The Other Dude From Sore Losers Returns: Meet Tony Vice.
Since this site's inception, we've gone out of our way — maybe too far out of our way — to point out the seemingly obvious about the Dallas hip-hop scene: that we're living in a golden age of sorts for the art form in this city.
Still, the plate wouldn't be so full now if it weren't, rather specifically, for a trio of releases that came in 2009 and more than capably set the table for the riches of today. That year, three Dallas duos took the torch from '00s area favorites PPT, released their debut projects, and, without really collaborating with one another on the matter, sat back and watched as the Dallas hip-hop landscape shifted around their efforts. Those albums? A.Dd+'s Power of the Tongue, Damaged Good$' Hello World and Sore Losers' Freeloaders.
You know what became of A.Dd+ — or, at least, you should: The duo of Paris Pershun and Slim Gravy turned into, arguably, the biggest act in the city.
Damaged Good$, meanwhile, fared slightly less well: Personal issues knocked Theodore Beard out of the twosome, leaving Coool Dundee to carry the torch alone, which, to his credit, he has. Two EP releases later, Coool is currently on tour in Australia in the wake of a summer-long trek in support of dubstep purveyor Crizzly at Warped Tour. Beard, meanwhile, teased a comeback album of his own last time we spoke with him.
Of these three tales, though, Sore Losers' story is perhaps the saddest: Once attached at the hip, the tandem of Brandon Blue and Vincent Brown was quite possibly the most promising of the city's new hip-hop entities of that time; the group earned ESPN licensing deals and official SXSW showcases while building up its reputation around town as a must-see live entity. Then, in 2011, the ol' “creative differences” bug struck as Brown committed to a live backing band for the project at all times, and the more electronically inclined Blue, well, didn't. So they split: Brown moved to New York, took his backing band with him and retained the group name; Blue moved on and formed his own new local powerhouse, Brain Gang.
Two years later, the roles have reversed somewhat: Blue's Brain Gang is flying high; Brown's Sore Losers barely seems to exist any more.
But that doesn't mean Brown's out of the game. Quite the opposite: For the past year or so, the always lyrically gifted Brown has been working out the kinks on a new hip-hop identity. These days, he goes by the name Tony Vice, and his focus is back on North Texas, where he once again reside. To wit: This week, Brown released his first single as Tony Vice, a song called “DFW.”
It's something of a double-meaning, the song title: Sure, it's a reference to home, Brown says, but, as the song's hook implies, it also implies the motto “Down For Whatever.”
“Fuck that Triple D shit,” Brown tells us of his preferred nickname for the region. “It's 'Down For Whatever, Texas,' as far as I'm concerned. I think that sounds a lot better and more appropriate than Triple D. Plus, it's showing love to the Fort Worth cats that have put in work for our city just like we have.”
As for the song itself?
Says Brown of the cut, which can be stream below: “I just wanted to make a fun, progressive hip-hop record that had a dance feel without losing the hip-hop crowd.”
The track, co-produced by Brown and his producer cohorts Winston Ray and Ziek Knight under their shared #BLKWHTWTVR banner, is grimy yet poppy, edgy yet accessible and bouncy yet seamless. Or basically: It's a fine return to form.
Welcome back, Brown. Sorry, I mean Tony Vice.