Screwston, Texas

Sauce Walka Vs. Drake Blows Up With 'Wack to Wack'

Some time late Wednesday night, the entire tone of our regular rap column shifted. Originally, it was going to lead off with Killa Kyleon singlehandedly turning into a Actavis-branded version of John Rambo by creating 30 music videos to 30 freestyles. About how he pretty much have forgone the traditional idea of keeping your name out there (“hard work and consistency”) and instead opted for a visual napalm bomb to cover every space of the Earth. It may not be 2012, when Candy Paint & Texas Plates was his smoothest, most cohesive free album marketed as a mixtape, but Killa going for absolute broke is an interesting watch. Akin to catching someone completely free of constraints and the perception of others creating what he wants to create on their own terms.

The tenor of all that changed because once more, we have to delve into why Sauce Walka and Drake are at odds, which is far more tantalizing than whatever kerfuffle the latter found himself embroiled in with Meek Mill during the summer. If you recall, Drake said himself that the “2 Legited Remix” was coming for the sake of Houston, buoying the name of the Sauce Factory and in particular the Sauce Twinz to that fringe national level that Tinashe, Makonnen and others occupied. Fetty Wap also occupied this moment temporarily but his own single, “Trap Queen,” has been bigger than any Drake song ever, if you believe Billboard. Thanks to his own self-imposed media embargo, Drake never spoke on the remix again, yet posed for photos with the Twinz at various and other locales. Since the sphere of social media has taught us that most celebrities are about brand and brand only, the questions in regards to the remix fell upon Sauce Walka who in true fashion responded like any man backed into a corner.

Walka had already disparaged Drake’s intentions for Houston Appreciation Weekend, his lack of crafting music with any Houston artists outside Bun B (2010’s “Miss Me” from Thank Me Later; and “What Up” from a pieced-together Pimp C album, The Naked Soul of Sweet James Jones) and how he had appropriated Houston in the same fashion of any Internet kid who had heard a chopped & screwed song or saw a music video and immediately molded their career out of being a “Houston guy." The Sauce Twinz “mouth” if you will even jumped in with more jokes during Drake’s beef with Meek Mill, laughing about the ghostwriter accusations and shouting out Quentin Miller. The rock that broke the levee and led to Sauce Walka’s “Drake Disstruction” trending on Twitter for hours on end Thursday? Drake taking the style of the Twinz without paying homage, outright theft and calling it his dance.

“Wack to Wack” works because it puts the idea of Drake* into perspective even more. The barbs hit harder, jokes about Drake being a Cambodian steroid user whose current girlfriend Serena Williams could Rock Bottom him are thrown around along with the recanting of stories of Drake having to call people to get Sauce Walka off of his ass. Pulling up on people at Del Frisco’s? Mentioning that Drake paid for sex? Getting pissed on? Looking at Houston with tourist-ass goggles? If you didn’t know it was Sauce Walka, you’d imagine this sort of comedic slaughtering came from BeatKing or someone of that ilk. Sauce Walka, loved or loathed, is attempting to defend a city that he was born and raised in from an artist who loves the city, has been given free reign in said city and a legion of fans and detractors who may feel Houston is nothing more than a tourist destination for food, strippers and the occasional SLAB. The fact that most headlines read “A Houston Rapper” as opposed to outright identifying Sauce Walka isn’t just a minor insult to him, it’s reads like, “Guess who else has a problem with Drake?”, even if those reasons are far less petty than Meek Mill’s were. Sauce Walka isn't just against Drake taking Houston style and running with it without paying proper homage, he's against anybody doing it.

What people don’t like about “Wack to Wack” is that it pulls all of the focus on the subjective “good music” coming out of Houston and instead centers on what Drake versus Sauce Walka is. It gives clearance for people who haven’t given the city a chance since say, 2010, during the height of rap-blog culture, to say outrageous things about who may actually be the best rapper in the city. Houston’s isn’t a Rap Safari where you can ride around and take a bunch of pictures of things and then say you’re from there or you know what it's like. It may be thin skin or irrefutable pride but the city knows the city and won’t ever take kindly to outsiders, meaning those who have never stepped foot in Houston proper — much less Texas or anywhere near the South — to dictate its rights and wrongs. It’s not much of a fair argument because as a Houston rap supporter, you’ve only asked for one thing — fair coverage of your city and its rap scene. The same way people try to light that barren chimney that is NYC rap, the same you want people to give credence to what acts are doing here. The same how everything save for a couple of outlier sounds like Atlanta trap or even Chicago drill? The same you want given towards Houston’s future sound that pays homage to a gumbo of funk, blues and Screw.

There are internal debates on where fans ride harder for certain artists in the city. Who ask questions like, “Why did Travi$ Scott sell 85K and Scarface sell 23K despite people universally loving Scarface and Travi$ Scott appealing only to “the nebulous youth”? Or why do some Houston fans act indifferent about younger rappers in general? The difference about Houston critiquing Houston and everyone else who haven’t visited Houston for an extended period of time to grasp what makes Houston rap special is just that. Those already here already know how special Houston rap is. It exists without comparison. They want the city to be respected on its own terms. Not in some fascinating, quirky kind of way but a consistently streamlined and grooving kind of way. Riding music is forever universal, and Houston rap has found a way to exist for three decades-plus, with that as its underlying theme. And there's no way the world should short-change it for the sake of ignorance.
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.
Brandon Caldwell has been writing about music and news for the Houston Press since 2011. His work has also appeared in Complex, Noisey, the Village Voice & more.
Contact: Brandon Caldwell