the stage throwing CDs and T-shirts into the audience, he definitely warmed up the crowd with his infectious energy.
Next up was Doeman, another rapper of short stature and sharp tongue. I've had the opportunity to see this guy in action a few times, and his lyricism is surprisingly agile and enthralling. A former boxer, Doe walks around as if he is constantly in the ring, engaged and guarded, calm and cool as ice.
"How can I lose when I go this hard?!" is the basis of his collaboration with Propain, who hit the stage in the first of several surprise guests of the night. Deprived Young, Now Ambitious is the name of Doeman's mixtape; I expect lots of great things from this young man.
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Go DJ Alo hit the DJ booth next, and brought out all the tracks the crowd was anxious to hear, with lots of homegrown Hou-stoned music from SPM and Dopehouse Records in the mix. Hearing the whole audience sing along to "Mary Go-Round" and "Mexican Radio" was an amusing and nostalgic event.
Of course, this meant Dat Boi T was set to perform. He is also known as The Screwed Up Essay, and certainly lived up to his nickname. Partying, drinking and smoking were the topics of his rhymes, and his crew stood beside him as he rapped about "Foreign Doors and Cadillacs." Young G and Doughbeezy joined him for "Nothin' But That Screw," a slow and hard-hitting track made for riding around the city with the top dropped.
A familiar face perched himself on the side of the stage next to me, none other than my man D-Solo of the local music video program Street Flava. Once GT Garza came out, he pointed at him and said "That guy is the future!". Solo told me that he's known and supported GT for many years, and he smiled wide as he sat back and enjoyed the show.
Garza is a skinny, baby-faced kid with a mean flow who recently dropped the mixtape The Legacy of Ritchie Valens, which includes the track popular radiohit "SLAB". "We are all family here" he told the crowd. "Feel free to turn up with me!"
Indeed, every track GT produces is a work of art filled with hard beats, hood rhymes and heavy subjects. On "The Coin Flip," which is the intro to the mixtape, a news recording announces the crash that killed Ritchie Valens, the Big Bopper and Buddy Holly. Garza then raps the following:
Last night I had a dream I was Ritchie Val Behind an H-Town profile In a peanut butter jam hangin' off Canal Bass up, trunk growling like an animal
It goes on to set up his persona, one that is smooth and versitile, supported by faith and family, ready to face the harsh realities of the world.
GT brought out more than a few special guests. Killa Kyleon joined him for "Like Kings," Felo hit the stage for "100 Racks," and even Slim Thug came out for "Flex Foreva." It was a hell of a lineup, for a hell of a night.
I could listen to GT err night.
Personal Bias: I always see myself as an outsider when I cover any shows... I'm not metal enough for rock shows, hip enough for hipster shows, or hood enough for rap shows. But Houston Latin hip-hop...yea, I can handle that.
The Crowd: Latin, Mexican, Hispanic...whatever label you wanna use. Brown and proud, and huge supporters of Houston rap.
Overheard In the Crowd: "Free SPM!!"
Random Notebook Dump: Some guy onstage was giving away old SPM vinyls to the crowd. These had to be at least ten or fifteen years old. The crowd also went home with tons of T-shirts and CDs. Great way to win over and keep your fan base happy.
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