The Rocks Off 200: You(genious), Party Crasher Turned Musical Auteur
Welcome to The Rocks Off 200, our portrait gallery of the most compelling profiles and personalities in the far-flung Houston music community -- a lot more than just musicians, but of course they're in there too. See previous entries in the Rocks Off 100 at this link.
Who? He calls himself The Misfit of R&B, which is a hard sell because I cannot picture a villain for a rap version of Jem and the Holograms. That said, You(genious) has been doing what he does in Houston for some 14 years.
That's an impressive stint. He's been everywhere, and always in the public eye not only for his music, but for his larger than life existence. He was once named as one of the best party-crashers in the city, and has hosted shows for everyone from Devin the Dude to Planned Parenthood.
Now he's got something new going on, and it's original. I'll give him that. It's a musical, and a hip-hop one at that, but not just any musical. He calls it "imagination cinema," and it combines the concepts of mixtape, album and audio play to offer the listener a unique aural experience that should play out in your mind as you hear it.
Dubbed Cold: When the Heart Becomes a Hole, the work deals with the harshness of homelessness, a social problem You(genious) comments on quite often. He spent months creating soundscapes, tiny little audio clues that make you feel as if you're actually listening to a happening in the real world rather than just a studio.
To pull the whole thing off, he's gather a veritable Who's Who of Houston music to contribute to the project. Nosaprise, Dirty & Nasty, Destonee, Danimal (formerly of Studemont Project), Jordan Pannel (locallivehouston.com), Blair Doerge, D.Strange, Jimmy Bl!tz, Marcia Yingling, Adam Martinez (The Tontons), trumpet player Eric Jackson, Erin Rogers (Glass the Sky), Ms. Cash (formerly of The Manichean), Steve Aikey, and Gustavo Roman (Shotgun Funeral) all appear in Cold. The musical was composed by Daniel Ross McKinney III and mixed and mastered by Steve Torres, who also narrates. It's an epic, one-of-a-kind undertaking that promises to be very special.
Home Base: You(genious) has his own home studio, and despite his loud reputation prefers the quiet and solitude of the studio when he wants to write. He expresses a lot of nostalgia for the long-gone Proletariat as a performance space, and now holds allegiance to no venue in particular.
He's recently taken to performing in the streets, and says he finds the freedom and connection with people to be unbelievable.
Story continues on the next page.