Republic of Texas Tour Feat. GT Garza, Doeman, Dustin Cavazos & Dro FÉ Fitzgerald's February 8, 2015
There was a moment last night where I felt a cold rush through my spine, a feeling of equal parts amazement and fear. Onstage stood Doeman, a young Mexicano from Southeast Houston with a boxer's swagger and a vicious vocal arsenal. He was in the middle of performing "How Can I Lose" with Propain, and both the crowd onstage and offstage were jumping and rapping and pretty much causing an earthquake, when I swear I felt the ground below me buckle.
We all survived the show and will live to tell the tale of one of the craziest nights in Fitzgerald's history, which featured four young Latino artists on the rise. From moody to merciless, studio to street, the Republic of Texas Tour told the realities of life through the lyrics of Doeman, Dro Fe, Dustin Cavazos and GT Garza. Choosing beats and stories as their weapon, they provided a powerful assault.
With a gravelly voice and the gaze of a villain, Dro FÉ brings with him the culture of drugs and unrelenting will that is prominent in the Rio Grande Valley. The imposing figure, equal parts Bane and Danny Trejo, spits equally intimidating raps which feel that much more determined. Before he took the stage, Dro said he means to bring the truth of life to his listeners, dubbing himself "The Last American Migo."
He dropped a track called "Cocaine" early in his set, with not much innuendo or wordplay to decipher, just real talk all the time: drugs, money, success and failure. It glorifies the culture without embellishing it; I for one would much rather hear someone like Dro rap about this subject matter, than hear it from a wannabe gangster who once upon a time sold a few grams to his cousin in high school. Either way, the reality rap of Dro FÉ is hard-hitting, honest and entertaining.
The mood of the night shifted completely when Dustin Cavazos hit the stage. He best described himself as "Richie Valens meets punk music," which is fairly on point. Hair tied up with an American-flag bandanna, Cavazos presented himself to the crowd as an emo with energy, rapping many lyrics with his eyes closed and moving across the stage like a pinball. "Houston...I wrote this song for you" he said before playing a track of appreciation for H-Town.
The young man from the Oak Cliff section of Dallas took a real hold on his platform of expression, using the mike to talk about love struggles and personal crisis, and the moody sound of "I Don't Know I Decay" expressing his feelings of confusion. Overall an interesting and unique set from Mr. Cavazos.
Once Doeman made it onstage, the mostly female crowd let their anticipation roar. He began by acknowledging his parents, who were in the crowd to see their boy perform. Family plays a large part in Doe's life, whether its his brother's success as a boxer or his parents' determination to overcome life stuggles, the young rapper is all in.
"This rap business has got to work -- there is nothing else for me!" he yelled. And in the short time that he has been active in the music scene, Doeman is definitely poised to be the next superstar of Houston rap.
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A handful of homies come out to support Doe, including Propain and LE$, who both performed a track or two, and Doughbeezy, who preferred to remain in the background. Either way, the night felt special, and the crowd got a tremendous set. From "Elevation" to "Andale," Doe repped his DYNA Music Group and Gold Blooded LP with enough heart and sincerity to convert every person in that room. It's been a long time since a Houston rapper has cultivated such a fervent fan base, and with every rhyme, Young Dodi keeps winning.
Houston was the last stop on the tour, one that saw the rappers travel from San Antonio to Austin, Dallas to McAllen, and finally Laredo back to the Bayou City. They say to save the best for last, and both Doeman and GT Garza were determined to give it their all in their home town.
Garza entered the venue through the crowd, with a hooded black robe covering his head and a mike in his hand. "I be the leader of the new generation!" he proclaimed in the opening lines of "Young Mexico," the title track to his latest album. A pair of gold Jesus statuettes flanked him onstage, as his signature rosary swang across his neck. A tall, skinny kid with a high-pitched voice, every movement was distinct and pronounced.
He offered up the Trakksounds-produced radio hit "SLAB" before hitting "Draped Up", all while leading the crowd into a synchronized bounce. Garza is a veteran of the stage, and with DJ B*Ryte behind him, the show was as animated as ever. The night ended with their remix to O.T. Genasis' "Coco," appropriately renamed "Purple Soda".
So much amazing talent from the Republic of Texas, all with their own agenda, style, and delivery. The official tour T-shirt featured a logo of a microphone with the words "Come And Take It" underneath. But if last night's show is any indication, nobody will be taking the mike away from these four vatos anytime soon.
When he's not roaming around the city in search of tacos and graffiti, Marco points his camera lens towards the vibrant Houston music scene and beyond. Follow his adventures on Instagram at @MarcoFromHouston.
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