Last week, naturally, Memorial Day and all the BBQ destruction that came with it sort of derailed our weekly look at Houston's rap scene, but never fear. This week we've got De'Wayne Jackson and Donnie Houston, RetroKash, and Yves to deal with for the week. You might add this to some of your FPSF post-gaming pleasure.
Dewayne Jackson & Donnie Houston, Halftime EP Few EPs get the EP format right. Some people claim it's 9-10 tracks when it's actually about seven tracks maximum. Here, Jackson and Houston are use Halftime EP for two sole purposes. One, duo have figured that Jackson's explosive nature would make plenty of sense over Donnie Houston's Sole Brother techniques. Two, it's a project that debuted the same week as Jackson did at FPSF.
Post-FPSF Worthy: The easy answer "Who Is He?", a dub of George Benson's "Breezin'" that the duo has been pushing as the project's lead single; the over/under of hearing it live is about 2:1. But, if you clearly want to walk around and feel like the shit, learn the words to Jackson's first three-man titan rap foray with "Everytime" with punchline-happy Dante Higgins and emerging Forever Trill rapper Doeman. A close second is the Marvin Gaye-fused "Moment," where Propain shows up to celebrate getting away from a woman who laughed in his face about his career aspirations.
Everything else is Houston at his sampling best, blending classic summer records of the past to let De'Wayne seem controlled and at home. Did you ever think about placing Mariah Carey's "Always Be My Baby" with OutKast's "Ms. Jackson"? Didn't think so.
RetroKash, Imperial Some days you stumble across rappers, and others they show up right at your doorstep to remind you they're pretty damn decent. RetroKash is a name I'm somewhat familiar with from the Kickback Sundays circuit, which kicked off a new season two Sundays ago. He's tattooed heavily and filled with enough '80s-baby rhetoric built into his head that at times he can have a mouthpiece on him like a wrestler with a pretty damn decent manager.
To my knowledge, Imperial is his debut work, and runs through the usual introductory gamut via a wide array of similar tracks and thought processes. If you're looking for a linear contemporary, you might find it in L.A.'s own Dom Kennedy, with a bit more lyrical power in Kash's arsenal.
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Post-FPSF Track: "Boyz N the Hood" -- Imperial is a crawler that barely registers more than 94 BPMs and rolls around in a slop of lo-fi piano and drums. The only points of real escalation are "Tapout," with DoubleBe, and "Rollin," which employs enough gothic trap bearings to shake a church out of its foundation. But "Boyz" is the winner, firmly deciding to adopt that squelching opening refrain from OutKast's "Da Art of Storytellin" and making it a central point, putting it right next to heavy-handed bass and Boyz N the Hood vocal chops. Kash paints a rather reflective picture, which assures him of one thing rappers don't naturally achieve on their first full outing -- a signature voice.
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Envy Hunter, "Still I Rise" The first thing you're going to think about watching Envy Hunter's "Still I Rise" video is how often you have ever found yourself praying to 2Pac to make things better. The second? How many murals of 2Pac actually exist on Earth? 20? 40? Is 2Pac going to be at the ceremonial opening tap of the 2014 World Cup? These are things that need answers.
Actually, "Still I Rise" is one of the pivotal moments of Envy's Patiently Waiting project from earlier this year. It's humanizing a person who gave up football dreams due to injury to become a hulking rapper with a slice of menace. This is a perfect representation of that.
Yves, "BLUR" Deal with this: the last time you had a drunken night, there probably wasn't a model sprawled out and writhing on your couch. We all can't be Yves, Houston's resident rapping Niceguy and owner of a fine damn EP with Sincerely, Yves. He's also one of those rappers you have to, and I mean have to look out for.
Doughbeezy, "Bumpin" This only lasts a minute, in all of its crime-caper/Christopher-Nolan-meets-Belly glory, but there's a LOT to swallow. First, it's the first video from Doughbeezy's Footprints On the Moon, still the best local rap project of the year so far. Second, its Dough's first collab with Evesborough Films, the outfit that has consistently given us memorable local visuals from their own Alief-to-Houston to-NYC family.
Third, Dough also shot a video for "I'm From Texas" where everyone was asked to wear some sort of gear affiliated with Texas sports. There was fire, and it looked like Mad Max on 22-inch rims. Glory, glory hallelujah.
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