Last Night: Dante Higgins at Warehouse Live
New Year's resolutions are all about making a point to do something your lazy ass should have been doing for years already. For me, that means digging into some of the "New Houston" rap artists that I've been mostly ignoring since the movement's emergence. After reading plenty about the city's youngest generation of rappers on Rocks Off and elsewhere, I was starting to feel like I was seriously missing out.
But with a new year come new opportunities, and I didn't have to wait long to get my feet wet. Dante Higgins released Rhymes for Months: Trillogy, one of Houston's best mixtapes of the year, back in November, and Thursday night brought the new songs with him to the Warehouse Live studio.
Higgins brought plenty of friends with him, too. Not just the gaggle of young Texas rappers who shared the stage with him -- which included Young Scotty, Roy O, Fly Boy OT and C-Stone -- but enough dedicated fans of the distinctly modern hip-hop on display to fill the room nicely.
Fly Boy OT
Looking at the crowd, it wasn't clear that Higgins and pals have entirely broken out of Third Ward and the city's other traditional rap hotbeds just yet. The audience was nearly all African-American, quite a bit less diverse than the crowds at shows by many of the more established local rap veterans. Not that there's anything wrong with that, naturally, but it stood out, especially compared to the Devin the Dude audience at Warehouse a few weeks back.
Of all the acts on the undercard, Undergravity seemed to have the best chance to break through. Perhaps not coincidentally, the duo favors a throwback style of Houston rap that would fit right in alongside the Southside superstars of yore. The highlight of their set was "Some Moe Funk" from last year's Underdawgs From Undergravity EP.
I happen to be in favor of any and all attempts to insert Big Moe into new music, so it was nice to hear the late rapper's familiar baritone on the song's hook. Some of us will never tire of tunes about stackin' green and sippin' codeine, and we can evidently count Undergravity among our number. More, please.
Undergravity received the most enthusiastic crowd response of any of the openers, but the love was oddly muted all night. Rappers would get onstage and pound out witty, lyrical, well-rehearsed verses to an apparently rapt audience, but when each song ended, nobody clapped.
No whistling, no "shyeahs," no nothing. Somebody would sort of start to half-clap and then quit immediately when nobody joined in. Applauding is apparently really, incredibly square now, so be sure not to accidentally clap at the next show you attend unless you want to look like a total simp. You're welcome.