In the Spirit of Giving, Houston Appreciation Weekend Kicks Off

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Photo by Marco Torres
Somewhere in Europe, Houston Appreciation Weekend was born.

Drake's tour manager, Jamil Davis, says the Toronto rapper was still traveling for his Would You Like A Tour? tour when he decided he wanted to have a special event in Houston, the city he holds close to his heart. (See: "November 18th.")

"He always just starts with ideas, and then we just execute them," Davis says. "There's a lot of ideas, but the big ones, like events, they get executed. More times than none, they get executed."

So here it is. After Drake announced Houston Appreciation Weekend via his Instagram account in March, the special weekend has kicked off. Starting June 5, people began volunteering in the Houston area through an organization called RockCorps. That's the only way to get a ticket to HAW's biggest event, the Warehouse Live concert.


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Should Rappers Be Allowed to Release Music While Incarcerated?

Categories: Rap Round Table

Some rappers happen to be thoughtful, intelligent people. From time to time, Rocks Off will have some of them here discussing issues relevant to their culture.

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This Week's Roster: E.S.G., Killa Kyleon, B L A C K I E, Brad Gilmore, Kyle Hubbard, Fat Tony, more.

Not Invited: SPM

This Week's Prompt: There was this great story in The Atlantic recently about how SPM, incarcerated for 40-plus years after being convicted of child molestation, has been releasing music from prison via a loophole his lawyer had found. (Hat-tip to Dat Boi T for passing it along.)

The question: Should rappers be allowed to release music while incarcerated, and should their crime matter?


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Rap Round Table: Who Is the Greatest Movie Villain of All Time?

Categories: Rap Round Table

Some rappers happen to be thoughtful, intelligent people. Each week, Rocks Off will have some of them here discussing issues relevant to their culture.

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Photo illustration by John Seaborn Gray
This Week's Panel: E.S.G., Marcus Manchild, Renzo, Kyle Hubbard, Purple Bastard, Preemo, Mic Skills, Mac, more.

Not Invited: Michael Myers, because fuck that guy.

This Week's Prompt: They were showing Full Metal Jacket on TV recently, which is just about the best. The question, then: Who is the greatest movie bad guy of all-time? Go.

Renzo: Damn, that's a great question. I'm going with Denmoteb [Imhotep], or however you spell that shit, from The Mummy. He didn't talk. He just showed up and started fuckin up EVERYTHING.

Remember when he turned into the sand and "ate" them? Yes, you do. Who's fuckin' with that? Surely not Darth Vador OR Candyman. They are unable to fuck with him. Runner-up: I'm goin with Texas Chainsaw Massacre dude. Heart of darkness.


Purple Bastard: Either Rutger Hauer from Blade Runner or Daniel-Day Lewis from There Will Be Blood. Both were vicious and complex.

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Rap Round Table: Wu-Tang vs. N.W.A. vs. A Tribe Called Quest

Categories: Rap Round Table

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Photo illustration by John Seaborn Gray
Some rappers happen to be thoughtful, intelligent people. Each week, Rocks Off will have some of them here discussing issues relevant to their culture.

This Week's Panel: Mic Skills, E.S.G., Chingo Bling, D-Risha, Kiotti, Mac, Yung Redd, Damien Randle, Yung Truth, Fat Tony

Not Invited: Whoever gave Are We There Yet? the green light.

This Week's Prompt: One of the more enjoyable byproducts of Ice-T's The Art of Rap documentary has been the conversations it ignited. One of the ones that landed in my inbox last week: Which rap group will be regarded as more important in 40 years, Wu-Tang, A Tribe Called Quest or N.W.A.?


Mic Skills: NWA because they brought gangsta rap to the mainstream, including the use of the word "nigga." [Also they] had three important members -- Ice Cube, Dr. Dre and Easy-E -- who went on to make solo hits and/or discover and introduce more talent.

Hip-hop heads will say Tribe or Wu, but ask a die hard hip-hop fan to name a song from any of the three; they'll say "Straight Outta Compton." Funny thing is, I bet Wu and Tribe members would say the same.

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Which Houston Rapper Bet "Whatever" On the NBA Finals?

Categories: Rap Round Table

Some rappers happen to be thoughtful, intelligent people. Each week, Rocks Off will have some of them here discussing issues relevant to their culture.

This Week's Panel: Mac, Mug, Killa Kyleon, TroubleSum, Propain, hasHBrown, Yung Truth, O.N.E., Chingo Bling, more.

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Photo illustration by John Seaborn Gray
Not Invited: Steve Francis and Cuttino Mobley

This Week's Prompt: Well, here it is. The NBA Finals start tonight. Predictions: Who wins? How many games will it take? Which player wins MVP? And what is the most startling LeBron story line to develop over the course of the series?

Mac: OKC in 7, only if Miami role players like Battier and Miller* don't step up.

*I searched and searched and searched. Still, I couldn't find any reports to confirm that Mike Miller had died in a car accident two years ago and that his ghost has been playing in the playoffs.


C. Stone: I've had my money on OKC since the All-Star break. Kevin Durant wins MVP, of course. And I say it goes 4-2, in favor of OKC in close games.


Mug: I say OKC, but it might go the whole seven games. Durant [wins] MVP and LeBron's hairline will stay a topic of discussion.


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Rap Round Table: Dissecting the Best 2 Chainz Lines

Categories: Rap Round Table

Some rappers happen to be thoughtful, intelligent people. Each week, Rocks Off will have some of them here discussing issues relevant to their culture.

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Photo illustration by John Seaborn Gray
This Week's Panel: Delo, Chingo Bling, Brad Gilmore, Yung Truth, Mac, D-Risha, Kiotti, Chane, Mic Skills, TroubleSum, Killa Kyleon

Not Invited: Future

This Week's Prompt: 2 Chainz is clearly this century's greatest genius. What is his best line?

Brad Gilmore: "I'm in and out the pussy; DRIVE THRU!" Pure genius from the artist formally known as Tity Boy.


Kiotti: "Supercalifragilistic... I'm gonna need a spell check!"


D-Risha: I'm gonna say his verse on "Mercy" was solid but his "genius" hasn't reached my ears yet [laughs].

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Rap Round Table: The Most Ridiculous Rap-Related Crimes of All

Categories: Rap Round Table

Some rappers happen to be thoughtful, intelligent people. Each week, Rocks Off will have some of them here discussing issues relevant to their culture.

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Photo illustration by John Seaborn Gray
This Week's Panel: Mac, Kiotti, D-Risha, Brad Gilmore

Not Invited: The guys behind those World's Dumbest Criminals TV shows.


This Week's Prompt: Lil Wayne (allegedly) mollywhopped someone with a skateboard. This, of course, is wonderfully humorous. So, the question: What is the most ridiculous rap-related crime that's ever occurred?

Note: This was sent out to 30 or so rappers. Of the responses, these are the four best, along with one from us just because it absolutely could not go unmentioned.

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Rappers on Gay Marriage: "Only an Issue to a Simpleton"

Categories: Rap Round Table

Some rappers happen to be thoughtful, intelligent people. Each week, Rocks Off will have some of them here discussing issues relevant to their culture.

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This Week's Panel: Scarface, D-Risha, O.N.E., Kyle Hubbard, Scooby, Chane, Renzo, Preemo, Show, Yung Truth, CB Kings

Not Invited: Manny Pacquiao

This Week's Prompt: On Bun B's most recent segment on TV show NewsFix, he had the audacity to imply that gays and lesbians are actual humans(!) who deserve actual human rights(!). Responses to his non-hatred of the idea of gay marriage have been mixed. We asked 30 rappers how they felt about it. One offered the "No comment" thing. Eighteen others ignored the question. These guys didn't:

D-Risha: I don't agree with it because of my Catholic belief, but who am I to tell a human being that they can't do what makes them happy? I'm kind of indifferent about it.


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Rap Round Table: What Is Scarface's Best Album?

Categories: Rap Round Table

Some rappers happen to be thoughtful, intelligent people. Each week, Rocks Off will have some of them here discussing issues relevant to their culture.

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This Week's Panel: Preemo, O.N.E., Medicine Girl, Renzo, Yung Truth, Chane, Scooby, Kane, Kyle Hubbard, Mac, more.

Not Invited: The man who cried when he saw that other man die.

This Week's Prompt: Scarface is beginning to let loose information about his new album. Question: What is Scarface's best album?

Preemo: Untouchable. That's my favorite. Beats by Mike Dean. Followed closely by The Fix.


Yung Truth: Untouchable was Scarface's best album. It debuted at No. 1 and peaked on the chart for two weeks, and it had the best features (Tupac, etc).


Renzo: Scarface's best album is The Fix because you can play it back and forth without skipping songs. It sounds great sonically and all the songs blend well together. He also never takes too sharp of a curve to where you're lost or you mistake him as [a] normal rapper. Features were amazing, beats were amazing, singles were on point. Intro is haunting. It's The Fix, pimpin'.

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Rap Round Table: The Best Skit on a Rap Album Is...

Categories: Rap Round Table

Some rappers happen to be thoughtful, intelligent people. Each week, Rocks Off will have some of them here discussing issues relevant to their culture.

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Photo illustration by John Seaborn Gray
This Week's Panel: Kyle Hubbard, Preemo, Rob Gullatte, Chuckway, Propain, Delo, Renzo, Yung Truth, Show, Brad Gilmore, more.

Not Invited: W. Balls

This Week's Prompt: Here's a question that came up that's suddenly all we can think about: What is the greatest skit on a rap album?

Kyle Hubbard: The "David Blaine" from Big Boi's album.


Rob Gullatte: The intro to [Snoop's] Doggystyle.


Chane: I would have to say every "Prayer" skit that DMX did on each of his albums. It really brought you into his world and through all his trials and tribulations. It showed us who he really was. Some were so passionate, deep and real that it almost could make you shed a tear.


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