SAN ANTONIO — Arms are raised all throughout the green room, each with an empty, clear, single-use plastic cup in hand. Slowly but surely, everybody gets theirs filled halfway to the top with peach-flavored Crown Royal, just before a special toast is offered by the night’s most important man: Mike Dimes.
Tonight (June 15) is Dimes’ album release party at Paper Tiger, one of the most beloved and long-standing venues in the rapper’s hometown. Joined backstage by his manager David Peters, his SinceThe80s label head Zeke Nicholson, fellow rising S.A. emcee and collaborator Hoodlum (fka Southside Hoodlum), and more members of his team and family, Dimes throws back his shot of whiskey with ease, as if to flip a switch and officially start the festivities.
In less than three hours (June 16), his sophomore studio album TEXAS BOY will arrive on all digital streaming platforms, putting an end to his 15-month drought between LPs. TEXAS BOY is much more than just a 14-track pack of songs, though. With appearances from fellow Lone Star State acts like the Houston icon Maxo Kream, Dallas up-and-comer BigXthaPlug, and the aforementioned San Antonio star Hoodlum, Dimes’ new project is essentially a kickstarter campaign for the S.A. hip-hop scene and the Texas rap agenda as a whole.
Although born in Texas, Dimes moved around quite a bit as a youth, considering he was born into a military family. Spending his childhood in different cities throughout Oklahoma, Colorado, South Carolina, Virginia, and Georgia, Dimes still always looked to Texas as “Home,” which he remarked in his 2022 smash hit that earned a remix with J.I.D. In the tenth grade, Dimes would officially dig his feet in the ground in S.A., widely known as the military capital of America. Now half a decade removed from his high school graduation in 2018, Dimes’ album is looking to be a watershed moment for the city’s rap community long without a pulse.
“I want TEXAS BOY to have an impact,” Dimes told Our Generation Music in the green room. “I don’t want to just claim the city because I’m a military child, though. I want to claim all of Texas because I feel like I have a lot of influence from Texas artists as a whole.”
Shortly after the wholesome toast, Hoodlum takes the stage as the last opener of the night, where he performs fan-favorite hits from his 2020 LP Orange Tape, such as “OJ” and “Walk In.” Then, Dimes’ DJ Cinco takes control of the crowd alongside Dimes’ close friends serving as hype men.
Hitting the stage with ferocity a few minutes later, Dimes opens with a raucous performance of TEXAS BOY‘s sixth song “Undefeated.” Immediately after, the 23-year-old performs more tracks from the album like pre-released single “Heavy Metal,” the song made less than two months ago “Weed and Whiskey,” and the Wiz Khalifa and Hoodlum-assisted “Green,” which Dimes tells the crowd will “put this city on the map.”
Before finishing his fiery set with its climax in “Home,” Dimes continues to play additional standout bangers from TEXAS BOY, such as “Kiss N’ Tell” with his blood cousin and fellow new wave phenom Dro Kenji, “Hatchback” with Joey Bada$$, and “Arsenal” with Denzel Curry, whose verse Dimes is reluctant to reveal early to the crowd. “The album comes out in two hours y’all can stream that shit,” he insists.
But, the crowd ends up taking the W with their “play that shit” chants, as Dimes eventually has Cinco play Curry’s explosive contribution, which he earned by building a tight friendship with Zel during his stint as an opener for the 2022 Melt My Eyes Tour.
“Throughout that whole run, we just became very, very, very close,” Dimes said about being on Curry’s tour. “He was kind of like a big brother, he would call me now and then, check in on me and make sure I was good.”
By the time the “Texas Boy Album Release Concert” ends, the LP is less than 10 minutes away from dropping, while Dimes chats with his fans outside of the venue instead of obsessively scrolling Spotify and Apple Music. Although it may not seem like it at the moment, Dimes’ numbers and sales success are of the utmost importance to him.
“We chasin’ platinums,” he said sternly. “God blessed us with this opportunity but we got more things to achieve. We tryna have a whole wall, a whole room full of plaques.”
All in all, Thursday night exceeded any expectations Dimes’ fans could have had for it, undoubtedly becoming one of the most important evenings in San Antonio rap history.
More of our conversation with Dimes from S.A.’s historic night can be found below.
‘TEXAS BOY’ TALK…
TG: I was able to meet your family; your parents, your godparents, your cousins; and they were all so nice and respectful. What was it like growing up with them, especially because it was a military family that moved around a lot?
MD: “I’m a very family-oriented person. I never really grew connections with people other than my family, all I know is my family. That’s why when I came into (rapping), it allowed my mindset to be transferred from being a military child. It was all structure and focus, I’m a lab rat. All that helps with the music. I work, plan, and strategize very well. I feel like I’m very disciplined and focused. All that, combined with the fundamentals of being a military child, ‘yes sir, no ma’am,’ I always gotta say those things and show everybody hospitality.“
“The hard part was growing connections, I never really had a true friend because I always moved. Moving every five months for years, you don’t make connections. That’s how being a military child is. But it helps you to grow to always be able to fit in different rooms, therefore I don’t ever feel shy. I’m always confident because I’ve been in situations where I had to be on 10 toes and be confident in myself.“
TG: The “Welcome Victor Wembanyama” billboard you constructed this week in S.A. just went viral, as the French basketball prospect is just a week away from being drafted by the San Antonio Spurs. How did you come up with the idea for that?
MD: “We was thinking about different ways to just grow the brand of Texas because we have different, exciting things that people don’t usually bring to light because of the major markets like Atlanta and New York. (We’re) just trying to make it global.“
“We got heat out here too, like Southside (Hoodlum), like myself, like a bunch of other artists in San Antonio, Houston, and Dallas that don’t get enough recognition and love. Southside’s the one for San Antonio, (BigXThaPlug) for Dallas, and Maxo for Houston, but there’s more artists out there that I think are very, very talented and could do great things. So we put the city on the map the best way we know how, with promoting how basketball players come here, promoting how we got me and someone else from San Antonio on a song with Wiz Khalifa. We’re tryna find different ways to show that we outside too.“
TG: Since the album is called TEXAS BOY, how important did you feel it was to put guys like Maxo Kream from Houston and Hoodlum from San Antonio on the album?
MD: “It was a necessity… Hoodlum is hard, he makes good music. I think good music should always be shown to light. I’m not no jealous, hatin’ n***a, I don’t think that’s ever been in my blood. It wasn’t hard for me. I was like, ‘Let’s get them on a song. Let’s get Maxo, let’s get Big X.’ Maxo is a legend to me, so of course that was easy. Big X, he’s high and up-and-coming too.”
TG: Looking at the track list, the album’s fifth song is called “Countdown City” (named for San Antonio’s area code 210). That’s gotta be one of the first song titles ever referencing San Antonio. What are you hoping to accomplish by uplifting your hometown in this way?
MD: “Showin’ n****s that Texas is hard too. San Antonio’s the second largest and most populated city in Texas (confirmed after fact-checking), and n****s act like we don’t exist. They put Houston, Dallas, and Austin before San Antonio and I don’t understand why. N****s out here too. We deserve a chance too, we got our own sound.”
TG: Well who are your top Texas artists? What’s your Mount Rushmore?
MD: “Erykah Badu. Mike Jones. But it’s more than four. The list goes on and on. Beyoncé’s also from out here. Travis Scott. Don Toliver. Megan Thee Stallion. Sauce Walka. There’s a lot of people out here. I got everybody in my Mount Rushmore, all the OG OGs. I listen to all of ‘em. I was the only one from Texas in my family, so I used to flex and look up all the things from Texas that made me cooler than my siblings.“
Stream TEXAS BOY by Mike Dimes below!