South Park Coalition rapper Point Blank has done a lot in the past 25 years. He helped found Houston's first and most important hip-hop clique. He recorded landmark tracks with DJ Screw. He's shared a label with UGK, and he's toured overseas. And most impressively of all, he never stopped, never quit and never gave up on the hip-hop vision that has driven him professionally and creatively since his teens.
But despite his accomplishments, something still gnaws at the Blanksta. Despite a lengthy body of work, his vision still feels...unfinished.
"Sometimes I just feel like my record could have just been put out a certain way," Point Blank says, mentally checking off a series of mistakes he will never make again. "I just feel like I haven't had an album that really, from the rooter to the tooter -- marketing, everything -- just been done right. So, I feel like if that happened, everything will be gravy."
Two and a half decades in, and this rap-game veteran is still trying to put together the perfect album? Is that even possible in the digital era?
"You'll never know unless you get a chance to do it, so that's what I chase after, you know what I'm sayin'?" Blank says.
Just in case you're unclear, no one has ever accused Point Blank of being unambitious. In fact, ambition is the very raison d'etre of his new album, No Money No Reason. He's taken his time with this record. In his quest to finally nail every aspect of a release, Blank has delivered a whopper: two discs, 32 tracks. Not exactly how they did it back in the day. But this is a new day, with a new hustle. And Point Blank likes it.
"Back in the day, I used to sit down with the producer, and it's endless hours of work," he says. "Now, the producer just sends you a track! You ain't even got to see him. You usually do 100 songs and maybe pick the 10 best out of those hundred, put 'em in the Dropbox.
"With that being said, it makes it real easy to get your music and make it available to everybody all over the world - some instant type of shit," he adds. "To be honest, I kind of love it. I'm down with that technology."
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And when Point Blank is down, he's down for life. After spending his early life in Chicago, Blank moved to Houston as a teenager, already obsessed with hip-hop's first generation of stars like Whodini and RUN-DMC. He'd says he'd grown up on the blues, but once he heard hip-hop, it was over. It wasn't long after the move that he became a familiar face in the rap circles of his South Park neighborhood, where one of the greatest underground rappers of all time just so happened to be honing his craft in hallways and on street corners.
"When I came to Houston, I went to Sterling High School," Blank says. "That was the school that K-Rino went to. I actually was a spectator while K-Rino murdered people in the bathroom with the lyrics. I just gravitated to it. It was my passion.
"We had our underground network," he continues, remembering the earliest days of semi-organized hip-hop in Houston. "The rappers knew where to be and when to be there. And I would be there, because I wanted to see it; I wanted to hear it. It felt like something I wanted to do.
"Eventually I ended up coming out of my shell, and the rest is history."
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Point Blank did make history in coming together with K-Rino, Ganksta NIP, Klondike Kat and many more to form the indestructible SPC, the original Southside set that has weathered any number of changing trends and technologies in music over the years. Don't be surprised to see a few of the O.G.s show out in support tomorrow, when Point Blank takes over Numbers for a birthday bash and record-release show. If you're smart, you'll bring him a present, because he's got surprises planned for you.
"I got a lot of surprise guests comin' through that I did the tracks with," Point Blank says. "They're going to perform the songs with me, and I'm definitely going to be doing a lot of music off the new record. I got to give it to 'em."
He means it. For Point Blank and the SPC, creating hip-hop isn't a choice, it's a calling. And a living.
"The name of the album is self-explanatory," Blank says. "If there ain't no money, there ain't no reason. They're not giving out money like they used to be. You got to get up and get it from the mud. I know I got good music, so you got to get out there, open fire and get it to the people."
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