Preemo's Flight 713: Houston Underground Rap's Newest Star

preemoatkobain sep17.jpg
Larami Serrano
Preemo at Kobain, 2010 Houston Press Music Awards showcase
Preemo has earned a ton of praise this past year; and rightfully so. Concrete Dreams, his first proper full-length showing, remains to be one of the year's three best Houston rap albums.

So when he let loose that he was planning a short-notice mixtape release for September 11 called Flight 713, our alarms went off. It's more than difficult to try to follow up a heralded breakout performance. More often than not it looks like you're just trying to piggyback off of positive press, which makes you look like a preening a-hole, which is the exact opposite of what Concrete Dreams did for him.

So we listened to the new tape with squinted eyes and pursed lips, Preemo's eulogy half-written. To be certain, we listened again. And again. And again.

Hit the jump to see if he came out with his newfound reputation as one of (if not the) best underground rappers in Houston intact, or if he had that medal ripped off his lapel like they did to The A-Team guys in that shitty remake from earlier this summer that was about an hour and 45 minutes too long.

• With Concrete Dreams, Preemo was on his "Girls, Girls, Girls" tip. He had a song about his mother, his daughter, his ex-girlfriends, (possibly) his then-current girlfriend, his potential next girlfriend and music, his metaphorical girlfriend. It was clearly very cathartic, and did well to capture your affection.

On Flight 713, he abandons the treatise almost entirely, instead opting for clever punchlines ("Alzheimer's; I thought I told 'em?") and obscure samples. It's a risky move, but is successful, thanks mostly in part to the fact that this is a mixtape, and that's kind of the point of a mixtape.

• On "Co-Pilot," a bouncy, Jetsons-ish track, he manages to reference just about 240 famous duos, but somehow sidesteps doing it ad nauseum. He does the same thing with movie directors on the very clever "Just Shoot Me" (he likens himself to 18 directors over the course of 2:54, the best of which being: "A little ego, I'm nasty if you ask me/ But the kids ain't feeling me; Roman Polanski"). It's a testament to his velvety likeability; a characteristic he managed to canonize on 10 of the album's 12 songs.

"The Carry On" = this album's version of "New Pistol."

"Turbulence," the immediately noteworthy mid-album banger (it probably should have come in as the No. 4 song), is a clear standout, due in equal parts to the aggressive marching band-ish production and Preemo's own brand of storm-on-the-horizon delivery. At times here he makes you feel the way your dad used to right before you got your shit handed to you for being a little too grown.


The Verdict: Preemo is official. The earnest Concrete Dreams made it a possibility, the braggadocios and semi-confrontational F713 crystallizes it. His name has to be added to any discussion about serious rap talent in Houston, and at the top of any "Who Out There Could Possibly Foil Fat Tony's Underground Dominance?" list.


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