By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
By Alice Laussade
By Scott Reitz
The D.O.C. has spoken openly and often about his desire to put Dallas hip-hop on the map. Which isn't exactly a new goal: Area hip-hop acts have been placing calls to Rand McNally for at least a decade, and while some have come close (say, Mad Flava, maybe, or Nemesis), none of them has quite made it. For whatever reason, no one from D-FW has been able to break the tape at the finish line, while fellow Texans, such as the Rap-A-Lot Records roster, South Park Mexican and U.G.K., have been doing just fine for years. Things could change: Taking notes from Southern rebels in Houston and New Orleans, a few D.I.Y. hip-hop labels have emerged in Dallas, attempting to break down the industry's 2-3 zone and make it into the paint. Redrumm Recordz, Major Money Entertainment and, now, D.O.C.'s Silverback Records offer an outlet where there wasn't much of one before, just a series of underfunded, self-released discs that came and went like a male gigolo.
After attending the Hip-Hop Summit Action Network's West Coast Summit in L.A. last month--surrounded by Def Jam founder Russell Simmons, Death Row heavy Suge Knight, DJ Quik, Kurupt and Mack 10, among others--D.O.C. may have figured out a way to make D-FW a player at long last. Striking up a relationship with HHSAN, D.O.C. and Minister Benjamin Muhammad have been busily making preparations for a similar summit in Dallas, scheduled sometime this fall. Until then, Silverback's Web site, www.silverbackrecords.com, will act as a clearinghouse for information about HHSAN and its various projects, such as Rap the Vote. D.O.C. also plans to donate a portion of the publishing proceeds from "DFW," a track from his forthcoming album, Deuce, to HHSAN's local endeavors--establishing community centers, voter registration drives and so forth.
By the time of the Dallas summit, D.O.C. hopes to already be in the middle of a successful comeback. Deuce is set for release on June 11, and from what we've heard so far, his damaged voice may not be what it once was (and probably never will be), but D.O.C.'s certainly closer to the loose-lipped style he perfected on 1989's appropriately titled No One Can Do It Better. (It's best to forget 1996's Helter Skelter.) Based on that, as well as his name recognition from his relationship with Dr. Dre, we'd say D.O.C. has as good a chance as any of finally angling the spotlight toward North Texas. And maybe that'll prop the door open wide enough for a few others to squeeze in as well--The Legendary Fritz, 6Two, The Free Agents, Gylo, Pikahsso, whoever. If not, we'll be sad but not surprised. Already happened way too much to shock us anymore. That said, no sense in waiting on everyone else to notice local hip-hop: Evolution Wednesdays at Inferno Lounge and the Final Friday showcases at Liquid Lounge could always use your support...
The pAper chAse's next full-length, Hide the Kitchen Knives, is just about finished, a follow-up to last year's cntrl-alt-del-u EP and 2000's Young Bodies Heal Quickly, You Know long-player. The label that released Young Bodies, Washington, D.C.-based Beatville Records, will issue the CD version; Chicago's Divot Records (which put out the EP) will handle the vinyl; and Southern UK will handle everything overseas (including a re-release of Young Bodies). The European release date is sometime in June, with a stateside street date soon after. For now, you can catch the group at the impending Fry St. Fair, scheduled for April 20, with performances by Mike Watt, Frank Black and the Catholics, The Polyphonic Spree and many others. Come for the bands, stay for the Hacky Sack...
In case you missed it, the 2002Dallas Observer Music Awards show happens at Gypsy Tea Room on April 16, featuring a headlining set by Slobberbone (last year's winner for Best Album), as well as shorter performances from Pleasant Grove, The Scrap Hotel (the new outfit from Old 97's Ken Bethea and Philip Peeples), Eleven Hundred Springs and Chomsky. Tickets are free and available via our Web site, www.dallasobserver.com. Again, come for the bands, stay for the Hacky Sack...
This week in Sack of Kittens, our spotlight for bands that are successful at packing clubs, yet unsuccessful at making good music: Alligator Dave and the Couch Band. Looks like? A random assortment of frat boys, led by the unfortunately dreadlocked, self-styled "Gulf Coast Honky," who probably was the rest of the band's weed hook-up in college. Sounds like? Scatological Southern rock meets fake funk, or pretty much exactly what you'd expect, based on a description of their appearance. Sample song titles? "Pussa Pussa," "Ass Factory," "Spank My Monkey," "The Panty Invasion Tour," "Eager Beaver," "Purple Headed Warrior." Sample lyrics? "Purple headed warrior/Woman destroyer/I'm about to need a lawyer to tell you what she said!/She said, go on now, bend me over/Take that Range Rover of yours, and park it on my ass," from, you guessed it, "Purple Headed Warrior." (That Dave, quite the feminist.) Celebrity fan? Dallas Mavs boss Mark Cuban, spotted in the audience eating it up at a recent Club Clearview gig. (True story: At said show, Cuban was initially denied entrance after being told that saying, "Don't you know who I am?" was not, actually, the night's cover charge.) Where can you find them? Headlining at most of the clubs in the area; smoking out on a regular basis; trying to find new and inventive euphemisms for genitalia and/or getting it on. Number of kittens in the sack they're currently standing on? Three or four, but we want to say zero; we're pretty sure the phrase "sack of kittens" is just turning AD on right about now.