By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
By Eric Nicholson
Austin tells me there's no real beef between the Pleasant Grove guys and the rappers from Arlington—better known among local rappers as "Ag-town"—or the folks in Oak Cliff. And Cuntri/Countri Boi backs him up, saying, "It's folks over-exaggerating the situation," dispelling the rumor in the long Texas drawl that earned him his name. But does Dallas "got next," as some of the conference panelists hope?
Austin thinks so. "It's already in motion," he says. The buzz at the conference is heavy: along with Austin, Big Chief and Cuntri/Countri Boi, there's Big Tuck, Tum Tum, the Grifters and, hopefully, a bunch of other locals who'll have a Paul Wall-level of name recognition in the coming years.
Despite the TSMC's emphasis on big-name locals, however, the place is mostly populated with a whole lot of small-name out-of-towners. I'm inundated with fliers and demo tapes from Oklahoma rappers, repping the Sooner state. A guy named "Dangerous Rob" gives me a flier, a bio and an album before I have a chance to ask him if it's even possible for a guy named "Rob" to be mildly intimidating, let alone dangerous. My purse overflows with blocky, cluttered fliers, each one given to me by another one of Tulsa's or Oklahoma City's or Norman's masters of flow, telling me all about how tight their scene is.
If their hustle is any indication, they're on the verge of the big time up in Oklahoma, and Dallas better look out. Big Chief, you have been warned. Please don't let Lawton get a shout-out on 106 & Park before we do.