Trae Tha Truth, photo courtesy of Marco Torres

Walking out of the House of Blues last night, I felt the pain searing through my legs and couldn’t figure out why.  The concert trek had been made on numerous occasions, back up energy usually stored up somewhere so I could at least soak in the moment with the artist as they had just done something monumental.

For once, a man who had virtually been disrespected for the better part of two years came out clean ala Shawshank. Trae Tha Truth didn’t make his arrival on the main stage known by simply sauntering out with his now trademark deep baritone, he came out on a bike with spokes on it, letting Adele’s “Hometown Hero” which is essentially the anthem for all of those who have been shitted on and come out smelling fresh later fill the room. The mood instantly became part history lesson, part Asshole Cathedral as Tha Truth defied all odds and put on a two hour set that stretched from his Guerrilla Maab days to the present ABN life with Pyrexx & Yung Quis.

And he had friends along with him.

H-Kane = Plank MC courtesy of @Lina_BiNa87

Before Trae and company took the stage, a bevy of up & comers along with a Texas mainstay took the stage to kick things off.  The night’s master of ceremonies happened to be H-Kane who proved that he can also add classy bartender to his resume which already includes concert promoter (Frontline), rapper (see his contribution to the June 27th tribute) and hypeman. Furthermore, he may have actually been the first person to ever plank the House of Blues stage.

When he wasn’t pouring Grey Goose into the gullets of fans below him, he was letting artists like UZOY & Zavey command the stage as if their lives depended on it.  The [DEF]inition spit kicker has vastly improved from when we last saw her in person at the One Mic 2 Year Anniversary in January, ripping through “Twilight Zone” and any nerves she had before hand. Following her was Zavey, whom we didn’t get to meet after the Houston Hip-Hop Music Fest almost had a slight fall considering that he was performing along his own track but his bars made us disregard the notion. During his 6’7” freestyle from his Thinking Out Loud mixtape, he rapidly spit something along the lines of “I’m the best period & that just ain’t for one month”.

Even when the GRIT Boys took the stage, I had to check my watch because they ran through enough songs to fill an entire mixtape in a twenty minute set. So precise with their medley, one of the members started off the night passing out CDs of theirs, then turned around and in one motion became the hypeman. Which makes me think, if he’s that talented, is he the one that goes out to the mall on those Jordan release dates and cops so that no one in the group goes without?

That being said, our main focus happened to be on Trae, who brought along Undisputed host Don Cannon to DJ his set, the first sighting of Hypnotiq in 2011 courtesy of Yung Joc bouncing on stage for “In The Hood” and the arrival of Mama C on stage with a cane and the sort of message that reminds me of Maya Angelou. Only if Maya were from Port Arthur, Texas and told stories of being in car accidents and “niggas trying to take her out” (hence the cane). The words from Mama C (pictured here) were enough to make Trae, a man who previously came out on stage in full gangsta bravado with a ski mask and ten other dudes who would have robbed everyone in the crowd had it been their intentions – blush.

The listed guests however may have been missing Rich Boy but when you bring up Crystal Hawkins, wife of the late H.A.W.K. I think things shall be forgiven. Plus, she may be one of the few women who could toss two diamond watches from TV Johnny into a throng of fans and shockingly no one was hurt.

However, this must be said, Waka Flocka Flame is huge and when the opening chords to “Grove St. Party” blared from the speakers and the ATLien rocked his way onto the stage with his dreadlocks swinging, a riot would have been expected. The man is pure energy and he hulks over almost everyone he stands near. Trae’s parade of guests continued with Dougie D of all people joining him for some of the G-Maab hits, Lupe Fiasco getting a thunderous ovation when he appeared for “Bad Don’t Seem So Wrong” & Jadakiss making to my knowledge his first appearance in Houston for “Inkredible”.

It was Trae’s night as the Houston emcee looked as if he were exercising demons with every flow of his, both the double time which made him a standout in the early part of the 2000s and the emotional syrupy crawl that pushed most of his Restless work. Speaking of Restless, J. Prince was welcomed on stage by Trae who decided to wage a bet with the Rap-A-Lot head honcho, stating that if the next song he played didn’t get the crowd hype, he’d pay Prince $1,000 on the spot and if it did, Prince would have to pay double that.

Song? “No Help”. Fans? Absolutely ecstatic. Trae? A winner in more ways than just one.

Set List: Think almost every song Trae has been on in the past ten plus years. Even “Grey Cassette” & “Screwed Up” made the list, which made some girl ask me if Lil Wayne was coming out too. Sadly, he didn’t but then again it was the same girl who was screaming in my ear at every bar Zavey spit so maybe it was for the best.

Crowd: Diverse as hell. There were tatted up dudes next to the American Apparel guys, and all of them were Trae fans.

Notable Houston Rappers/Luminaries In Attendance: Matt Sonzala (Pushermania), Propain, DeLo, Kirko Bangz, Doughbeezy, DJ Baby Jae of The Krackernuttz & both of Trae’s parents to name a few.

Sidenote: Two white guys were picked from the crowd by ‘Kiss and Lupe respectively to win a pair of swangers from Trae. Boost Mobile phones were given away too but more people were upset that those swangers went to the tatted up white guys. Like a good friend of mine asked, “Why isn’t there a Tumblr dedicated to white guys who win swangers?”