Houston's history is dotted with albums that, fairly or not, have been swept aside. We'll examine them here. Have an album that you think nobody knows about but should? Email firstname.lastname@example.org.
hasHBrown Relationsh*t (Council Music Group, 2011)
Relationsh*t is hasHBrown's third tape. It is, in no unclear terms, the best, most complete musical project he has ever made. There are several reasons why, but these are the two most important ones:
The spine of Relationsh*t is its "Let's Talk About Love, But Not In An Overly Lovey Way" angle. The natural setting for that sort of thing is earnest soul music, which is the same place that Hash exists naturally.
You can't overstate how significant that is. In theory, it's the same reason that everyone went yo-yo for Kanye's My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy and Big Boi's Sir Lucious Left Foot; the album and the artist were paired up perfectly.
As overt as Relationsh*t is, it also functions as a parable, with the moral essentially being that love is difficult and tricky and occasionally shitty but almost always worth the effort. This is usually tough footing for younger artists, who tend to come off as annoying when they try to do anything that would imply that they think they're smarter than you are. But be it because he's tall or because his voice is a comfortable baritone or because he takes himself very seriously, Hash, young as technically he is, is capable of delivering a message without being preachy or enfeebling.
What this means: There are still parts of Hash's lyricism that are predictable --when he mentions how a girl can clean up your flaws, you're certain he's going to follow it up with something about washing your draws (he does)-- but for the first time in Hash's career, all of the important moving parts of the machine are in sync, and he sounds like an absolute dynamo. Be excited for this tape.
Projected Y'allmustaforgotability: 97 percent
There will be about 38 people who honestly listen to Relationsh*t. Thirty-three of those people will know Hash personally. Frustration, frustration, frustration.
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Best Song on the Album: The wonderfully creepy "Forgive Me Not," which manages to be both cathartic and looming at the same time. Listen here.
Best Feature on the Album: As strong* as Thurogood is on both the semi-mordacious "Quail Hunting" and the jitterbuggy "Degree of Difficulty," Dustin Prestige noses past him. Listen here.
* Thuro sounds refreshing and invigorated on both of these tracks, moreso than he did on his most recent EP. One can reasonably assume - or at least hope - that his forthcoming LP, Knuckle Sandwich, will resonate as loudly.
Argument You Immediately Have With Yourself After The Album Is Over: Is spoken-word poetry not awful?
Answer: Not entirely. Local poet 100 makes two appearances on Relationsh*t (the intro and outro). On the outro, he observes: "Women don't like men that like lots of other women, but women love men that lots of women like." That's pretty, pretty slick.
Obscure Fact(s) You Can Pawn Off As Your Own To Make Yourself Look Smart:
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- When Hash is crafting a song, no song made between 1940 and 1986 is off limits. His best grab here: "I Get Carried Away" by the Dramatics, which serves as the preamble for "Flashpoint.
- This tape was released on Valentine's Day. That seems a tad overzealous.
- The narrative arc of the tape is as pleasing to follow as the actual music, minus the middle section of "Forgive Me Not" where Hash decides to talk about the Forgive But Can't Forget conundrum.
FYI, if you say something like, "The narrative arc of the tape is as pleasing to follow as the actual music" in conversation, people will automatically think you're smart. Pepper in a few -isms (imperialism, fundamentalism, breakfastism, whatev), and people will think you're a goddamn genius.