Tony Martinez, better known as Dat Boi T, is a Houston-based rapper affiliated with the infamous Screwed Up Click. Heavily influenced by UGK and S.U.C. founder DJ Screw, Martinez's music is often laid-back and relaxed, with funk and R&B influences, but with more aggressive lyrics about city life and hedonism. Martinez is the first Hispanic artist to be associated with S.U.C., but he resists being pegged as a Latin rapper, and his music has more in common with Southern rap in general than most Latin hip-hop. Beginning with 2009's Life in da Slow Lane, Dat Boi T began releasing albums and mixtapes at an astonishing rate, with over a dozen full-lengths arriving on SoSouth, Thizz Latin, and Steak 'N' Shrimp. These include several volumes of the What's Really Good and Thoed Essays series, as well as a few "chopped and screwed" releases. Beginning with 2004's Seven Years Later EP, his releases appeared on Slow Lane Records. The full-length Slow Summer appeared in 2016, followed by Slow Lane in 2017. ~ Paul Simpson
A Wednesday night at Warehouse Live shouldn't be about comedy, yet that's what you get sometimes.
Wednesday was billed as a show to be headlined by Dat Boi T and Doughbeezy, something that may commonly happen given both men's pull of fans and musical output. So worrying about either of them performing and keeping people entertained is not an issue. Dat Boi T, the Screwed Up Essay himself, at least understands where he sits in Houston, somewhere where the old Screw Shop resided and a foot stretched out from his candy-blue Cadillac.
Onstage clad in wolf-grey Jordans, black shades and a dangling Screwed Up Click chain, T chose to stick to his tried and true subject matter -- Houston, every bit of its sprawled-out glory. He waded knee-deep in local ecology when unearthing South Park Mexican's "Mary Go Round" in the middle of his set, called out for every legendary rapper who claimed residency here to get their just due and more.
"Swangin In My Lac," performing "Nuthin But That Screw" with Doughbeezy and Young G, and so forth -- all those minor moments showed that T has zero reason to stop. As long as people love sipping slow, making crazy faces just to show off their grills and paying homage not just to Screw but the culture at large then he'll be there -- wearing blue, more than likely. He's a Screwed Up Superhero indeed.
For Doughbeezy, it doesn't matter whether he has 75 fans in a crowd or nearly 1,000. Wednesday wasn't anything like what he got from the second edition of 97.9 The Box's #979TheConcert, but he still finds a way to make it seem so. "Fuck You I'm From Texas" could raise the dead, part your hair and bathe you if necessary. "Tippin'," with Propain, can stomp a hole in your chest when necessary. You can't pretend to think that Doughbeezy isn't a thing that matters in Texas rap, and he's on the fringe of cracking through even further.
The two main headliners lasted all of an hour combined onstage Wednesday, yet it felt like maybe 20 minutes. Maybe that was because the night dragged until they stepped onstage, or the numerous performing fails by other artists on the bill. I've probably walked into Warehouse Live for a concert more than 30 times, and not once have I ever experienced what I witnessed Wednesday.
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MOMENT ONE A trio of rappers, seemingly as if they walked from the crowd and up to the stage got on the mike and began to perform. One even used "pterodactyl" in a verse, which is a hallmark achievement for any fan of the late Jurassic Age. Not once, and I utterly mean not once, did they tell the crowd who they were. Some of their friends knew, but myself and about 45 others were completely clueless.
MOMENT TWO After stepping outside for my own personal intermission and a quick quote of Danny Glover's "I'm too old for this shit" Lethal Weapon line, I walked back into a guy who had been running back and forth from his car earlier in the night on stage.
Did I know him? No. Did his attire scream that I may probably need to at least get a business card or something? Maybe. Then again, I'm not the type of person to shake hands with someone whose boxers are visible from the front and, if his belt broke, I'd see everything I never wanted to see in the first place.
MOMENT THREE Cray Cray. If nothing else, Cray Cray is an entertainer, a name I thought was a joke but soon became reality. He's a promoter, from what some in the crowd told me, and had DJed earlier in the night. He MCed, and then proceeded to "perform" for 15 minutes that seemed like 45 and delivered the most chameleon-like, Sharknado-esque rap performance I've ever seen in a Houston rap venue.
There was a song called "I'm Going Ham" that sounded very similar to Fergie's "Fergalicious," without any of the shimmer and high-powered production. There was a song about "Pop Dat Pussy" and "I'm Heading to the Kappa," even though the Kappa Beach Party has been defunct for years now.
Even turning into Diet A$AP Rocky with a song about Screw and coming down with the most basic Houston rap-dictionary usage was a thing. But nothing, and I mean nothing, made the night greater than watching Cray Cray completely hijack K Camp's "Money Baby" for a song once more about "Popping Pussy," to which he slowed the song down in the middle, asked the crowd to make noise for DJ Screw (which nobody did), and then called us haters.
Somehow, he did all of this and took it in stride. You won last night Cray Cray, you won.
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Dat Boi T
Brandon Caldwell has been writing about music and news for the Houston Press since 2011. His work has also appeared in Complex, Noisey, the Village Voice & more.