Wednesday, June 19, 2024 Jun 19, 2024
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How TwoGether Land Festival Put a History of Dallas Rap Next to the Hot 100

Lil Wayne, Summer Walker, and Key Glock may headline the inaugural music festival at Fair Park, but Dallas rappers from the last two decades will be right next to them.
In 2018, the festival JMBLYA took over Fair Park. Now, TwoGether Land Fest is continuing the tradition, and centering Dallas rap. Brandon Todd, Courtesy JMBLYA

Over Memorial Day weekend, some of the biggest names in hip-hop are coming to Fair Park. Summer Walker, Gucci Mane, Lil Wayne, Latto, and Key Glock will trade stages over two days for the inaugural TwoGether Land Festival. But look past the chart toppers and you’ll see a history of Dallas rap over the last two decades: Yella Beezy, Erica Banks, Big Tuck, Dorrough, and Chalie Boy. The Dallas artists who are too frequently overlooked by the rest of the country will get their flowers on Sunday afternoon, May 26. 

These are the Dallas All Stars, a group that was assembled by radio personality Hollyhood Bay Bay. Bay Bay hails from Shreveport, Louisiana and came to fame by way of Hurricane Chris’ 2007 hit “A Bay Bay,” whose hook is a shout-out of the K104 DJ. He may not be from here, but Bay Bay always knew Dallas had something special.

“You know how you look forward to going over to your cousin’s house for the summer? That’s what Dallas is,” he says. “When it comes to the music scene, we’ve got the DOC, Vanilla Ice, Erykah Badu, and even Usher is originally from Dallas. The music scene has a lot of swag, and it’s bottled up. It’s like a pimple, but you can’t burst it yet because it’s not ready. But it is ready, it just hasn’t been burst yet.”

Bay Bay arrived in Dallas at the dawn of the “boogie era,” which produced music that fit in nicely on radio playlists alongside “A Bay Bay” and Boosie’s early singles. He was touring with Hurricane Chris, DJing parties, and riding the hype of the club hit. He was offered a job at K104 by Skip Cheatham, who was the station’s program director at the time, and began hosting and DJing on Saturdays for six months. After that trial run, he made Dallas his home.

Over the years, Bay Bay has acclimated well to the city. He’s spun the hits, promoted concerts, and watched as artists come and go through town on their tours. But he’s always put Dallas music right next to the Billboard Hot 100 singles. “Everybody comes to Dallas,” says Bay Bay. “Dallas has its own culture too, but for some odd reasons, it’s the city to come and enjoy, versus the city to stay in.”

As the name of the festival suggests, Bay Bay hopes that lineup creates a brings the artists closer together. He sees the opportunity to put Dallas on the map by reminding everyone of the hits they love and the artists responsible for them.

“I’m going to paint the perfect picture of Dallas hip-hop,” says Bay Bay. “With people that were here before me, the people that have emerged since I’ve been here. It’ll definitely be high energy. We’re gonna put on the best representation of Dallas, make the people party.”

This year marks the 15th anniversary of Dorrough’s breakthrough hit, “Ice Cream Paint Job.” The song peaked at No. 27 on the Billboard Hot 100 and was remixed by Slim Thug, Snoop Dogg, and Nipsey Hussle. Lil Wayne freestyled over the beat on his No Ceilings mixtape. But the song was first and foremost a hit on its own.

“I think it was already gold, but I was getting close to going platinum,” Dorrough says. “But Wayne hopped on it, and then maybe a couple weeks later, it went platinum. So that let me know it exposed the song.”

Songs like “Ice Cream Paint Job” and “Walk That Walk” are still in rotation at clubs, football games, and parties. Stations such as K104 and 97.9 also keep these tracks in their mixes. 

The Dallas sound—low-bass, snapping beats, blippy melodies—is present in modern rap, particularly as artists from the south find exposure and greater opportunities. Sexyy Red’s viral hit “Get It Sexyy” is influenced by Trap Starz Clik’s “Get It Bitch” and Hurricane Chris’ “Halle Berry,” which was originally a collaboration between Dorrough and Dallas rapper Superstarr.

Big D might be known as a behind-the-scenes city, considering it has birthed a strong collective of producers and songwriters. But our rappers are equally hungry and have crafted some of the south’s timeless hits. That’s what Bay Bay hopes to present onstage.

“We’ve got our own distinct flavor,” says Dorrough. “We’ve got our own sound that we can claim, which is coming back to the forefront. A lot of people want to call it that ‘boogie’ sound or the ‘Dallas boogie era.’ That sound alone is something that Dallas can claim, and nobody else in the world can claim. It went mainstream back then and it’s coming back now.”

Take Victoria Monet’s “On My Mama.” That catchy refrain—“On my mama, on my hood, I look fly, I look good”—comes from the 2009 hit “I Look Good” by Texas rapper Chalie Boy. Though Chalie was based in Austin at the time of its release, the song hasn’t left Dallas and Houston radio.

“I’ve been coming to Dallas since the inception of me being who I am,” says Chalie. “And it’s never failed me.”

Chalie jokes that he “hated” the song when he first recorded it— but in the best way. 

“I don’t know if there’s such thing as ‘good hate,’ says Chalie. “But for the fact that it was repetitive. Everything was in place, sounding consistent, and flowing good. This was one of those songs that I could hear continuously playing on a radio; infectiously, just being in your head, whether you liked it or not. And at some point, if you hate it at the beginning, or loved it at the beginning, you still continuously do, and you can’t get it out of your head. That’s what I meant, because I’m gonna love hating to hear it.”

The song went viral on TikTok shortly before Monet recorded “On My Mama.” After a bout of postpartum depression, Monet has said that making this song helped her get her groove back.

And since the release of the single, Monet has made sure Chalie Boy didn’t fade into the background. He makes an appearance in the “On My Mama” video, and Monet even brought him out as a surprise guest during the Dallas stop of her Jaguar II tour last September. 

“As far as outside of the regional area and states where you establish yourself, getting respect from a whole different coast shows within itself the range,” Chalie says. “I keep my mind open that no matter what I’m doing, I’m reaching someone, and that’s what music is supposed to do, with [‘I Look Good’] being out as long it’s been. And then it reaches a young lady around this time, and it reaches a newer generation and a whole group of women respecting her, her feelings, and an idea of what she was overcoming when she created it. It’s all a melting pot of positivity and affirmations, and it’s just a continuation of me doing what I’m doing, which is making good music.”

Bay Bay recognized the music’s impact and made sure to get these artists onstage together—right next to the biggest names, right where they belong.


Alex Gonzalez

Alex Gonzalez