Collins Leysath better known as “DJ Ready” died Friday, leaving only his musical legacy and influence to his admirers. Leysath was only 53 years old when he faced a fatal heart attack. Willie Dennis shared the news of the longtime producer, and DJ’s death on Instagram. “He single-handedly established a style,” Willie says, as he reflects on Collins life.
Collins had infused his Trademark Rap-A-Lot style into Geto Boys. Collins is accredited for pioneering the southern style hip-hop sound. Brad Jordan also known as “Scarface” states that Collins influenced most of Rap-A-Lot’s sound and style. Collins would often use reference of classic pop culture in his music. For example, he once sampled music from the classic “Spider-Man” television series.
Much of Collins’ influence came from his love of comics, Kung-fu movies, and television. Common snit-bits of Collins’ passions, whether it was TV themes, or sound effects often found its way into his music. Dennis also mentions that Collins had a unique forward-thinking view of Hip Hop as a mainstream genre, as it wasn’t viewed that way at the time.
Even though Willie died in his New Jersey home, he still managed to leave the long-lasting impression on the coast. In 1979, Willie moved and threw himself into the club nightlife and eventually impressed producers. Collins subsequently picked-up-the title of “DJ Ready Red” where he joined the Geto Boys. They then released “Car Freak,” one of the earliest rap singles to be recorded in Houston.
The group’s name would eventually change after the release of the 1988 album “Making Trouble” which began to pull a consistent regional audience. The group grew in popularity with the release of “Grip It.” The vocal performances often expressed stories base around Houston and its streets.
Dennis remembers Collins as a perfectionist. He states that much of the Geto Boys hits could not have been as influential as they were if he hadn’t put as much effort into them. In Jordan’s novel, he reminisces the cross-country journey the Geto Boys took. They traveled and only made a few bucks, but they did what they loved. Eventually, Collins moved on due to his frustrations with the group’s finances but still managed to leave a lasting legacy for his fans and the Hip Hop community.
It’s the authenticity of today that still has a driving force for hip-hop fans. So what does a hip-hop rapper look like these days and why does it matter? If you close your eyes and try to picture him, then chances are, there are a few traits that automatically comes to mind. He is not likely to be anywhere above 19 or 20 years old. He is tatted up with sleeves and even face tattoos. The beat of his music is upbeat, and the melody has an infectious hook. However, in every music video, it looks like a scene from the video game, “Call of Duty” mix with a colorful explosion.
One rap artist, in particular, Polo G and his song “Gang With Me,” represents many up and coming rap artists in this generation of rap music. This is because they share a common sense of hardcore anti-military in their music videos. While Polo G has yet to have a large following, it’s clear he’s trying to represent himself as someone through his music.
Some reports say, he wants to reflect himself as a thug; a menace to society, but why would anyone expect this sort of representation to be relatable to listeners? The answer. Since Rap music’s inception, authenticity has been a huge part of how artists are represented. “Keeping it real” quickly became a staple among successful artists and many people didn’t so much as blink at the violence often represented in Rap’s most notorious music videos.
It’s this kind of culture that has taken its toll on young Tay-K who is currently on trial for capital murder in the state of Texas. It quickly becomes very apparent that this kind of street credibility comes with a price. While credibility is a trait that most up and coming rappers aim for, it also comes into question where should the line be drawn? Should retaining a tough guy persona be worth violence and in some cases, death? The rap scene has situations where it seems to think so.
In a new era where violence has become such a big part of what authenticity should mean to a rap artist, it’s important to recognize the cost involved in the process. That way the new generation of Hip Hop fans can appreciate music without always seeing the desperate conditions of poverty, violence, and neglect in the system. That’s why it matters today.
Stayve Jerome Thomas, better known by his street name, Slim Thug grew up in the Houston area where his brother TayDay introduced him to rapping at the age of 12 years old. His nickname was coined in his teenage years because he was very tall, standing at 6”6′ and lanky. The thug part of his alias stemmed from the fact that due to his corn rolls and sunglasses people would immediately assume he was a thug.
His most notable works, like his debut album and his material with Interscope Records, were associated with Star Trak Entertainment, where he begins to develop the reputation of being Houston’s pride and joy. He would eventually release three highly successful albums through his own independent record company, Boss Hog Outlaw.
To create his first freestyle, Slim used a recording of the instrumental “Player’s Ball” by Outcast, and he eventually turned towards the Hip Hop Industry to make a career for himself. His Rap career started with Swishahouse in the late 1990s and then formed his independent label.
His first performance was at a club called “Club All-Star” in 1998. Slim later challenged Lil Mario in a style competition, and they were invited by DJ Mike to submit their raps for the Swisha House – Final Chapter 98 mixtape.
After 20 years of success in the Rap Industry, Slim is still making a mark in the Hip Hop Industry through Boss Life Construction, where he is giving one lucky family a home after the lost theirs in Hurricane Harvey. Now, even 20 years in the game a retired Slim Thug continues to work on projects and states that he will continue to rap even at the age of 50.
Though Slim’s long-running and successful Rap career, he has been able not only to influence the Swishahouse and freestyle community, he has also devoted his time and energy to make an enormous impact towards the community due to his efforts through Boss Life Construction. To Celebrate 20 years in the music industry, Slim held a concert at the White Oak Music Hall and continues to influence all listens of the genre now, and for many years to come.