Michael Watts Is Exposing Texas Music To The Masses
Michael Watts is business before pleasure. During a brief press run in NY promoting his Swishahouse release, 2 Real 4 Radio Volume 3, the Houston native was just shy of 20 minutes before heading off to another interview at MTV’s RapFix. The CEO, co-founder and DJ of Swishahouse initially began as the plug for hip-hop’s growing obsession over screw music and mentor for the likes of OG Ron C. Over the years, Michael Watts broke the careers of Mike Jones and Paul Wall, maintaining that mentality to push new talent on his Swishahouse roster. Here, Watts chops it up with XXL about expanding Texas music outside of the region, getting into EDM, and more.—Eric Diep
XXL: What have you been up to?
Michael Watts: Just trying to keep everything going. Keep it pushin’. Plants some new seeds so we can get some new crops.
Tell me about Swishahouse right now in 2014.
I mean, the whole thing is the same agenda as before. Exposing new music for the forefront. I mean, my main thing is I believe in breaking music and breaking artists. I’m just going to continue what I’ve been doing in the past. Like what I got with D-Boss right now. We got the 2 Real 4 Radio Volume 3 and besides him on it, we got other artists on there like Mug. Also, Kirko Bangz is out there and stuff. Propain he’s hot out there. We just bringing him [out.] JDawg and stuff like that. Same principle, just a new year.
You speak about a lot of the local artists who are popular. What’s the reason for Texas rappers not breaking any ground outside of the state?
I know exactly what it is. It’s because people like me not coming out here and exposing it. That’s the only reason why we came out here and did the press run. And we didn’t just do D-Boss and this underground right here. We put everybody in it cause the whole thing is we pulling the team instead of pulling us out there. It’s the same principle like we were doing with Mike Jones and Paul Wall and stuff. We put they albums out and stuff and they projects was underground. They had everybody on it. They didn’t just have them on it.
Do you think this year Texas/Houston rap is going to expand outside the regions?
You know what it is? It hasn’t been exposed out here. We still have a broad fanbase. We did Sway’s show today. We got tweets and stuff all over the country, saying, “Oh, shit. This is the new shit? How can I get it? Where can we get it? Damn! I miss it so much.” We definitely have a fanbase that’s here for it, but they haven’t been able to hear our shit. So we here to expose it and fix that problem.
You recently did a Swishahouse remix of Big K.R.I.T.’s King Remembered In Time. Do you plan on releasing any other ones?
I just did Slim Thug’s Boss Life. I got a couple more that I don’t want to pop them out there yet until it’s finished. I don’t know what to do that right there. Pop a bootleg out first. I don’t want that to happen. I actually have a Swishahouse remix of this project we just did to 2 Real 4 Radio Volume 3. That’s out now.
Why do people like your style of chopped and screwed?
It’s an art to it. There’s a million people that paint. Then there’s certain people that gravitate towards too. There’s an art to it. There’s not just a whole thing of slowing this shit down. I feel like when people hear my shit, they know it’s a art and this is what they want. This is the way that they want it.
That’s kind of just comes from doing it for a long time.
The whole thing. I didn’t do it just for whatever. It’s like a science to me. I try to make sure this shit is right. Like I said, it’s an art. Some people just throw shit out there and slow it down. For the people that’s really into it, they know how it is supposed to sound. Just like if it’s some good music that you listen to, you know how shit is supposed to sound.
What do you think of guys like A$AP Rocky taking some of the influences?
It’s good. ‘Cause what they are doing, they taking the influence and pushing it nationally. And with them exposing the culture and telling them where it came from, only thing that does is bring people back to Houston or Texas rather. So they want to hear more of it. So they come to Texas and get it.
Why are you going into EDM?
At the end of the day, you gotta eat. At the end of the day, you gotta pay bills and shit like that. As a DJ, you don’t have to be limited into one thing or around there. Like for me, Texas music is like my key thing that I do, but I do everything. I am a DJ besides for the forefront. I do EDM. I do weddings. You know what I am saying? I did two EDM albums myself. You don’t limit yourself.
What is trill step?
It was actually created by my homie DJ Bad Boy BMC. I jumped around to him and just added to it. Trill step is a Texas-based version of what it is dubstep. Instead of playing everybody’s else shit, we made our own style of it. Basically, your favorite Texas shit done over your favorite dub production. You get something that represents you, you say, “Oh shit.”
Are you doing any EDM festivals this year?
I haven’t done EDM in like a year. I just kind of backed up off of it and I came back to the Texas culture. I am back to putting out more chopped and screwed and stuff. Exposing the Texas artists and stuff like that cause there’s a lot of good music that’s trapped out there. I feel like I got the gateway to help get their careers back out there where it needed to be at. So I am on the focus of that.