Friday, April 29, 2005

Busy Week Comes To An End

Newyorksoreal (for 3 days)....

I told y'all last week it was gonna be a busy week around Houstonsorealand. Last Saturday I hopped in a cab at 6:30 a.m. and rode out to Intercontinental to catch a $183 USAirways flight to Philly (a lifesaver that came to me in the form of an email). Got into Philly around 12:30 where I was met by my boy Mike Baxter (Manager of my peoples CHOPS & DJ Lt. Dan). He gave me a ride to the Chinatown Bus that goes directly from Chinatown Philly to Chinatown New York City every hour on the hour for $20 round trip.

Pretty much the best deal on ANYTHING on the east coast.

So I get on the bus at the very last minute and am forced to sit in the back row, next to the bathroom, which was wack, but shit, I was about finna have 3 seats to myself. So I sit down, position my bags so as to not let anyone sit by me and put up my newspaper real high so if anyone gets on and trieds to hooride my situation I can play dumb and keep the seats. No such luck, as I'm sitting there pretending to read the paper, 2 young girls walk up to me and basically let their presence be known by standing 1 inch behind my paper as if to say "Look here fool you GONNA look at us eventually." So I look up, and it's two girls, I got the only pair of seats together on the whole bus and in front of me is an open seat.

So I let the girls (seen here)

have the seats and I move up one row and sit next to an Italian who does not speak English and behind an African man, leaned all the way back in his seat, who also doesn't speak English (maybe they were doing their own version of my newspaper trick, I don't even know). So my tall ass just sits there, I can't even reach my ipod or position my newspaper to read, and I'm starting to get mad.

The two girls behind me were chatting like mad, talking on their cell phones (one of which played YOU DON'T KNOW ME every time it rang) and every other word out their mouths is "jawn" which apparently means "everything and anything" in Phillyese (relax, I know what it means). I really couldn't handle being stuck in my seat facing forward so I turn around and decide to chat these girls up, fully expecting to be clowned, called an old man, and told to turn back around before they cut my face open with a boxcutter, like how they do on the east coast.

But they didn't. They were real nice and basically told me everything about Philly, which is just where they go to school, originally they're from the Bronx, hip-hop, underage drinking, not being able to get into the clubs in New York for another few months till they hit 21, and the like. But none of that matters, what matters is these girls are hilarious. Everytime someone would go into the bathroom they'd be like "Oh no...." and just laugh and then when someone would take a shit and basically ruin the entire bus they'd yell "OOOOOOOOOOOHHHH HE DROPPED A DEUCE!" I'm saying, they would YELL. They also yelled "DINGLBERRRRIIIEEEEEES" at a couple guys...

Ah youth...

Anyway, so I get off the bus, fully confused, and they showed me how to get to the 6 train and we parted ways. I went directly to WIlliamsburg, Brooklyn where my little bro-bro Ryan Donowho (see photo below) lives, and basically started smoking weed like a man who doesn't have a kid and a pregnant wife at home...

The rest is kind of a blur, so mostly, the photos will have to suffice. Oh yeah shit, actually we went and caught Dizzee Rascal and DJ Wonder at Irving Plaza, even had a table reserved for us. Cuz we dem boys. Wonders set was way different from what he did in Houston. It was a bit longer I think, but in NYC he was throwing mad drum n bass into the mix, which he only did a slight bit of in Houston. Then Dizzee and Scope hit the stage and straight ripped it for like an hour. That show has like, the best sound I ever heard at a concert in my life man. Seriously, Irving Plaza put it down, it's like, perfect. The show in Houston was a bit rowdier, but whatever, it was great to see Dizzee again. It's been so long maaaaaan.

Anyway, Sunday was like a press day for DJ Rapid Ric. Ray Tamarra did some exclusive photos of him...

and my man Phillip Mylanar interviewed him for London's Hip Hop Connection...

in Thompkins Square Park which I heard is a WIFI hotspot... Long way from tent city...

Oh before I forget, Axsel, head of Whut It Dew Security

held it down for us the whole time. No one slashed our face open (cuz they do that shit in New York)

Monday morning Ric, Axsel and I met in the city and went straight to The Fader to say hello to CatchDubs, Knox and all our good folks up there. I tried to convince them to let me corner Cornerstone Promotions in this here Houston market. We'll see what happens. Do I need to start a letter writing campaign? They got a Guiness tap in their breakroom, I want to get with a company like that. Fuck the dumb shit. Guiness is almost as important as RED STRIPE (more on that later).

We then went to XXL and I got to see my super homegirl Leah Rose, Bonsu Thompson, Sally Berman, finally met Vanessa Satten and even got to meet the man himself, Elliot... Always cool to see them folks. They gave me the new issue of XXL with my photos of Bun B, Paul Wall and Devin from SXSW along with a review by Leah. Thanks Leah, you rule.

THEN we took a walk around the corner to The Source where they refused to let us in. I'm not going to get into anything on that level, just suffice it to say, I went to New York and came home with what I wanted. I am very happy with The Source Magazine at the moment. They proved to me, (after refusing me entry o.k. fine), that they are workable and I am now sleeping much better. Thank you Jerry Barrow.

THEN, we finally went off to lunch with Roxysoreal, the wonderful woman who brought us to NYC and ate some Thai Food...

Rapid Ric and Oxycottontail

Later that night, after another session with my boy Ryan out in Brooklyn passing this thing around the table about a million times, we hit up SWAY (305 Spring Street) for Roxy's birthday party where Rapid Ricsoreal was spinning with Peter Hahn and Catchdubsoreal. Catchdubs opened the night wiht a diverse, marathon set of nothing but jams and Peter hit the decks with some Baltimore house and other joints for that ass.

But it was when Rapid Ric hit the decks when it really got crunk for me. I waited for this forever. Back in 1994 when I lived in New York, if a Texas DJ would have hit the decks slowing songs down and playing southern rap, the world would have stopped and we would have all been flung into cyberspace. Today, fools were going nuts for this shit. A packed house full of journalists, hipsters, rap fanatics and a few people of Texas descent...

Man they from Texas mayne...

As the night progressed, my old ass got more and more tired and faded, as evidenced by this photo of me with big time publicist and entrepreneur and party animal Fiona Bloom.

Fiona and FatFadedFacesoreal (self portrait, I need to stop doing that)

Ric fuckin' got 'em going. A few people wanted to hear some more uptempo shit and a few people had to ask Roxy if it really was supposed to be so slow (though maybe due to my mad combination of intoxicants, I kind of wanted it to be slower. Glued to my chair I kind of cussed Ric out in my head a couple times like "Man Ric stop playing the east coast jams and slow this shit down even more maaaaaaan.")

Dude frickin' killed it. Roxy is talking about bringing us up semi-monthly or some shit and next time around we gotsta have DJ Chill in the house to do some live Damage Control, the ideas are flowing... In fact if all goes well, we gonna do it real big in June. Get ready to rumble.

Anyway I went back to Brooklyn at like 4 a.m. only to get up at 7:30 a.m. to catch the subway to a cab to a bus back to Philly to a train to the airport to a plane to Houston. Pain. But I can take it.

Here's a gang of photos from New York:

Birthday girl Roxysoreal and Magno

Once again, the birthday bunny

Big famous actor from Houston, my little brother, Ryan Donowho

Scavone, the rapper

Somebody tell this pretty lady there's a SMOKING BAN!

They jammin'

My boy Joey just got back from Fallujah and might have to go back, pray for this serious man. Joeysoreal...

It really wasn't that cold. Actually it may have been.

And that was that for New York City. See you soon.

Then Wednesday night we had the Bizzy Bone show, see the post below.

And Thursday night, we hosted to return of Diplo


Rapid Ric started the night off and fucking ripped it with a set of down south classics, big r&b jams and just a huge mix of everythang jammin'...

Rapid Ric and Monique from Hater Magazine (Our tight, tight sponsor)

Then the man named Bavu Blakes hit the stage and wrecked a 15 minute set of mostly freestyles and a couple new jams like "Nobody Leavin'" which we posted on HoustonSoReal months ago.

And then we took a photo together.

Just me, Bavu and my chins...

DJ Chill then hit the decks and straigth wrecked fools too. For those who don't know, Chill is one of the hypest club DJ's on the planet when it comes to hip-hop, r&b and dirty south rapsoreal...

DJ Chill, Damage Controller

Chill DJed for a clean hour and made way for Diplo, who is pretty much the #1 cut selectah in my world right now. Seriously. I hear folks talk down on the man every now and again and shit dude, it's baffling. The dude fucking jams, get off that bullshit.

Just look at how fools were jammin'. Boy put it the fuck on down and had people orgasming on the dancefloor when he hit 'em with that "Still Tippin" over Britney Spears "Toxic."

Peace to Kwame Decuir, Cornerstone, Red Stripe and all them. We had Red Stripe specials all night and man... Shit went down. Do these people look intoxicated? Yeah? Good...

Aubin, JD's girl who took the bathroom photos at Dizzee Rascal

Name those tits.

Great parties always have tits

WHAT UP BMC! Thanks for the dope Mixtape.

Caseysoreal used to work with Grit Boys and these are some real cool peoples, believe me...

See how they jammin'?

Still jammin'...

The one Dizrokwel, extremely forward thinking producer in our fair city.

They paid.

Even when they did this.

Graciesoreal of Fahrenheit Media fuckin' connected me with Mango's and was a huge help in general. Shout out to GRacie and Chris for all the help and the fantastic sound.

Feel it...

Another self portrait of me and my chins

More tits in the mix.

Peace to Red Stripe. Them Jamaicans know how to get a fool drunk.

Rapid Ric and Bavu Blakes read Ozone Magazine outside the club.

And then it was over. It's now Friday night and I am going to bed, possibly for the entire weekend. Y'all holler at me. Leave a comment. Me, DJ Chill and Rapid Ric are available for HoustonSoReal parties in your city. Holler at me and I'll make it happen.

Thursday, April 28, 2005

I Gave Bizzy Bone Your Home Number

Well, last night was one hell of a night for me at Damage Control. I had to keep my head together while interviewing a MANIC Bizzy Bone in the studio, just minutes after finding out from KPFT's station manager that the show is going to be cut to 2 hours. That's right. We've been 12 - 3 a.m. every Wednesday night for the past 3 years, with May 23rd being our anniversary. Now we'll be 12 - 2 a.m. every Wednesday night, with DJ Witnes and Grinch coming in with Late Nite Snax from 2 - 4 a.m. and Zin coming in with a new show from 4 - 6 a.m. For those who don't know, Zin started Damage Control with me, but got busy, and I think maybe wanted the show to be a bit more conscious, so he left sometime last year.

So it'll be hip-hop all night every Wednesday now, but Damage Control has been cut by an hour. All of the three hour shows on KPFT have been cut by an hour to make room for new programming. So I can't be mad. But I will be mad if the new programming they are making way for isn't superior, forward thinking and if it's a music program they better be focused as fuck on new music. I'm talkin' 'bout they need to get someone in that building who has his or her finger on the pulse of ALL new music. Cuz they don't have that right now. If they're going to really put forward some effort to make things better, then I'll stand behind them. If not, we'll start hollering about how we need to be 11 p.m. - 2 a.m. in a few weeks.

I'll also listen to y'alls wishes. Y'all mad? Lemme know what you think about this. I'd like to know how many artists out there really pay attention to us beyond their little semi-weekly 5 minute interviews. I'd like to see how many people will even notice that we got our time cut. I know the folks on lock will react, but what about you? If it matters hit me with an email and I'll forward it to the proper authorities. matt at damagecontrolradio dot org.

You can also hit the KPFT Website and leave comments and send emails directly to our interim Program Director, Station Manager, Music Director, whoever. KPFT Is a community station, you are our community whether you are in Houston or New Zealand. We need your voice, I have mixed feelings on this whole situation.

And man, when you listen to the Bizzy Bone interview, you'll hear a man on the verge of a breakdown, trying to hold it together and contain his rage, sadness and multiple intoxications in the hopes of presenting a quality interview. And then you'll hear Bizzy straight whylin' out like a demon possessed. Suffice it to say he needs money and is in Houston to get it, but after this here performance, I don't see his bedside phone at the Scottish Inn exactly blowing up. I know for a fact he scared a few people. I was just there like, o.k. bro... you do your thing. People from CLeveland are crazy. I already know that. ANyway peep it on down right about now. I fucking left my Nikon at home last night but put my wifes lil camera in my pocket, and in all the chaos I forgot that I even had it, so I didn't get any photos of Bizzy in his daishiki, but I did get the audio, and you'll love it. Despite our right channel going out on the turntables here and there, the show fucking jammed. New music from Lil O, new music from everybody. Do not sleep. ipod this bitch. New music from Young Judas, straight from the penitentiary.

Feel that and definitely let us know what yout hink about this Damage Control situation. Leave a comment here and send a few emails.


And yo, please do not forget to come kick it with us tonight at Mango's. 403 Westheimer at Taft, just down the street from KPFT. We got DJ Chill, Rapid Ric, Bavu Blakes and Diplo live in the house. $2 Red Stripes all night, Rapid Ric goes on at 9 p.m. We need your support...

Friday, April 22, 2005

Busy Week Ahead for the staff here at HoustonSoReal - Rapid Ric in NYC, Diplo in Houston

MAN! It's about to go down. It's Friday about noon time here in the H and I am eagerly anticipating getting on that plane tomorrow (then cab, then bus, then train) to New York City. Gonna catch Dizzee perform at Irving Plaza (if you see me in the crowd, holler, I look like a Texas boy, clothes all big and shit), then chill with some folks on Sunday, then have major power move meetings on Monday, then go party with that girl Oxycottontail and all you good folks in NYC (Details below) on Monday night. Rapid Ric is going to be spinning with CatchDubs and and Peter Hahn, and it's Oxy's birthday, so you know we're gonna get it going. Expect some slowed down sounds, and some hyper crunkness direct from the dirty. Here's the flyer:

So yo if you are in NYC this weekend, and especially on Monday, you gotta holler and me and Ric and come kick it with us at Sway.

THEN right after we get back to Houston we're going to host the return of DIPLO! That's right, Thursday April 28th at Mango's (403 Westheimer, 713-522-8903) you can catch Diplo spinning live with DJ Chill, Rapid Ric and Bavu Blakes. $2 Red Stripes all night and discounted cover before 10 p.m. Come ready to party. Here's the flyer, hard to read at this size but you get the idea.

Party starts promptly at 9 p.m. with Rapid Ric and runs non stop until 2 a.m. That's how it's gotta be in Houston. Could this be the return of the dynamic duo?

DJ Chill rocks the mic as Diplo rocks the rock crowd in Austin

Anyway, it's gonna be a wild week next week. If all comes together properly, Diplo will be spinning live on Damage Control the night before. That's my radio show. Aksomebodyboutit.

Or listen to THIS. This is an interview I did with Lil Keke a few weeks ago, that was referenced in the New York Times piece. Thanks to Ruben from The Urban Assault for hooking me up. I messed up the recording.

And I might even bring DJ Eva to this extravaganza.

Eva is a passive resister, she wouldn't let Chingo leave...

Sunday, April 17, 2005


I was sitting having breakfast with my good good homeboy Bill O'Reilly today, talking about the piece of shit liberal media and how they are ruining the moral fiber of America with their horseshit anti-death and destruction (and don't forget the chaos) sentiment, and all of a sudden he pulled out the New York Times. I ran to my kitchen, put on a necklace of garlic and grabbed a cross, cuz I knew God was watching and God don't like no liberals. I learned that from my good friend Bill O'Reilly.

Anyway, as he was about to show me this story where they kind of questioned the imminent slaughter of every brown skinned person on the planet, the Arts & Leisure section fell out and who did I see on the cover but Mike Jones.

Now see, Mike Jones is black, not brown, so me and Bill don't hate him anymore (see BROWN IS THE NEW BLACK YOU LIBERAL FUCKS!). Plus he's bout his money and will do anything repetitive to get it, so we are down for him. So I says to myself, "lemme peep this bitch right here out," as I swallowed my last bite of extra fat bacon topped with mayonaisse and raw egg yolks.

So I'm reading the piece, entitled The Strangest Sound in Hip-Hop Goes National, and I'm thinking to myself, "what this article is talking about, Aesop Rock or some shit?" BUT NO! It's all about Houston, my beloved town. My beloved, dirty, slow town. Written by KELEFA SANNEH, a man who's only been to H-Town a few times, it's one of the best pieces ever written about my cities rap scene, ever. And I've read 'em all so you know it's real. I don't know how he did it, shit rules. Even Trae likes it, and Trae doesn't like anything.

Anyway I'm reading and reading and I get to the second part on page 25 and BAM there's a frickin' half page picture of Devin the Dude, and even though he's a dope smoking, pussy go-getting liberal, I get AMPED. I'm like damn they did an article on Houston and REALLY TRILLY RECOGNIZED THE REAL. You gonna pick from the 20 or so "name" artists in Houston and you pick Devin for the HUGE photo? Respect.

So I'm reading and all of a sudden I see something I can't believe, my name in print and the muthafuckin url for this here site, HOUSTONSOREAL. I'm thinking to myself, damn, this liberal media is starting to recognize me, I have to support them. So after I finished my bacon, egg and mayonaisse and tea, I hopped up from the table, smacked O'Reilly down like a bitch ass cunt and went straight to the Democrats office and registered.

O.K. I'm lying, I don't hate the liberal media, I just prefer the anarchist media, and well, you might wonder why I was having breakfast with O'Reilly, but that was a lie, I was having breakfast with a hangover ($3.75 Guiness beers at the Count Bass D show last night WHAT!). Anyway, much respect to my man Kelefa. Dude, you really put it down. Just mentioning this site tells me that you're real, and mentioning this site amidst a wealth of very true and legit information, well, that's even better. (The part about TI getting more support than Flip in this city may be a bit subjective, but um, well, not entirely untrue, but not entirely true, it's just subjective so fuck it.)

Anyway y'all, faithful readers, you gotta peep this bitch out. The NY Times is like, um, you have to register to peep it, so here ya go, the article in it's entirity. If you ever meet Kelefa, buy him a beer, or a bottled water, or whatever he likes. He deserves it for putting it down so well.

And after Kelefa's story there's a link to an Austin American Statesman story by Joe Grossoreal as well that I should have posted during the craziness of SXSW, but I didn't and I am sorry. I respect those who respect me, so much. And i respect you too. Thanks for tuning in.

The Strangest Sound in Hip-Hop Goes National

Published: April 17, 2005

EVERY few hours on BET, something strange happens. Some extravagantly painted and spoked cars come weaving down a street, accompanied by a trio of rappers delivering lyrics in a drawl thick enough to distort half the vowels and erase half the consonants. It may seem like a normal enough hip-hop video, but there's a catch. Everything - the beat, the rhymes, the chorus, even the cars - seems to be moving in slow motion.

The video is "Still Tippin'," by Mike Jones with Slim Thug and Paul Wall, and it's the latest hit to come from the hip-hop scene of Houston, which has been producing some of the country's best and weirdest rap music since the late 1980's. An obsessive fan could go broke trying to round up the dozens of hip-hop CD's that the city produces not every year but every month.

These days, though, Houston hip-hop is attracting not only the unhealthily obsessed but the newly curious, too, thanks in large part to the three men in the video, who are all scheduled to make their major-label debuts in the next few months. Mr. Jones - who cheerfully admits, "I'm forever promoting" - rarely spits a rhyme without announcing, "My album, 'Who Is Mike Jones?,' coming soon." And now it's true: he is to release it on Tuesday, through a new partnership between the Warner Brothers imprint Asylum and Swisha House, one of Houston's leading labels; Paul Wall and Slim Thug will follow suit this summer.

Then there's Lil' Flip, whose thug-love song "Sunshine" was one of last year's biggest hits in any genre; he's working on a big-budget album to be released this summer. And the Houston pioneers Scarface, from the Geto Boys, and Bun B, from UGK, both plan to release solo albums this fall. Altogether, Houston seems about to explode. But then again, as the veterans will tell you, chuckling knowingly, it has seemed that way before.

Much of the hip-hop coming out of Houston today can be traced to a tatty little shop on the south side that's announced by an odd sign: "Screwed Up Records & Tapes." Inside, the place has all the charm and elegance of a check-cashing joint, and hardly anything has been changed since 2000, which was the year the store's proprietor, DJ Screw, overdosed on the intoxicant he helped popularize: prescription cough syrup. His cousins maintain the store to honor his memory, and, of course, to pay the rent.

In the early 1990's, DJ Screw made his name as a psychedelic remixer: he loved to slow records down, or "screw" them, and chop them up, manipulating them to repeat his favorite words or phrases. The effect, and perhaps the cause, was intoxicating. He released the results on a series of "screwed and chopped" mixtapes.

As DJ Screw's fame spread, Houston hip-hop was transformed: the city's rappers had to adapt to his syrupy style, and some joined forces with him to form the Screwed Up Click. Perhaps Screw's innovation fit the city's slow, rambling speech patterns. Perhaps it even matched the region's thick, muggy climate. Or perhaps Screw tapes were simply the perfect entertainment for a highway-happy city where you might spend more time driving to the club than being there. The Screw shop still sells CD's and cassettes; where else do you find a tape deck these days, besides the dashboard of a not-exactly-new car? Whatever the reason, Screw stuck. It's been five years since DJ Screw's death, and just about every new album or mixtape from Houston is still available in two versions: regular or slow.

Few tracks sounded better screwed up than those of UGK, a duo from down the road in Port Arthur, Tex., that spent the 1990's releasing great albums that few listeners outside the South had a chance to hear. Pimp C, the group's producer and dandy, has been in jail since 2002, convicted of aggravated assault. But Bun B, the group's dazzling lyricist, recently agreed to meet an out-of-town reporter at one of his favorite restaurants, the Breakfast Klub, in downtown Houston.

Michael Stravato for The New York Times

While putting away a deep-fried pork chop, Bun B explained that DJ Screw's sound helped earn the city national respect. In the early 1990's, he recalled, "every time I would go to New York with something I thought was original, they was like, 'Aw, man, we was doing that in '84.' "

"But when I first brought a screwed-up tape to New York, they couldn't say they'd heard that before," he continued. "That was original to Houston."

DJ Screw's innovation gave Houston not only a sound but an economic model, too. With the rise of mixtape culture, Houston had a sprawling, decentralized distribution system to match its sprawling, decentralized landscape, and the leading mixtape rappers found they didn't really need major-label deals or radio play or even nightclub hits. If they could sell 20,000 mixtapes in Houston and nearby cities, and if they could book a steady string of live appearances, then they could get by. On a recent interview on the underground Houston hip-hop radio show "Damage Control," Lil Keke said he was satisfied with his career so far: "I wasn't living like a rapper," he conceded - no gold-plated Bentley, no new-money palace. "But I was living like a doctor."

The problem with the Houston model is that it isn't scalable. It's one thing to sell 20,000 mixtapes at local shops and flea markets, but if you want to sell, say, 200,000, then you'll probably need national distribution. And at that point, someone might notice that your mixtape is full of freestyles set to other people's beats, full of unauthorized remixes, full of uncleared samples. In short, your mixtape is illegal.

Things are changing. Southern hip-hop was once an exotic alternative to the New York City mainstream, but now rappers from the "Dirty South" routinely outsell their Northern counterparts. And the old-fashioned mixtape model is starting to be affected by the Internet, which makes mixtapes even easier to bootleg, but also makes it easier for outsiders to explore Houston hip-hop. Matt Sonzala, a host of the "Damage Control" radio show, maintains an invaluable blog,, where fans can stay up to date on Houston minutiae. And in "Still Tippin'," Paul Wall acknowledges his online fans and foes: "I got the Internet going nuts."

Few have done more to promote the current Houston boom than Michael "5000" Watts, the D.J. and remixer who runs Swisha House Records with his partner, G Dash. Mr. Watts has screwed and chopped mainstream hip-hop albums for Universal Records, and Swisha House has churned out a ruthless barrage of slick, prominently branded mixtapes. Now, with help from Warner Brothers, the label is turning its local stars into national ones.

First up is Mr. Jones, who had the prescience to turn his rather plain name into a catchphrase, which makes its appearance about halfway through "Still Tippin'," when he slurs, "I'm Mike Jones/Who?/Mike Jones." Speaking of Mr. Jones, Mr. Watts remembers, "He came to me as a businessman, not an artist," and you don't have to know much about either man to realize that this is meant as high praise. As well as advertising himself and his album, Mr. Jones loves to advertise his phone number, which is printed on his promotional T-shirts; you can call him right now at (281) 330-8004.

The "Who Is Mike Jones?" album mainly lives up the hype that its author so skillfully created. (Like most Swisha House releases, this one is to be packaged with a bonus chopped and screwed version.) Mr. Jones has an entertaining, Screw-influenced style, calling out his lyrics in a boyish voice and often repeating his favorite phrases, as if controlled by an invisible D.J. He's best at his simplest, as when he rhymes, "I'm holding wood wheel in the turning lane / My candy paint leaving stains in the turning lane," transforming a Houston commonplace (those folks sure make it easy for a driver to turn left) into an infectious hook.

Houston's increasingly high profile has caused some turmoil. As Lil' Flip was ascending into mainstream hip-hop stardom, he became entangled in a damaging feud with the smooth but ferocious Atlanta rapper T. I. (the two men reportedly had a minor physical altercation in Houston a few weeks ago). Flip found, to his dismay, that much of Houston sided with the visiting team. It seemed some Houstonians were already sick of Lil' Flip, even though most of the country was just getting to know him. And an ex-Swisha House rapper named Chamillionaire made a vituperative mixtape about the flashy, fame-hungry rapper he calls "Dyke Jones."

Besides Mr. Jones, the most likely Houston rapper to succeed is Slim Thug, a charismatic giant who is signed to Star Trak, the Interscope imprint run by the Neptunes. He's the main force behind the success of "Still Tippin' ": that's his slowed-down voice on the chorus, and he rhymes the enthralling first verse. And though the release of Slim Thug's album has been pushed back a few times (an early version was widely bootlegged), he doesn't seem worried. "I never wanted my solo record to be a small record," Slim Thug said in an interview, and judging by the thunderous underground hits scheduled for inclusion, it won't be.

Still, the depressing reality of the Houston boom is that only a few rappers will really benefit from it. Everyone else will be left to carry on more or less as before: a city of rappers struggling to live like doctors.

On a recent night in Houston, while Mr. Jones was working on his new video, a Houston hero named Devin the Dude could be found in a sweetly scented little music studio southwest of the city, working on some new tracks. He has a delicious, light-headed style, gobs of self-deprecating wit and a fistful of big-name fans, including Dr. Dre, the Roots and, somehow, Carson Daly. But Devin the Dude's most recent album sneaked silently into stores last summer, and there's no guarantee that the next one won't do the same.

Most of Devin's new songs address his favorite subject: female genitalia. (Suffice it to say that's not the term he uses.) But one was a motivational song, and his thin, spaced-out voice came out of the speakers crooning the chorus. "You got to be ready when it comes your way," he sang, accompanied by a simple beat and an acoustic guitar. "Know that you're ready / Fa sho that you're ready."

Like every other rapper in Houston, Devin is intensely aware that the city's hip-hop scene is on the verge of something. But he's been around too long to pretend he knows exactly what. Asked if he had high hopes for his new album, he shrugged and flashed a shy smile. Of course he was hoping that the Houston boom earned him lots of new listeners. "But if it doesn't work out for me," he added, "it'll work out for somebody else."


A Visitor's Guide to the Houston Sound

Published: April 17, 2005
BIG MOE: This outspoken syrup devotee is one of the most engaging members of the Screwed Up Click. His 2002 album "Purple World" (Wreckshop/Priority) is an entertaining introduction to his woozy mix of rapping and crooning.
Audio: 'Still da Barre Baby,' by Big Moe (From the album 'Purple World' ©2002 Wreckshop)

DEVIN THE DUDE: A brilliant oddball with a spaced-out flow. Hear it on last year's "To Tha X-Treme" (Rap-A-Lot), which includes a track based on a Brer Rabbit story.
Audio: 'To the Extreme,' by Devin the Dude (From the album 'To the Extreme' ©2005 Rap-a-Lot)

DJ SCREW: Huge selection at Novices might begin with the impeccably sequenced "Endonesia" or "Leanin on a Switch," a freestyler's delight.

GETO BOYS: The group's leader, Scarface, remains one of hip-hop's best storytellers, as he proved on his most recent solo album, "The Fix" (Def Jam South). And in January the Geto Boys, who put Houston on the map in the 1980's, returned with a strong reunion album, "The Foundation," on the long-running label Rap-A-Lot, which has played a crucial role in the scene's evolution.

LIL' FLIP: Last year, Houston's best-selling star released a shaggy but lovable double album, "U Gotta Feel Me" (Columbia). His new mixtape is "Kings of the South" (Clover Geez, find it at, a collaboration with the tough-talking raconteur Z-Ro, whose new album, "Let the Truth Be Told" (Rap-A-Lot), is due out next month.
Audio: 'Sunshine,' by Lil' Flip (Featuring Lea) (From the album 'U Gotta Feel Me' ©2004 Sony Music Entertainment)

PAUL WALL & CHAMILLIONAIRE: This witty, biracial duo released one of the best recent Houston hip-hop albums, "Get Ya Mind Correct" (Paid in Full). They've since parted ways, but both have major-label debuts due this summer.

SLIM THUG: Originally with Swisha House, he's now signed to Interscope, part of the Neptunes' Star Trak camp. Visit to buy the swaggering mixtapes with which he made his name, as well as "Welcome to Tha Hood," by his fierce protégé, Killa Kyleon.
Audio: 'Still Tippin',' by Chamillionaire, Mike Jones and Slim Thug (From the album 'The Day After Hell Broke Loose' ©2005 Rap-a-Lot/Asylum)

SWISHA HOUSE: This ambitious label, now hooked up with Warner Brothers, is known for its mixtapes. One of the best is "The Day Hell Broke Loose 2" (, a dud-free compilation.

UGK: The duo's 1996 masterpiece, "Ridin' Dirty" (Jive), is full of tough, intricate, impossibly smooth rhymes. And last month Rap-A-Lot released "Sweet James Jones Stories," a surprisingly consistent collection of rhymes from Pimp C, the group's incarcerated half.
Audio: 'Ridin' Dirty,' by UGK (From the album 'Ridin' Dirty' ©1996 Jive)

OTHER MIXTAPES: Bun B contributes tongue-twisting rhymes to "Southern Smoke 17: The Texas Mixtape Massacre" ( And Rapid Ric's new CD, "[b][size=24][color=red]Whut It Dew 2" (find it at[/color],[/size][/b] includes "Country Boy," a bluesy collaboration between Paul Wall and Killa Kyleon. And don't miss "Drama" (also at the spectacularly cantankerous new mixtape from the eager antihero Trae.

And definitely peep this for some more of the real:

Austin American Statesman Put It Down Hard For Us So Real

And speaking of real, I met a publicist who really seems to understand the southsoreal and is like so behind what we are doing. Nancy Byron has a good grip on this shit, and she's now repping Chamillionaire so she's bout to blow up big time to $10,000 per month proportions and shit, so holler at her now... I'm serious, Chamillion is THE one, I'll get into that later. Interview coming soon. But I'm saying, I kicked it with Nancy, peeped her vision and how she physically stopped me from bunning down Viacom (I know it's bad politics, but shit, I ain't no politician) and I gotta say she's real. Fuck with that.

Bun stopped me too. Bun down Babylon. I wanna see all you east coasters in New York City at Sway on April 25th, that's next Monday, when me and Rapid Ric come thru to celebrate Roxysoreal's bday and fucking bun down babylon with the realness. Shit I'm drunk at 8 p.m. on a Sunday. Lemme peep these Simpsons...

Friday, April 15, 2005

Dizzee Rascal - Off to Work in Houston, Texas

Well it's Friday afternoon now, my cable internet has been going in and out, in and out cuz a squirrel ate thru my wires outside, and I am wrecked. The past two days have been a whirlwind, trying to get Dizzee around this massive metropolis
to meet, greet and work with some of our most um, open minded artists and shit, thangs worked out wonderfully.

Last year I introduced Dizzee to Bun B at South By Southwest in hopes of getting them into the studio together. Well one year later, almost to the day, it happened. Bun B of UGK and Dizzee Rascal have collaborated on one of the most gangsta cuts you're gonna hear this year. When they finished laying the shit I said in the studio "Yo y'all gonna let me post this on the net tonight right?" And they looked at me like I was insane. But Bun did say he'll let me play it on Damage Control in the coming weeks. So that's done, knock one more thang off the to do list.

The day before Dizzee spent most of it in the studio with the G.R.i.T. Boys laying freestyles and they did an official jam as well for the Boys album that's coming out this summer. Hopefully I'll get to play something from that last week.

Man, shit was off the hook. Dizzee has a stronger work ethic than almost anyone I have ever met. His energy and his presence are straight magical (o.k. that sounds gay, but dude I been around a lot of rappers, I don't know anyone who can keep up with his pace on the mic or off, he works quickly and efficiently). He says he does it because the only place he has to go back to is not a nice place, forward ever backwards never my dog. Anyway, I ain't gonna write a fucking book on this shit, unless you want to pay me, so here's a fucking shitload of photos for you to enjoy.

More on the concept of "You're Gonna Have to Pay Me" towards the end.

In the studio with Grit Boys

Dizzee freestyling with G.R.i.T. Boys on Damage Control

Dizzee's hype man Scope

Scooby and DJ Wonder

Dizzee with publicist Nancy Byronsoreal (reppin' Chamillitary, Whoo Kid, Vlad, etc...)

Dizzee and the man BBK

DJ Rapid Ric

Who dat is vibing in the studio?

ESG and Dizzee

Meanmug opened the whole night - Engine Room, 04/14/05, Houstonsoreal, TX

G.R.i.T. Boys came up second.

Lyrics Born opened for Dizzee on this here particular night

Somewhere around here I let my friend Aubin use my camera, and these are some of the shots she came up with. She is now my favorite photographer of all time. This is really what I wanted to see. People annoyed in a shitty bathroom.

Scroll down to the next post and you'll see some shots of MTV's Direct Effect crew hanging with a portion of the Screwed Up Click outside Screwed Up Records and Tapes. They were in town filming a gang of shit for some sort of Houston special they are doing. I consulted a slight bit with them, gave 'em some numbers, some information and thought maybe they could have found the time to come by Damage Control (my radio show) or maybe give me a lil interview since I been feeding people the Houston real for some years now. But no, they couldn't see fit to include your boy, which pisses me off. Really pisses me off. I ain't no egomaniac, but give your boy 30 seconds, a soundbyte, fucking 2 sentences with my name and website on the screen. I don't give a fuck. But no.

So the real deal is MTV gonna have a Houston special without your boy and without K-Rino. Isn't that nice? The Screw part better be repped fucking properly, it better not be some fucking... lemme stop. I'm just mad, but how you gonna cut out your boy? How you gonna be involved in hip hop on any level, be in town on a Wednesday and not come down to Damage Control? After you said you would. After you said at Screwed Up Records "Naw Matt it's all good, we don't need to interview you here, we're coming to Damage Control, we'll talk there." After I wore my best shirt. Then not showing up after I lied to my people and said we had a special show so you couldn't get in without a pass. Damage Control usually has about 100 people in the area, in the building and in the parking lot, hanging out, networking, bringing us music, waiting to freestyle, whatever. We had Dizzee Rascal in the house even, but man, MTV didn't want a fucking circus up there and I understood that shit. So I shut it down, held fools back from coming to the show, thinking MTV was coming, but they didn't. As you know. Told Bun when they called and even HE didn't show. So whatever, the show was hot as fuck with Dizzee and Grit freestyling and Wonder playing a gang of his jams and beats. It was hot, but could have been hotter. Bun Down Viacom.

So whatever, MTV can go choke on the Next Big Thing and keep it moving. Lemme stop...

I will say this though, any of you fucking journalists want help with your little Houston stories, I'm charging $10 per phone number. You wanna get with my peoples? Figure out who and PayPal me $10 for each of them before you even call. $50 for Bun B. $100 for Willie D. $1,000 for Scarface's manager. GET THE FUCK OUT OF HERE WITH YOUR NEW YORK HOE SHIT! Pay me.

And since MTV don't want to put the mouth of the motherfuckin' south on they airwaves, I'ma be all um, what's the word for it, all um, VAIN, yeah that's it and post two pics of my damn self by Aubin Bryan. Enjoying my 15 minutes quite a lot...

See that scary mug in the booth? I'ma be in New York Monday April 25th with the one Rapid Ric for my girl Roxysoreal's Birthday Party. Shit is going down at SWAY and my man Ric is gonna set it the fuck off. First 40 people get a percoset and a Red Stripe and a smile from the happiest man in H-Town, in New York. Oh yeah, Source motherfuckers, I'm coming to holler at you too. Ring someone in Accounting, I'ma be banging on your door. Monday April 25th, Sway, New York City, HoustonsorealMattSoReal and DJ Rapid Ric, I'll post Roxy's hot ass flyer when I get the final version. We making it happen hipsters.