Rob G: Houston's Great Brown Hope

Step into the hip-hop elevator of the Dirty South with Rocks Off. We're going on a field trip. Don't worry. We'll let you "press the button."

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Right now we are on floor "B," which stands for basement...more like rap basement, where Houston's Latino rap underground is bubbling with heat ready to volcano into the mainstream with the eagerness of Mount St. Helens. Don't worry; we'll be back.

But today we are taking a journey to the top floor. When we get there, you might see A-listers like Chamillionare, Pitbull and Play N Skills, so spare us the star-struck squeals, OK?

You're looking for "PH" in this elevator, naturally, because in any other building, the penthouse is the pinnacle. Not in this building, and not on this Alief block. Look for the button with "RG" on it. Did you find it?

Good. Press it with the eagerness of a young child. Now allow us to elevate to a floor that is the life of Rob G, Houston's great brown hope. As we slowly ascend, we're going to tell you about Rob G and why he could be instrumental to the Latino hip-hop scene, not only in Houston, but in America.

Rob G's important, not because he's going to drop an all-English and an all-Spanish album on a major label in 2010, or because he toured and has a close relationship with Pitbull, who is one of only a handful of Latino hip-hop artists in the history of the genre to go from Latino breakthrough star to a mainstream one, or because he expanded his brand footprint beyond the Houston scene not attached to a traditional Houston label like Swishahouse or Rap-A-Lot.

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No, Rob G's important because when you look at the pieces of his career puzzle, it looks like a perfect storm is brewing. When you look at his U.S. acculturation scale, he might just have the perfect measurements of American and Latino dosages to appeal to a hemispheric audience, not just a Houston or Texas one.

Let's put aside the petty bullshit criteria that inspires some of these Rocks Off Latino rap blogs to get 99 fucking comments based on whether an artist is legitimately from a specific area of Houston, or whether he is lyrically better than Lucky Luciano, or Coast, or Stunta, or Lil Young. Fuck all that.

Let's get business about this shit, because regardless of how many hearts and souls hip-hop has captured or how many hearts and souls hip-hop lives in, marketability is the name of this game. That's a business term and it's something Rob G can pronounce in either language.

He's fully bilingual and can execute that in his music delivery. He's a damn good rapper. He toured with Pitbull this summer across the country. He's got the co-signature of Trae, the best rapper in Houston, possibly the universe (right, Shea Serrano?). And he's linked up and done features with Latin American household names like Looney Tunes in Puerto Rico and Joey Montana in Panama.

Now that's drinkability - eh - marketability. Sorry, it's Friday and we need a beer.


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