Houston Music

Rel The Chosen Creates More Beautiful Music

Back in late January, Rocks Off introduced you to Houston underground MC Rel The Chosen, a highly lyrical individual who favors soulful beats.

Here's the Reader's Digest version of what we wrote about his debut project, Beautiful Music, nearly seven months ago:

"Calling it Beautiful Music was accurate. This rock-solid 17-track display indeed samples beautiful, soulful music with the majority of the mixtape's beats driving jazzy, silky-smooth, sometimes melancholy melodies, which Rel uses as his backdrop to some restive and elbowing lyrical wordplay."

Saturday Rel supported Das EFX at the opening of Houston's newest venue, Underground Live, and a few weeks ago dropped his follow-up project, Beautiful Music 2.

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Rocks Off's Shea Serrano once talked about listening to Preemo's Flight 713, which followed the heralded Concrete Dreams, with "squinted eyes and pursed lips," for the same reason football players fear sophomore slumps and movie enthusiasts dread sequels. We felt him - you almost tense up, because you have questions, but will you like the answers?

Rel's Beautiful Music was successful, not because Rel was the first to sample an Al Green cut and lace it with rap - because he's not - but his project was the first we'd heard that truly owned soul from an underground hip-hop standpoint and said, "This is my turf. This is where I'm going to operate. This is my house. I dare you to live here, like I can."

Eighty-five percent of Beautiful was soul, and Rel showed incredible substance and an ability to rap at a high level. We're going to say it: At times, he can rap as good as any underground Houston artist.

But how would Beautiful Music 2 differ? How would it evolve? How would Rel evolve?

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Contributor Rolando Rodriguez is the co-founder of Trill Multicultural.