David Garrick
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Raymond A & DJ Baby Roo Debut “Crash Dummy”

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Photo: Trish Badger


Right now….today, Houston feels like it’s getting stronger musically.  The other day at the Free Press Summer Fest artist village, it felt like a typical Thursday at Avant Garden.  For the first time in twenty years, the scene is coming together and it feels like our city has a true music future.  In the world of hip hop, the same can be said about those coming up in the scene.  While DJ Screw has been gone for over fifteen years, it felt like for a while that very few wanted that musical legacy he created to leave us as well.  So far however, what I’m hearing from the newer class of hip hop artists in Houston, is that they’re on a completely different tip.  One of those acts is Def Perception.  Though they aren’t brand new, they aren’t veterans just yet either.  Whenever you catch one of their shows, the mix of live instruments with record scratches makes you do a head turn as it reminds you of the past and clues you into what could be the future of the genre.  Though this will be the fourth mixtape for Raymond A & DJ Baby Roo of the group,  their latest titled “(The Unexpected…)” is something on a whole new level.


If you’ve ever seen either of these two guys, or Def Perception work before; then you know that they’re always up to something fresh and creative.  The whole collective seems to be working on Def tracks, or side projects, or even mixtapes like this one.  According to the duo, they usually take samples from films, interviews, and beats they like and put them together while Roo drops scratches and and they create something new from all of it together.  The version here will also come later available in an edited version that DJs and producers who want to get creative with Raymond’s vocals.  Though, all versions will be available in 24 bit/44.1 kHz lossless audio formats at raymonda.bandcamp.com.


The goal the two have in mind is to get back to the days of DJ and MC dynamic in hip hop, a sentiment I welcome with open arms.  The pair is hoping that you’ll get the feeling of the days when an MC was dropping rhymes while the DJ slid the crossfade while he rifled through records.  The track, “Crash Dummy” found here, is definitely one of those songs that rolls back the clock a bit.


While DJ Baby Roo drops scratches and samples that remind you of those EPMD days, Raymond drops rhymes at a pace that feels like a mix of the past that’s similar to the vein of LL Cool J while he adds his on mark on the vocals.  The way in which the two mesh on the track is something of pure magic, and the record scratches add a sound that Houston doesn’t hear as often anymore of just a DJ and an MC.  Though the song emanates a bit of a slow jam with its start, Raymond quickly takes the mic with ease and drops a flow that’s along the lines of early Too Short with a vocal timber that’s closer to that of Q-Tip.  At under three minutes, it’s easily a song I can see pumping from a drop top or at least permeating the windows of of every Houstonian’s ride as they thump down the street.


You can hear the entirety of the mixtape, “(The Unexpected…)” when Raymond A and DJ Baby Roo host a listening party this Thursday June 11th at The Safehouse.  There will also be a live preview performance at the party.  Things run from 6:00 to 9:00 and all of the details about the invite only show are available here.