In recent years, Houston’s hip-hop reputation has seen an increase in popularity. With multiple H-Town natives such as Megan Thee Stallion, Lizzo, and Travis Scott dominating the charts, and high profile, remote rappers like Drake and ASAP Rocky consistently acknowledging their Houston influence directly in their songs, the city is finally getting its praise for its original sounds. But in Houston hip-hop artists Tim Ned and Fat Pimp’s experience, that hasn’t always been the case.
“It’s a culture that everyone seems to want to copy now” explains Fat Pimp, “I remember when screw first came out, I took that music to the Midwest and nobody wanted to listen to it, but then ten years down the line, now everybody wants to use ‘screwed up’ hooks.”
“And it’s crazy traveling to like, Japan, and seeing that the screw culture is crazy out there!” adds Tim, “They really know songs word for word, it blew me away, they’ve got grills, 84’s in the Cadillac, candy paint, all that! It goes beyond just Texas.”
Representing their city, the L.O.U.D. Muzik artists will be unveiling their joint project, The Art of Ratchet, together at House of Blues on February 11 with a concert-style, live-listening party, performing new, unheard tracks for the first time. With a previously released collaborative track in 2016 ("Can’t Stop Flexxin,") the rappers have decided to move past adjoining features for a full project.
“Our chemistry based off that one song was undeniable,” points out Tim, “Pimp is a producer too, so he has that ‘producer ear’ as well, so we feed off each other as far as ideas and sounds, it’s like peanut butter and jelly, it just mashes really good together.”
“Ima be honest with you, I wasn’t a fan of Tim when I first met him,” exclaims Pimp jokingly, “I became a fan when I seen Tim in concert! I swear to god! Tim always had great music but when I seen his live performance; I had never seen a live performance from a hip-hop artist that spoke so close to me. I remember seeing him perform with a live band and I was blown away! I knew from then that I needed to work with this man for the rest of my life.”
The Art of Ratchet is set to release this summer and will feature the likes of artists Thom Genius and Houston rapper Khody Blake. Produced by Tim Ned himself, the album is set to be a defining moment for the duo.
“I really feel like there’s a lot of doubters and naysayers in Houston,” tells Pimp, “so we got to show them, and really the whole state, what real hip-hop sounds like. That ratchet! I feel like it’s my job to represent The Art of Ratchet in their face.”
Representing for the city only seems right after the embrace the city gives its artists. As Houston has learned to survive on its own, away from the bigger recording cities like Los Angeles and Atlanta, it has become a tighter, inner circle, with Houstonians showing an overbearing amount of support for local artists.
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“Houston is one of the few cities in the south that embraces their talent, they embrace their artists, they give the artist their bread while they’re still living.”
The Art of Ratchet is more than just an album, it’s a lifestyle. Taking a spin on the stereotypically negative connotation of the word, the group has used it as a term to embrace the things that you like that others might disprove of.
“Ratchet is that inner-person that most people are scared to show the world.” Explains Pimp, “You ever get ready to leave the house, you say, ‘I don’t know if I should wear this ‘cause people are going to judge me.’ Being ‘ratchet’ is having that attitude to do whatever you want, and to have that free spirit, just not really givin' an ‘F’ what critics or haters are going to say, just worry about what you want to do.”
Tim Ned and Fat Pimp will be bringing along Dontaskgen and B Val to kick off The Art of Ratchet Tour at 7 p.m. February 11 in the Bronze Peacock Room at House Of Blues 1204 Caroline. For more information, visit houseofblues.com/houston Tickets $20