Counter Intelligence

T Town Music & More

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60 minsFirst aired 23 Jun 2017Restream Tomorrow at 11:00am EST as part of Now Entering Texas
Karlo Ramos

Southeast Dallas is no joke, and neither are the sounds available at this cornerstone of the city’s rap scene for over 20 years.

In July 1994, six months after being laid off from his job at an auto parts store, George Lopez – not the comedian – pursued his goal of a life working in music and opened T Town Music and More. Tucked inside Bruton Bazaar in Pleasant Grove, Texas, amongst a neighboring barbershop, nail salon and storefront stalls carrying jewelry, bath products and airbrush t-shirts, T Town has from day one specialized in selling rap CDs – or as Lopez puts it, “what’s hood, what’s street, what’s hot.” In the early days, that meant embracing the sounds of down-south indies like No Limit and Suave House. But by 1999, T Town made a play to join those labels’ ranks by actively championing, distributing and releasing the talent within its own local hip-hop community. The result was a series of classics by 19-piece supergroup Dirty South Rydaz (AKA DSR) and spin-off soloists Big Tuck, Tum Tum, and Fat Bastard that have become synonymous with the heyday of Dallas (and specifically South Dallas) rap – the sort of rowdy street anthems area club DJs were forbidden by venue owners to play after 11pm, for fear of things getting dangerously crunk. To this day, T Town is the spot where longtime customers still buy their music on CD because their cars aren’t aux-cable ready; where George knows everyone by their first names; and the signage outside warns you to keep your weapons, drinking and drugs off the premises. Here, Lopez guides us through the history and daily operations of his essential mom-and-pop music institution.

06:53

For a more in-depth understanding of T Town’s history, check out this interview with none other than the owner himself, George Lopez.

15:00

Although Inglewood group Cali Swag District’s track “Teach Me How To Dougie” popularized the dance phenomenon, it actually originated in 2007 with the Doug E. Fresh-inspired Lil Wil track “My Dougie.”

55:29

Scroll Big Tuck’s Instagram for a good dosage of “Southside Da Realist” parodies and sing-alongs.

Credits:

Interview by Torii MacAdams
Produced by Jeff Mao and Jordan Rothlein
Engineered by Denis Hürter

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