This is the first post supporting any local business in Houston, but believe there will be many more in the future.
Those who know understand how it goes. When in the chair, a wide array of topics can be discussed. Despite the vast range of topics we talk about, when I’m in the chair I always ask Hugo about business or hiphop. What do you think about so and so, or what happened with this and that, how are things going here, blasé blah. Hugo usually opens up new perspectives on business (everything) and things I have to look out for if I ever were to open something. There’s not many joys in life better than ownership.
Coming up around the time, Hugo also gives me a lot insight on the DJ Screw era, Rap-A-Lot Records and J Prince. I always understood the culture and movement Screw was able to create with his impact, however I didn’t know he didn’t want much more than what he created. J Prince wanted more, and Rap-A-Lot was working their artists into the ground.
How did Prince get in his position? He was so high up the ladder, respected and feared, I wanted to hear war stories. Simply, Prince did his dirt, came up through the streets and he had/has shooters ready to go whenever. J Prince strong armed a lot of people but wasn’t able to strong arm Screw. Being that Screw was a Crip originally from LA, he had some muscle. In the end, Screw and Prince didn’t mess with each other. Rap-A-Lot rappers were no longer on Screw tapes and that was that.
Above are a few photos of Pimp C and DJ Screw back in the days. Not sure who the third person in any of them are though. Maybe Bun B in the 1st photo. Hyperlink to a good Screw documentary if interested.
Rap-A-Lot had a reputation of holding their artists back. Pimp C would be irate because the Rap-A-Lot way was, “we’re not paying for features, we’ll exchange a verse for a verse,” but that didn’t necessarily work. The guys at Rap-A-Lot would be left on the short end of the stick because other major labels were pretty much saying fuck that. Def Jam exec, “you mean to tell me you’re not paying for this LL verse? We’re not working.”
A sad hiphop story is Z-Ro. Nicknamed the King Of The Ghetto, Z-Ro never became as big as he should’ve due to life at Rap-A-Lot. After years of restraint, which I think Prince did so Z-Ro’s buzz would die down and he wouldn’t touch the money he should since Prince wouldn’t be getting a cut, Z-Ro finally escaped Rap-A-Lot in 2013. In order to leave a free man, Z-Ro had to change his name from King Of The Ghetto to Mo City Don. King Of The Ghetto was owned by Rap-A-Lot.
Is J Prince holding Houston hiphop back? The rumor is, anyone that’s popping here is either giving Prince a cut or getting bread in some other city. During that 90’s era of Houston hiphop, a label sprung up by the name of Suave House, ran by Tony Draper, rappers like Big Mike, 8ball & MJG were making some noise so Prince stepped in. Either dip or come off some artists. Tony Draper left, but Prince was able to get Big Mike. There’s a story that Big Mike was locked in a studio for two weeks because he owed Prince two albums. Mike was fed up and tried to burn down the studio. He was sentenced to 6 years but only served 3 and a half. After some research, here is a link where Big Mike speaks on the incident.
8ball & MJG, Tony Draper in the 90’s and Tony Draper with Rick Ross, who he signed. Also, here’s a link detailing some of the stuff J Prince has pulled.
Probably the biggest wow topic I’ve ever had with Hugo was the rap music/private prison scandal. It’s best you read the letter below. I came across this letter via Twitter from a guy named Lade. This dude is into hiphop very heavily. The white avi with the 90’s NY goons in hiphop thread if that rings any bells.
Not sure how factual, but to add to the link above, I heard this cycle had prisoners printing the vinyls and CD’s that was used to destroy these communities. All the positive leaders were killed or imprisoned during the activist era, and replaced with drug dealers due to the Reagan era, then replaced with rappers from that life, to now where it feels completely artificial. Some of these guys are either blinded by money or too drugged up to see they’re being used as pawns in today’s society.
Barbers have always been in hiphop, “it’s style,” says Hugo. The lines Kanye had in his hair originated from Vanilla Ice and MC Hammer back in the day, with slight adjustments. On some Screw tapes, known barbers like Jut, Tim and Haircut Joe were shouted out. These Screw tapes held so much weight that those shoutouts had someone in Austin believing Houston cats called haircuts, “juts.” That name actually started popping in a certain area of Austin too, “let me get a fresh jut.”
“Back in the 90’s, if you had braids or a fro, you were from the Northside of Houston. If you rocked a bald fade, you were from the Southside. And that’s just how it was,” Hugo.
Please add your thoughts on the information or correct the errors if any of it is false in the comments below, and check Hugo’s shop the next time you need a cut.