There’s a great Portlandia skit where Armisen and Brownstein’s hipster caricatures continuously bump into fellow twenty somethings whom incessantly promote their hip, late night DJ sets. Although it’s exaggerated, the skit stands strong with how the modern DJ world works. It seems like everyday there’s a new scratchmaster featured on the home screens of the biggest blogs, boasting a cutting-edge remix or production sample. Technology equalizes the musical playing field; an extensive musical knowledge is no longer needed in order to be a DJ; all you need is MIDI pad, a kit of 808’s and some dark synth samples and you’re golden. This universal accessibility has flooded the blogosphere with tons of mediocre DJ’s and made the great ones tougher to pick from the crowd. But have no fear, Lil Texas is here. Lil Texas is a young producer from the streets of Dallas, Texas. “Anyway Now” is a standout chunk of tropical production that feels ironically professional. The glossy track features dirty south 808’s, dreamy vocal rips, and a melodic flow that blends together like a strawberry banana smoothie. It’s sweet and refreshing but never stops being anthemic. On “Anyway Now,” Lil Texas creates something comfortably familiar yet uniquely original.
You know that old dude who works at the record store who complains about true music’s disintegration? The one in the tattered Led Zeppelin t-shirt religiously scanning the “oldies but goodies” section, picking out used Boston and Bread LP’s with a nerdy sweat riddled brow. He’s the guy who claims that “rock” died when John Bohnam did and says that Bruce Springsteen was the last “true musician.” I wonder what the hell this guy would think if I tied him to a chair and forced him to listen to Lil B’s new 852-track mixtape. He’d probably piss himself in anger and denounce the eccentric artist as the guy who singlehandedly killed music. But if you think about it, Lil B is as punk as they come. His DIY ethic, his “I’ll do what I want and if you don’t like it then fuck off” attitude, and his obvious passion is 110% punk. He’s probably the “truest artist to date.” Now saying he’s the greatest musician ever is outlandish; he most certainly is not. His mixtapes and albums are enduring to say the least. His attire and his attitude is so out there that it may put off conservative listeners who are used to traditional verse-chorus-verse-chorus pop. Soulja Boy, the rapper/hypebeast responsible for 2007’s club banger, “Crank That,” has taken the hip-hop DIY ethic and morphed it into a much more approachable and accessible form of music; think of him as Lil B training wheels. “First Day of School” is a boastful, semi-stream of consciousness tune that’s got Soulja word-slaying couplets regarding his clothes and “freshness.” The production is crisp and dramatic. A piano loop righteously taunts Soulja’s boastful lyrics and the MC fights right back, spewing line after line about how much swag he’s got. His delivery is undeniably southern, sounding similar to Andre 3000 choruses or Lil Jon rants. Soulja Boy is by no means the most talented MC in hip-hop but he doesn’t try to be. He just does his thing. But did Johnny Rotten know how to sing? No. Did Sid Vicious know how to play bass? Hell no. And that’s the beauty of it. You don’t have to be a Whitney Houston to be a singer. You don’t have to be the next 2Pac to rap; you’ve just got to be yourself, and that’s exactly what Soulja Boy is doing on “First Day of School.”