There's a scene in Cold Summer, the new short film written and directed by Q. Guyton, that isn’t necessarily as special as it is important. In fact, it’s the opening scene of the entire short film. Q is shirtless, punching on bamboo as a sendup of every stoic karate hero of the past. You hear the waters of what’s supposed to be Miami Beach behind him and the constant thwack of a bendable board being punched. It’s the most literal representation of Q. Guyton, a rapper who visually makes simple, mundane things such as running seem like trekking up Everest. What he may lack in blowing people away with lyrics he makes up for in sheen and technical aesthetic. Those guys tend to be really, really rare in current rap.
Rap videos are, by extension, a large part of the id of our imaginations. They’re flashy, contain plenty of normal symbols of success (women, cars, money) and often contain very little to no direction. It's stuffing everything you ever wanted and chased as a kid into three minutes of footage about making it, if you will. Q. Guyton’s primary Cold Summer co-star is Doughbeezy, who has done those type of rap videos but nothing quite like Cold Summer. Nothing this inflated, nothing this grandiose for the pure sake of being grandiose.
It’s why at the film’s premiere at AMC Studio 30 on Dunvale Monday night, Dough wore a suit and carried around a big, unlit cigar. The occasion called for it. How else would you dress for a sold-out movie premiere, especially when you’re a key figure in it?
“We had to switch it up a little bit,” he said as a line full of theatergoers snaked through the lobby. He looked more like Branch Rickey helping breakdown baseball’s color barrier rather than the T-shirt, jeans and a crisp pair of Jordans individual who helped pioneer merchandising in this age of Houston rap.
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But judging Cold Summer on a curve would be missing the entire point. It’s an enjoyable film soundtracked by a joint EP with a couple of leftovers from previous projects Reggie Bush & Kool-Aid 2 and Black Magic. There are callbacks to a wide-range of hood noir flicks with a little comedy thrown in and two guys who obviously imagined as kids that they would star in something similar one day. Here, Guyton and Dough star as Vidi & Slow, two members of a former five-member crew who aren’t exactly singing songs together with one another. Betrayal occurs, plots and schemes are enacted and the bad guys die. Simple enough, no?
There’s one hole in the plot regarding a basketball tournament but there’s also a bachelor party gone awry; a comedic lead-in to a music video; plenty of guns; a final fight scene in a hallway and a cast of characters nicknamed so thoroughly you’d believe Q either had gone through a litany of mafioso crime flicks for names or simply thought about the alter-egos of the Wu-Tang Clan while writing this.
Dough was jovial, bouncing around and taking photos as if he were a legit film star. Guyton's casual demeanor ballooned even more once he had to discuss the process behind the film. Making mini-movies and cinematic style music videos has been his thing for a while. But not on this kind of scale with actors and players spanning the city’s entertainment scene all chipping in.
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“I apologize for all the delays, we had a sound problem in the other theater,” he chirped. “Everything’s situated now and I thank everybody for coming out. We didn't want to just shoot simple videos for this.” Doughbeezy added, “There's no box, no limit. We made a 5-song EP but instead of making videos of us sitting in front of the slab, we tied it all into a short film.”
True to life, Cold Summer didn’t hit the big screen without hiccups. The original theater it was set to be shown in had projector issues so the crowd had to shift to an adjacent theater. Some inadvertently went to the wrong movie theater altogether. But, it’s all part of the extended Cold Summer phase according to Q. and Dough. Their EP, which had a few elements displayed during the film, is set to be released soon. And even as Dough has contemplated retirement, he may be at his absolute best from a technical standpoint positioned alongside Q. Guyton.
“We’ve got a concert on August 8 at Warehouse Live,” the duo announced. Part of the HoustonTREND Summer Jam, the Cold Summer team will lead a lineup consisting of Undergravity, Dante Higgins, OneHunnidt, Bigg Fatts, Jay-Von, Denaron, Rosewood Thievz & Jon S. All men have performed at Warehouse Live before, but not like this — and not in such a wide capacity. Guyton's ANF imprint and the Headwreckas may have just become bosom buddies but their scope of thinking seems simpatico.
Though it’s unclear if they’re bringing any set pieces from the film such as the gazebo from Buffalo Run Park in Missouri City with them for the sequel.