"There's a creative recession right now and we are the stimulus."
When most people talk about Texas rap, the conversation immediately turns to the slowed down, slabbed out country rap culture that began percolating some two-plus decades ago in the sweaty swamps of The Bayou City (aka Houston, TX). Outsiders whom are aware of the wealth of talent and musical diversity hailing from the lesser known reaches of The Lonestar State (just beneath the shimmering surface of the ‘Everything’s Big In Texas’ rap scene) are few and far between.
There is one emcee who is not satisfied with the status quo; cannot make peace with the idea that a rapper must sacrifice the heart and soul of their art form or conform to the trends dominating the national Hip Hop landscape in order to succeed. That person is Austin, Texas emcee: The Culprit.
“I was the youngest of six, so I have pretty much had the finger of blame pointed at me all of my life.” says The Culprit when asked why he chose the name. “Somehow that seemed to carry over into school and the neighborhoods where I grew up. It was really disappointing to see how low everyone’s expectations were of me. It was enlightening also. I became gradually more detached and started writing down my own rhymes and just got addicted. Everyone I crossed paths with respected what I was doing from the very beginning, so there was a lot of outside motivation and reinforcement all along. I grew up all over the world. I never stayed in any one place long enough to become completely immersed in their little local and regional rap styles or habits. We finally settled in Central Texas. I started feeling boxed in, so I migrated to Austin, TX in 2001.”
"After recording a primitive demo in '01, I got my first record deal with Mentally Twisted Records. The deal wasn't the right situation for me, but it led me to hundreds of shows, from the historic Juneteenth celebrations, SXSW, the old school Jump On It! Shows Nook did back in the day, car shows, and opening for most of the national and regional acts that came through Austin. I’ve opened for everybody from De La Soul and Digital Underground to Lil’ Jon and Scarface. I’ve been to other states, like Missouri, Colorado, Arkansas, every major and medium size market in Texas multiple times. I’ve slept in the truck. I’ve sat out in the sun selling CD’s and Merch and got the worst sunburn you can imagine at the Texas Heat Wave!"
"I keep it pretty low key, but I’ll just let it be known, I definitely don’t get credit in a lot of circles for doing the amount (and caliber) of shows and performances that I have.”
The Culprit does not plan on being overlooked much longer. “I have paid a lot of dues over the years and I never got ahead of myself. There’s a creative recession right now and we are the stimulus.”