Dallas and Houston have a bit of a rivalry going on. Montrose vs. Lower Greenville. Texans vs. Cowboys. Bla vs. Bla. Blah Blah. Who Cares vs. *Fart Noise*. Let's get to the real matters of substance, the pressing questions, the logical debates. Simply put: Which city has a better hip-hop scene?
If you're considering the whole span of history, you'd probably have to hand it to the swamp city covered in a layer of smog. But, in 2015, we'll give it to the (sort-of) home of the Dallas Cowboys. We've been slept on for far too long, and even Complex seems to agree, because they named us the most underrated scene not too long ago. So, without further ado, here are 8 reasons why Dallas' hip-hop scene is superior:
An Eclectic Set of Rappers
Though some wise sage wondered if Dallas' variety of different sounds is responsible for its difficulty garnering national attention, it's unquestionably a perk for those engaged in local music. Most people don't give two flying fucks about local anything, whether it's music or food. Folks are extremely basic; it has to be nationally recognized. For Dallas makes that more interesting, with a collection of sounds as diverse as rap's national climate as a whole.
We've Got a Guy Working With Dr. Dre
Surely you must have heard that Love, JT from the Brain Gang is currently in Los Angeles working with the good doctor, Dr. Dre. Though The Detox will quite possibly never get released because Dre's concept of time is way off (he released an album called The Chronic 2001 in 1999), we'll soon hear from Love, JT regardless. His older music's been swiped off of the Internet -- when the big wigs make you do that, you know it's real.
Cool As Ice
Vanilla Ice is kind of terrible, and I say "kind of" because although his earlier stuff is whack in retrospect, it isn't that bad. If you start doing the running man the ground won't open up beneath you, and you won't be swallowed into Hell. The Rob Van Winkle nu metal shit though, if you listen to three songs in a row, the ghost of Big Pun sits on you. But, the best thing Vanilla Ice has ever done is star in a movie called Cool As Ice, which currently has an 8 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Here is the synopsis: "The leader of a motorcycle gang (rapper Vanilla Ice) falls in love with a small-town girl (Kristen Minter) and finds out that while her family is involved in the Witness Protection Program, they are being pursued by corrupt cops." This is Vanilla Ice the action star. The movie is terrible, but it's so great. It's a notch below Troll 2 and The Room in terms of so-bad-it's-a-masterpiece films.
Our Producers Are Better
We won't just brag about S1 producing for Kanye, because Mike Dean, a Houston native and pioneer of that DIY, dirty-South sound, is basically his right-hand man. But the fact that he produced Power and other songs for national acts is pretty awesome. However, Blue, the Misfit, J. Rhodes, Play N Skillz, Cardo and a few others have gotten national placements. Not to mention some of the big fish/small pond types (Ish D, DRNRDX, Larce Blake) have crafted a hell of a sound that's sure to get your head bopping as well.
The Female Rapper Trinity
Women rappers aren't extremely common in hip-hop, and we're not gonna go into the anthropological and sociological reasons why. Not today. We're just gonna give praise to a trio of female rappers that make Dallas hip-hop that much more exciting. Snow Tha Product raps like she'd easily hold her own in a rap battle in 8-Mile . Jenny Robinson takes her ain't-shit-sunny-sucka emcee disposition and pairs it with experimental, face-melting beats. Sam Lao, the resident pop-meets-hip-hop conquistador, explores different ways to pair the two genres. This trio of women rappers alone makes Dallas dope.
Our Legacy Isn't Written Yet
It will be extremely hard for Houston to escape the shadow of its pioneering years. That music has meant so much to a lot of people and is important in the grand arc of hip-hop. But it will be a task for Houston's newer, progressive artists to shake that expectation. Dallas has no expectations. Our biggest rappers are Vanilla Ice and Justin Bieber's weed carrier, Lil Twist. Without expectations, Dallas' place in hip-hop bears no conditions. The only place to go is up, and that's a great thing.
DJ Sober Is One of the Best Out Right Now
Congrats to DJ Sober for making it on The Sun Times' list of best DJs in the country. But don't think that's it. There are a ton more with completely different sensibilities, like Spinderella, who was in Salt-N-Pepa, BeMyFriend, who has his finger on the pulse of the underground rap movements around the globe, and DJ Simon Phoenix, who plays your favorite new and classic hip-hop songs and brilliantly flips them at will. The list of great hip-hop DJs in Dallas is long and fruitful and we'll always be shaking our ass to it.
The Cannabinoids, one of Erykah Badu's backing bands, are easily one of the top five most interesting things to have happened in hip-hop in the last 20 years. The band consists of Erykah Badu, Picnictyme, Symbolyc One, DJ Big Texas, RC Williams, Jah Born, Rob Free, DJ A1 and Cleon Edwards on Live Roland Drums. It's a huge band, with an all-analog sound. Eight turntables and three turntables type of thing. If only we could get these folks to work together more often, like the Polyphonic Spree.
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Dallas > Austin and Houston. It's math, the crocodile eats the bigger/better one.
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