Hydroponic Sound System, Nick Nack, Strange Fruit Project, Headkrack & the Are, Word Association, Adlib, Beneb & Nt Wt, Ross Hogg, B-Cause, E-40, Keak da Sneak, Federation Frontline, Turf Talk, Messy Marv, and San Quinn


Phases & Stages

Call it what it is, creative hip-hop from Texas, or better yet, Southern Borders Soul Music (Alternate Take). Either way, Hydroponic Sound System formulates the blueprint. Based out of Dallas, the production team of Skinny Fresh and Rube brokers rap collaborations that make perfect sense. On this, their third vinyl EP, Hydro offers a self-explanatory instrumental titled "Percy Keeps His Disco Dubby" as well as a remix of the well-worn local favorite "(bah-voo)." Tracks from Austin's NickNack, Waco's Strange Fruit Project, and the Dallas-Houston combo of Headkrack & the ARE construct yet another monument to the gods of Third Coast resourcefulness. In San Marcos, a collective known as Word Association furthers true school aesthetics with bare-boned beats matched with heartfelt verbiage. Adlib's Soul Proprietor (BreakFluid) illustrates the hunger of an underground artist striving to be heard beyond the usual empty bar: "Sometimes I rhyme slow, sometimes I rhyme quick, sometimes I rhyme for some stoned dude and a drunk chick." Austin's Tuner Control DJ duo of Beneb & Nt Wt apply hip-hop production techniques to an improbable assortment of gnarly rock songs by way of their Air Raid Volume 2 mix CD (www.turntablelab.com). Whether supplementing punk classics like Fugazi's "Waiting Room" with an extra drum track or creating a seamless blend between Sonic Youth's "Bull in the Heather" and Smashing Pumpkins' "1979," the trans-genre concept works effectively. Former Austin MC Ross Hogg has over time converted himself into a successful Bay area DJ specializing in dancehall reggae. Equally interested in the recent resurgence of Bay area rap, his mix CD collaboration with B. Cause titled Slump & Grind (available at www.italselection.com) showcases the underestimated prowess of E-40, Keak da Sneak, Federation, Frontline, Turf Talk, Messy Marv, and San Quinn in all its hyphy splendor.

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for almost 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

More Music Reviews
Texas Platters
Ben Buck
Kilroy (Record Review)

Derek Udensi, Feb. 21, 2020

Fall Platters
Quin NFN
4NUN (Record Review)

Derek Udensi, Nov. 29, 2019

More by Robert Gabriel
KJ Hines
KJ Hines
Prince of the City

April 27, 2007

Play the Role
Play the Role
Bavu Blakes is not afraid

April 27, 2007

One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

New recipes and food news delivered Mondays

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle