Juicy J “Bands Make Her Dance” Live in Houston
Dom Kennedy Kicked off his Texas tour in Houston last night performing fan favorites “When I Come Around” “Grindn” & “OPM” and debuting a new track off the Yellow Album.
Kendrick Lamar. Pint sized, Overly Dedicated Compton native whose third solo project Section .80 pushed an ungenerous 10,000 units in its first week. Doesn’t sound like the recipe for an artist on a sold out headlining tour, does it? Factor in Section .80 being exclusively available on iTunes without major label support, and 10,000 units sold equals one dedicated fan base. Sold-out, multicultural crowds congregated to Warehouse Live to witness the Black Hippy leader represent what he dubs the “crack baby generation.”
Fellow Black Hippy member ScHoolboy Q opened the show with “Bet I Got Some Weed” before rocking into the crowd with the ASAP Rocky assisted hit “”
Kendrick Lamar begins his set with “Buried Alive” off Drake’s sophomore albumTake Care. In “Buried Alive” Kendrick describes a deadly addiction known as fame that comes with being apart of the music business:
Propain covers the summer issue of Nightlife Houston Magazine interviewed by yours truly, Queen Bobbi. Nightlife Houston’s Henry P also assists in the conversation. Peep the full interview with Propain and I as he opens up about how Scarface influenced his decision to rap, what he looks for in women, the creation of New Houston, and his dream collaboration.
Queen Bobbi: I want to start from middle school because thatâs when you started rapping, right?
Propain: Rightâ¦how did you know that?
QB: I did my researchâ¦you started rapping in middle school. Were you playing basketball at the time?
What made you get into the rapping game?
I learned how to rap in 5th grade so I was already pretty goodâ¦by 7th or 8th grade my best friend and I had a group. Presidential Records, had Z-Ro at the time, wanted to sign us but my friendâs father was a preacher. He wasnât having that. But we were always really good at it.
Â Was your rap name Propain then?
No it wasnât Propain; it was Lil C (laughs).
Â Your rap name was Lil C? (laughs)
Yea it was Lil C, like Lil Keke, Lil Flip.
Â So you wanted to be a âlilâ too
I wanted to be like everybody else. Being from Houston at the time either you were either a âBigâ or a âLil.â
Â You got your 1st record deal offer in 8th grade. Presidential Records at the time was one of the biggest labels in Houston…
Yea they were doing their thing. They were based in Hiram Clarke right next door to our barbershop so we used to go up there; told them we rap. They were feeling us so we kept going up there until we told his dad. He was like hell no.
Was HAWK with them at the time?
He wasnât. This was around the time when they had just got Z-Ro. He was starting to come up there; they were still fresh. They had a song called âAlready.âÂ It was some dudes from the Clarke; it had Pokey, yea HAWK was on the song, and thatâs when they just starting to heat up when Z-Ro came around.
Had you met Z-Ro?
Never met him. I seen him up there but Z-Ro wasnât the most approachable dude (laughs).
He wasnât approachable then and he still isnât now. But you know him now…
Yea we cool now I go to his crib now. It took a long time; we used to see each other and keep it moving.
Where did you go to high school?
All this was basketball related, my coach in 8th grade, we won the championship; he got a job at Westbury.Â He took like 7 of us to Westbury. We werenât supposed to be there we lied about being in the magnet program. We were over there playing basketball.Â They found out about that; he got fired. So I transferred to Gulf Shores. Then went to Hightower. Â After that, my mom got a job in Hawaii so I moved to Longview; finished high school there.
You were bouncing around
I’ve been doing that all my life.
Did the basketball season ever start?
We were undefeated 33-0 thatâs why they did an investigation on us. None of us was suppose to be there; we were cheating.
Were you still rapping then or did you put it on the back burner?
I was rapping then. Crazy thing about it my best friend was 10x better than me. He canât rap now. We was playing basketball together and rapping. Even in 9th grade it was always was in my head that after I finished hooping I was going to rap. I thought I was going to the NBA and be the best player that could rap (laughs).
What was it like being from Hiram Clarke but going to Westbury? That’s two different worlds.Â
And it isnât cool.Â But you got to think I was 5â4 and a freshman. We bumped heads a little but for the most part we played basketball. When you play basketball you donât want to get in trouble, and you know basketball players think they cool.
Did you have all the girls?
You ask anybody that went to the school at the time, we were coolest guys at the school. We were 33-0 undefeated; everybody in the city was talking about us cause we were cheating.
Cheating? Or, organizing a team?
Thatâs cheating (laughs).
Then you went to college…Â
I played for a junior college called Brookhaven then I went to Lamar State my sophomore year in college. It’s crazy. I came home one weekend; Scarface was shooting a video in my neighborhood. I didnât know him. He had a group named The Product.Â They had an intermission where they were rapping around the turntable.
I told my friend, âIâm about to go and rap, dogâ and it was destiny. They wasnât letting nobody in the crib when I tried to go in. SecurityÂ wouldn’tÂ let me in. I yelled at Scarface like I knew him and told him tell security to let me in, and he was like âlet him in.â All my friends tried to come in behind me, they was like no. When I got in there, Iâm in awe. Scarface was like donât come in here if you ain’t gone rap so I was like fuck it. I spit something I wrote and as I rapping. I can see Scarface nodding to his friend like mane. So Iâm amped.
The whole time I’m rapping I’m like yea it’s about to go down. I’m about to get signed to Scarface. When I was done rapping he told one of his dudes to get my number.
Scarface asked me what I do. I told him I hoop. He said, âI ain’t never seen you hoop, but you’re going to make more money rapping than playing basketball.â That fucked my head. I told my mama I quit; then I went to school, told my coach Iâm done. Thatâs it, Iâm moving home.
You quit? (laughs)
I quit. Iâm done. I moved back home, started going to UHD. It was crazy going back and forth with the dudes. They telling me we gone get you in studio soon. After The Productâs album came out, their numbers changed and I ain’t hear from them anymore.
By Scarface telling me that [I could rap], it just took my confidence through the roof. I was like itâs gone happen. I never seen Scarface again until 8 months ago. I told him the story, he started laughing.
What year was that?
That was my sophomore year in college so from there it wasnât shit popping for me. So I was just going to school and working.
Fast-forward to 3 years ago, Bun B had the Houston for Haiti [event]. I didnât know Bun B, but somehow somebody pulled some strings for me to perform.
I performed a song where I named like every Houston rapper. Thatâs when my whole life changed over night. Bun was like that shit was tight, and everybody that was there was like that shit went hard.
I called in to work.Â I swear to God I was on the news for that [performance]. The managers was like I thought you were sick, we seen you on the news rapping.
What was your excuse?
Shit, that wasn’t me (laughs). My name is not Propain my name is Chris, that wasn’t me. I never admitted to nobody at work that was [me] or that I rapped.
I start working on my mixtape Other Side of the Fence.Â Put that out and from there people started to hear about me. I came in contact with a dude that invested a little in me, I quit my job, and from there everything start[s] happening.
Lets go back to the moment you were in the room with Scarface, do you remember the rap or the first line?
Nah man. That was my go-to rap, too. It was one [of] those raps when I was in class. I would add to it piece by piece so every line was dope. If it wasnn’t dope, I would just put it to the side. Every day in class I used to write on it so it was my one go-to. Everyone I spit for, thatâs the rhyme I used. So I knew when I spit it for him he was gone feel it.
And it was no knock to The Product cause them niggas went hard, but I knew I went harder.Â But I donât remember the rap.
I remember the whole day hanging wit Face; heâs a real cool guy. He was just talking to me like he really knew me. That was love.
Itâs amazing how things come full circle; you met Scarface at a video shoot then 2 months ago you were in the same video…
He tried to sign me.
He tried to sign you? Did that not work out?
At the time when it went down I was still trying to weigh my options. I don’t think I was ready to sign with anyone and a lot of labels were calling.
It’s Scarface! I would love to be signed with him, but I just felt like at the time when he presented it to me, I wasnât ready to make any sudden decisions. I just told him Iâm going to wait.
What was that like being on the same video set with Scarface and Willie D?
That was dope. Thatâs the Ghetto Boys. The whole time I was there I was like “damn I canât wait to tell my mama” (laughs). Them dudes are real cool. Willie D was like he had been hearing about me and when he heard the song I was the first new school artist that came to mind. I was like damn.Â I had never met Willie D. He called my phone and was like I want you to get on it. That was big.
In 2010 you dropped Departure. What was going through your head? Were you trying to prove a point?
Yea I was trying to prove a point thatâs why itâs called Departure. It was really like a lot of new wave of underground artists in Houston, but there isnât’ really a lot of shit going down. Musically wise, we had our time when everybody was on then it submerged, and we had the Frontline then people was really getting hip to the underground rap [scene]. Again it was one big ass class so I just wanted to separate myself. Not saying them dudesÂ aren’tÂ dope, but I just wanted to depart from everybody that’s why I called it Departure.Â That mixtape was so much shit I just wanted to show every side of me. All types of music; street music, backpack music, for the ladies, just something in every lane.Â Departure is like I was trying to prove a point and Dangerous Minds is me.
When Frontline first started were you hesitant to get down because everyone gave the New Houston label the side-eye?
I got to put this out there with the Frontline or the New Houston. It all [Frontline & New Houston] started with Propain and Delo.Â We was the first people to be like we gone get together on some shit, and Kane was a person who brought it to the forefront.
So from there we were the headliners of that shit. A lot of people didnât know that it was really Delo and I. It wasnâtÂ more-soÂ like we new and you’re old or anything like that. When other people got involved it became more of a clique. Thatâs why you see dudes like us; we quit saying that shit and separated ourselves from that shit totally because it became a scapegoat for dudes to be noticed.
Some of the first people to distance themselves from New Houston are ironically you and Delo…Â
Because that shit became so ugly. The crazy thing about it, you had certain dudes that was like willing to go âIâm New Houstonâ riding against whoeverÂ isn’tÂ New Houston then it became who is New Houston and who isn’t? And who are you to say this guy is New Houston but he isn’t?
That was one of my first questions, who is New Houston? And what does New Houston mean? are you saying New Houston is better than what the Old Houston was offering?
It was more so just a new crop of dudes; we didn’t want it to be on some clique shit like you can’t get it in. It was just when the shit got out of hand thatâs when me and Delo was like man we got to distance ourselves from this shit. We got wack dudes saying it and you donât want none of the OG dudes feeling disrespected. And I was one of them dudes, like not on no bragging shit, they fuck with me. From the ESG, Big Pokey, Bun B, Scarface and Iâm not about to mess up my relationship over any dumb shit. So it was like that shit is over and done with it. Funny at the time it was just like whatever the shit was funny. It was a crazy period
At the beginning of it all, it (New Houston) really wasnât that crucial. The people around it made it crucial…
It wasnât. But I will say this and dudes can’t take this shit from nobody. Frontline changed the culture again in Houston. It made dudes start back getting on they underground shit, like it made dudes really see we can get shows without being signed and shit. Like now you start seeing all these showcases. It became cool. All that shit ushered in Propain, Marcus Manchild, Doughbeezy, all that. Regardless if you ever performed in that shit the Frontline started all that shit cause we didnât have no outlet for dudes to be performing and coming up in Houston. Like Kirko wouldn’t have got signed if it wasn’t for that Frontline or labels wouldnât be looking at me [if not] forÂ Frontline. Not saying the concert itself but it just brought so many people in buildings to hear us.
To me it seems like it brought a lot people with talent and put them in one room. Had that not happened they wouldnât have had a place to go to find the talent…
Exactly cause dudes wasnât getting no shows; especially not at the magnitude. We were headlining our own shows. Dudes wasnât doing that; that shit was big.
You put your stamp on Departure.Â âSay I WontâÂ was on 97.9 The Box and you performed at the Car show. What was that like?
That was dope. That was 30,000. That shit was amazing. That was one of the best shows Iâve had. That was fun.
You had Trey Songz on a track. Were you in the studio together?
Yea. I recorded 70 percent of Departure in LA.
So you Hollywood on us…
Naw, thatâs just the producer I was working with out there in LA.
Itâs fair to say if youâre a legend in Houston, Propain has worked with you and also has worked with some of the biggest names in music. Trey Songz is one of the hottest singers out and Big Sean is one of the hottest rappers out. What would be Propainâs dream collaboration?
My dream collaborations [are] AndrÃ© 3000 and Nas. When I get them Iâm done.
Youâre done with music?
No like Iâm done, I donât need no more features. Shit Iâm done, thatâs all I want. My Nas feature and, oh, Joe Budden.
When you walk in the studio and Joe Budden, Nas, & Andre are there and theyâre like letâs work, do you have something already planned in your mind on what that track will be?
No. This is the thing with Nas; if it was up to me or I had my way I would be like get on some rebel shit. Real, righteous, rebel shit. Lets get a 70s mind frame, just real conscious. I want to go in, us against society. Thatâs what I would really like. Thatâs NAS, Niggas Against Society. Thatâs what his name stands for.
Ok Joe Budden, lets go in on the âScottie Pippenâ type of song. Go in on some ex girlfriends, lets make some pain music.
And with Andre, lets go left. No boundaries, all the way. Nothing typical. Iâm going to have Nas and Joe BuddenÂ on my first album, I already know. Andre? I donât know. Iâm still dreaming. And would love to have Lauryn Hill. But Andre and Lauryn, thatâs far fetch. I was actually supposed to do a song with Joe when he came down here for the concert but it was bad timing. But it will happen.
Speaking of Â âScottie Pippen,â was that a real life situation? Did you really go through her phone and did you really see Marcus Thornton [then of New Orleans Hornets]?
Yea thatâs all real. I really did. I didnât go through her phone I went through her computer. I had some real beef with her about that song because we donât talk no more. Being that we had stopped talking she donât listen to my music. She [hasnât] heard Dangerous Minds and we [werenât] talking at all. She texted me out the blue with “???”. And I already knew what she was talking about. It was like, man. But the crazy thing about it, I donât regretÂ that shit. Even though we got back cool, we are on speaking terms now, I donât regret it. Because I didnât do shit wrong and I didnât say her name. Second of all, it’s real. It [would] be different if I lied (laughs).
But did she really f*ck him?
I mean we will never know. But in my mind, I can tell you what goes on in my mind when I watch Sports Center.
Lets talk about Joe Budden. He is in a group called Slaughterhouse. Lets say Jimmy Iovine came to you, “Eminem and I need a super group out of Houston,” who would you pick?
Propain, Delo, Doughbeezy, Marcus Manchild. And that was actually a super group that we made. We started working on something and it’s just our schedules just didnât work.
That sounds like “I Keep That”
If you listen to the song I say “Dirty Diamonds.” That was the name of the group. That (âI Keep Thatâ) was a radio single. We got songs, like, we was working on an album.
So you were working on an album?
You got 4 dudes coming up, you got 4 egos. Let me tell you when shit like that works; when dudes have reached their pinnacle and shit start going bad for them. Thatâs how Slaughterhouse got started.Â If you look at all them dudes they all dope, but all them dudes shit isn’t going how they want it to be.
I agree. They were not popping like they are as a group, individually.
They needed that more than that needed them.
I mean Iâm not pointing any fingers but every one of us think we’re that nigga right now. And we are that nigga in our own right.Â It wasnât really a problem, dudes just working.
Itâs just the reality of the situation. It doesnât have to be a problem.
Itâs not a problem. We all cool. We’re getting ready to shoot the “I Keep That” video next week.
The things that you learn…so it was definitely good chemistry?
Oh yea. Thatâs a lot of talent. I already knew what we did came out dope and then it was a Drumma Boy produced track. It’s bigger than HP3, it’s bigger than Dangerous Minds, it’s bigger than Blue Magic, it’s bigger than all that.
I agree. What is Dirty Diamonds? Who came up with that?
Stalley made a stop in Houston Wednesday night in promo for #SavageJourneyToTheAmericanDream. It was a very modest crowd, but those that were there enjoyed the show. Check out video of Stalley performing “330” “Pound” and a surprise performance by Killa Kyleon.