Is Today’s Music Built to Last? Unraveling the Potential of Timeless Classics

Music has always been an essential element of cultural expression and a medium for conveying social messages. The music of the 70s and 80s, often referred to as the “Golden Age of Black Music,” brought forth an era of incredible creativity, innovation, and social commentary. This era of music stood the tests of time—the music served as a vehicle for revolution and fostered change.

When I was younger, my dad introduced me to the timeless masterpiece of Donny Hathaway, “Someday We’ll All Be Free.

That Mexican OT is becoming a trailblazing voice of Texas rap

Destiny and opportunity seemed to align perfectly for That Mexican OT (Outta Texas), as if the universe had already written his story. Years prior to her untimely departure, OT's late mother, Sophia Ann Gazca, foreshadowed his future. A testament to her foresight can be found on the Bay City rapper’s Instagram page, where his second-ever post is a photo of a young OT clutching a toy microphone. The caption reads, “I was in the first grade failing every class, and my moms friends was tellin her,

The Resurgence of Flippers Roller Boogie Palace

Roller skating has experienced a surge in popularity during the pandemic. New Yorkers have latched onto the hobby, and even amidst the heat of summer, residents are looking forward to swinging a few laps at what Actress Jaclyn Smith once called "Studio 54 on wheels,” more commonly known as Flippers Roller Boogie Palace.

The inaugural Flippers Roller Boogie Palace, a cherished yet short-lived Los Angeles haunt, holds a special place in the hearts of many. Founded by Ian "Flipper" Ross, the venue

Staff Picks: Best Songs of 2023 So Far

Without the constraints of choosing a completed project, the picks for best songs so far this year run the gamut. The Okayplayer staff pulls from some of our favorite albums this year, like Larry June and The Alchemist, Lil Uzi Vert, and Kelela but also sampled some of the stand-out EPs and singles that dropped, including Latto and Cardi B’s “Put It On Da Floor Again,” and Doja Cat’s all-rap entry, “Attention.”

We address themes that have emerged in 2023, including a significant contribution fr

Big Pokey Was the Sensei of Houston Rappers

Sensei. Poyo. Podena. Hardest Pit In The Litter. Born Milton Powell, these aliases are but a glimpse into the persona of the Houston rap legend known as Big Pokey. Born Milton Powell, the rapper passed away after collapsing onstage during a performance in Beaumont on Sunday. He was 45.

Big Pokey, a true maestro of his craft, showcased a mastery that transcended boundaries. Each moniker he adopted represented a different facet of his artistic prowess, a testament to his versatility and creative

As Juneteenth Becomes Co-Opted, Don't Forget Its Texas Roots

Growing up in Houston, as long as I can remember, Juneteenth was commemorated with intimate family gatherings filled with song, dance, and eating of red-hued foods symbolic of the blood shed by our ancestors. It’s always been a special holiday around here and throughout the rest of Texas, celebrated locally in the state since the 1860s and becoming an official state holiday in 1980. Now a federal holiday, Juneteenth has been cheapened by people who don’t know its true meaning.

Prior to being es

The 10 greatest Houston rap albums of all time

Every list is dumb, arbitrary and designed to enrage, but there's a particular cruelty in attempting to rank Houston's 10 best rap albums. It's a city and sound that has already been unfairly marginalized—once written off as a string of fads rather than a town with a rich musical tradition, often forgotten or misunderstood when mapping both the history and geography of rap, treated like a shorthand filter when rappers from other locales want to manufacture their funk. The culture writ large has

Miss Universe 2023, R’Bonney Gabriel, Is a True Houston Girl

No matter how high profile you are, Houston traffic spares no one. The endless bumper-to-bumper traffic on 288 doesn’t deter current Miss Universe R’Bonney Gabriel, though, from frequent visits home to her favorite haunts like Magpies & Peacocks, Segundo Coffee Lab, or State of Grace for its “amazing oysters.” Even though she now lives in New York City, “I’m a real down-to-earth Filipina Texan,” Gabriel says. “I’m not afraid to get down and dirty. I'm all about putting in the work, inspiring oth

"Swarm" Takes Stan Culture to the Extreme

How far would you go to see Beyoncé in concert? That’s the provocative question posed in Amazon Prime’s new horror/comedy series Swarm, created by Donald Glover and Houston's Janine Nabers of Atlanta fame. For Dre (Dominique Fishback) who desperately wants to see her hero Ni’Jah (a Houston superstar loosely based on Queen Bey) in concert, the answer is: much further than she should.

It’s a compelling premise. There are, after all, very few fandoms that can compare to Queen Bey’s. Dre's devotion


Women are trendsetters, innovators, and tastemakers, pushing the boundaries of fashion, and influencing the culture. The Jordan Brand successfully highlighted women with their inaugural Women’s Collective, curating a community of women trailblazers, all with a goal to push basketball culture forward.

Though the sneaker community has largely been ruled by men, the Jordan Brand’s Women’s Collective is placing the power in women’s hands, to create a more inclusive space for women. “I think this in

Pop star Lizzo has released a new line of shapewear called Yitty

Grammy Award–winning singer and Alief native Lizzo has recently started a new fashion venture that aims to improve body image for women of all sizes. Yitty (which comes from a childhood nickname given to her by an aunt) is a new line of inclusive shapewear distributed by the founders of Fabletics, Kate Hudson’s wildly popular fashion line.

Long the subject of public scrutiny and criticism, primarily because of her size, the 34-year-old star has “spent the entirety of my life trying to change th

Rockhouse Southern Kitchen is Bringing Soul Back to Richmond Avenue

When Billy Blues, the venerable blues club and bar located at 6025 Richmond Avenue, shuttered in 2001 after an ongoing dispute with the landlord, the space closed for a bit before becoming Diablo Loco Sports Bar. When that also closed, in 2018, there were looming questions about what ultimately would become of the space. Eventually, local proprietors of The Warwick and Prospect Park—Rob Wright, Mazen Baltagi, Steven Rogers, and Kurt Agomuo—took on the project.

The four have been known to reimag

Darryl Sharpton Is Building a Life Beyond the Field

Darryl Sharpton always knew there was life after football. As a fourth-round draft pick for the Houston Texans in 2010, Sharpton said football provided him with a comfortable living and an abundance of opportunity, but after injuries forced him to retire in 2015 he already had a plan to build a new career for himself and his family.

Gifted with the ability to see life past professional football, (and a degree in business), Sharpton was able to make a smooth pivot to more entrepreneurial pursuit

Doris Metropolitan is One of Houston's Best Steakhouses

There’s no shortage of good steakhouses in Houston, but few are as satisfying as Doris Metropolitan. The handsome Montrose butchery and restaurant, which keeps a low profile, word-of-mouth vibe, is teeming with mouthwatering dishes. Cozy and intimate, it's a must-add to your list of Houston restaurants.

Once home to Triniti, a concept from Ryan Hildebrand, (and at one point, Michelle Obama’s favorite Houston eatery), Doris Metropolitan retains some of Triniti’s upscale touches. From the comfort

George Floyd's legacy lives on in Houston through his family's efforts

Walking through the Third Ward neighborhood, where George Floyd’s family once lived, you can see the communal ties in real time. At the corner of Tierwester and Winbern Streets, adjacent to their now-condemned childhood home, lies the George Perry Floyd Jr. mural emblazoned on the side of Scott Food Mart, known to the locals as the “blue store.” Cars honk, and passersby stop to shake the hands of George’s older brother, Philonise Floyd, and his wife, Keeta, as a sign of respect and reverence.


The MAG'S <I>Southern Glory</I> Puts Houston's Fifth Ward on Display

Prauper Studios made a proper return to The Modern Art Gallery in 2023 with an exhibition dubbed Southern Glory. The latest installation comes after Prauper’s two critically acclaimed art shows, From Houston With Love and Houston Forever. The latter was hosted at the former Downtown Texaco building, and Southern Glory marks a permanent return to the Main Street location.

“It’s humbling to be back at Greenstreet,” Prauper Studios curator and owner of The MAG, Emmanuel Alia said. “It’s truly a fu

Parker McCollum Will Kick Off Opening Day at the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo

Parker McCollum is sitting in his office in his Nashville home, where dozens of gold and platinum record sales plaques adorn the walls. These days you could say he’s living out his country boy dreams. But even though he now calls Tennessee home, as the old adage goes, “you can take the boy out of Texas, but you can’t take Texas out of the boy.”

For McCollum, all the awards and honors pale in comparison to the real indicator of success for most, if not all, Texas country music artists—performing

Premium Goods Releases Limited-Edition Nikes

As hip-hop has grown in popularity over the decades, so too have many of the trends that were born alongside it. Streetwear and shoe culture in particular have become billion-dollar industries, with legions of fans lining up around city blocks for days to get hot new releases. Today, top artists like Cardi B, Drake, Kendrick Lamar, Pharrell, and Eminem, to name just a few, have lucrative shoe deals from the likes of Reebok, Nike, Adidas, and others.

Houston's sneaker culture has long existed in

SZA’s 'SOS' is the Biggest R&B Album of 2023; ThankGod4Cody is a Big Reason Why

SZA is breaking records with her latest album, SOS. One of the architect behind the modern day R&B masterpiece is ThankGod4Cody, who produced a number of tracks.

ThankGod4Cody meeting SZA was happenstance — what he calls “just a right place, right time thing.” Around 2015, in a studio in Los Angeles, Cody was making a beat. This was years before SZA would even think about SOS, the album that would take her to another stratosphere. SZA was in her post-Z era, not yet a household name, though she

Here's Who We Think Will Be at Bun B's Southern Takeover

Last year, Bun B’s H-Town Takeover was a monumental event that included tons of renowned Houston talent, including Slim Thug, Paul Wall, Letoya Luckett, and more. This year, Bun returns to the rodeo, and bringing some of his out-of-state friends along for the ride.

In honor of Black Heritage Day, this time the performance is dubbed “Bun B’s Southern Takeover,” and will include hip-hop acts from all over the South.

The Port Arthur native, and one half of the iconic rap group Underground Kingz,

VMP Rising: Amindi

Amindi is sitting in her Inglewood home, with her laptop propped up just enough to let natural light in for our Zoom call. She’s thinking out loud about how light she’s going to bleach her hair this time. Her hair is a focal point to her entire persona as a musician — she rocks her it in a low Caesar cut, with the color often changing depending on her mood. As we’re getting acquainted, we share a handful of compliments about each other’s short, near-bald hairstyles.

“I really like for my hair t

Latin and Mediterranean Flavors Collide at The Lymbar

The new era of Houston has ushered in a hotbed of repurposed historic buildings like The Post and The Ion, which are helping add a refreshed feel to some of Houston's oldest landmarks. The latter, located in the heart of Midtown, was formerly home to the Sears showroom. Now, the newly remodeled interior has been transformed into a multipurpose space, home to Houston's leading innovation hub and multiple best-in-class restaurants, one of which is The Lymbar. We previously shared that the restaura

Lance Scott Walker Has Spent 16 Years Studying the Life of DJ Screw

DJ Screw is a name etched in Houston hip-hop folklore, but he was known by many names to many people during his brief life. To some, he was The Originator, to others he was Screw, and to his family, he was simply Robert Earl Davis Jr. In addition to his many aliases, DJ Screw had a prolific career, filled with music, love, laughs, and no small measure of struggle. While many never had the opportunity to experience DJ Screw’s music when he was alive (he died of a codeine overdose in 2000 at the a
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