Our mother once told us that whenever she went to the coast during life's crossroads, she felt closer to God. That's because people often take their problems to the coast, because whether they are conscious of it or not, they feel they are at the gateway to heaven, and go to the water to find strength and answers.
They meditate, cry over life's tragedies, laugh at its best moments, get lost, get found, stumble upon new hope and inspiration, and search for the inner peace we chase our entire lives. It can be a sandy platform for the soul's revitalization.
The coast can also be a dark place. It can be the entry way to something savage, like a hurricane, or death. Waves crashing, sand in your eyes, chilling gusts of wind and an endless dark sky that gives you infinite nothingness to comfort you...or not.
Why are you getting so deep, Rocks Off? Take your lunch break in Galveston or go contribute to the 100th version of Chicken Soup for the Soul
. Well, we're not really talking about the beach.
Actually, the references being made to the coast are really an analogy for the music of Coast, as in probably one of the most beloved and admired veterans of Houston's underground rap scene. If you're not a fan of rap, that's actually OK because Coast isn't a rapper, per se.
If you've only gotten this far because our words made you smell the comfort of the sea, you might as well stay. After all, the coast is big enough in music and land mass that everyone can stand on it and enjoy its gifts to the mind, heart and soul.
Trust us. As we wrote this blog with Coast blaring from our tiny Dell laptop speakers, a red-headed firecracker from Alabama passed by our offices and asked us, "Who is that? I like that. Do you?"
We most certainly do.
Let us tell you why. Rap, especially for those surviving the day-to-day grind from Second Ward to Aldine Mail Route to Sharpstown, is an escape to a world they aspire to live in, but don't at the time. When they listen to rap, their run-down ride might be a luxurious Cadillac sitting on four wheels of reflection that make the moon jealous.
The flapping upholstery hanging down is really a flip-down TV screen that plays BET videos. Rap is a place where you can kill the people you hate and still live on without consequence - an isolated expression of anger in fantasy.
Coast, on the other hand, is one of the few musicians on the Third Coast that can keep you in your element of despair, struggle or suffocating normalcy and still keep you inspired, still provoke thought, still give you the high other underground artists in the city provide when they are at their best, but talk about a life you may never lead. Coast can make you feel proud of your poverty if he wanted to.
Surfing Coast's MySpace page, we found the perfect testament. A young man from Central Florida wrote (we had to hit the spell check on this comment for it to become readable):
"Damn dude...your music is...I really don't know how to explain it...it's like you can give a clearer view to someone who has a distorted vision of life using only your music... it's amazing that, not only a rapper, but any artist can do that. (Wrote this while listening to 'Still Walking.')"
That's funny. We wrote this blog listening to the same track.
"The other side of my heart is undeniably the side that I lost/ I can't pinpoint the problem but it's probably my fault/ I walk alone a lot/ Ain't decided should I go home or not/ I spend so much time out here you'd think I own the block... Love will make a man break down/ Last week they found somebody in the sand face down/ I got to thinking about my partna' Fat Bat and started to backtrack/ I wish I could've talked to him and told him to put the strap back/ Death is irreversible and to tell you something personal I don't think I'm doing what I'm put on this earth to do"
- Coast, "Still Walking"