In the paper this week is a listing of some of our favorite local albums. One of the tapes on the list -debatable in its localness--is OG Ron C and DJ Candlestick's chopped not slopped version of Frank Ocean's nostalgia, Ultra. Here's what was written about it:
Traditionally (or historically), only the most earthbound Southern rap and R&B have been acceptable options for Screwed music. However, OG Ron C, co-founder of the SwishaHouse label, which, oh by the way, helped give Southern rap its current unmistakable sound, is not bound by the restraints of tradition. He and his Chopstar camp have spent the last year or so reinventing Screwed music, making it accessible to a trendier, more youthful and energetic crowd. To wit: this brilliant version of blog heartthrob/extra-indie singer Frank Ocean's nostalgia, Ultra.
This whole nouveau Screw movement that's happening, it is dynamic and interesting and will be discussed/deconstructed fully later. For the moment though, a collection of the year's best avant-garde OG Ron C and DJ Candlestick tapes, absolute essential listening.
5. The Throne, Watch the Throne
Here, on what was called Chop the Throne (neat), Candlestick spliced in a proper amount of Houston tracks and hat-tips (full disclosure: there's even a Houston Press one) to make it just home-y enough to be recognizable, but not so much as to crush its roam-free spirit.
4. The Weeknd, House of Balloons
Mystifying and gorgeous, The Weeknd's illustrious House of Balloons seems the antithesis to the traditional Screw tape foundation, precisely what makes it so remarkable. It is the aural equivalent to showing up to a child's birthday party in an all black suit. Ethereal without being spacey, chopped without feeling staggered, it is fluid and bold and engaging. It's okay to listen to The Weeknd, thugs, but only because OG Ron C says so here.
3. Kendrick Lamar, Section 80
LA certified yet entirely devoid of its traditional gangsterisms, Lamar's introspective Section 80 rates as one of the best rap albums of the year. OGRC knew this. So did Candlestick. Care was taken. Integrity was preserved. It was neither marginalized nor hyperbolized. This might be the most restricted The Chopstars were with any tape they made in 2011, an unmistakable sign of respect and appreciation.
2. Frank Ocean, nostalgia, Ultra
Remember when this tape dropped and everyone was like, "See, that's why no one should ever try and cover 'Hotel California'"? Somehow, this tape, this gooey slush of elegant cocaine funk, made it seem like a good idea. I suppose that's to happen though, given that Ocean is an R&B artist and OGRC has cut-up what seems like several thousand R&B albums over the course of his career.
1. Drake, Take Care
No tape lent itself to the chopped not slopped template this year better than Drake's Take Care, not surprising considering his unbridled (and likeable, FYI) affection towards Houston rap culture (this tape was even officially cosigned by Drake). A meta aside: Drake sample's E.S.G.'s "Swangin' and Bangin'" on "H.Y.F.R." late in Take Care. On this tape, though, Ron C ushered it to the front of the line, clever because "Swangin' and Bangin'" is from E.S.G.'s fabled Ocean of Funk, the very first national album to prominently feature Screwed music. He is an historian, it seems, and that's just about excellent.
All tapes are free and available at www.chopnotslop.com. Follow OG Ron C on Twitter at @OGRONC and DJ Candlestick at @djcandlestickem.