93.7 The Beat's "Welcome to H-Town" Concert at Arena Theatre, 2/28/2014
So there's a new radio station in town, KQBT 93.7 The Beat. ("Radar Love" can now be heard exclusively on 106.9 The Eagle.) These upstarts claim to be the home of H-Town's real hip-hop and R&B. That tagline remains far from proven, naturally, but the station did take a big step toward owning it this weekend by lending its name to the star-studded "Welcome to H-Town" concert at Arena Theatre.
When you put on a show featuring a headlining set by the group that put Houston on the hip-hop map -- Scarface, Bushwick Bill and Willie D, the legendary Geto Boys -- people tend to take notice around these parts. But even if that weren't enough to pique our interest, the celebration also included sets by all-star H-Town hitmakers Z-Ro, Paul Wall, Slim Thug and Lil' Keke, offering up the promise of cough-syrup classics galore on the Arena's revolving stage. For hardcore fans of Houston hip-hop, it was a lineup only a simp could skip.
Those who turned out got the best Geto Boys performance the city has seen in many years. But let's not skip to the end so soon. The parade of local artists began early in the evening. The first opener that I caught was Major Money of NuMoney Recordz, who made an impression (as usual) by arriving onstage with seven models in tow. During "For My City," the gals made it rain in the theater, tossing fat wads of bills into the seats.
Judging from the lazy pace at which the notes were being snatched up, they were small-denomination. With a murderer's row of swang-and-bang superstars to look forward to, the crowd had a tough time working up much enthusiasm for a comparative unknown -- even when bribed.
Northside boss Slim Thug, on the other hand, had everyone on their feet immediately. Thugga's flow was characteristically cool and relaxed on hard-hitting verses from "Still Tippin,'" "First 48" and "Houston," the Texans tribute that was a lot better received a season ago.
Clearly in a bit of a rush, Slim hustled the DJ along between tracks. He had another show to do in Louisiana before the night was over, he told us. That's the kind of hustle that gets you your own official day in the city of Houston, kids.
Following swiftly in the Boss Hogg Outlaw's wake was Lil' Keke the Don, the Screwed Up Click survivor who has been pimping pens for damn near two decades now. Gleaming brightly behind him on the circular stage was the blinding grill of celebrity jeweler "TV" Johnny Dang, arriving in tow with Paul Wall, Lil' Flip and other blinged-out associates.
Keke had the whole room bouncing along to his Dirty South dance classic "Southside" before crushing it flat with the street-sweeper "I'm a G," showing off the sharp-but-laconic flow that has made him such an influential local voice.
Keke ended his set by trading verses with Paul Wall on "Chunk Up the Deuce" and "Break 'Em Off" as cameraphones recorded every couplet. The People's Champ took over from there, rattling off a parade of hits from "Sittin' Sidewayz" to "Grillz." A particular treat for longtime fans was the rapper's verse from "N Luv Wit My Money," the bouncy, irresistible track from Wall's much-loved 2002 Swishahouse collab with Chamillionaire, Get Ya Mind Correct.
Review continues on the next page.