On the just-wrapped Red Bull Skooled tour, four up-and-coming Texas rap acts and a DJ toured the state and were joined along the way by iconic Lone Star State mentors Bun B, Michael 5000 Watts, Cold Cris, Chingo Bling, and Paul Wall, as well as Texas transplants Mannie Fresh and publicist extraordinaire Nancy Byron. Each act brings a distinct sound and style to the table. Here’s an overview of the next crop of top-tier rap talent coming from the Texas.
Representing: Austin, Texas
Favorite Artist Right Now: “Blu because of his artistic insight and his sample choices. The way he delivers his music to the listener is very intriguing. He’s not really giving it to you outright. You have to really dig between the lines to get it.”
On Rotation In Your iPod: “Blu. Kanye West. BB King. Sam Cooke. I grew up on older music. It was always playing on my grandmother’s house and my mom’s house. We always listened to Sam Cooke and B.B. King. Then I started going beyond that and digging further and further into records. That’s how I started getting into collecting and digging.”
What You Sound Like: “It’s a futuristic version of the old stuff of early ‘90s hip-hop like A Tribe Called Quest.”
Whose Career Do You Admire: “I’d like to have a career like Kanye West. I think he’s successful at what he likes to do.”
What Is Your Goal: “My main goal is to make good music and to motivate my listeners to do what they love and to follow their dreams.”
Representing: Dallas, Texas.
Favorite Artist Right Now: “Cee Lo Green because he’s the most innovative creator in music that I’ve ever heard. He’s reinvented himself five times. He still has a stamp in the hip-hop market.” - Slim Gravy “I mainly listen to Kendrick Lamar, ScHoolboy Q, Big K.R.I.T. and us. - Paris Pershun.
On Rotation In Your iPod: “I listen to Kendrick Lamar and TDE. They’re truly talented and have good production.” - Slim Gravy.
What They Sound Like: “We make universal ghetto funk. A lot of people call us a perfect fusion of OutKast and UGK.” - Slim Gravy.
Whose Career Do You Admire: “I really like the way Kendrick Lamar is doing his thing coming up. He’s doing all kinds of tours and getting notoriety from damn near everybody. If you didn’t know who he was today and you found out who he was today, you’d think he was signed to a major label and has this billion dollar push, but he doesn’t. He’s winning everybody over by his lyrics and his creativity.” - Paris Pershun.
What Is Your Goal: “I’m trying to perfect our show. That’s how we’re going to get paid, so we’ve got to make it the best that we can.” - Slim Gravy.
Representing: Houston, Texas
Favorite Artist Right Now: “Kendrick Lamar. The dude is fearless. He does the type of stuff that I would like to embody: just doing what you want to do, how you want it to sound, wearing what you want to wear. He’s unapologetic.” - Easy Yves Saint.
On Rotation In Your iPod: “The Niceguys, Kendrick Lamar, Casey Veggies, Dom Kennedy.” - DJ Candlestick.
What They Sound Like: “I hear Jay-Z, Jim Jones, Cam’ron or Fabolous, but I’m from Queens, New York and I’m in the South so I think people are just saying I sound like an East Coast rapper.” - Easy Yves Saint.
Whose Career Do You Admire: “Kanye West. I don’t know if I’d want to be that famous, but his path to getting there and doing what he wanted to do. He set trends and has evolved with his production. Every tour he does is like an event. He’s had a great career. He’s a self-made guy.” - Free
What Is Your Goal:“Rap or no rap, I want to be a family man. I want to be a well-off family man. I don’t want to be a father struggling to take care of his kids. Hip-hop is a means to an end for me. I’m trying to be super-dad.” - Easy Yves Saint.
Representing: San Antonio, Texas.
Favorite Artist Right Now: “Andre 3000. He’s so lyrical and he’s not afraid to just be himself.”
On Rotation In Your iPod: “There’s a lot of Kendrick Lamar, Big K.R.I.T., my stuff. Kendrick and K.R.I.T. are representing the new.”
What They Sound Like: “In the words of Pimp C, it’s country rap tunes. I like to be conscious with it and do everything, but to sum it up, it’s country rap tunes.”
Whose Career Do You Admire: “Bun B because he’s able to stay so relevant. If you’re the newest cat rapping right now, Bun B is willing to reach out to you. Bar for bar, he’s with everybody that’s rapping right now. He’s got the longevity and has been able to sustain it without being on TV and on the radio all the time. He can just show up and you’re going to go because it’s Bun B.”
What Is Your Goal: “I want to have sustained success with music. It’s a passion for me. I want to be able to feed my family off it and make this my career.”
DJ Sober (one-third of A.Dd+)
Representing: Dallas, Texas.
Favorite Artist Right Now: “Big K.R.I.T. I like his sound. I’m a little more old school, so I like that he’s bringing a soulfulness back to the Southern sound. It may not necessarily be a new formula, but I just like his sound. I think it’s good music to ride around in the car to.”
On Rotation In Your iPod: “I listen to all kinds of stuff, from Big K.R.I.T., A.Dd+, Toro Y Moi. As for old stuff, De La Soul is probably one of my favorite hip-hop groups of all time. OutKast, too.
What They Sound Like: “A.Dd+ has a really diverse sound. They just don’t do one thing well. They have a range of styles. You might have a song that appeals to the sample-minded heads, like “Insomniac Dreaming,” or just a crazy song like “Genocide” that dance DJs could put in rotation.”
Whose Career Do You Admire: “DJwise, it would be Jazzy Jeff. I like to be a perfectionist when it comes to blending and just being clean. There’s a lot of producers that produce well but that aren’t very good DJs. It works both ways. But Jazzy Jeff is an amazing producer and amazing DJ. His live performances will show you that. He’s still getting booked.”
What Is Your Goal: “I’ve always wanted to work with a group and to be part of a group that would tour. I wanted to be the backbone of a group, part of the original formula of a DJ and a group. I have that with AD.d.”