Local Love: Dirty & Nasty
Leon casino, Photo: Courtesy of Artist
I think we’d be denying our existence as a city, if we pretended that there’s not something happening in the Houston hip hop underground. In the last year, I’ve seen more new artists dropping all kinds of mixed genres together to form some newer form of hip hop, while respecting the past that came prior. One of these newer acts, is Houston’s Dirty & Nasty. The duo have been playing around town for a while now, and building a loyal fanbase of fans of their half throwback sound and half new world rap sound. I say new world because there are breaks on this release that I feel like I’ve never heard before, while some of the styles of the rhymes have a bit of a nineties gangsta’ rap feel. They recently dropped a four song release called, “Sons Of The Queen” that had an original and fresh approach to hip hop that innovates rather than imitates; and sets itself apart from a lot of what’s happening in hip hop today.
Those breaks, are obvious and out in front on the opening track, “Down By Law” where the duo uses an almost synth based beat mixed with what sounds like that dropping bug on the eighties video game Centipede. What it is in actuality is a beat created from what’s closer to an album scratch with an immense and deep bass line. The way in which the duo flows on the mic reminds me EPMD approached the mic back in the day. One then the other, together when needed; these two criss cross in the chorus while keeping their individual characteristics in tact. Complete with lyrics that rep Houston from neighborhoods to landmarks; the track has the attitude that gangsta rap embodied while never going to the depths of that genre. The group vocals in the chorus are a nice touch as well. This is followed by the sinister and dark sounding track, “Ca$h & Jewelry (No Disrespect).” Themes of respect, and street life are all over the song, while these two flow on and on while dropping names like Kyle Hubbard and characters from Mortal Kombat. The song comes across with a slow backbeat that feels anthemic when the chorus drops; but has enough of a hook to drop the top and blast it out your rear speakers.
The third song, “Armed & Dangerous” begins with a funky synth and a bass heavy beat that make you believe that this is a slow jam. That’s immediately taken away by the thicker vocal tracks that are followed with a rat-a-tat lyric flow that has a spaced out synth and a skinny beat in the background. That thick bassline slinks in and out of the track that feels like a nineties era rap song with hints to AK’s and what it’s like for your girl have you by the balls. The most futuristic and almost next level song on the four song release comes with the album’s closer, “Kurt Cobain.” Opening with a tripped out and ethereal backing track coupled with a soft but deep bass beat, the upfront vocals with shout outs to 2Chainz while dropping an honest diss on Big Daddy Kane & Slick Rick feel like rap from the early days. Rhyming about the desire for “Kurt Cobain to shotgun Kirko Bangz brains” while keeping it real about a nation of grown men behind bars might be the most real lyrics you’ll hear in a long time. The track hits stop points with life support in the background before resurgencing to those melodic synths and bass heavy beats.
The end result is something like you’ve never heard, or at least that you haven’t heard in a long time. Dirty & Nasty step up the Houston rap game by unapologetically doing their own thing in their lyrical approach and with their beats. The style in which they segue in and out of violent lyrics mixed with real world issues makes the songs have more depth and feel more real. And the structure of the tracks are like nothing else happening right now in Houston hip hop. You can catch Dirty & Nasty when they perform around town, and you’re missing out if you miss them in a live setting; because it’s just as in your face as the songs on this album.