Paul Wall Played Hailey's in Denton, and It Was Weird

Pro tip: Google searches beginning with the words 'Is Paul Wall' will get auto-filled to ask the inquisitive mind manning the keyboard, 'Is Paul Wall dead?'

Hailey's received a firm answer in the negative Thursday when Wall — Da Iceman, The People's Champ the Po-Up Poet — descended upon Little D and blew minds from "nawf" to "souf" with his special blend of ratchet rap. It really was a shame his time in the Metroplex didn't overlap with Riff Raff's May 14 appearance at Rockin' Rodeo, which could have spawned either the most monster collabo Denton has ever seen or been the latest signifier of impending apocalypse. 

If the perfect venue for a Paul Wall concert is a pawn shop parking lot along the frontage of I-45, Hailey's was a more-than-acceptable substitute. The "undisputed champion of parkin' lot pimpin'" took those willing to fork over a crisp $20 note on a field trip to da gutta. 

Mr. Wall gave his Denton contingent a top-droppin, trunk-poppin, grain-grippin good time with verses from all the classic cuts, while peppering in some eloquent and exciting new material. It was a set that took us all there and back again to a time no one asked to revisit: 2006.

That's one of the things that the collaborative nature of ratchet rap has going for itself. You can fit 16 songs into a 40-minute set because the act can only do one verse from each of his own songs. It would be a logistical miracle for a promoter to get all the requisite verse-spitters in the same room to piece together a full song.

Wall weaved between old Color Changin' Click material, including the seminal "N Luv Wit My Money," and Swisha House jams like "They Don't Know," "Still Tippin'" and the timeless regional chart-topper "Sittin' Sideways." His grill (yea, he did that one, too) flashed in the hazily lit front room like the headlights of a '86 Cutlass, while one posse member's sole responsibility was apparently to keep hold of Wall's styrofoam cup of purple drank. No shit. He had to take a timeout midway through the set to get muddy with a sip of oil. 

Leanin' was a central theme to the night's festivities, as was Wall's penchant for finding that fan in the front row clicking a selfie and bombing the hell out of that pic at just the right moment. Days were made. Months maybe. 

But in the end, we all had to chunk deuce for the evening, left to wonder when Mr. Wall would return, with a brand new nickname and a brand new mixtape in tow.

Matt Martinez on Twitter:
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