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Cheez-It 'Sonically-Aged' Its New Crackers to Hip-Hop Music

Courtesy photo: Cheez-It

Hold on to your Rap Snacks because Cheez-It is about to take the intersection of hip-hop and profit to new levels of hype.

If Cardi B's Jerk BBQ Wavy Potato Chips get you going and the thought of some of Lil' Boosie's Louisiana Heat in your mouth makes it water, then the iconic snack brand thinks you will love its next big idea.

Instead of asking hip-hop musicians for their favorite flavors and packaging them for mass consumption, Cheez-It has partnered with Spotify to give fans a taste of the artform itself the next time they grab a box of cheese crackers.

The company's new limited-edition Cheez-It x Pandora Aged by Audio crackers have been aged to hip-hop tunes including cuts from greats like A Tribe Called Quest, LL Cool J, The Roots, Beastie Boys, and Snoop Dogg for six and a half months.

It sounds insane and is likely nothing more than a cute marketing gimmick, but according to Cheez-It, this campaign has roots in real science.

The brand cites a Swiss study that found aging cheese to hip-hop music could strengthen the taste and smell and decided to put its own spin on it with the help of Pandora, which utilized its experts to find hip-hop songs with similar attributes to those from the study to create the "first-ever sonically-aged snack."

"This collaboration is the perfect mix of my favorite things: hip-hop music, wild innovation and Cheez-It," SiriusXM radio host Sway Calloway said in a release announcing the collaboration. "Hip-hop has influenced many lives, so I'm looking forward to seeing if fans can taste the effect of the most beloved genre of music in the world on these crackers."

Cheez-It is collaborating with Calloway to release his exclusive new YouTube series, "Living Legendz." The new series, slated to start May 26, features interviews with hip-hop icons who've changed the industry, providing their thoughts on how hip-hop music has impacted the world.

The Cheez-It x Pandora Aged by Audio crackers will be sold exclusively via Cheez-It's online shop beginning that same day. Fans can also access the Aged by Audio mixtape there which was curated by the music and sonic experts at Pandora.

Houston Rap Icon, Scarface, Announces Final Tour

Scarface, (left) with Houston radio presenter
J Mac, has announced his final tour. 
The long-rumored end to an era appears to finally be upon us.

On Tuesday, Houston rap legend Scarface, who has long talked about giving up the mic for years and even held a" farewell show at Houston's House of Blues in November, announced a 32-city engagement he's calling "The Farewell Tour" on Instagram.

"The end game is to leave the same way you came in," the rapper, aka Brad Jordan, posted along with the tour schedule. "Now that’s gangsta!!"

If his words are to be taken literally, it should not be a surprise to hardcore hip-hop fans. Scarface's desire to remain in the genre, as well as his health, have posed challenges in recent years.

In late 2020, the 51-year-old artist found out he needed a kidney transplant following a prolonged battle with Covid-19 that March.

​​“COVID attacked my lungs first, and then it attacked my kidneys and knocked them out,” the rapper told Fox DC of his predicament at the time. “I got full lung recovery, but my kidneys never came back.”

After taking to social media in hopes of finding a donor in October, it ended up being Scarface’s son and tour manager, Christopher Jordan, who came to the rescue by donating his own kidney. Less than a month later he would be on stage at the House of Blues for what at the time was billed as his final solo show.

“I’m done with the rap,” Scarface told Houstonia Magazine prior to the show (five months later, he opened for Ice Cube at a show in nearby Sugarland, Texas). “If I could, I would love to go into a different lane of music. Maybe blues or rock. Maybe alternative. I want to do something different now.”

The Houston native, who first found fame as a member of the city's iconic platinum rap trio, the Geto Boys, before embarking on a successful solo career, will begin the tour on July 8 in Oakland, California, and traverse the country before returning to his home state for three shows to wrap it up. 

Tickets for the tour are available at Ticketmaster.

New Book Takes a Look at the LIfe and Legacy of DJ Screw

Courtesy of DeMo Sherman and University of Houston Libraries Special 

Hardcore hip-hop fans, especially those with any affinity, connection, or affection for Houston’s eclectic rap scene, are getting an early gift this year.

Brooklyn-based writer Lance Scott Walker’s long-anticipated book on legendary Texas' music fixture DJ Screw, “DJ Screw: A Life in Slow Revolution,” dropped today, and according to early reviews, it is a winner.

"Weaving flashes of his own voice into an oral history featuring over 130 of Screw’s friends, family, heroes, students, and more, Walker stitches together a full picture of the iconic DJ’s legacy," Rolling Stone’s Mankaprr Conteh said of the tome, which is the culmination of 16 years of research by the author.

The book meticulously documents the life of the late innovator, born Robert Earl Davis Jr., who created a signature “chopped and screwed” sound that would come to define the city of Houston by spinning two copies of a record to “chop” in new rhythms and having local rappers freestyle over the tracks and slow down the recordings of the session on tape.

Walker may be based in New York, but he is no stranger to the subject matter. A Galveston, Texas, native — he got his big break writing about music and nightlife for Houston Press and Houston Chronicle in the early 2000s and has written several other books on Houston rap.

For his latest work, he interviewed everyone from Screw’s childhood friend to collaborators and fans who helped popularize his tape and the hip-hop moguls that drew inspiration from and honored his work.

“Screw slowed down the music because he wanted to hear what the rappers were saying. He wanted you to hear what they were saying,” Walker told Houston Matters Michael Hagerty in a recent interview. 

“Sometimes there would be a message in there that he wanted to repeat so you would hear him wind it back, and sometimes he’s not just winding back a couple of words but an entire phrase or an entire 16 bars. Whatever it is he wants to run back, he’s running it back because he wants you to hear it.”

Walker added that the sound, like its hot and seemingly endless summers, is something that is Houston, but the narrative on the Screw tapes cemented his legacy and its importance to the city.

“You heard local rappers talking about local neighborhoods, local streets, local record labels, local places where they went… that sort of thing, so it sounds like Houston. It’s got that hot sort of slow sound.”