The fun thing about having a rap column is that you get to sift through plenty to understand even more. Some projects, such as the fruitful, fire-charged ones by Neko and Stephen Jackson this week, are preludes to something bigger (Neko as an EP, Jackson as an album-before-the-album a la Lil Keke). And some singles bring up new artists and new discoveries even when you're bored with the product or tired of inventing new ways to determine if something is hard, forceful or even passes the sniff test.
There are a few shows coming up, namely the RUN HOU event put on by T.H.E.M. at Fitzgerald's this weekend (tix here) that should have your attention. Hell, there's a show damn near every week that should have your full attention. Then again, myself and the rest of the world are promptly waiting on new music from Roosh Williams, DeLorean and a host of others. That would put a nice little bow on Houston rap in 2014, the year that everybody realized they're in this together whether they like one another or not.
Or you could be like Rob Gullatte and just rap for the utter hell of it. To the songs of the week!
Rob Gullatte, "Seen It All" Normally when you hear the crawl of Cardo's "Seen It All," you expect plenty of solace and remembrance and confessions. Rob Gullatte does enough of that in his normal music, so when he gets a chance to freestyle something, he's going to talk about how dope he is (than whatever you got on the pyrex), make Matrix punch lines (he's the one) and declare how he's built for pressure. Not to mention the most joyous Southside ever committed to film.
Smoov feat. Boston George & ESG, "My Plug" Some records exist solely to brighten the main artist that they belong to, but any song centered on the identity of a plug is going to be taken over by Boston George. It's fact. ESG is a savant when discussing anything; he could make a trip to Whole Foods sound like something you'd want to participate in on a daily basis.
The point of "My Plug," a street anthem produced by ThaBankBoy with stomping 808s and speaking on past crimes with an air of believability, is to prop Smoov up into a spot where more people will notice him. "My Plug" goes retro with 8-bit video-game notes and modern with an all-out assault of drumwork, but the theme is the same: drugs and giving credit to the people who front you said drugs.
Sosamann & Sauce Walka, "Did a Whole Lot" The Sauce Factory on wax operates much like ABN does. They're multilayered, but one major face separates himself from everybody else. ABN has Trae, and now TSF has Sauce Walka.
This past summer's "Errbody" wasn't a fluke, and now "Did a Whole Lot" separates Sauce's talents from Slim Thug and drops them atop Bro Dini's menacing production. Sosamann may bat leadoff here, but the real fun begins when Sauce Walka's "oohwee" adlib fills the area. Fun fact? He admits to carrying a chopper on Highway 6, a street I'd never drive on at night thanks to plenty of police activity.
More new rap on the next page.
Pre, "Quality Control" The alternative to the straightforward grit and thugged-out hyper-lifestyles displayed in a wide majority of Houston rap releases involves creations by that other side. One is held down by the likes of T.H.E.M. (hasHBrown, Hollywood FLOSS, John Dew), Pre, Tony Dark and a few others. Speaking of Pre, the Mexican Marauder once more displays that kind of care-free, laid-back and fun attitude here. "Quality Control" doesn't lack in the craftsmanship department thanks to Dark, who has made a career off dark, murky, RZA-esque production slaps for people.
De'Wayne Jackson, "Had to Wait" In plenty of situations, De'Wayne Jackson has been asked to be patient. It wasn't his time, or his direction didn't match what someone else as going for. Stalled-out thoughts. Typical reaction to a hyper talented teen who's been researching rappers in an age where their backstories and histories seem closer in reach than his own.
"Hard to Wait" comes with an edge, a focused look at Jackson as he feels he could probably run through brick walls to pull off everything he wants to achieve. It's not a groundbreaking moment; far from it. Much of his first true project last year and his Halftime EP with Donnie Houston dripped with these sentiments. "Hard to Wait" is a brash reminder that he's here and he's not going anywhere.
For bonus Jackson/Donnie Houston magic, here's the video for Halftime's "Intro," where the teen looks more like Ahmad strolling through his come-up on "Back In the Day."
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