Kidd the Great was born and raised in Houston’s West End, an area that many people errantly consider The Heights these days, along the Washington Avenue corridor. As any Houston area resident can tell you, Washington Avenue was straight ghetto as recent as ten years ago, before gentrification took a foothold and created the Washington Strip Houston we now know, full of condos and upscale bars.
I met Kidd The Great about two years ago by catching a ride in his taxi. This vehicle is unforgettable. It has a custom Bentley grill installed, chrome all around, 24 inch custom wheels, a Playstation 3, and custom surround sound with a 15 inch subwoofer in the trunk.
While riding in Kidd’s “Ghetto Fab Cab”, as he calls it, you can play video games, sing karaoke, or surf the web on his Wi-fi connection. If you’ve never seen a taxi with a tv monitor in it, this one has seven.
“I’m not just a cab driver. I provide a service to the community.” Kidd explains. “If someone is looking for a product or service, I’ll find it for you. That’s what I do.”
The Ghetto Fab Cab is not a novelty. It is the key to Kidd’s success, because he’s hasn’t put thousands of dollars into this vehicle to increase cab fare or get more customers. He’s doing it to promote his new album, “How I Be Liking My Mic”, and it’s working.
I was so impressed with Kidd’s skills when first hearing his tracks, I asked him for an interview over lunch, which turned out to be an all-day experience in the front seat of the Ghetto Fab Cab.
Kidd sold crack cocaine in his youth to get by, but doesn’t elaborate much on the subject. He’s 35 now, so you can guess that he was probably slinging rocks around the same time UGK’s “Hard to Swallow” dropped in 1992, which is pretty much an instructional guide on the masterful subject of slinging rocks. Those days are long behind him, but the experience was integral to his music.
Kidd has been rhyming as long as he can remember. He got his first start when his cousin and fellow rap artist J auRa introduced him to (now defunct) local label Unified Records. He joined Texas Ballers, a Southern rap team that enjoyed limited local success, with an album that was later chopped and screwed by Swishahouse. In the meantime, 2Tone, founder and producer of Texas Ballers, was in the process of discovering a young Hollywood Floss- Kidd’s best friend from childhood, who was raised with him as if they were brothers.
Kidd explains, “Hollywood’s a real producer. He saw what we were doing, wanted in, and jumped right in and ran with it. He’s a natural- you’ll hear his stuff on ESPN, read about him in XXL magazine. If you want one of his albums, you can get it at Best Buy. He produced my new album and built most of these tracks you’re hearing.”
Kidd lists his influences as James Brown, George Clinton, Cappadonna, K-Rino, Elton John, Radiohead, Kurt Cobain, D’Angelo, Wu-Tang, Isley Brothers, and everything Johnny Cash has ever done.
“If you want to get into music, take it home with you and sleep with it. She’s your girl, and you’ve gotta wake up with her. If you neglect her, she’ll take off and find somebody else. ”