Last Night: Best Rapper In Texas March Finale At Midtown Lounge
10:38 p.m.: Tonight is the March finale of the Best Rapper in Texas competition, a now monthly event that takes place in two segments. Rappers sign up, work their way through a preliminary and then end up here. Ten rappers make it to each month's finals. The winner receives $500. The losers mostly receive condolences from their fans and comments about how they would've won were the entire contest not rigged.
It's always a fun event, but tonight is important because the rules dictate that a rapper may only win the contest three times before he is forced into retirement, and Doughbeezy, who has exploded into popularity these last two months, has won the last two. It's become like a goddamn monthly stipend for him or something.
10:48: Walking in and comedian Ken 2 the Fool is trying to convince Delo (who has everyone's ear right now) to do a song or two from his recently released mixtape Hood Politics Vol. 2. An auspicious start.
10:59: J Frank is up right now, whose best moment comes when he crushes a saxophone-heavy beat from DJ Don (sitting stage side expressing his pleasure). It's immediately clear that, in this setting, the eventual winner is going to have to do more than stand on stage on rap.
11:00: The show has been broken up into two segments. The second half of the show we're told, is where the stronger acts are, though prodding around shows that Yung Truth, who went on a little earlier, put on an excellent show too. The last time we saw him we made a joke about how he should call himself Middle Aged Truth on account of his old-facey-ness. He finds us, says some things, then wanders off. It's always excellent not getting beaten up after jesting at someone.
11:02: Hey, look, a guy with a ponytail. How can you be a grown man and not understand that a ponytail is not the shit?
11:04: Intermission time. Show, generally regarded as one of the city's most underappreciated rappers, is tonight's mid-show entertainment. He starts his set by saying, "I don't feel at home tonight. Before I start, let's do this: When I say, 'What's good?' you all say 'Fuck you, Show.'" Cool, cool.
11:04:30: "I have to go see my [parole office] tomorrow. If I don't go to jail, I'm going to Austin." - Show
11:12: Holy Christ. Show, all 5'7" of him, is a tornado on stage. Were he in the competition, he would've just won it. He has a few guys on stage with him (most notably, Kritikal) and they're all going apeshit.
11:14: Oh, hey, if you're starting to lose your hair, maybe you don't decide to grow a Mohawk with what's left? It just looks a little silly, is all.
11:16: Kritikal, still hype from Show's set, is performing his own material now.
11:16:15: And now he's standing on top of a four-foot-tall speaker.
11:16:30: And now his shirt's off.
11:16:45: And now his team of ape's are onstage again everyone is losing their shit again. This is excellent. How are these guys not booked to perform at every rap show?
11:24: Another guy with a ponytail? What the hell is going on? Is there a Vidal Sassoon conference going on downstairs? The ponytail-to-non-ponytail ratio is far too high right now. It's like a gangbang is about to start in here or something.
11:24:30: Yes, that was a shampoo joke and a porno joke all within the same timestamp. For real, why is there always at least one guy with a ponytail in every porno gangbang scene? That can't be coincidence.
11:31: And we're back into the competition. K-Yung is up. He's best when he's paired up alongside O.N.E., who joins him on stage for a song near the end of his set. Again, it's going to be hard to unseat Doughbeezy, who performs with a live band each time he's in this competition, without a big stage show of your own.
11:38: Dallas rapper Mo Money is up now. It's kind of hard for people to take a guy who's rapping about having a spaceship full of diamonds (we're interpreting) seriously when he's in shorts and tube socks.
11:39: Um, so a white (European white, not Alabama white) family just walked, a situation that isn't intrinsically weird (there are plenty of non-black people in attendance tonight) until you notice that they have a tiny teenage girl in tow. People bring their children to bars now? Cool, cool.
11:45: Despite actually being a good rapper, Mo Money isn't getting very much love from the crowd, minus Delo, who's standing near the front of the stage bouncing around and whatnot while he eats food from a styrofoam to-go container. Curious to see how this situation plays with the judges.
11:51: Krucial is up now. We've not written much about him yet, but know that his tape, Revenge, has some very high points on it. More on him to come.
11:53: Krucial's as good live as we'd hoped he'd be, but, again, it's just him and his mic on stage. He won't win tonight, but he'll likely earn a few new ears.
11:55: Coby, who's competed in this showcase before but has not won, is next. He's brought a full band with him, highlighted by a proper three-person drumline. People are standing up and moving towards the stage. It's already exciting.
11:58: Ack. Ponytail, ponytail, ponytail.
12:04: The drumline is warming up right now. The entire room is quiet, watching them go. They're focused and personable and talented. The buzz is palpable. Doughbeezy's title is now officially in danger.
12:06: ...And he's off.