Screwston, Texas

We've Got Flatline. Clear! Houston Can Jump-Start the Heart of a Music Career

Back in 2007, we came across a hip-hop video on YouTube that featured Trae, so naturally, we eagerly clicked on it. The track starts off with a sick Bun B sample.

"You fuckin with Texas, you fuckin' with the best/ I ain't hard to find/ I'm in Texas bitch, come and get me"

The initial scenes are stereotypical Houston. Cars and trucks with suicide doors dripped in candy red paint, swaggin' aggressively through Texas streets, bullying average looking vehicles to the curb and stopping traffic. The shit just looks mean.

Then you had a large group of Meskins throwin' up the H. So naturally, we thought "Houston" and asked ourselves, "All right, which of Houston's Latino rappers teamed up with Trae?"

We weren't going to get the right answer because we were asking the wrong question. Hell, we were in the wrong area code.

[jump] The answer was actually three hours and 36 minutes away, or 218 miles down 59 South. Don't worry. We aren't going to make you bust out a map. The rapper was from Corpus Christi, his name was Flatline and the song was "Fuckin With Texas."

Jose Mendoza, a 30-year-old Corpus native, is one of two rappers on the Texas Latin Mic Pass who are Houston transplants from elsewhere. The other is Dallas native Big Cease, of Hata Proof Records on the Northside. (Rocks Off will get to him, too).

Three years ago, the video made an obvious statement: Houston's rap culture is spreading like peanut butter throughout Texas and the Southwest. It's something to be proud of, because it makes the case that in the future, Houston could become a major music hub. We aren't as glamorous as Los Angeles or New York, but then it wouldn't be Houston if it was. Californian Baby Bash got his real start with Houston's Dope House Records - after his album debuted on that label, Universal took notice, so there's a precedent.

"There's a big music movement out here," Flatline tells Rocks Off. "There are lots of people coming here; we are migrating to H-Town for this music thing. H-Town lives for this music and if you want to do things on a whole other level you have to be where the game's at. I love my city, Corpus Christi. It's my home base, but I could only go so far, unless I moved out the city."

For guys growing up in the barrios of South Texas, Houston rap of the '90s provided music that was relevant not only culturally but geographically.

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Contributor Rolando Rodriguez is the co-founder of Trill Multicultural.