Torii MacAdams is too cold wit it
While pubescent Swedish rappers are struggling to figure out how to preserve their non-existent waves under a durag, Frenchman Jean-Pierre Labarthe has been releasing his Southern Gatorz mixes. The premise of the Southern Gatorz mixes is (unsurprisingly) largely unknown contemporary Southern rap. Labarthe has clearly been doing his homework. Labarthe’s written a French-language book on Southern rap, Gangsta Gumbo, and his website has a series of posts containing absurdly obscure album links titled “Sum Southern Ass Thangs.” The amount of research inherent to the series is highly impressive; I don’t consider myself a neophyte to Southern rap, but the latest Southern Gatorz mix, Don’t Mess With (New) Texas, is roughly two-thirds artists I’ve never heard of.
For the most part, the lesser knowns on Southern Gatorz are polished rappers who don’t sound out of place alongside their more well known brethren. I won’t pretend to know anything about A-N-T, but his song “5 Screens” caters to my Houston traditionalist side with it’s plodding beat, slowed down chorus, and shout outs to D.E.A. (Dead End Alliance)*, the bacchanal of the Kappa Beach Party, and Fat Pat’s “Ghetto Dreams.” Mike Geezy and Chapo**, who rep Bryan, Texas, are more contemporary than A-N-T. Their “Swang Down 2014” is a series of proudly East Texan speed raps about the usual monetary and drug rewards of hustlin’, but it’s enjoyable and unpretentious.
The biggest names on the mix are probably Maxo Kream and Doughbeezy. Kream’s last mixtape, Quiccstrikes, was an uneven, if enjoyable, trip through The S.W.A.T. (Southwest Alief, Texas); his newest single “Issues” is included in Southern Gatorz, and delivers on the promise of his earlier work. Kream’s delivery is simultaneously mush-mouthed and tongue-twisting, and the doomsday chimes of the instrumental provide proper backing for Kream to lament the issues with his trapping, namely that he must keep ample supply of Swishers and pistols.
Compared to relative new jack Maxo Kream, Doughbeezy is an older hand, ordained as Houston’s Next Up. His recent mixtape Footprints on the Moon boasts guest spots from fellow regional stars Killa Kyleon and Propain, and shares with Southern Gatorz the anthemic “I’m From Texas.” Doughbeezy, like Maxo Kream, is part of a current generation who continue to put lie to the idea that Southerners aren’t lyrical, but “I’m From Texas” is an unabashed trunk rattler, with a chorus based around a chant of “FUCK YOU, I’M FROM TEXAS.”
Don’t Mess With (New) Texas is a nice survey of the current era of Texans, whose sound ranges from 90’s-styled syrupy beats and screwed up vocals to the nut-flexing, stuttering drums of the 21st century trap. Because of licensing issues on Mixcloud, listening to the very enjoyable third installment of the Southern Gatorz series is kind of a pain in the ass, but that shouldn’t be a serious deterrent to partaking. Don’t mess with Texas, but definitely fuck with Don’t Mess With (New) Texas.