Everyone has an opinion on why Houston-based hip hop artists – as great as they are – haven’t popped yet. I got a chance to talk to one of hip hop’s most knowledgeable and influential names on what the real deal is in H-tine.
In the words of my granny, “Opinions are like assholes: everyone has one.” Since opinions are so apparently prolific, who do you trust when you have a question like why Houston artists are popping as quickly as they should be? The answer is simple: find a legend. Luckily for me, I got to speak with one of the most significant names when it comes to Houston hip hop: OG Ron C.
OG Ron C is a DJ, record producer, radio personality for 93.7 The Beat in Houston, and entertainment and management company executive. Currently signed to OVO Sound, OG is the owner of urban music online radio station ChopNotSlop Radio, former DJ of Chamillionaire and Slim Thug, a cofounder of Swishahouse Records – dedicated to continuing the legacy of Pimp C, and the leader of the Chopstars – a group of DJs that specializes in chopped and screwed remixes of popular music. With all of that under his belt, he seemed pretty qualified to explain the phenomenon that is the underrated Houston artist.
HC: For lack of a better phrase, a lot of Houston artists feel like we’re a dick-riding city, meaning if one of the OG’s don’t put you on, no one will mess with your music. What is your take on that?
OG: Well, all the people who are saying that, look what they’re doing. Just evaluate what they’re doing. They’re probably sitting at home waiting for somebody to come help them. We didn’t do it, so why is everybody mad? Swishahouse didn’t wait for nobody to come help us do it. We didn’t worry about nobody, we [weren’t] crying…’Oh those OG’s ain’t puttin’ us on…’ Man, I’m sick of these whackass Houston artists that’s saying that shit. So all you whackass Houston artists that’s out there saying that shit, that’s why y’all ain’t no where: because y’all sittin’, waitin’ for somebody to give it to you.
The reason why Swishahouse is still a powerhouse today is cause we kicked in the doorway from the 44 –(Hope note: Acres Homes is a Houston neighborhood nicknamed the “44,” pronounced “fo-fo.” The name originates from the #44 bus route that goes through Acres Homes) – niggas gonna lay it down or get down, get down or lay it down, period. That’s it! Young people don’t have that attitude today. They have the Internet attitude. They don’t wanna hustle. When they tell you their song is out, where do they tell you it’s out? SoundCloud. Fuck SoundCloud! Ain’t nobody saying it’s at ‘me dot com.’ But nah, we’re running to other motherfuckers because we want other motherfuckers to give us something. SoundCloud ain’t brought Swishahouse a damn thing. We went and got our own fans and we grew that from there, and the artists that do that, that’s where they still [are]. They grow their fans from a base, so people get frustrated. ‘Nobody wants to help us. We (Houston) is dick-riding.’ We dick-riding what?
How are we ‘dick-riding’ when everybody is talking about us? Everybody is carrying white cups. Everybody is chopping and screwing their music. Everybody has low music now in their tone. The sub-bass was created in chopped and screwed music. So how are we dick-riding everybody?
It’s only a few artists you run into in the city of Houston that’s saying that: it’s either some old motherfuckers who can’t get away, or some young motherfuckers trying to get a handout. If you think about it, there’s nobody out there grinding like Swishahouse, so shut ya mouths…that’s they reason why you can’t get nowhere.
Everything we get is from somewhere else. If anything, we’re dick-riding New York. They started this whole shit. Come on, bro. Everybody gets something from somewhere else unless they made it up themselves, but it’s only black people and the urban shit that gets that rep. But who sets the fashion trend? Who decides if this spring is gonna be purple or red? So we dick-riding them because they said it’s gonna be purple? So we gonna go out and buy all purple shit because they said it’s purple? Man, that’s bullshit in our music game.
HC: When I was in middle school, everybody wanted to be a Slim Thug, a Paul Wall, a Chamillionaire, then it just got quiet. What do you feel like is the state of Houston hip hop now? What’s up next for us? We bubbling?
OG: Well, like I said, nobody is taking control. People always wanna be a part of something that somebody is taking control of. People wanted to be a part of Paul Wall, Chamillionaire, Swishahouse because they were in control of what was going on in music at the time. So who’s in control now? People wanna be a part of the Drakes, the Futures, the Migos. In the next ten years, people are gonna want to be a part of what the next people are doing in the next ten years.
Everybody is forgetting: this is entertainment; it’s not the rap game. It’s not. It’s entertainment. So everybody wants to run and hide, ‘Man, why the city ain’t doing this?’ Well, what are YOU doing for the city? Everybody just running and crying. We could’ve been doing the same shit in the 80s and 90s. We can keep crying or we can keep trying. But Swishahouse didn’t cry about it.
HC: Who is the hottest new Houston rapper?
OG: My ‘high’ goes by how you’re working and your work ethic. That will eventually break people into liking what you do and they’ll eventually find a song that they like and they wanna support. I like people’s hustle; I’m not really into their songs because a song can be gone tomorrow. If you’re not really hustling, you just got a good song, and I promise you, I’m not gonna see you next year. I see it all the time. So I don’t get involved in who is the hottest rapper, I go by who is showing longevity and who’s showing they wanna be here. As far as who’s continuing to do that and keep themselves relevant is new artists like Q. Guyton, Lyric Michelle (Hope note: who, btw, I previously wrote about as someone to look out for)…these artists are a curve ahead of a lot people, too, and their hustle and bustle is what makes them, too. Doughbeezy…Dead End Redd is probably out-hustling and bustling everybody out there now. You got XO, (DJ XO) is really out there hustling and bustling right now, Chose (DJ Chose), Beatkingz never stops. We got a whole bunch of people who are really working. Now it’s about media access and letting people know the music is out there.
I’m into longevity. Now if you were to ask me who got hot songs right now, that’s a different answer.
HC: Most slept-on artist?
OG: Probably most slept-on artist is gonna be out of Doughbeezy, Lyric Michelle, and Q. Guyton. They really got some good music. And this guy, Stockzilla. Did you see the Texas showcase on Tuesday? He had the best set out of the showcase on Tuesday. Even XO! People don’t understand what XO got. He’s a producer and a rapper. He knows how to produce the record and catch the DJ’s eye, and if you catch the DJ’s attention they’re the ones who are gonna take you over, ’cause they like your music and they’re gonna like it enough to play it at their clubs.
HC: And finally, just to be controversial…who’s the crappiest artist out right now?
OG: Look, I used to manage Riff Raff, and I’m still on his team. At the time, I couldn’t get nobody to touch a Riff Raff record. But right now Riff Raff is probably the highest paid artist from Houston, getting $25-35,000 a show as a Houston rapper. I don’t know too many Houston rappers from legends to modern day that’s getting $30,000…so that’s sticky. I don’t get involved into who’s the most trash rapper because they most trash rapper they said five years ago is now getting the most money out of all of them. When they said he (Riff Raff) was the most trash rapper five years ago from Houston, [now] he’s the most paid rapper from Houston. Plus, I can’t name them all because that list would be too long!
(Hope note: Well damn…lol)