“Did I just escape a time machine?”

By and large, this won’t rank among the more “paint-by-numbers” show reviews I ever do. Driving home near 2 AM and my body feeling like a worthless mass gripping a steering wheel, there wasn’t much I could say to properly articulate what I just saw. Trick Daddy, Mia X & Twista headlined a Houston show celebrating their legacies and made me question the current crop of rappers in comparison.

Houston got it’s shots in thanks to Short Dawg who brought out The C.I.T.Y., a small ensamble band that interjected traditional Houston rap tunes with the occasions nod to the old school.  Short’s been trapped in a weird bubble though. Despite his allegiances to Young Money, he hasn’t broken through nationally as say a Tyga would but still remains a figure.

His most beloved cult classic “Me & My Drank”, a drowsy two-step dedication to the contents inside of a Styrofoam felt heavier thanks to the band. When Propain joined him for “H-Town”, Drankenstein smiled and continued on about his business, proving that even his brand of witty, syrupy punchlines would work with some live instrumentation. Or it was a bigger look for The C.I.T.Y., take your pick.

X’s set clearly made it evident how much influence Beats By The Pound had on the No Limit sound, hell the era in general. Behind those pen and pixel covers lay an organic sound built heavily upon samples in the same way Diddy brought those to the mainstream in the mid-90s but rougher & damn sure louder.

Arguably the best rapper the Tank ever gave us hit the stage clad in a shimmering top and camo pants (how apropos). She ran through an hour’s worth of material from old No Limit classics to a freestyle over Meek Mill’s “I’m A Boss”. True to her nature, she openly stated “I don’t give a f*ck if the sound break, I’m a mother*ckin’ emcee!”

She did the female taboo of revealing her age (42), telling some of the crowd that they were old enough to be her children (sorta true), brought out the Ghetto Twins (!!) for “No Pain, No Gain”, dedicated a portion of the show to C-Murder, Mystikal, Soulja Slim & Mac (!) and then concluded her set with something feminist and raunchy all the same – a four minute “poem” about a lover who was two timing her using every word you’d hear getting cussed out by a female from New Orleans or somewhere in the South in general. It was filthy and yet, the females in the sparse crowd ate it up.

The alternative to such a poem continued when the 305 Mayor hit the stage following her. By that time it was 12-something, my legs felt weak and after being hit by rap for four hours I was beginning to feel it. Nevertheless, Trick Daddy told us he loved the kids during “I’m A Thug” and a more of his other notable hits and in some spots rattled on in the same way DMX did when he hit the House Of Blues a year ago.

A sample of The Philosophy Of Trick Daddy Dollars.

On pregnancy: “They got this rule in Florida where you can abort ‘em after a [inaudible] months. I don’t think they can do that in Texas.”

On his Lupus: “You can’t catch Lupus if you suck this d*ck! I like how yo mouth is wide…”

On fraud women: “You ever met a b*tch that got twins by f*cking two different n*ggas? Don’t trust that h*e, and don’t let these Nicki Minaj lookin’ ass h*es fool you!” (That’s a medical mystery, Trick.)

On sex: “I don’t give a f*ck, I know I’m an ugly n*gga.  But you like sucking d*ck right? Next n*gga you meet I want you to suck his d*ck from the back so when you’re tired, you can lick his ass.”

It continued on like this, where by then I wished I had an unedited Trick Daddy reality show to hear more of these Trick-isms. He made it quite clear he hated dudes in skinny jeans, asking the crowd to call anybody out rocking them. We got “Nann” with a call and response for the ladies but no “Shut Up”. I wanted the band, we got “F*ck The Other Side” and that was that.

By the time Twista hit the stage, my foot was driven on 59 South headed home. Yet, I was left with one good memory.

During an intermission, there was a sighting of Mia slightly ducked off on the side of the Warehouse Live bar having a conversation with Scarface. I joked they were discussing features for Face’s upcoming album or chit-chatting about the years past. Either way, it was a surreal moment for a Southern rap fan who thought it was best picking up a gold No Limit tank piece from a random flea market.

The Crowd: Older than you might think.

Random Note: Carmen Sandiego, she of the remix to Juvenile’s “Back That Ass Up” hopped on stage at the request of MC Kane & Go DJ Hi-C. She twerked and performed said remix. We officially coined this a nostalgic trip.

Locally On: Dante Higgins is still pushing his debut album, The Dante Higgins Story and O.N.E is busy prepping Spirit Driven. Both performed on the Warehouse Live stage, each with a certain propensity to them. Higgins definitely has more ear catching material live while O.N.E can snatch an ear thanks to a freestyle or two. Keep an eye on this.