Scintillating Field Notes From SXSW 2015

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Photos by Marco Torres
Houston's Doughbeezy returned to the stage for the first time in weeks at the "South by Nice Kicks" showcase.
Always See The Home Team First
If I were to write a guide on how to experience SXSW, somewhere I would write about how to view the acts from your hometown performing in "away game" situations. For me, that meant Doeman wrapping an American-flag bandana around his head during Scope ATX or Maxo Kream bringing plenty of hype and menace to an outdoor set at "Welcome to the South" showcase last Wednesday night.

It's also neat to see Doughbeezy back on the stage after a near-tragic moment almost robbed him of that experience. See to home first, then spread out.

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Hillary Clinton Might Become President. Help!

Welcome to Ask Willie D, Rocks Off's advice column where the Geto Boys MC answers reader questions about matters, in his own words, "funny, serious or unpredictable." Something on your mind? Ask Willie D!

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Photo by Mario Jaramillo
I HOPE HILLARY CLINTON DON'T BECOME PRESIDENT

Dear Willie D:

I love Hillary Clinton, but I don't think she should become president. She has too many skeletons in the closet for conservatives to attack and shame her legacy. Don't you think if she became president, her administration will be riddled with scandal?

Clinton Lover:

Yes, but name a president in the past 100 years whose administration hasn't been riddled with scandal? The truth is power corrupts, and absolute power means that you'll probably be mentioned in history books.


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$tereo Type$ Seals Doeman's Future-Star Status

With so much news to that flies by in the Houston rap scene, luckily we're here to sit back and deal with it all. Welcome to our own version of March Madness, where every workday we're delivering stories to keep you occupied with the ins and outs of the Houston rap landscape.

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"I hear Doeman's pretty dope, but does he rap about anything?"

Joseph "Doeman" Gonzales has been called a burgeoning star before. His life has two key points: before a car accident nearly took his life and the one after. His 2012 debut tape, The Understatement, showed early range for utilizing his good looks to pick up chicks and run the floor like James Harden to grab attention flow-wise.

Seriously, watch an early video from the tape Imperfectly Perfect. It's like watching a young rapper still deal with being on a VHS and not even DVD. Let's just say three years carving out not only a sound but sharpening his pen for further success.


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I Got Stood Up On a Date. Help!

Welcome to Ask Willie D, Rocks Off's advice column where the Geto Boys MC answers reader questions about matters, in his own words, "funny, serious or unpredictable." Something on your mind? Ask Willie D!

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Photo by Mario Jaramillo
MY FRIEND AND HIS NEGATIVE ENERGY

Dear Willie D:

I have been platonic friends with a guy since we were freshmen in college. He is the most negative person I know personally, but I love him because he's funny, caring and generous. What can I say to get him to stop being so negative?

Platonic Friend:

Tell him that you love him because he's funny, caring, and generous, but he needs to work on being more positive. When you tell him how you feel, take a few days off from being around him. It'll give him time to feel your void, allow your statement to sink in, and to think about how to improve his attitude; at least when you're around.

Whenever you're on the phone with him or in his presence, and he starts with the disparagement, change the subject, end the call or leave the room. Eventually, he'll get the message. If not, brace yourself for the wreck.


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Happy Birthday, Paul Wall: 10 Great Photos of The People's Champ

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Photos by Marco Torres
Paul Wall backstage at Warehouse Live during The Trillest Tour, March 2014.
Today is the birthday of one's of H-Town's finest entertainers, who most recently has been calling himself "The Po Up Poet." You may also know him as "The People's Champ" or "The Iceman". There's definitely no mistaking him once the track bumps and he announces his presence: "Paul Wall, baby!"

Wall has accomplished plenty in his nearly 15 years in the rap game. From passing out flyers at strip clubs, to collaborations (and fallout) with Chamillionaire, his work for Swishahouse, serving as president of the Texas Chapter of the Grammy Awards, and even landing a feature on Kanye's Late Registration (2005). He embodies the hustler spirit that H-Town has become known for, and continues to be one of the most sincere and approachable individuals in the Houston music scene.

So today we salute Paul on his birthday. Keep shining, sir!


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Maxo Kream Ups the Ante of Houston Street Rap

With so much news to that flies by in the Houston rap scene, luckily we're here to sit back and deal with it all. Welcome to our own version of March Madness, where every workday we're delivering stories to keep you occupied with the ins and outs of the Houston rap landscape.

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Maxo Kream is all of 23 years old.

I know this because even though a tightly groomed beard hugs his jaunted face close, he still wields a bit of a baby face. His charm is that he goes about his way, plotting of new ways to articulate his passion for robbing people. For collecting shoes, for letting nobody in his world except his Kream Clicc brothers and that's it. Maxo cares about keeping certain people at a distance, arming himself with a sound that declares allegiance to Houston and sounds absolutely nothing like it.


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Roosh Williams Leads Rainbow Coalition of Local Rap at Walters

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Photos by Francisco Montes
Roosh Williams: the gentleman with the tommy-gun flow.
Roosh Williams, T2 the Ghetto Hippie, Kyle Hubbard, George Young, Def Perception
Walter's Downtown
March 7, 2015

It's probably nothing he set out to accomplish, but Roosh Williams kind of can't help but be a symbol of Houston's diversity, both within the rap scene and without. Not only is he just about the only jaw-dropping Persian rapper from the city that we've ever heard of, but his fan base is made up of a veritable Rainbow Coalition of black, white and brown kids hungry for flows harder than any they can hear on the radio these days.

So while Saturday night's show at Walters Downtown was rightfully a celebration of Roosh's biggest release yet -- his new album Unorthodox -- it was altogether fitting that the lineup was stacked with a strong and diverse lineup representing every color, creed and sneaker preference proliferating in the H-town underground circa 2015. If there was a common thread binding them all together, it's that each performer arrived thoroughly steeped in the syncopated lyricism of classic '90s hip-hop.


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Kyle Hubbard Is Back; Kyle Hubbard Is Dope

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Photos courtesy of Kyle Hubbard
Kyle Hubbard in 2014
This time last year, Kyle Hubbard was preparing for the biggest gig of his life. Two years after recording and releasing his critically acclaimed album, You're Not That Special, and after clawing his way to respectability as a young white man in Houston's underground hip-hop scene, Hubbard had been tabbed to share the stage with none other than Slick Rick on the rap legend's 25th anniversary tour stop at Warehouse Live. It was a position 100 other local rappers would have killed to be in. If Kyle Hubbard wasn't on top of the world, he certainly seemed on his way.

But despite any outward appearances, Hubbard was frustrated and lost. He was worn out. And soon after his gig with Slick Rick, he officially gave up. He retired from hip-hop.

"I just got to a point when I didn't want to do it anymore," Hubbard says. "There's so much that goes into doing music and the music industry. It's just so draining and not me -- the politicking and high-fiving people that you don't really like. Trying to make it or whatever, trying to blow up, made making art almost difficult for me. My thought process totally changed, and I had to walk away from it."


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March Madness: Some Insight Into the Steve Francis Chain-Snatching

With so much news to that flys by in the Houston rap scene, the month of March is here to sit back and deal with all of the madness. Welcome to our own version of March Madness, where we're delivering stories every work day to keep you occupied with the ins and outs of the Houston rap landscape.

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Screengrab/TMZ Sports
Why exactly was Steve Francis onstage at the Sauce Twinz show at Warehouse Live on Saturday night?

That was the question many chose to ask following the Twinz's sold-out performance inside the venue's Ballroom area. Not that the Twinz tore the house down or were using unnecessary gangsta rap posturing by having 30-plus people onstage surrounding their every move, or that one girl decided to flash the entire crowd.

And not that Sancho Saucy decided to rock a pink tuxedo with matching hat and backpack. Or that Sauce Walka thought more like Beyonce and Kelly Rowland did when Michelle Williams fell on that one episode of 106 & Park. Wait; let's take a glance back at that moment, the last Houston "fall" of note that created a seismic wave.


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I Got Pregnant From a One-Night Stand. Help!

Welcome to Ask Willie D, Rocks Off's advice column where the Geto Boys MC answers reader questions about matters, in his own words, "funny, serious or unpredictable." Something on your mind? Ask Willie D!

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Photo by Mario Jaramillo
DO I RESERVE THE RIGHT TO SELL OR GIVE AWAY MY EX-BOYFRIEND'S BELONGINGS?

Dear Willie D:

My boyfriend and I broke up three weeks ago due to his cheating and lying ways. When he moved out a couple of days later he only took his clothes with him; all other items such as kitchenware and jewelry are still in my house. I sent him a text message and an email stating that he needs to make arrangements to come get these things by the end of the month.

I also told him that if he didn't come get it by that time the stuff would be sold, or given to charity. Despite how I feel that he could have moved his belongings with him the day he left, do you feel that I'm being harsh?


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