Roosh Williams - Unorthodox

I usually save my shout outs for the end of the post but shouts to the homey and Houston rapper, Roosh Williams. His album, Unorthodox, dropped today so mosey on over to iTunes and get that.

When I moved back to Houston, one of the first things I did was try to figure out which young H-Town artists were new and making it happen. I googled upon a couple of Complex articles on the subject both written by Houston's very own hip-hop scribe, Shea Serrano. On the list of "The 10 Best Houston Rap Mixtapes of 2013" was a fellow by the name of Roosh Williams and his project deja roo: Times Have Changed. Downloaded it. Jammed it.

Fast forward to a couple of months ago, I was contacted to work on a photo story doing artist spotlights on Houston rappers. Roosh was one of the people I reached out to. Even though the story kind of fell through (new management), I got to kick it with Roosh for a few days while he did various rapper things like shoot a video, wear a Sub-Zero costume, play basketball, eat fajitas and open for Wale. Unfortunately, I was unable to follow him into a classroom where he occasionally moonlit as a substitute teacher (seriously). Oh well, maybe next time.

OH! We did get to play a couple of games of 1-on-1 in which I am reluctant to say...I lost. He shot like 80% from 3 and I just didn't believe in his jumper. Still don't, actually. But go get Unorthodox and go watch the video he did with Houston rap gawd, Scarface. In the meantime, I'll work on a negotiation for a hoop re-match.


Kingsley Keke for the Houston Chronicle

Two weeks ago, high school senior athletes around the country signed their National Letter of Intent to play sports for various colleges and universities. With all the high school football in the air in this here great state of Texas, you can imagine how big this day was for those student athletes. I got the call to head out to George Ranch High School in Richmond, TX to photograph Kingsley Keke, a 6' 3" 290 pound defensive tackle. Keke, as he is so affectionately called, is heading to Texas A&M this fall to help bolster an Aggie defense that many pundits think is non-existent. Shout out to Kingsley and good luck in College Station!


Patrick Beverley for Green Label

Hung out with Mr. 94 Feet during a collaboration he was doing with Green Label. Originally, we were supposed to shoot all over the city at a bunch of awesome outdoor locations but...rain. So all of the outdoor venues turned into indoor gyms. The first stop was the Hastings Bears high school gym, of which I have a bit of familiarity. I grew up hooping across the street from the school, my nieces and nephew graduated and currently attend, respectively, and I worked on a little football project with the team.

Pat Bev came through with his family and galoshes and after introducing himself to everyone as Larry Hoover, he played a little one on one with his little sister Mya. Even then, Mr. 94 Feet was in full effect. No buckets were yielded to 4 year old children. After we left Hastings, we headed over to the Rockets practice facility at Toyota Center for some more shooting. I resisted the urge to challenge Pat to a game of one-on-one in from of Rockets GM Daryl Morey for his starting spot. My nephew says he would undoubtedly play Beverley to a scoreless draw...so I would have had a shot.


Kansas State v. Baylor for ESPN The Magazine

Like yesterday's post, this too is about some late season college football action. ESPN's College GameDay crew traveled to Waco for a match up between the 10-1 Baylor Bears and the 9-2 Kansas State Wildcats. At this point, Baylor still had some hope to be included in the College Football Playoff but they were definitely going to need a win to have a shot.

In another assignment from ESPN The Magazine, the focus was on senior quarterback Bryce Petty. I pretty much had to keep one eye on him and the other on the action throughout the game. The Baylor Bears took care of business beating Kansas State 38-27 but it wasn't enough. They were on the outside looking in as the fifth team of a four team playoff.

While standing on the sidelines of McLane Stadium (beautiful facility, by the way) watching the seconds of the clock tick to 0:00, I'm trying to anticipate Bryce Petty's next move. I keep my distance, but I keep my eye on him as the celebration begins. As I rush to the middle of the field to shoot #14 celebrating with his teammates, I didn't know the rest of McLane Stadium was right behind me. All of a sudden, the vast expanse of an 100 yard football field turned into a packed 18 & up club on ladies night. That was not a cool feeling. I say I'll never do that again, but you never know.


Egg Bowl 2014 - Mississippi State v. Ole Miss for ESPN The Magazine

November is pretty late in the college football season and it is usually the time when the best teams have to either step up or have a seat. November is also the time I went to Oxford, Mississippi to photograph the 2015 iteration of The Egg Bowl for ESPN The Magazine. The Egg Bowl is the annual rivalry game played between Ole Miss and Mississippi State University since 1901. At the time, Mississippi State was 10-1 and ready to be a player in the College Football Playoff. Their only loss was to Alabama and it was presumed that they wouldn't have much of a problem knocking off Ole Miss during the last game of the season. Well, that's why they play the games. Mississippi State lost to Ole Miss 31-17 and ended up in the Capital One Orange Bowl where they lost again to Georgia Tech.

During this particular shoot, my focus was on the 6' 2" 230 pound bruiser of a quarterback named Dak Prescott who had thus far led his Miss. State squad to 10 wins on the season. I hung out near the visitors entrance to catch Prescott walking from the team bus to the locker room down a path lined with screaming Mississippi State faithful. A) Maybe there was a good shot in there somewhere and b) so I could know what he looks like in real life. I got fooled once and started following a defensive linemen who I thought was Prescott but I got the hint when another guy came off the bus and everyone started yelling "Dak! Dak!"

We know what happened during the game but after the game was pretty much a party in Oxford. Ole Miss had just beaten their rivals as an underdog in a very important game for their opponent. There were drunken khakis, blue blazers and bow ties everywhere. I went to downtown Oxford to grab a bite to eat and encountered more than a few people walking with the grace of a zombie. Against my worst judgement, I scrapped the Oxford scene and headed to Applebee's, Chili's or Buffalo Wild Wings where things were a little quieter. 

Anyway, shout out to Mississippi which gave me the opportunity to fly to Memphis and check out the Lorraine. 


Wale x Houston x House Of Blues

Last Thursday, I ran into an old DC friend of mine who goes by the name of Wale Folarin at the House of Blues in Houston. By friend of mine, I mean we simultaneously lived in the same tri-state area at one time in our lives. And by ran into, I mean I took pictures of him while he performed for several hundred other people in attendance.

I've been periodically shooting portraits and documentary stuff of the homey and Houston rapper Roosh Williams for a story/spotlight that might not ever see the light of day. Roosh was one of the openers for Wale and a got a text from him a few hours before the show asking me if I wanted to shoot it. Well, why the hell not? Got to the venue, shot Roosh (killed it, so did he), and waited a couple hours while a bunch of other cats I've never heard of performed. To his credit, Folarin came out before 10pm, rocking the Fragment Jordan 1 and then the crowd. I only stayed for the 3 songs I could shoot then drove my old ass home.

Shout out to Audio Push, those two dudes are ENERGETIC!


Rugby: HURT vs. Katy Lions

The winning streak must go on. Last Saturday, HURT put 29 points on the board with a combination of tries, conversions and penalties. Don't ask me what that means, just go with it. Katy Lions Rugby failed to do any of those things. The game started off a little chippy with a Katy Lion being sent off early with two yellow cards but usually the scoreboard cures all, especially for the winners.

Once again, pretty entertaining and highly competitive but I'm a little less lost about the game than I was last week. You know how people from other countries talk about how they learned English by watching reruns of Full House and Gilligan's Island (which is a pretty incredible feat). Well that's how I'm going to figure out the game of rugby. I'm just going to keep watching until I understand. I'm definitely starting to get the gist.