What You Know About Them Texas Boys? The Return of Screw York City
Back in April of '06 walking Texas rap encyclopedia Matt Sonzala embarked on a cultural exchange program with New York fashion-icon-in-the-making/DJ Roxy Cottontail. Houston hip-hop was having a moment: Mike Jones, Slim Thug, Lil Keke, Devin the Dude and more all burst out of the humid air in the Dirty South with a force that took the world by surprise. Paul Wall had the Internet goin' nuts, and for a time there the whole world was All Candy Coated everything -- 25 Lighters, Wood Grain, Tippin', Sippin'. Sonzala would bring Houston artists to New York, and Cottontail would in turn bring NYC's finest to Houston for night's they cleverly called "Screw York City." Over a span of two years the two brought a host of Texas talent -- Rapid Rick, Devin the Dude, Lil Keke, Chingo Bing, Michael Watts, DJ Chill, Mr. Rogers - to packed clubs on the Lower East Side, nearly 20 shows in all. Tonight, after a five year break, Screwston is back in the city with an impressive lineup of Texas' best.
League of Extraordinary Gz
Even back in '06, as their music was being played on airwaves across the country, it took convincing the artists the trip was worth it, that the music they were making on the Third Coast had reach and impact.
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"I feel like it's my duty," says Sonzala of introducing Texas rap greats and unknowns to different parts of the globe. "Even when Houston rap was blowing up, none of the guys really ever toured. They never hit the road. It was a foreign concept to them."
Sonzala introduced the concept to Bun B of UGK, Devin the Dude, and countless others, who were always taken aback by the crowds and enthusiasm they were greeted with in places far, far away from their humid home.
"I'll never forget, in June of '07, bringing Devin the Dude to play New York. He thought no one would care, but he packed the place out, all of them rapping his words back to him. Nas and Kelis were there. It blew him away. We flew to Amsterdam the next day, and packed that. People made the trip from Germany, England, all over Europe. There was a guy in a 'Screwed Up Click' shirt. Another in a 'Whut It Dew' shirt. It was unbeliveable, man."