Ludacris may have been the one “doing a hundred on the highway,” but in the early 2000s many hip-hop listeners were ceding the road to one Southern rapper above all others. Now as then, Paul Wall rhymes almost exclusively about zen and the art of car modification: tipped hydraulics, candy paint finishes, and subwoofer-shredding Screw tapes, with nary an expression of pity for any pedestrian blinded by the sunlight refracted from his signature $30,000 grillz.: And though the iceman’s latest release, Hall of Fame Hustler, regrettably favors plain, undernourished, digitized trap beats over the lush sonic signatures of his classics – you miss the woozy organ vamps, burbling guitar washes, and clumsy, top-heavy drums – the trade-off is we now get to hear him rap about starting his car with his phone.: Subcompact though his subject matter may be, Wall’s utterly unleaded Houston horsepower is key to his never-challenged status as the only white rapper to ever go platinum fully embodying his local scene. Ideally we’d be catching the “king of the parking lot” performing drive-in style from an authentic open-top slab – not least because a recent radio interview with 97.9 The Box revealed his lifelong distaste for deodorant – Saturday’s Empire show does offer Wall the necessary trunk space to bring along lyrically inclined H-town hustler GT Garza and Georgetown’s own xBValentine, who recently collab’d with Bone Thugs-N-Harmony.
Sat., Dec. 18, 9pm