Welcome back to Five Spot. Every Friday, we'll examine a recent bit of music news and, sometimes awkwardly, tie it to a bit of Houston rap. It's five videos and occasional cussing. Send tips to firstname.lastname@example.org
We suspect the goal of every music writer is to be able to answer "Who are you listening to?" with a response that makes people go "Who?", thus making you smarter than them. It's why we were so amped when we heard newcomer Dustin Prestige's first full-length mixtape, Houston Presto
, which he released a little less than two weeks ago. (Prestige is a 25-year-old Missouri City rapper that we mentioned very briefly in an article several months ago after we stumbled across his EP completely by accident.)
The most curiously affecting thing about the new tape is that it consists entirely of samples from various Houston legends (and Paul Wall). Sampling Houston artists isn't necessarily groundbreaking work in and of itself, but Prestige managed to pull off what feels to be more a thought-out approach - similar to the way that Wale sampled Seinfeld
on last year's Mixtape About Nothing
. (It also makes us eager to see what Prestige will do for his official LP, dropping later this year.)
We dialed up Prestige and he agreed to pass along five MP3s from Presto
, as well as explain exactly what he was hoping to accomplish. He'll take over from here.
"Return Of The Screw" (Original: "Just A Dog," Big Moe):
"This is one of the dopest songs to come from Big Moe. This was also one of the most recognizable songs I heard from all the way in Baton Rouge while in college. The hook itself was classic. Plus, I really wanted a lot of the songs on the mixtape to be over tracks from the late hometown legends that people from other areas might never have had the chance to hear."
"Polo's & AK's Flow" (Original: "High Powered," Scarface feat. Papa Rue):
"The first time I heard this song, I played it all day on repeat. Face has always been one of my favorite MC from the South - next to Bun B - so I had to really go at it. I did this one as just a straight-through rhyme. No ad-libs, overdubs or anything."
"Wannabe's" (Original: "Wanna Be A Baller" Lil' Troy ft. Yungstar and Fat Pat):
"I don't care what part of America you're from, chances are you know this song... or at least the chorus. Though most of Yungstar's verse is hard to make out, it still jams. I wrote this about the endless droves of local MCs who still seem to try and follow the impressions of the previous generations of rhymers, partly contributing to why Houston still has the stigma of being all about blades and syrup.
"Though I am from the suburban area of Mo. City and spent a great deal of time and money pursuing an education, I am not ashamed and will always let my music be an honest reflection of me as a person... not a wannabe baller. I even got one such stereotypical MC (Young Dummy) to speak over the end of the track."
"Beltway 8 Tale" feat. Montey (Original: "I'sa Playa," Pimp-C feat. Z-Ro):
"This song is about being involved with someone who stays on the opposite side of the Beltway. Usually, trying to carry on or even starting a relationship can be taxing. Not to mention having to do this with a 45-minute drive time between the two of you. Being from the Southside of Houston, I can attest to once being crazy about a young lady who just so happened to stay near Humble.
"Feature From Pimp" (Original: "One Day You're Here," UGK):
This is a true story of my planning and attempt to do a song with my favorite group of all time, UGK. Shortly before graduating from college, I began to put things in motion to pursue my rap habit as more than a hobby. The only bad thing is Pimp C passed the semester before I was able to do so.
I still got a chance to meet Bun B at this year's SXSW, and even passed him a copy of my first project The Prestige
EP. While it wasn't the opportunity I hoped for, he was still really cool and didn't make me feel stupid for approaching him, as many entertainers have the tendency to do. This along with an original classic about life and death only seemed appropriate.