Our segment Thursdays in the Mix’s main mission is to give much needed attention to talent originating from Houston and there might not be anything that embodies our mission better than the Houstock movement. Lead by curator Breezy (@ByxBreezy), Houstock is an outdoor art and music festival slated for this year that turned into a movement made up of underground performers, producers, DJs, painters and more. This group of artists are set out to unite and support each other in order to create the next big wave on the music scene, as well as give a unique view on the underground scene.
Compared to other large urban areas, Houston’s current talent has had a difficult time in recent years reaching the national ear for a number of reasons. Our city tends to be more recognized for the success of work from the label Swishahouse of years past. When it comes to the minds of the broader audience, we are majorly known both for that solid run a decade or so ago and more presently for the raps of out-of-towners about us (e.g. Drake). In addition, there seems to be a lack of backing from large media outlets; anyone down here paying attention to music will know of a rising artist but outside the region things kind of go mum.
Houstock has a more homegrown, grassroots type of feel to it that’s more in touch with the times. A strong unified push like this might be needed to get national attention if that’s one of the end goals here. What I like the most about the Houstock movement is their formula: the combination of ground work and online promotion. These artists dont just have a soundcloud link to their names; they’re also out being seen doing performances, open mics nights, and hosting other events around the town. At the same time they understand the current climate and know the importance of online promotion. More and more musical acts these days are getting discovered online, and it puts you a serious disadvantage if you hold onto that traditional aversion to the internet seen in some Houston entertainers.
I was introduced to the movement primarily through Houstock Mixtape Vol. 1, a dope collaboration tape of many of the underground artists involved with the local operation. There is no date set for the Houstock festival yet, but in the meantime get more versed with the homemade talent and listen to the tracks and collab project below.
Rapping over Chance the Rapper’s “Angels” beat, Bossman BOB stood out to me for his uplifting life rhymes that don’t by any means come across forced. The Houston emcee drew some resemblance to Jay Rock with his flow that gave us a glimpse of his grind and struggle to put on for his people and hood.
Mike Checc uses this hazy, brooding instrumental to paint a dark scene for his listeners as he takes us on a journey of events affecting his career up till now. The single off of his latest mixtape The Mike Checc displays the rapper’s polished bars and skill in creating his own lane, one that stands aside from a conventional Houston sound.
Check out the rest of the artful collaboration mixtape by streaming it here and follow the movement on Twitter at @Houstock.
And follow me on Twitter at @GotMarks for more music and sports commentary, with the occasional Jordan crying face meme thrown in.