The other week, I watched the “Parts Unknown” episode in which Anthony Bourdain travels to Houston, TX and meets up with rapper Slim Thug to talk about barbecue and car culture. Houston’s “slab” scene is full of vehicles that have been modified into true works of art, usually featuring brightly painted colors, massive speakers in the trunk, and wire rims that jut out from the wheels. With my (admittedly limited) knowledge of this subculture still fresh in my mind, I thought it appropriate to feature Houston rapper Dante Higgins’ new single “Chop-Chop,” the video for which is a perfect showcase for the slab scene. During the song’s hook, Higgins shouts out “84’s,” referring to these cars’ distinctive rims, thus named because they were originally released for some 1983 and ’84 Cadillac models. Higgins’ lyrics cover a lot of bases; one line finds him boldly comparing himself to former football stars John Randle and Bob Sanders, and in the next he’s talking about buying diapers for his unborn son. Small details like these give the music a genuine and personal flavor. Higgins’ flow is indebted to Houston chopped and screwed music, as he approximates the genre’s signature stuck-record effect in real time by featuring a hefty dose of lyrical repetition (although there is also a passage in which he pitches down his vocals; some people probably know this as the “ASAP Rocky Voice,” but the sound originated in Houston, not Harlem). George Young’s leisurely production, all fluttering hi-hats and feathery vocal samples, reminds me of something you’d hear from Scoop DeVille (the man behind Kendrick Lamar’s “The Recipe” and “Poetic Justice”). The video below makes this already great song even better.
Check out more from Dante Higgins: https://higheadz.bandcamp.com/
More from producer George Young: https://georgeyoung.bandcamp.com/