doeman

Torii MacAdams learned how to rock leather pants from DeVante Swing

Houston is, demographically, significantly more Hispanic and Latino than Black, and has the third largest Hispanic population in the United States. Despite the strength in numbers, Houston’s rap stars are traditionally Black, with Hispanic and Latino rappers constituting an even further underground sub-culture. In the wake of South Park Mexican’s (rightful) incarceration, there’s yet to be another Latino rapper who’s widely captured the region’s attentions the way SPM did in the 90’s and early 2000’s.

Doeman’s new single “Jodeci,” featuring Propain, is rap in the Neo-Houston mold. “Jodeci” is a dreamy, celebratory rap about how dope it is to be Doeman, and were it not for the music video, only perhaps a faint accent would give away Doeman’s ethnicity. For complicated, often valid, reasons of authenticity and cultural appropriation, rap is a genre obsessed with the color of rappers’ skin. Unlike Macklemore, whose music screams I’M A CRACKER, “Jodeci” has, aside from the light hue of Doeman’s skin in the video, no signifiers of being the product of a Latino. It feels somewhat reductive to classify Doeman as a “Latino rapper.” While that’s a statement of fact, it’s more correct to say that he’s a rapper who happens to be Latino.

If the SPM comparison feels unfair to Doeman, that’s because it is. Doeman and South Park Mexican are very different rappers in style, content, and delivery. Expecting any 19 year old rapper to ascend to the heights one-time regional hero SPM reached is unfair, regardless of ethnicity. Just as every White shooting guard is compared to Larry Bird, Doeman is going to receive misguided comparisons to the imprisoned former head of Dopehouse Records. Doeman deserves to be considered on the merit of his music, not because he’s a certain shade of brown.

Cultural and ethnic concerns aside, “Jodeci” is hardly the stuff of cataclysmic change. Doeman’s choppy, staccato flow is solid and practiced, but not particularly distinguished. For the choruses, Doeman uses the mostly boring, half-sung style that’s more Kirko Bangz than Z-Ro. Unfortunately for Doeman, his voice has the high-pitched quality that almost inevitably comes from being young and 5’3,” and the more experienced Propain outshines Doeman on the song. While Doeman mostly sounds like the Houston of Drake’s imagination, Propain’s thick Southern twang and rasping upward inflections sound like the Houston that keeps discerning listeners’ ears turned toward the Third Coast. “Jodeci” is filmed in the vein of an A$AP Clan function. Thankfully, Dwight Howard doesn’t photobomb the slow motion smoke session.


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