A Submission Sundays posse cut becomes Jay-Von’s biggest record to date.

On a Sunday night upstairs at Alley Kat, HustleGrade held serve. The upstart Houston-centric culture website had a footprint in the local music scene, all by hand of site founder Kelsey McDaniel’s The Tuesday Special program on AllRealRadio. Guests came, conversations were had, she did her best not to “react” whenever the scene showed its more artificial parts. Submission Sundays became an avenue for artists, the same way Kickback Sundays was for a large cache of Houston rappers who’ve now moved on to greater things.

This particular Sunday offered a live experience of Submission Sundays. Noah Nova, the Mo City emcee with a full beard and irrational confidence would lead off. Envy Hunter, before he fully took on his birth name as his rap name went on as well. Jay-Von, bulletproof vest and du-rag as if a robbery was on his agenda for the night took the stage as well. Mickey Woods Jr. pushed poetry and Port Arthur stoicism to close the night. It was a success. A second one has been proposed for later this month at Alley Kat.

During the time on stage, Jay-Von noticed something. He’d held a relationship with almost everyone who performed. Noah Nova was a classmate of his in high school, their rap aspirations on opposing sides of the halls. Envy Hunter and his brick-like shoulders had been around for a minute. The only person he hadn’t really gotten a grasp for was Mickey. However, he knew he needed all three on a song with him, period.

jay-von nobody realer cover

“Nobody realer if you ask me…”

How “Nobody Realer” came to be is mostly on the hands of McDaniel and Jay-Von. The DannyThe3rd produced single allows Von to sandwich himself between stories of lost friends and personal jumps career-wise. Devante (Envy) notices how the absence of the late Antawayne has been bugging him, hoping for a way to better punctuate their friendship than suicide. “I’m talking about life, not another rapper,” Noah Nova tap dances with his verse, praying not just for his current days but also his future ones. Wood Jr.’s delivery, awkward as a lefty, dabbles in that same poetic stoicism that makes him someone to keep an eye on.

And Von? That rap voice that always feels like a step behind the beat on purpose sturdies itself along the ethereal piano notes and snares. An elongated money metaphor is one of his highlights, starting from change off a $20 and finishing with a flurry. His best singular moment couldn’t have existed without a random Sunday night downtown, nor could a 6-minute opus that evoked memories of Jay Z’s “This Can’t Be Life”.