Houston Music

Music Notes from a Houston Astros World Series Win

Parade-goers celebrated an Astros World Series win Monday
Parade-goers celebrated an Astros World Series win Monday Photo by Jesse Sendejas Jr.
Sports and music go hand in hand in Houston, especially when those hands are high-fiving championship efforts. The newest trophy to add to the city’s mantel comes courtesy of the Houston Astros, who completed a remarkable 2022 season with a World Series victory over the Philadelphia Phillies last weekend. Music was a part of the whole run, including yesterday’s downtown parade which drew an estimated million people to celebrate with the best team in baseball.

Some Houston and Texas music notables were present at the parade and at the World Series games. At least one of the city’s hard-working independent artists had a breakthrough moment thanks to the ‘Stros’ dominance. And anywhere you went the last 48 hours or so, you were likely to hear Queen’s anthemic “We Are the Champions” at full-blast. At the parade, a cyclist with a beagle on his handlebars was cruising around playing the song through Bluetooth speakers.

There wasn’t actually much music along the parade route, especially not within earshot of our late-arriving vantage point. A candy car rolled by playing Erik B. and Rakim’s “Paid in Full,” perhaps as a nod to the many Astros heroes who are likely to get a salary bump from their 2022 heroics. And any music played was probably going to be drowned out by the sweet, sweet choruses of “Let’s Go Astros!” (clap-clap-CLAP-CLAP-CLAP!) and “We Want Houston!” That one became the snarky rallying cry of Astros fans and their beloved team thanks to New York Yankees’ and Phillies’ fans who’ve never heard the adage “Careful what you wish for.”

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Bury Me in the H
Photo by Jesse Sendejas Jr.
Without much actual music to enjoy at the parade, we searched our memory banks and some nearby haunts for music to mark the occasion. One of the first songs that came to mind throughout the playoff run was UGK’s “One Day.” The song is a banger, but it’s a grim depiction of street life from 1996, a year the Astros went 82-80 and finished second in their division in the National League days. It’s not exactly the song you’d align with a partly-sunny day parade. But, when Astros pitcher Lance McCullers, Jr. uttered “Bury me in the H” early in the season, it reminded us of the line from “One Day,” which goes, “Bury me in Hiram Clarke next to the Come N Go.” True O.G., straight outta Houston stuff.

Speaking of UGK, Bun B was at the parade with a lot of Houston rap royalty including Slim Thug, who gamely performed a halftime set at last week’s Houston Texans-Philadelphia Eagles Thursday Night Football contest while Astros phenom and World Series MVP Jeremy Peña was becoming the first rookie shortstop to ever hit a homerun in a World Series game, a 3-2 win, the first World Series W for Astros legend (sorry, Detroit Tigers) Justin Verlander. Along with Bun and Slim Thug was Paul Wall, who is the next Houstonian to defend Houston’s honor at this Thursday’s Red Bull SoundClash event, a showdown at 713 Music Hall pitting Wall against Austin gunslinger Gary Clark, Jr. Both are great Texas artists, but if Austin starts clamoring “We Want Houston!” Clark may as well concede the night right now.

The music spotlight this post-season has shined brightly on Astros manager Dusty Baker. A baseball icon and one of the most respected figures in the sport, he’s now got a World Series title as manager on his resume. He’s easily one of the coolest managers in the game, a laid-back, toothpick-chomping gem with a very storied music story according to a recent Rolling Stone article. The article dropped just before the Astros’ league series win over the Yankees, dubbed a “Roomba” because it was such an easy, mechanical sweep. Author Sama’an Ashwari wrote that Bakers’ music exploits include seeing one of Bob Marley’s last live shows, emulating the recently-departed Jerry Lee Lewis on piano as a kid and smoking a joint with Jimi Hendrix. Add to that list a photo with Houston’s own Scarface from the on-field celebration after the clincher, the first World Series won on a home field since 2013.

Baker won his first World Series as a manager
Screen capture
Once baseball’s title was secured for Houston with a Game 6 win, on the arm and reliable cool of Astros’ ace Framber Valdez and Yordan Alvarez’s monster homerun – a “goes to 11” crack of the bat that actually went 450 feet from home plate – Baker received congrats from jazz great Christian McBride. McBride is a Phillies fan but, like so many baseball followers, shared his respect for Baker. He eloquently recounted the Astros manager and jazz fan seeing his band in the 1990s when Baker was chasing World Series titles as manager of the San Francisco Giants.

That was decades ago, but yesterday belonged to the Astros and its fans. After the parade, many poured into downtown’s Flying Saucer Draught Emporium to be poured celebratory beers. The Main Street craft beer bar is one of the most fervent Astros’ supporters, jabbing devilishly on social media at Astros haters like Mike Fiers (‘memba him?) and assorted New York Yankees trolls. Naturally, the music was all about the H in the bar, favorites like “Tops Drop” and “25 Lighters.” Astros fans took to the streets for an epic Saturday night celebration following the Series clincher and they were back at it on Monday afternoon, twerking in broad daylight outside of Club Cairo. It was all good clean fun for the most part. Late in the day, Houston Police reported but one arrest, the apprehension of someone who threw a can of White Claw at Senator Ted Cruz, who reportedly did not add injury to the insult of being booed lustily by the parade-goers. See this as a friendly reminder to go out there and vote today if you already haven’t.

Seeing downtown Houston’s streets packed with happy activity on a Monday afternoon is how we’d like to always see downtown Houston’s streets. And as long as we’re talking about trends that deserve some longevity – like an Astros dynasty perhaps! – let’s end on Mark Drew, easily our favorite Houston Astros-Houston music hybrid story this season. Drew is a native Houstonian and a longtime rap artist and producer and we’ve followed his solo efforts, collaborations and production work for years. We once encouraged Houston Texans fans to play his music at their tailgates and perhaps if they had, who knows, maybe the Texans too would already be champions.

@markdrewhtx HOUSTON, I love you with all my heart! I got to perform in front of over a million people today and was the hype man of the ASTROS WORLD SERIES PARADE!!! Don’t ever give up on your dreams and always be ready! You never know when your time is coming! I left today inspired by the love my city showed me. Tag yourself in these videos if you see yourself! WORLD SERIES CHAMPIONS 🫶🏽🧡🔥💙 • • #astros #worldserieschampions #worldseriesparade #houston #dreamsdocometrue #wewanthouston ♬ original sound - Mark Drew

Back then, we suggested Drew because he’s a huge sports fan who liberally shares his sports takes on social media (ask him about LeBron James some time, but be prepared to take notes). Now, he’s familiar to lots of Astros fans, thanks to a viral video of him freestyling about the team and its rivals during the ALCS “Roomba” of the Yankees. Drew’s “sudden” success is a current high note with a long back log of work behind it. Because the rap went viral on Instagram and TikTok, he was booked to local TV shows and featured in area newscasts. And, best of all, he was invited by the Mayor’s Office to perform at yesterday’s parade.

“When they asked me to perform, I was so surprised and honored,” Drew told us. “I’m such a big fan and this was one of the most incredible moments of my life. To my city, from the bottom of my heart, thank you.”

Just like the champs who brought home the World Series title, Drew has worked hard at his craft, he’s put in the hours to have his moment and he’s just one of many talented Houston music artists doing the same. Now that you’ve found him, keep listening. And if you like what you’re hearing, listen for others in Houston music’s scene working hard for an audience. They don’t need a parade. Just come out to some shows and cheer for them the way you did for the Astros because — as any parade-goer knows — it’s a great feeling to support winners.
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Jesse’s been writing for the Houston Press since 2013. His work has appeared elsewhere, notably on the desk of the English teacher of his high school girlfriend, Tish. The teacher recognized Jesse’s writing and gave Tish a failing grade for the essay. Tish and Jesse celebrated their 33rd anniversary as a couple in October.