It's been a while since I really felt like I accomplished something. I mean, in reality we all accomplish things every day, and I try to stay pretty active in my family life, my work life, etc, but this past week was something special. The Red Bull Skooled Tour REALLY WENT DOWN and I am so happy that I was able to be a part of it.
Lets start things off with a lil preview from Worldwide...
Word to Throwed Mind Ent.
The concept came from an idea I had sometime ago. I came up in the Texas rap game from the heyday of the Geto Boys, up until this exact moment right now. I may have moved around a bit, but I've been here. I saw our greats succeed and I've seen a lot of people give up along the way. To me, we here in Texas have something special. We live in a state that supports itself. You may or may not believe that based on your level of success in this game, but trust me, Texas supports Texas.
Before anyone outside of our region knew about DJ Screw, or Screwed music, Texas was obsessed with him/it. Before anyone outside of Texas ever heard of Paul Wall & Chamillionaire, Texas loved them. For about ten years before anyone outside of Texas on a major scale cared about UGK, they were our undisputed Underground Kings for real.
This wasn't just because these people made great music (they did), it was because they got out and worked this state till their wheels fell off their Caddys. We've heard lots of tales of the chitlin circuit, that network of venues that old school black musicians would work back in the day (still exists today) but for lack of a better term, lets call what we have here in Texas the Brisket Circuit. The beef. The big fat cut of meat at the bottom of the US map that really no other state can touch when it comes to loyalty and state pride (for all the right, and many of the wrong, reasons).
The Brisket Circuit isn't a real term, I just made it up, but feel me now. The groups we all know and love who have made it on a grander scale outside of Texas, all started by working the network of clubs and retail throughout the state itself. Today we have more people rapping than ever, and I don't see the network being worked as hard as it once was. So I felt like it was time to try and inspire my young homeys trying to make it, to take some of these simple steps and to see what happens.
Red Bull liked the idea and helped me expand upon it and ultimately accepted it. So I picked artists from our four biggest cities - The Niceguys from Houston, A.Dd+ from Dallas, Kydd from Austin and Worldwide from San Antonio and we set out on a trek that became an incredible experience for us all.
(And yes, I know, there's plenty of other great artists in Texas, but these four, right now at this point in time, are the ones that I'm extra geeked about.)
The tour started out in Houston at Warehouse Live of course, the venue that straight up changed the game for live hip-hop in Houston. And Worldwide set it off, like he did everynight except for in his hometown of San Antonio, where he headlined.
Worldwide is a lyrical monster. A conscious street dude who cuts right to the chase. People could learn a lesson from Worldwide real talk. I been on him for some time now. He actually kind of shocked me the first time I heard him, and his live show, one deep, is incredible. Set the tone every night for real.
Slim had the realest jacket of the tour. I think I'ma have to make him some CDs though so he knows exactly what kind of realness that jacket represents. #rock
Austin's Kydd hit the stage second, he's one of the most unique voices in Texas. One of the things I like about him is that he has that laid back Texas style, but his voice is so unique it fits very well with some kinda out there beats.
And well, he's just kind of out there. Which is what I like.
A.Dd+ are some monsters as well. People keep comparing them to Outkast, which is cool but is kind of a lazy comparison. I personally see them as straight Dallas. By that I mean they have that Dallas boogie about them but they are also straight up hip-hop in its purest sense. I been going to hip-hop shows in Dallas since 1991 (word to Club Exodus) and honestly I have always recognized and loved the balance that city has always had between the gangsta shit, the dance shit and the pure classic hip-hop shit. It was something Houston did not have really back in those days and I always found the Triple D an inspiring place to visit. And A.Dd+ are definitely inspiring.
As is DJ Sober, dude is helping to majorly change the game one mix at a time.
I'm serious though, A.Dd+ reps what I always saw Dallas to be. A lot of fun, forward thinking with the music, supportive and open. It's real.
If they are the "Outkast of Dallas" so be it, but really mayne, its 2012, A.Dd+ is A.Dd+ and Thank God for them.
Brando from ADayandADream.com and my girl Stacey!
What up Uzoy! What up Teresa! Looking good woman! Everybody give Teresa a hug when you see her from me, everytime!
My Houston peoples! Mike Meegz, Rapid Ric, Lyall and super producer Trakksounds. Did you get that Intervention yet?
The Niceguys are another musical force to be reckoned with. I can't really even describe them. The words uncontrolled chaos come to mind as their music goes in so many different directions but still stays rooted in the most heavy party rocking aspect of hip-hop. These dudes know how to rock a party. And sound like no one else.
And on the soul/r&b tip it's that Jack Freeman, what a killer combo with The Niceguys.
Yves straight wreckin'.
Mannie Fresh headlined the Houston gig and wowsers! He came down and DJed and rapped. Played all his hits and also got on the mic and performed his hits.
Thats where the "Skooled" part of the tour came in. We got some legends to come take part in the tour by first sitting down, on the bus with the four groups and doing a lil mentor session, and then headlining the gig in the city they were in.
If you ever get a chance to sit down and talk music with Mannie Fresh, you should take it.
Mannie Fresh seen here with THE LEGEND Jeff B. I had no idea Mannie was rolling with Jeff B. Jeff held down the hip-hop portion and then some at WTUL for years. He's the man for real in New Orleans, at least to me, for many years.
And then yeah, I had to get a photo with the man.
Got up early the next day and hit the road to Fort Worth. I've been to Fort Worth a few times in my life but never really spent a lot of time there. Suffice it to say, that has to change.
Can't wait to see the official post footage. Here's A.Dd+ getting interviewed outside the Aardvark in Funkytown.
Free of the Niceguys (FREE TWISTED BLACK!)
The crowd was super fucking hype.
I guarantee most of these people never heard Worldwide, or possibly anyone on the tour, and they went ballistic from start to finish.
Kydd done kilt it.
You know you can still smoke cigarettes up in the club in Fort Worth? Is that like the last place on the planet where you can do that?
If so thats cool with me. I don't smoke cigarettes and prefer to not smell like cigarettes but like, I am not against the smoking of such things in bars.
The Niceguys went fucking ballistic on this particular night.
Halfway surprised the roof didn't pop of the building.
Also it was a thousand degrees up in there and crazy smoky, kinda like the good ol daze.
Paul Wall came down and came through.
Like only he can.
I haven't seen him do a solo set in a while and he really impressed me. Boy done kilt it.
As evidenced by this video.
The short drive to Dallas the next day allowed us to hit some retail. MAN I had a serious flashback walking into Big T I tell you whut. This used to be a main stop for me on trips to Dallas, to hit up Da Bomb Records and such. Got to catch up with Cap in there and just walk around and marvel at how things just kinda don't change. This is the spot for real. I tried toget some leather shorts, but I guess they were out of season. So I just bought the Real Story of Avon Barksdale, on DvD. I shoulda taken more photos, but I didn't want anyone in there thinking I was FBI, like they may or may not have thought back in the day when I was walking around with the guys from Pimp A Lot Records. THATS ANOTHER STORY COMPLETELY!
Didn't get any pics of Worldwide on stage, not sure why, but he kilt it and Kydd certainly did his thing.
The crowd was live.
Big time VIPs and shit.
If only they woulda had them chicken fangaz, also another story completely.
DALLAS DJ DROP IN THE PLACE!
This is A.Dd+'s home so they headlined of course, and wowsers, their city LOVES THEM!
Word to super producer Picnictyme.
Que P seen here with the On Air Divas! Some real people for real!
Slim Gravy choppin it up with DJ Drop.
Worldwide and Sam'aan, who made it to three of the six shows!
When I say A.Dd+ headlined, I mean headlined out of the four ont he tour, Chingo Bling actually headlined tonight and MAN it was good to see him rock a stage again. Its been a while for me as well, and dude hasn't missed a beat.
AND he dropped some real knowledge on the people. Crazy thing to me is both Chingo and Paul Wall said I was the one who did their first major interviews/photo shoots with them way back in the day. I actually did not know this, but was super stoked to learn this.
I don't hate all white people, in fact I like these dudes a lot. 3 generations of my contemporaries in the game real talk Cold Cris, Mason and Big Push
Hit the road to Austin. Planned a stop in Waco but alas and alak, we were slow rollin' a little bit. NO worries though, Austin was a SMASH! Our mentors in Austin were Cold Cris (seen above) from Yums and formerly of Mad Flava, and Nancy Byron of OGPR. They talked to the folks about merchandising and PR and well, they really gave a lot of game to these youths.
Get ya mind rite, kydd.
The Niceguys blew it up as always.
That boy Candlestick in hypemode.
Kydd headlined in his hometown and certainly did not disappoint
DJ Charlie in the mix.
Nancy Byron whylin out in the cold seen here with my wife Melissa. I don't really want to know what they were talking about.
Pacboi Tank in the place!
Danja and Do Wrong two of Texas finest!
LEGENDS! Cold Cris and Baby G of Mad Flava (and 2AWK check the resume) in the house. Man this meant a lot to me to see this right here. Wish I coulda got Cris on the mic and Baby G in the mix but alas and alak, those days are gone... I guess. They coulda rocked half of "Feel tha Flava" and the short song "I Like to Smoke Weed and Listen to Hip-Hop."
Cris and G seen here with the boy White Tee.
It's hard to explain the amount of history that exists within this photo right here, but I've been thinking about that a lot lately.
Then it was off to San Antonio, where the crew had an off day for the Super Bowl, which ended up being a Stupor Bowl of sorts, for the crew.
Why this place trying to be all trendy and shit. Shit, owls are so trendy and shit ;)
Michael Watts checking out the graffiti outside The Yard.
The show that night was downtown at On The Half Shell where they were not making oysters, no they were making chicken wings WORD TO THAT!
They were also doing live graf and burning incense up in the club. I wonder if thats why my throat feels like sandpaper. I dunno.
Another incredible night though. San Antonio really brought the energy!
Kydd seen here with Stephanie of Austin Knight Vintage pon di bus!
Poor Vida rolled with us the whole time, can't wait to see all their post tour footage they really put it down!
Worldwide headlined in his hometown and man oh man the place exploded.
The San Antonio legends Question? and Shame Gutta in the place.
Big time manager Rosa and friend! Rosa heads one of the hardest hustlin teams in hip-hop today #ADDHOE
Team includes Sarine aka Sabina aka Dr. Ireeneee seen here with EDDIE!
Shame Gutta and Worldwide put out one of my favorite songs last year, entitled "By Me," find it online and jam to it, it's a jam.
Soren Baker came down and came through for the second half of the trip and is posting official reports on the Red Bull website word the f up to that YET ANOTHER LEGEND IN THIS GAME! Seen here with Michael Watts about to do a variation of the Mork from Ork handshake.
WHo just so happened to WRECK THE WHOLE PLACE ON DOWN!
I have watched and listened to Watts for years and I will tell you straight up, his club rocking skills have skyrocketed. Dude can rock a party into oblivion.
Haven't been to Corpus Christi in years and this was a great place to end things. I had no idea they had it goin on so live down there! Word to the streetwear store Produce, DJ Dus and his potnas, and the coolest sushi restaurant I have ever been to this side of Uchi, SUSHIBAR. SUSHIBAR is like, the hip-hop sushi spot, real talk, everyone has to experience this place one day. Amazing.
California Kid in the house. Dude needs to get signed. He da bessssssss.
Some of us were feeling like this after the tour ended, but at this point we were all still pretty energized. But I know when it was all said and done, I kinda felt like this dude.
Sad this video is only 1:50 cuz he went off for a good 10 minutes. Maybe more. This my people right here. There's more footage, I gotta find it.
He tried to follow Bun B on to the Sceniccruiser but Truck took care of that fairly easily.
This is THE SPOT! Wait till you hear the freestyle all the guys + Bun B dropped in their studio whooooooooo that was fun. California Kid outshined them all but oh well, another lesson learned.
Had to go pay respects to my girl Selena, RIP. I still remember the day she was killed. OG Oscar pointed out the Days Inn where it happened. What a fucking tragedy. That story is so sad. Also RIP Whitney Houston. Another tragic story.
Eddie left his mark.
Worldwide opened up the last night of the tour and light tears were shed all around from the whole crew.
Sam'aan interviewed Bun B.
The Niceguys showed us that they know every woman in Corpus Christi.
Miss Amedica was in the building.
These girls were in the building.
And it all wound down outside the club, The House of Rock, on the street, where many of us said our final good byes. I will say one thing about this tour, some real relationships were formed. Respect was given and moves were made. If this doesn't springboard into something bigger for all involved my name isn't Matt Sonzala aka Matt SoReal aka Pushermania aka Mr. At Least Try To Get 4 Hours Of Sleep Every Night.
It... went... down...
None of this would have happened without my main man for many years, Scuba Steve Balser. We are all forever in your debt man, oh what a job this is! And yo, he's a hell of a host too. I was watching him like, "Thank God I am not up there." He knows what to say whereas I would have just gotten drunk and cussed like it was 1995. Man it felt good to do some real things with some real people. I think we really accomplished something on this tour. When's the next one? I miss Eddie.