Five Spot: Houston R&B Collaboration King Billy Cook

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 introducingliston@gmail.com.

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This weekend, Bun B and Mya are shooting the video for "Show Me Something," the electro-wispy "Upgrade You"-ish single from her forthcoming album.

We used to be a fan of Mya back in the late '90s. We listened to "Movin' On" for a good three hours straight when it first came out, just so we could learn Silkk the Shocker's verse. (At the time, that was very, very important.) Anyhow, Mya sold a ton of records, never returned any of the love letters we never worked up the nerve to send, then just sort of disappeared for a bit (to Japan, apparently).

But if you've been paying attention, you've no doubt noticed that she's shown a tendency to gravitate towards Houston's most hallowed artists these past few years - Z-Ro's "Tired," Trae's "Matter of Time," Bun's "Good 2 Me.". One person, however, remains king of the R&B guest spot among Houston rappers: Billy got-damn Cook.

Cook is a former Rap-A-Lot artist who first gained notoriety on Big Mike's 1994 album, Somethin' Serious. He's a natural coach to other performers and a genuinely charming guy - after speaking with him for all of about three minutes we were convinced he thought us to be his best friend. Thankfully, he has parlayed that skill set into a long and meaningful career.

Cook is slick and soulful, and has a gangster alias that is so kitschy it's cool (Macaroni Tony). He's got two albums slated for release soon: I Am King, which he says will affirm his status of the king of R&B down South, and a duo album with Z-Ro, so he was more than happy to talk about his long list of favorite collabos as long as we plugged his albums. So, again, he's got two albums slated for release soon. And we're off:

"I'm A G," Bun B and T.I.: Cook's not credited as having worked on this song for some reason, but that's him right there. That's something he'd like you to know. Other things you should apparently know:

  • He's a G.

  • You don't know about him.

  • Your ass gon' learn.

  • Your ass gon' see.

Also, we like that after listening to this song we know what size pants, shirt and shoes Bun B wears. Weren't expecting that.

"Life Is A Bitch," Z-Ro: Somebody call the veterinarian, because this puppy is sick! We received an email with that in the subject line not too long ago. When we opened the email and it was a picture of a guy we went to school with flexing his bicep. Not sure why, but it was the first thing we thought about when we played this song. It's not in any way relevant. Sorry.

"Right Round," Z-Ro: This is from Cook and 'Ro's soon-to-drop full-length duo album and, man oh man, it sounds like Jesus Christ himself wrote it. If there's a word that means "more than perfect," that's the word we'd use to describe it. It's beautiful. We want to take it out on a date Friday night, tell it nice things all night, make out with it at the end of the evening and then leave it four voicemails before Monday. That's how good it is.

Interesting side note: We were asking Mr. Cook for details about the forthcoming album and had the following exchange:

Us: So what's the new album called?

Billy Cook: I'm not sure. 'Ro knows the title, but I'm not sure.

Us: Oh...

Billy Cook: Yeah.

Us: Hmmm... okay.

How cold is Z-Ro? So cold that he can do an entire album with another person and never tell them the title and the other person never even questions it. That's how cold.

Lil Keke, "Platinum in the Ghetto": This was the only song from the ones that he mentioned that we disagreed with. As such, we spent the time we should've spent listening to it listening to "Rain," the song he did with Cham and Scarface.

Messy Marv "Blades": We love when Billy gets into that over-the-top R&B zone. He absolutely stole this song from Messy Marv, a talented artist in his own right. If a genie comes to our house and grants us the ability to wale like Cook, every thought for the rest of our life will be conveyed in the same vibrato that he uses here; sandwich orders, conversations about sickly parents, secrets, whatever. If we have something to say you, we are going to sing the shit out of it.

If you've never taken the time to listen to Billy Cook, check out his perfectly Houston album The Truth, and his Cold Classic mixtape. Cold Classic has about 114 songs on it, so it's well worth the change you'll drop to get it. Get information about Cook's upcoming tour at www.myspace.com/kissthacook. To book him yourself, contact Eric at 713-518-6565.


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