What would OutKast melded with Little Brother with a touch of UGK tossed in the mix sound like pumping through DLS subwoofers knocking in the back of a candy painted classic Cutlass? Possibly, Hueston Independent Spit District (H.I.S.D.). The four-man lyrical squadron rides through a sonic time warp on their Peace Uv Mine-released album, The WeakEnd, embodying common man sensibilities, embracing the colorful, syrup sipping culture most associated with their hometown of Houston, Texas. Equality, LDA Voice, Scottie Spitten and Savvi Poindexter sound hell-bent on delivering ample amounts of electric relaxation to the often redundant Raposphere, and largely, they accomplish their mission.
For the uninitiated, “Autobahn” serves as the group’s proper introduction as each member kicks cypher rhymes over King Midas’ highway-ready, soul-sampled loop and layered intonations. “The Hue (Seen Green)” feels Organized Noize-inspired, with big-band funky horns and angelic choirs and sick scratches that seem to always cut in right on time, literally painting colors with sounds. It’s sublime, really. Just like subtle flutes and hopping snare on “Lando,” H.I.S.D.’s ode to rocking the flyest of wears. “Young boy got swag / But how’s he breathe in those pants? / Graduate to a man,” raps Equality, breaking down what it takes to “Get your Space Up because “swag” is so old.” The freshest part of that song, and suitably the group as a whole, is the paradoxical styles of each member. Savvi “drops $10 [dollars] on a seamstress” while Scottie Spitten cleans his kicks with a toothbrush “so they shine from a distance.” Equality approaches the track off-kilter from an Andre 3000-esque angle while LDA Voice drives straight through more King Midas goodness. Throughout The WeakEnd, all four display their own individuality, always adding contextual layers to each concept.
The Earth, Wind & Fire (“Bejo”) sampled “SheetRock” offers slick wordplay for the ladies. “Rock hard / Oh Lord / Check the Devil / Ate her treble / Renovate her walls til the sheet rock falls / House calls…Nice to freak ya,” spits Equality over the thumbing bass line. “Rockin aka Space UP!” offers something for everyone over hopping flutes and crashing snares, and is arguably the first instance where all members deliver a quality verses on the same song, finally crafting the perfect blend of beats and rhymes hoped for as soon as album opener “Come Out And Play” sets in like purple kush.
That’s really the biggest qualm with The WeakEnd, the soundscape is more visceral than the stanzas. Judging from the insert credits that come with the physical CD, presumably the album is some sort of loose concept record where HISD is rolling in Savvi’s truck through downtown H-Town, stumble into some sort of uprising and eventually time travel to another dimension — Space City — where they encounter various obstacles and characters. But none of that is effectively represented in the narratives. None of the dots are effectively connected in the songs. The story is abstract and the rhymes are average.
“He is Shawn Marion / We shine with the Sun,” spits Scottie Spitten on “Autobahn”, using either an old or poor metaphor for the former Phoenix Suns now Dallas Mavericks Small Forward. “We back and forth like the hand on a clock there,” says LDA Voice on “Cranberry”, falling forty-yards short of nailing the simile. Outside of the of the anthemic hooks, The WeakEnd is woefully short on memorable bars. The production travels at light speeds while the rhymes, at least those delivered by two-fourths of H.I.S.D., sputter in comparison. No member is completely suspect. No member outshines King Midas, who placed his golden arrangements on every track except “Crazy Legz” (produced by E. Classic). From the rhymes alone, it’s nearly impossible to actually visualize the intergalactic excursion the group ventures down. But it’s absolutely evident in the production. Sneaky trumpets and blippy, electronic intonations and angelic choirs diced all over the omnipresent boom-baps and high hats combine lovely, forming a beautiful mosaic with underwhelming narration. At times it feels like there are too many Big Poohs, not enough Big Bois and not one close to Andre — even if Equality kind of sounds like he’s trying to sound like Andre 3000.
But even with this disparity, The WeakEnd is a progressive LP loaded with Outkast-type eclecticism and Little Brother-relateability. Savvi and Equality are talented enough to maintain interest. Scottie Spitten and LDA Voice are at least unoffensive enough to not impede on King Midas’ (along with E. Classic and DJ Cozmos) layered, kaleidoscope of sonic brilliance. Unquestionably, this project is stronger as a whole rather than track for individual track, encouraging frequent spins, somehow still loaded with replay value. More than anything else, H.I.S.D. sounds like it might have it’s own sound, and in Hip Hop, that’s 87% of the battle.