Big Rip of Amen Recordz Breaks Down The Convenient-Store CD Economy

The hip-hop world is a less than sensible place - lots of times, you're even required to clarify when bad means bad and when bad means good - so once a week we're going to get with a rapper and ask them to explain things. Have something you always wanted to ask a rapper? Email it to introducingliston@gmail.com.

This Week's Rapper: Big Rip

This Week's Subject(s): The relationship between the guys that sell music CDs outside of convenience stores and the guys that actually own the stores; do police bother to take your stuff if you're selling CDs outside of a store.

Several months ago, we were stopped outside of the Chevron on Main and 610 by a dude selling rap CDs. The convenience-store grind is probably one of our favorite aspects of the Houston rap scene; it's just quintessential rap hustle. You can download pretty much anything these days, but these homemade mixes are enjoyable in their organicness, so we usually try and scoop one up whenever the opportunity presents itself.

The guy was calling himself Big Rip and he was pushing a fairly standard deal: Two CDs, one filled with Screwed versions of songs from some of the bigger-name local guys with a track or two of his own music squeezed in, and the other primarily his own material, for about $7.

That day, we parried his solicitor jabs with the trusty "Sorry, sir, I've only got my card with me" line and went on about our business. Months passed and he was lost in the ether. Then, the Friday before Spring Break, he popped up again. We chatted him up for a bit. He was an enjoyable enough fellow to talk with - turned out, he had been locked up for a while, which explained his absence; also, he doesn't have a MySpace, a characteristic made even more charming when he referred it to once as "the MySpace" - so we got a CD and, lo and behold, it did not suck.

It was a compilation tape between him and a local producer named Dell. The music was punctuated by a heavy drag, some ready-made choruses and a very clear Big H.A.W.K.-esque slant; it was straight early S.U.C. stuff. It warranted some attention. So we called Rip and asked him to take a few minutes out of his day a week later to discuss the dynamics of the Convenience Store Salesman's daily activities.

Ask A Rapper: So you're at the store, you said? Are you out there selling CDs right now?

Big Rip: Yeah, I'm here right now.

AAR: Ha. That's perfect. It seems like the Convenience Store CD Guys used to be just about everywhere. They look to have mostly moved on now. Have you noticed that it's harder to sell CDs like that nowadays?

BR: I have, I have. There's still a lot of people are out here doing the same thing, but a lot of guys are taking it to the road right now. A lot of guys feel like Houston has its own menu, so they take it to people that can't get to Houston. They're taking it to your Corpuses or your San Antonios, areas like that. They're taking it to places that can't get that type of [Houston rap] music.

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