Houston’s T2 Ghetto Hippie is a homegrown artist with a deep understanding of the south’s storied place in hip-hop. Although he draws inspirations from the greats, he brings a modernized sound to the city. This year has been huge for him, landing on NPR’s podcast’s special SXSW 2017 preview, along with an impressive amount of blog coverage. His visual Double Cups & Taco Trucks was praised by Earmilk as one of their “favorite videos of 2017,” and his Trakksounds-produced album, A Southwest Side Story, landed on Houston Chronicle’s “12 of the Year’s Best Houston Albums.”
His recent projet, Double Cups & Taco Trucks boasts features from Dizzy Wright and Maxo Kream, and is his most ambitious project yet. T2 is ready to redefine Houston hip hop, and we wanted to know all of the juicy details. Peep our convo below.
Hey T, how are things on your end?
All good, always dude. Just grinding it out. Enjoying the ride.
Give us some insight on who you are.
Man, I’m just a normal guy from the south west side of Houston, TX who’s trying to do some abnormal shit. I put creativity, artistry, and quality of music first before anything. I’m just trying to connect with people everywhere through good music and good vibes. I want to travel the globe off my music. I live my life like a hippie but follow the codes of the street. Best of both worlds I guess.
You reside in Houston. What is the music scene like there?
I do, and the music scene is definitely thriving. A lot going on as far as diversity and being able to experience different genres… but rap specifically, Houston’s wave is definitely still being followed by people all over the world. Houston is such a melting pot that it’s super multi cultural, and that definitely trickles down into rap. From Fat Tony, to Maxo Kream, to Q Guyton, to Doeman, to myself…there is just so much to chose from. I love that I can always be inspired by the new music on the scene, by somebody who I’ve never heard of. It can be refreshing. I just wish more people put creativity and individuality over doing the same ol same ol when it comes to videos and stuff. H-Town videos can get boring (laughs)
Are you influenced by any of the OG’s?
Oh absolutely. A lot of them…all of them really. But a few specifically…Z-Ro, Devin The Dude, and Big Moe the most. Then Pimp C. They all were coming with melodies. Real melodies. Country rap tunes driven by emotion and soul. I loved the braggadocio freestyle feel of the classic H-Town sound…but these guys came with something different. Z-Ro’s “The Life of Joseph W. McVey” changed my life. And I still believe Devin is one of the most consistent and underrated rappers alive. He was on the ‘Chronic 2001’ dude!!!
When did you decide to seriously pursue a career in music?
I’ve known for a long time this is what I’ve wanted to do. Since I was a kid really. I dabbled for a little bit attempting to try and record myself and understand what it would take and what I would have to do to really do this…but it was the beginning of 2014 that it became a full time grind.
How long have you been recording?
I have been recording since back in the day. On my friends mom’s laptop in like 9th grade I recorded my first song. But seriously recording in a good studio and shit like that. 2013 to 2014.
What have you released so far? Do you have a favorite song or video?
I dropped a few mixtapes trying to find my sound and learn the game in 2013. In 2014 I dropped “Audio Art” and followed up with “A South West Side Story.” Those 2 mixtapes are what I would consider my first “professional” pieces of work. My favorite song though would have to be “IDGAF” which is from ‘Double Cups’ that we premiered with Mass Appeal a few weeks ago. My favorite video would definitely be the “Double Cups & Taco Trucks” video.
You’ve had a busy year. You just dropped the title track off your upcoming album, and highly regarded blogs have picked it up. What else have you been up to?
Yeah, it’s been crazy / awesome. But to answer your question… music, music, music. Did some traveling and working with people in a few other cities at the beginning of the year. Wrapped up the project between that and SXSW. After South By we started the roll out for ‘Double Cups.’ This year has flown because of all the work we’ve been putting in.
I love how your music exudes positivity. You seem to want to make a real connection with your listeners. Is this something you focus on?
Thanks! And absolutely. It’s something that’s a must for me. That’s why my content is truly about my life. I don’t talk about “Double Cups” because Future does. I talk about Double Cups because thats what I saw the OGs outside of the corner store drinking down the street from my house growing up. I chose the less popular route in order to assure that my fan base and following are all people that can RELATE to what I have to say and will stick around. Keep it real, always. Even if it takes longer, it will happen. Enough people in the world have gone through the same type of shit I have for me to know… eventually it will happen. I just make music that I would want to jam, not necessarily what people who listen to the radio would want to jam.
Talk about your previous projects. A Southwest Side Story is one of my favorites from you.
I had a couple mixtapes before that, including ‘Audio Art’ which I mentioned before. But ‘ASWSS’ has to be my favorite body of work. It’s a story beginning to end, it flows together nicely, and the content is all true and happened to me. Everything about that project is a day in my life at that time and it was all very real. I painted a more gritty picture than I normally do with that project, and I will forever love it because of that fact. I wanted to show the ghetto side of the hippie.
What producers have you worked with? How did you develop those relationships?
Man Trakksounds mainly. Met him randomly through a mutual friend, did one studio session with him…and the rest was history. Dude is now like my best friend, and my go to producer. I also work super closely with Chris Rockaway, and Jon Z. All these dudes are so immensely talented. And together these 3 have produced “Double Cups & Taco Trucks” in it’s entirety and most of my other music over the past few years.
Do you feel you’ve grown in your artistry? In what way?
It’s unreal how far I’ve come. I always knew I had the potential to make music as good as the music I love to jam, but it took me a few years to find my sound. Find my voice. Find my wave. I knew what I wanted to deliver, I just couldn’t figure out exactly. I feel like the main areas my artistry has grown in are sound and delivery. My melodies and sound are so much warmer now, without even trying. I definitely feel I’ve been working my whole life to get to this point musically…and ‘Double Cups’ is a great example of where I’m at.
Your album Double Cups And Taco Trucks just dropped. How would you describe it for new listeners?
You can expect my heart and soul in mp3 format. You can expect a project packed full of good vibes. No “skip” songs. I genuinely love every single track that’s on that record. Every one of them I could push by themselves and be proud of. It’s Houston to the core.. and yet it offers so so much more. It’s the best representation of my life and what “ghetto hippie” is. Plus, I have a song with Maxo Kream on there. Craziest collab I’ve ever done. We are totally opposite and the song is still amazing. Maxo’s the man. In short… you can expect to bob your head a lot.
What are your plans for the rest of 2017?
I’m going to take over the world by the end of 2017. (Laughs)
nah I’m just playing. The rest of the year consists of what the beginning of the year did… hard work, consistency, and good music. No breaks. No stopping. Just good vibes and relentless grind.
Thanks for taking the time T.
Man thank ya’ll for rocking with me. I look forward to the next time we cross paths. One love.