The past year or so has seen a tremendous upswing in the quality and skill in the Dallas area underground hip-hop scene.
But one of the brightest gems in that group, Sore Losers, is now taking its show on the road. The duo plans to move to Los Angeles next week, and, on Sunday night, will host a going-away party at The Lounge on Elm Street, featuring performances from A.Dd+, Ni Taylor,
and Damaged Good$.
Why's this such a loss? Well, because quirky producer Brandon Blue is blessed with good taste that spans a number of genres, while emcee Vince Brown attacks those beats with an intelligent swagger. And while Brown and Blue (their preferred stage names) produce a brand of music that is no doubt shaped by the Dirty South sound that is so prevalent to this region, each brings big personality and smarts to the table--cheerfully manufacturing a sound that is distinctively their own.
Over the past year, the DOMA-nominated group has built an exceptional following in North Texas, and, in listening to their music, it's easy to see why. These guys just know how to have fun. And it shows in just about everything that they do. We recently had the chance to catch up with the duo, chatting about their move west, getting put on with Top Dawg Entertainment, and the state of affairs of Dallas hip-hop.
So, the big questions obviously deal with your move. Why are you taking off? What is your official move date?
Blue: The official date is June 15, and we're leaving because we want to expand on what we've accomplished up to this point. LA is obviously a bigger market, and its a great place to network. I feel our sound will definitely benefit from being out there.
Brown: Blame Pikashso and Tahiti (of Awkquarius) for telling us their life story about how they wish they would have gotten out of Dallas to travel the country and do more stuff with their music. We respect those dudes, so were just exploring our options as they come to us.
Who do you know in LA? What part of town will you be staying?
Blue: Well, I lived in LA from August '07 until May '09 and while I was there I networked with a lot of music heads. I've even met and produced tracks for Jay Rock (XXL freshman), Kendrick Lamar and their camp (Top Dawg ENT). We've just stayed in contact and kept working since I've been back in the D this past year. Now the stars have basically aligned to where they want us to be a part of their team. So Sore Losers is now a part of the Top Dawg Camp.
What do you hope to get out of the move?
Blue: More than anything, more exposure, more recognition for what we've worked so hard on. Plus LA is hot in hip-hop right now, and it's only the beginning for them, so we can only benefit from the move.
Brown: Respect, not only regionally but nationally. To get on and put our team on.
How long have you been planning this?
Blue: I've planned it since I moved back last June. I knew as soon as I moved back to Dallas that I'd move right back to LA. I kinda gambled with my life by moving back, but I knew what me and Brown had goin was unique--I knew our music was just as good as anyone else in the underground and I've proven myself right. We accomplished a butt load out here in the D. Now its time to take the next step.
Brown: Blue had to talk me into it. I did a lot of thinking in the last few months before I came around and saw how great the opportunity is. You only live once, might as well see what Cali's talkin bout.
Do you have any immediate plans to record/release music/play shows in California?
Blue: Me personally, I would love to do shows from the very moment we land. But that's unclear as of now and will be worked out when we get there and discuss it. I still feel like its gonna be a wild ass summer.
Brown: I'm sure we'll be active the entire time we're out there. We're shooting a lot of videos for current songs on Free Loaders as well as promo vids for the new album.
You guys are really hitting on some unique places in hip-hop and building a strong fan base in Dallas, a city where the D-Town Boogie has been getting all the national attention. What do you think is the secret to your local success?
Brown: Staying true to ourselves--two kids from the 'burbs that have huge influences outside of just rap, and putting all the genres together to make something unique. And I think we've become standouts in this area because there's so many people that wished Dallas/Texas would be more conscious. We've tapped into the other side of Dallas that the Boogie artists aren't worried about.
When can we expect new music for Sore Losers?
Blue: I dont want to put a date on it, but we're aiming for a late summer release on our next album which is currently titled Get a Life. Besides that, we'll be leaking and dropping songs between now and then. When the time's right.
Do you plan on coming back soon to play Dallas shows for your local supporters? You gonna come to celebrate if you win a Dallas Observer Music Award?
Brown: Yea, we plan to come back in the immediate future and as frequently as possible. As far as the awards, win or lose we'll most definitely be back. Just cause we're Sore Losers doesn't mean we can't be good sports.
What do you guys have planned before you leave town?
Blue: We have a show coming up at The Lounge in Deep Ellum
Brown: Just kickin' it with family and friends, enjoying the time we have left.
Tell me a little about what you think the state of hip-hop is in Dallas.
Blue: It's... real street savvy. I think Dallas hip-hop does a good job of giving the streets something they can relate to. It's blunt, it's to the point, it's entertaining. But it's one-sided--there's another audience thats been looking for something to relate to and I think that's we came in.
Brown: I think it's slowly finding an identity, and I didn't think Dallas had an image before now. I think it's good for Dallas as far as exposure.
Who do you see as the local hip-hop torchbearers now that Sore Losers is leaving?
Brown: A couple DFW Brain Gang members Sir Tunk and Killa MC. They'll hold it down when we go.
Blue: I think--if he takes himself seriously--I think Blue The Great (of Dallas' clothing line Unkommon Kolor) is one of the best rappers I've ever heard. I also cut for A.Dd+ and Picnictyme. They got heat too.
What was your best experience/memory in Dallas music?
Blue: My favorite was our show at The Cavern when we packed out the building. And even though our set was cut short, I just remember being on stage and seeing people from wall to wall focused on what we were doing. Great moment. Only thing that sucks is everybody got towed afterwards.
Brown: The Mr. Pookie Tha Rippla album. Everybody had that album when it came out. It was the really the first album we could call our own. *
What will you miss most about Dallas?
Blue: Tall tees, leather shorts in the summer, and shags, lol!
Brown: My momma's cookin.
Sore Losers perform Sunday, June 13, at The Lounge on Elm Street.