Houston Music

Tow Down

It was comedian Dave Chappelle who, in his last HBO special, explained the significance of young white men who spend most of their time hanging out with hardcore brothas. "Those white guys are the most dangerous muthafuckas in them groups," he said. "Ain't no telling what they've done to get them black dudes' respect!"

Like grade schoolers just itchin' to show how invincible and cool they are, today's white whippersnappers are always looking to their darker-toned, syrup-sipping, loan-denied contemporaries for validation. (Hey, who knows more about being cool than the muthafuckas who invented it?) Local rapper Tow Down is one of those pale faces who would most likely do anything to prove he's down, to the point of melding country twang to a rap song, which he does on the obviously named "Country Rap Tune."

Much like that catchy first single off his debut album, By Prescription Only, the alabaster-skinned MC has gone all out to impress the young playas and playettes out there. Tow Down certainly peppers his album with the best of the best. South Park Mexican once again drops by the studio to give his seal of approval, this time getting blunted with the callow rapper on "Slant Eyes." C-Note of the Botany Boys also shows up on the cutting opening track, "The Virus," while Tow Down and two Lil's -- Flip and Flash -- try to out-bling-bling each other on the flashy "We Shinin'." And DJ Screw manages to posthumously screw "Country Rap Tune" for the CD's finale.

As for his flow, you can't help but wonder if Tow Down is the rough and raw balla he claims to be, or just a kid who's using his "big" voice when sitting at the adults' table. On the tracks when it's just him, he invokes Kid Rock's guitar-riffing, white-trash pride more often than Eminem's button-pushing high jinks. He may also piss off a few hardcore rap purists by turning Eazy-E's "Boyz-N-The-Hood" into the pro-wigger anthem "Also Cool." ("Knowing nothing in life / but throwed rap and rock / White boys coming down / Make room on your block" -- well, there goes the neighborhood!)

But the boy does throw out an oddly intriguing tune here and there like "Emotions," on which he samples a Eurythmics song that isn't "Sweet Dreams" and creates a beguiling synth-rap song. While Euro-pop makes more sense ethnically, Tow Down would rather be down with the Afrocentric brothas. And isn't it always entertaining to watch white people act black? As long as they don't say "nigga," that is.

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Craig D. Lindsey
Contact: Craig D. Lindsey