Screwston, Texas

Trae Vs. The Box: No. 2 Local Music Story Of 2010

Rocks Off is counting down the Top 5 local music stories of 2010 this week. We have already covered Lightnin' Hopkins, Meridian and Fitzgerald's.

In 2008, eight people were shot at Trae Day, a day sanctioned by the City of Houston to honor rapper Trae tha Truth's philanthropic work with the inner-city community. The following day, Trae and Nnete, a radio personality at The Box, the city's only hip-hop station and a subsidiary of the Radio One family, got into a less-than-hospitable back-and-forth when she implied that he was tangentially responsible.

Trae responded in standard rapper form, taking shots at her weight on The Incredible Truth mixtape, and The Box responded in standard bigwig radio form, placing an embargo on all things Trae. This has had two significant effects:

1. Trae will, in all likelihood, never ever be played on The Box, nor on any of Radio One's stations. This isn't the death sentence it would have been 15 years ago - one needs little more than a strong will and Internet connection to sustain in the hustle nowadays - but it certainly isn't helping things.

2. Beneath the rumble is the very real possibility that Trae could eventually become the most beloved MC Houston has ever seen. He's shown a remarkable dedication to the slums in the past, but now he has a clear, distinct, seemingly unfair and heartless adversary.

Struggle for the sake of recognition is admirable - his entire career up until this point has been about him trying to give a voice to the shittier parts of town - but struggle for the sake of advancement against an easily identifiable evil empire is, in the community's eyes, the stuff kings are made of.

Near a year and a half later, Trae and The Box are still at odds. It should be noted that Trae has not taken exception with the entire staff of The Box, only those specific members he believes have wronged him.

Although the lawsuit he filed against the station and Radio One this summer has gone away - but not before inspiring the top-shelf mixtape Can't Ban Tha Truth - the feud has no end in the foreseeable future.

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Shea Serrano