The Rocks Off 200: Daniel Alexander, Klein's Backyard MC

Welcome to the Rocks Off 100, our portrait gallery of the most compelling profiles and personalities in the far-flung Houston music community -- a lot more than just musicians, but of course they're in there too. See the entire Rocks Off 100 at this link.

Who? Hip-hop began in the streets, with rappers and DJs making tapes for each other and passing them around. The advent of commercially released hip-hop came long after the genre had captured the hearts and minds of urban youth. Now it may be retreating back underground in a very different way: the Bandcamp generation of rappers. See what Jeremiah Jae and crew are doing on there right now.

Enter Houston's Daniel Alexander, who has dropped two EPs so far this year on Bandcamp. His first came out in January and was called The Yung Life. Then he put out When Skys're Blue a month later. Just off those releases, he's already building a fanbase in the Houston area and playing some high profile shows at places like Warehouse Live and the legendary Numbers.

Born and raised in the northwest Houston suburb of Klein, Alexander is one more in a long lineage of rappers who today are making a name for themselves through word of mouth and grassroots efforts like the forefathers of the genre.

With a laugh, he says he got started "by turning the radio on." That's where it all began for the young Alexander, who is honing his craft and coming up in the scene right now.

Home Base: "Lately I've been writing outside in the backyard," Alexander says. "Sometimes in my broken-down Cutlass, sitting in the driveway. There are a lot of memories in that car, and it helps to paint a picture."

Still, Alexander explains his inspiration can come anywhere at any time: "I practice and recite my lyrics everywhere," he says, then reciting a long list of places, including home, work, and whenever he's hanging out with his friends.

"Really anywhere. Where ever, at any time, I guess," says Alexander. "I love to entertain period, so it's fun when I'm around others who like to hear my music, whether it's an a cappella flow or an actual song."

As for his favorite venues, he cites the aforementioned Warehouse Live and Numbers because "the crowd is usually versatile and the venue is laid-back."

Why Do You Stay In Houston? To Alexander, it's hometown loyalty.

"I would like to have my music grow out of the city instead of anywhere else," he says. "I suppose being born and raised around here I feel that way. If I were brought up somewhere else I would probably feel the same way about that city or town."

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Good War Story: Knocking on wood, Alexander tells us it's all been going well so far.

Music Scene Pet Peeve: "When artists are onstage and they're not performing the music," he says. "Instead, they're just singing like somebody wrote the song for them, and trying to make sure they don't forget the lyrics. It's not entertaining when you don't really look like you're into the music you're performing."

Best Show Ever: Interestingly, Alexander's best show ended up being so because he found out about an even bigger one. In his own words:

Thursday, August 22, I had a show at Numbers along with some other local Houston artists. After my set, I stepped back in the crowd and one of the homies told me I was performing tomorrow in their show at Warehouse [Live].

I was like 'word?' He said, 'no, I'm serious. You're performing tomorrow!' In my head I was like, 'SWEET!' Verbally I was like, 'alright, awesome. Thanks, man. I'll be there.'

Five Desert Island Discs:

  • Common, Be
  • Jimi Hendrix Experience, Are You Experienced?
  • Cypress Hill, Slack Sunday
  • Modest Mouse, Good News for People Who Love Bad News
  • System of a Down, Toxicity

First Song You Fell In Love With: Little Dragon's "Ritual Union."

See who else joined The Rocks Off 100 this year on the next page.


Crystal Toliver, Source of That Yello Echo You Hear

Mr. Castillo, Song-Sniping DJ

DJ Big Reeks, The Chief Waxaholic

Melane Gutierrez, The Coffin Queen

Folk Descendent Kevin Taylor Kendrick

Eloy Contreras, Deathrazor's Sharp Thrash Vocals

Robert McCarthy, Guitarist From Beyond

Justice Tirapelli-Jamail, The Manichean's "Quiet One"

Charlie Horshack, LP4's Guitar Warrior

Kathryn Hallberg, Little Girl Gone

Tessa Kole, PuraPharm's Voice and Vice

Richard Griesser, Vintage Camera Hound With Enviable Archive

Downfall 2012, Sci-Fi Metal Storytellers

Kevin Choate, Drum Like You're Screaming

DJ Rockwell, Booth Pimp and Party-Rocker

Ash Kay, the Freakouts' Punk Vocal Head-Butt

Pat Kelly, The Godfather of the Suffers

Michelle Miears of BLSHS, Siren In the Machine

DJ Remix, Genre-Hopping Mix Maniac

Kahna, Brutal Nation's Metal Booking Queen

DJ Ill Set, Enemy of Wack Tracks

Shane Tuttle, Updog Owner and Album-Cover Designer

Electric Attitude, Renegades of Funk

Sama'an Ashrawi, Trill Gladiator

Recon Naissance, A Rap While Matt's Guitar Gently Weeps

DJ Klinch Asks, "Can You Dig It?"

Jose "Chapy" Luna, Percussionist Con Corazón

Love Dominique, Wicked Heart R&B Chanteuse

Chris Gerhardt, Mastermind of Giant Battle Monster

The Jobe Wilson Band, the Boys From Chambers County

Kimberly M'Carver, Missouri City's Nightingale

DJ Panchitron, Stirring the Cumbia/Moombahton Melting Pot

D.R.I's Kurt Brecht, Thrash Zone Supervisor

Sloan Robley, The Last Houstonian Banshee

Jack Saunders, Dealer of Grit & Jangle

Richard Ramirez, Noise God and Black Leather Jesus

Mike Meegz, Scoremore's Houston Lieutenant

Jacqui Sutton, Houston's "Jazzgrass Lady"

Robin Kirby, Silk and Sandpaper Songwriter

Billy Dorsey, Grammy-Winning MARATHON Runner

David DeLaGarza, Don of Tejano Stars La Mafia

Jason Puffer, Your Psychedelic Sex Panther

Tobin Harvell, Fitzgerald's Unflappable Floor Manager

Walter Suhr, the Straw That Stirs Mango Punch!

Tony Garza, La Orquesta Salmerum Founder

OG Ron C, Chopstar King of the Purple Dome

Football, etc., Giving Emo Back Its Good Name

Angela Jae, Renaissance Artist

Shellee Coley, Voice of the Northern Woods

Blaggards, Houston's St. Paddy's Day House Band

DJ Meshak, Hongree Records' Sound Selecter

K-Rino, South Park Coalition's Southside Maven

DJ Candlestick, One Niceguy and a Very Busy DJ

Danielle Renee, Only Beast's Destroyer of Walls

Felipe Galvan of Los Skarnales

Kristine Mills, Houston's Brassiest Voice

Brian Davis, Punk Drummer, Horror Composer

Elroy Boogie, Top-Notch Turntablist

Sean Ozz, Wizard of The Abyss

Alyssa Rubich, Angel of Instability

Alphonso "Fonz" Lovelace, Righteous Drummer

Frank Zweback, Funkmaster General

OG Bobby Trill, Bombon Beatmaker

Beau Beasley, Organist for the End of Time

Rapid Ric, Mixtape Mechanic

Dwight Taylor Lee, the Wandering Bufalero

Coline Creuzot, Soulful Pop/R&B Singer

Cristina Acuna, Cactus Music's Twitter Fingers

Clint Broussard, Blues In Hi-Fi Man Now Back On FM

Nortnii Rose, Houston Ska's Greatest Hope

Ramblin' Chase Hamblin, the Man Who Will Be Paid

Chris Alonzo, Bringing Night Flight to Facebook


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