Screwston, Texas

Low-G: From E.S.L. Mockery to Historic Spanish Hip-Hop

"When I'm on my last line I'm gonna let ya'll know."

"Yo, yo I want to welcome... welcome everybody to Hustle Town. Are we recording? Alright, let's do this, fellas."

True Houston Latino rap fans don't need us to cite the opening lines of this track or what album it appeared on, but maybe you need us to let you know who held down the whole damn song. Here's a hint:

"Guess who's back from the pen out the wind sippin' gin with my kinfolk/ Gots the grin on my face when I come through/ If you ain't down with these G's muthafuck you/ Cuz there's a straight up struggle in my barrio/ Second Ward getting high on the patio"

You know the rest.

The first time Rocks Off heard Low-G, we were standing on the driveway of a beat-down house in a neighborhood called La Colonia in a town nicknamed the Dirty Berg in 1998. Drunk off we don't know what and high off you already know what, our boy Adam Gamino jumped into his ride just after midnight, popped the sun-roof and played one of the hardest gangsta' tracks to hit our very intoxicated senses, but we remember that moment as clear as day.

When it comes to "Block of Rock" - or "For Years" (the Screwed version of "Block") - it's rivaled by very few when it comes to Latino rap tracks that hold the crown for songs that make gangsta' Meskins howl at the moon and small children weep with fear, but we have the right to change our mind and probably will by the end of this blog.

More importantly, Low-G is worth the words of this blog and much more, because one day he will be one of Houston's historians when it comes to this city's rap history. Very few have literally lived with DJ Screw. Very few have had the honor of spending several straight weeks with Screw, only leaving his home to get chicken wings and rice. Very few are identified as one of Dope House Records' most prized possessions (the other being Rasheed).

Very few can describe what it's like to open up for Jay-Z, or witness Fat Joe request to be on a Screw tape. Very few can testify to seeing California hip-hop fans sing along to Dope House rap lyrics for the first time at a Los Angeles car show. Low-G can do all of that.

For anyone who holds Latino rap of the '90s dear to their heart, Low-G's part of the embrace. Some will identify with us when we say that he was one of the first dudes to rap in Spanish in a way that made the listener feel that you were truly hearing a native Spanish speaker, not occasional Spanglish. Remember "El Jugador" on SPM's Power Moves?

"Mi querida/ Centro America/ Aqui en Houston ganando mi feria/ En la esquina la vida es fina/ Le pido a Dios que me cuida a mi nina..."

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Contributor Rolando Rodriguez is the co-founder of Trill Multicultural.