HOUSTON, TX - On December 13th, 2014 Dpat joined Fat Tony, The New Mercies, Josiah Gabriel and Guilla as they descended upon Walter's for what turned out to be an incredible show. One that after seeing, made me so happy for everything that has been culminating in the underground of our city for the last few years. Surprisingly, I hadn't been to Walter's since when it was on Washington. Those were the days! Back when Fat Cat's was across the street and underground progressive acts like The Blood Brothers and Botch would come through. The old Washington had that 50% chance of your car getting broken into, fist fights in the street, bikers, punks, hippies, goths, and teenagers - lots of them. We were everywhere. Local acts like The JonBenet, The Kidnap Soundtrack, Highwater Waltz, Listen Listen, The Last Starfighter, and even Dpat's drummer, Jordan Brady's old band The Finalist.
Houston has come a long way since then. The scene has changed - it's shifted into something else which should be the case if you are progressing the art in your city. I am sure some of us have long lists of pro's and con's when it comes to this discussion, but I think the important thing to focus on is that everything is more recognized on a worldwide stage than it used to be. When I say this, I'm looking at it from a "highest concentration" point of view. There is obvious a deep, rich artistic legacy that stems deep into the heart of this city - from Lighting Hopkins and Jandek to Johnny "Guitar" Watson, to Robert Earl Keen and Townes Van Zandt and of course ZZ Top. Houston's musical past runs deep with talent. In the late eighties/early nineties The Geto Boys and DJ Premier helped establish Houston as a viable source for great hip-hop. Scarface and UGK helped carry the torch and both have left a deeply ingrained legacy which carries on today. Beyonce has solidified herself as the world's number one diva. Paul Wall, Slim Thug, Kirko Bangz, are all household names. So what does all this mean?
Now that I broke down our city's musical history in a paragraph, let's talk about the side of the city that's a little more hidden. You know... the side of Houston that remains relatively underground to most residents yet leaks out across the globe unannounced. The up-welling of this has been acts like The Suffers, Fat Tony, and The Ton Tons which are all based in the downtown area. I'm glad you're asking yourself, "Why did he just say 'downtown area'?" Houston is the largest city in the country with no zoning laws - meaning industrial, commercial, and residential are all stacked on top of one another. This effects our locale by breaking everything up into pockets, where the same interest might be found in three entirely different areas of town. Because of this fact, there is an interesting phenomenon that occurs. Every once in a while, you will find something leaking out from the underground, but from a disconnected "pocket". Enter Travis Scott and Dpat. Both of these artists have achieved a good amount for someone their age. Travis Scott is signed to T.I.'s Grand Hustle as a producer and separately signed to Kayne's G.O.O.D. Music as an artist. Dpat slipped by almost unnoticed with his 2014 Grammy nominated production; Wiz Khalifa's "Remember You" featuring The Weeknd. His collaborating with Soulection artist Sango, saw him eventually joining their Los Angeles based roster.
So I bet you're thinking, "...a musical article with all this mention of local Houston music history and no mention of DJ Screw!?". Got to save the best for last! So as we can all undoubtedly agree, the biggest influence on Houston culture in the passed decade, and a man who produced a sound that has leaked into international music, is none other than Robert Earl Davis - DJ Screw. May he rest in peace. His legacy and sound has been carried on by Michael Watts, OG Ron C, Z-RO and the rest of the Screwed Up Click (S.U.C.). Travis Scott and Dpat, who are undoubtedly Houston's hidden gems, can both be heard with tinges of Screw's influence leaking out of their pores into your ears. That syrupy, downtempo, dark hip-hop sound that is the birth and roots of the Modern Psychedelic Movement.
It is with great joy that I post the video below. Dpat's sounds represents everything about where Houston is headed. I wanted to inject a little psychedelic Houston-vibe into the production of this live video. Being a child of progressive-minded hippie parents, it gives me great joy to be part of the revival of the energy that my parents and so many more brought to life in the sixties. An energy that stems from The Beatles, Pink Floyd, and Jimi Hendrix all the way to the present day - DJ Screw. Yes, that is correct - DJ Screw. Screw was The King of Psychedelic Rap. I am laying claim to the birth of this title! I'm seriously serious for real and here's why. One day while cruising through the city bangin' Screw and Point Blank's "My Mind Went Blank" with S.U.C. producer Jhiame Bradshaw, I told him my epiphany of the title and he said, "You know Trev... I've never heard anyone say that before, but YOU RIGHT!". Robert Earl Davis is by far the biggest influence on the Houston sound.
The craziest thing about this city, is that no matter how well you think you know it, it always has something up it's sleeve.