By Jacob Katel
By Laurie Charles
By Nate "Igor" Smith
By Abel Folgar
By Kat Bein
By Jacob Katel
Alicia Keys (posted 11/13/07): "The Alicia Keys/Ross Hogg reggae remix? What do you think? I didn't think it was possible to improve on the original, but this is the joint! In short, it's dope. I'm also not sure smoovely is a word, but I think it's tremendous and I plan to use it. Smoove it out on the laptop. If somebody figures out how to download the thing, holllerrr.
(posted 11/19/07): We left off at Alicia Keys. Did you hear her stage name was going to be Alicia Wild instead of Alicia Keys? Yeah. Good call on whoever told her to swap in Keys for the stripper surname. She's killing it right now, isn't she? Did you see the American Music Awards last night? If given the choice, I would have passed on that mess they had Beyoncé up there doing, but is it coincidence that Alicia had the reggae performance? I think not. She must have seen the massive response my blog got and decided to [go in] that direction. And who knew a unitard could be so fly. I suppose if you add Beenie Man to most anything, it's dope. If he performed at a Mercury game, I think I might dunk.
Houston: Teeing off with Scarface
BY CHRIS GRAY
Remember how everyone thought Snoop Dogg wearing golf gear in 2004's Starsky & Hutch and those Chrysler commercials with Lee Iacocca was so funny? Well, a couple of days before Thanksgiving, on-again, off-again Geto Boy and Houston rap legend Scarface strolls into the clubhouse at the Hermann Park Golf Course clad in a white Wildcat Golf Club polo, navy shorts, and socks (no spikes allowed inside), and no one bats an eyelash. He is, after all, here almost every day.
But today Scarface is here for a press conference to hail the December 4 release of Made, his first proper album since 2002's The Fix. It's a strange interview. He's cordial but seems distracted, fiddling with his iPhone and flipping through copies of local hip-hop magazines. Asked if he'll make another album after Made, he just shrugs. Rapping, it seems, is now something he can take or leave. Nonetheless, Scarface and his erstwhile label Rap-a-Lot have mended enough fences for him to return to the fold (both with the Geto Boys and solo) after a one-album departure to Def Jam South for The Fix.
After the press conference, Face allows the Houston Press to follow him onto the links for a couple of holes. He has already revealed he was a big Kiss fan growing up, enjoys everyone from AC/DC and Led Zeppelin to Steely Dan and the Eagles ("and that's just my iPhone"), and is also a fan of local rockabilly. "You ever heard of the [Flaming] Hellcats?" he asks, preparing to tee off. "[Frontman Jaime Hellcat] is a good friend of mine. I talk to Jaime a lot. I want to see them get it."
Houston Press: What was your favorite music to come out this year?
Scarface: I didn't really have any. What came out this year? Did Coldplay come out this year?
What have you been listening to?
Radiohead. Old Radiohead. Not much, though. I'm going to fuck [the ball] up.
Do you have any artists on your label, Runaway Slave?
Product. Product is an artist.
What about the 50 and Kanye albums?
Kanye had a brilliant album this year. [Swings; to ball] Get down, get down!
What about the new Jay-Z?
I haven't heard it yet. I bet it's pretty brilliant. I heard some of it; I think it's brilliant.
What about the 50 album?
I didn't listen to it. Did you?
No.... What was the last record you got really excited about?
Mine. Or Kanye's.
What did you like about the Kanye record?
I liked its originality. That wasn't a bad drive, was it?
No. Are there any rock albums that came out this year that you liked?
No one came out. Who came out?
Well, Spoon had a pretty big record. Radiohead.
I didn't download [Radiohead]. I want to buy it because I really love that band.
What's your favorite Radiohead album?
I really like [starts singing, more or less on key] "Don't leave me hiiiiigh, don't leave me dryyyyy ..." ["High and Dry," from 1995's The Bends]. I love that song. I'm going for an eagle right here. [Swings] Awww, slow down, ball! Shit. I fucked up my eagle. Fuck!
[He two-putts for a bogey.]
Do you still buy CDs?
I buy everything that I like.
Tell me more about Product.
One guy's from Mississippi, and the other kid's from San Francisco. I think it's some of the most brilliant rap put together from different parts of the world.
You said earlier you've been playing a lot of blues. What kind of blues are you into?
Old Delta blues. Muddy Waters's old Plantation recordings. Robert Johnson, Blind Willie McTell, Son House.
What have you been listening to the most recently?
Reggae. Peter Tosh, Bob Marley. The old one-drop reggae.
Do you go out and see a lot of music?
No. I don't really know what's going on, man. I'm totally out of sync with what's happening right now.... I just make music, man. I know who my fan base is. See, I'm kind of cheating, man. I grew up with a houseful of musicians. My cousin is Johnny Nash, "I Can See Clearly Now" Johnny Nash. So I know what to do just by watching what he did. He had a brilliant career. He wrote one of the biggest songs in music history.