New Houston Rap

Phase II of the Sauce Factory Begins With Rodji Diego & Rizzoo Rizzoo

As a family or crew or however you want to label them, The Sauce Factory cares very little about tradition. Tapes and tracks issue from the collective frequently, most of them without warning or even a decree. The only town crier when it comes to a Sauce Factory release is when you’re asked to react to its very existence, a strange but effective marketing ploy. The more you see the Sauce — the hashtags, the random machine gun-like outbursts of fire and roar — the more you’ll come to understand what they’re trying to accomplish.

In 2015 alone, the Factory has racked up pageviews and street buzz via a myriad of tapes. There’s Sauce Walka’s Sorry 4 The Sauce, Sosamann’s Trap’d Out 2, an upcoming tape from 5th Ward JP that gains steam with every loose track that hits the Web, Sauce Twinz & Sosamann’s Sauce Theft Auto: Splash Andreas and two releases from the side of the Sauce that play their positions just as well as any other – Rodji Diego’s Rodzilla which landed in early June and Rizzoo Rizzoo’s It’z Hot Vol. 1, which hit mixtape and streaming services at the tail end of 2014.

While It’z Hot Vol. 1 acts as a glorified mix of tracks between Sauce members, affiliates and third parties, Rodzilla operates far more as a tried and true mixtape. When you see Rizzoo Rizzoo in person, he’s calm, dark and covered in tattoos from head to toe. He also raps in a thin, kicked-up rasp where he tries to over enunciate every word for you to truly understand him. See “Flava In Ya Ear (Drip Mix)” where he gets positioned next to Kirko Bangz, Sauce Walka & Slim Thug and he only enters as part of the chorus and a backdoored verse. If Sancho Saucy operates in minimal space, then Rizzoo clearly likes to rip through a verse in the same way Knuckles did in the old Sonic the Hedgehog games: head down, point A to point B and bounce.

In terms of actual rapping ability, it’s no secret that most trap rappers carry themselves on charisma. Rizzoo is proof of this, showing up at Revolt TV’s "Local Love Tour" last Saturday to snap pictures with BeatKing’s daughter, mob around with Rodji Diego and join Doughbeezy onstage for a performance of “Mona Lisa." Did he have to make his presence felt to the point where he casts a shadow over everything near him? Not at all. Does his infectious “Drip” single drag you into that world where it is going to be stuck with you for a few days? Yes indeed.

His Sauce counterpart Rodji Diego, however, is more assured in trying to outrap people. Even if he may never out trap anyone in a squad that pretty much lives and dies by hitting licks and talking shit, there’s a bit of understated charm to him. He’s a classic rapper, in stance and posture, square-shouldered and comfortable getting a few bars or more off about anything on his mind in particular.

Rodzilla acts as a coming out party for Diego, snapping up features from Maxo Kream, Chedda Da Connect, Slim Thug, Doughbeezy, DJ Chose, Stunna Bam and 5th Ward JP, to name a few. He raps in a thin, constantly smoked-out voice, cloaked in an Autotuned sing-song for “Blue Cheese,” and stacking bars atop one another in a stop-and-pause for “Cool” with Doughbeezy. The rest of Rodzilla tips around an assortment of snare heavy creations from June James, XO On The Beat, Noire #9 and Ice Chamberlain; most of them border on being arranged identically. It’s Northside rap, brooding on simplicity yet shielding emotion with a bit of cartoonish labels (“Jugg Jordan,” “Ricky Tan,” “James Harden”) thrown in for good measure. Rodzilla swings to exist in car stereos and hazy, strip-club settings, where a money chase is the ultimate high to obtain.

The current state of the Sauce Factory — and, to an extent, Moe Gang — mirrors that of No Limit in the late ‘90s. They’re rolling tapes, features, songs and loosies off an assembly line of sounds and ideas that work for them. When they’re in the hands of others, they simply happen to exist for brief moments. In the hands of TSF? That shit tends to stretch longer and farther than it possibly need to. We’re starting the second year of the Sauce Wave looking deeper into what makes everyone crack, and so far just doing anything other than what they used to do seems to be the game plan.

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Brandon Caldwell has been writing about music and news for the Houston Press since 2011. His work has also appeared in Complex, Noisey, the Village Voice & more.
Contact: Brandon Caldwell