Screwston, Texas

South Park Coalition Celebrates 30 Years in the Game

K-Rino Photo by Francisco Montes
South Park Coalition
Warehouse Live
July 29, 2017

It’s impossible to cram three decades’ worth of scene-defining hip-hop into a single night, but the South Park Coalition gave it a hell of a shot at their big anniversary show on Saturday night. Why not? The word “impossible” has never stopped them before. Houston’s original rap clique has blazed funky trails since hip-hop’s introduction to the city, and their approach to every obstacle has remained unchanged throughout: strength in numbers.

A thick crowd of longtime fans poured into Warehouse Live’s Studio room right around dusk to see all of the Southside OGs back together again. A lot of the people who showed up were friends and family, part of the extensive support networks that have allowed guys like Point Blank, PSK-13, and Murder One to keep doing their thing for so long. It was easy to imagine most of the crowd hanging out together back in high school a million years ago. But not everybody in the room grew up near MacGregor Park. There were comparatively younger fans there, too — white and Latino — who looked happiest of all to be a part of a special night.

click to enlarge L-R: Klondike Kat, K-Rino, PSK-13 - PHOTO BY FRANCISCO MONTES
L-R: Klondike Kat, K-Rino, PSK-13
Photo by Francisco Montes
The rapping started around 9 p.m. and just didn’t stop. The first artist I saw was Q-Boy, and there was nothing but love in the room as he and a group powered out the R&B-tinged number “Raindrops and Roses.” Between acts, clique leader K-Rino acted as master of ceremonies, doing his level best to hustle people on and offstage. All night, the Wizard was everywhere, doling out handshakes and hugs, listening to people, and just generally having his welcome fingerprints all over everything.

“Y’all know I don’t drink no alcohol,” said K-Rino as he sipped from a straw after introducing Nation of Islam minister Abdul Haleem Muhammad — better known to many as Minister Robert Muhammad.

“I want to make that clear, “K-Rino continued, smiling. “That’s plain cranberry juice.”

click to enlarge Miss Fine as Wine - PHOTO BY FRANCISCO MONTES
Miss Fine as Wine
Photo by Francisco Montes
Muhammad delivered a passionate message of unity (against Trump, in particular) on a night of togetherness. The Terrorists, one of the SPC’s most notorious and celebrated acts, were rather less conciliatory. Before Dope-E and Egypt-E kicked things off, they were preceded by representatives of the Israelite School of Universal and Practical Knowledge, who informed us all that the white man is the devil that the Bible speaks of. The handful of white devils in the front row knew better than to show any weakness. We were as hyped as anyone for the rare performance, and the duo sounded heavy AF on “Bomb Threat” and other bangers.

Dressed in an ISUPK headdress and combat boots, Dope-E was a menacing presence on the mike, and the Black Israelites backing him up never cracked a smile. Egypt-E and DJ Fire took turns scratching the hell out of some records up there, turning in a bone-hard performance that was an instant highlight of the show.

Many, many more acts would follow. Somebody was selling T-shirts with the SPC’s entire roster listed on the back, and it looked like about 100 people. As artists rolled through one after another, it was hard not to distill their sets down to a single memory, like the adorable little girl dancing with a Chucky doll as Chucky the Killa did his thing. PSK-13 shouting out the Ridgemont 4 projects, or Pat and Hawk’s sister Miss Fine as Wine turning up for an appropriately gospel-inflected number.

click to enlarge Klondike Kat - PHOTO BY FRANCISCO MONTES
Klondike Kat
Photo by Francisco Montes
Klondike Kat nearly stopped the show cold with his set. K-Rino introduced him as the only man to ever defeat him in a battle, and it was easy to believe him when the Kat unleashed his motormouth old-school rhymes and R&B hooks on “Just Another Day In the Ghetto.” The stage was slammed with people while he performed, and everyone had a huge smile on his or her face, rocking with the Kat in front of a packed house.

Klondike even dropped down for an impromptu pushup contest between songs (“Just like the yard!”) that went on for a while. Somehow, he wasn’t out of breath for the finisher, “I’m Gangsta.” Point Blank could be seen behind the DJ, rapping along to every word.

Murder One kept things going next, and then, I shit you not, the one and only Freeway Ricky Ross came out onstage to promote his new autobiography. God knows he’s got a hell of a story, and he fit right in up there with the old heads.

click to enlarge Freeway Ricky Ross - PHOTO BY FRANCISCO MONTES
Freeway Ricky Ross
Photo by Francisco Montes
SPC’s Generation 2 took the stage next, highlighted by Tex-T and Dem Dayum Twinz, and then suddenly we were all getting high with the Blanksta. After a short smoke break, the Bull cracked us over the head with a monstrously huge version of “Southside Groovin” with Klondike Kat on the hook. Even after so many years, the talent onstage was undeniable, and the performers themselves looked to be having the time of their lives.

Everyone did. Cl’Che nearly had to be dragged away from the stage after showing off her unbreakable flow and precious pipes in front of folks who hadn’t even looked at their watches by 1 a.m. Like a big chunk of the SPC, co-founding member Ganksta NIP arrived armed with new music, and “Houston, We Back” and “Come Together” proved to be tight songs of encouragement rather removed from his psychopathic classics. Hardcore fans seemed satisfied, nonetheless.

It was past closing time when K-Rino finally hit the stage, dressed in a suit to mark the formal occasion of his legacy’s anniversary. His first song was a characteristically lithe retelling of the SPC story, including the near-mythic battle to end all battles between himself and Ganksta NIP on the corner of Bellfort and MLK back when Jones and Sterling high schools were hip-hop Ground Zero in Houston. The house lights came on during “I’m a Problem,” but the venue was kind enough to let the legend uncork a couple of vicious, putdown-filled freestyles that had longtime fans onstage and off shaking their heads in amazement.

click to enlarge SPC Generation 2 - PHOTO BY FRANCISCO MONTES
SPC Generation 2
Photo by Francisco Montes
He finished the night with “Perfect World,” and it was easy to see why the show had gone on so long. Nobody involved ever wants the SPC to end. That’s why it’s stood the test of time. The brotherhood (and sisterhood) is real, and it felt strong enough on Saturday that the SPC might just make it to 60.

Personal Bias: I was at the 25th anniversary show, too.

The Crowd: Southsiders and hardcore rap fans.

Overheard in the Crowd: “Do you remember that Insane Clown Posse show where the guy got kicked through the window here?”

Random Notebook Dump: I tried to keep a running tally of the most underrated act on the bill, but the list of contenders grew too long.
KEEP THE HOUSTON PRESS FREE... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Nathan Smith
Contact: Nathan Smith