The secret sauce in gaining support in Huston is simple, don’t be whack and don’t be lazy. During this post D.J Screw era, many local artists deemed Houston as a “hating” city when it comes to getting their music to the next level. And no lie, Houston is a tough city to conquer, but is this preconceived notion of Houston being a “crab in the bucket city” true?
I think not.
In this year alone, multiple Houston artists reached success at a historic pace. Already, Yung Al’s “Jungle Freestyle” became a street anthem, OTB Fastlane’s “Dawg Azz” is the No.1 song in the Southern region, Tobe Nwigwe’s influence is being broadcasted all over the world, little Alaya High is the youngest female rapper to sign to a major label, and Don Toliver is on pace to megastar status.
Not only that but Kiotti, a DJ personality for 97.9 The Box, Houston’s longest reigning hip hop radio station, utilizes his Instgram platform, with over a 100k followers, to showcase a lot of underground music.
How Sway? How? If Houston is a hating city, how are these artists the recipients of support and getting love shown? What’s the real dilemma artists have with the city?
I’ll tell you. Contrary to belief, Houston does support one another, if deserving, but the majority of local artists here feel entitled. They feel like people are supposed to rock with their music just because.
That’s the lazy mindset majority local artist face. Djs, bloggers, A&R’s, and anybody involved in the music industry is not going to jam your music because you say so. Even with talent, if you don’t put in the necessary groundwork, how are people going to know? That’s like having Beyoncé type of talent without the Beehive fan support.
Houston is a city overly saturated with rising talent. In this new age of Houston music, you have to be super creative, strategic and marketable. Ask yourself, “What differentiates me from the rest of the pack?”
OTB Fastlane, who’s only under Cardi B and Drake on Radio One’s Shazam local charts, said it himself they had to do more than just rap.
“Back in 2013, we were in the streets thinking about how we were going to attack the game with more than music.” Fastlane said in a recent interview at the OTB Studio, “We were making music, we were going through somethings. We then realized that it had to be something deeper than rap. We wanted to leave a stain in the rap game, so we came up with the bus idea like you can’t miss this bus.”
As you can see, nobody missed the bus. He came up with a gimmick that best fits him and sold it to the world. Now along with his turnt up music, every time you see a short yellow bus, it’s going to remind you of Fastlane. Creativity and catchy.
Don Toliver is just a workaholic. I don’t know if you’re familiar with this guy named Young Josh, but he’s the guy with the dreads from Houston who goes around freestyling for celebrities. He even went on The Breakfast Club a few years ago and freestyled for Charlemagne the God. Don came up with him. They made mixtapes and did multiple local shows together. Don’s success is a credit to him staying down and sticking to his style. He kept working and eventually ran into the right people.
Even then he still had to prove to Houston that he was the real deal. So that’s what he did with single after single. “Diva” went crazy, “Make Summ,” went dumb, “Backend” is still doing numbers and his verse on Travis Scott’s “Can’t Stay,” is an instant classic.
Right now, Houstonians are raving about Don. At Don Toliver’s Donny Womack mixtape release party people praised the up and comer.
D.J Chose said, “He (Don) jams. I sent his music over to my guys at Atlantic (Records) because I believed in him and next thing I know he was signed. “That’s what it’s all about.”
Houston hot spitter Dough Beezy also spoke highly of him.
“No rap cap, he (Don Toliver) is my favorite artists in the city right now. He seen me a year and a half ago at Warehouse Live and walked up to me, introduced himself and told me “he was going to be on.” He didn’t know me, and he told me he was going to be “one of the hottest in the city.”
Now with all this love going around in the city, how is it that your music isn’t where it needs to be yet? If you are out here networking and have a cool catchy gimmick, and you still haven’t received support, you could be one of them whack artists who are just popular. Being popular does help your music, but if your music is whack, your social status will only take you so far. So instead of slandering the name of our beloved city and blaming them for your lack of success, blame the people around you for continually letting you put out trash music.