From the South Side of San Antonio, Hoodlum finally dropped his long-awaited album “Southside Story.”
Between his aggressively unique look, charismatic personality and his unusual, barely-awake vocal that sounds like a real time chop-and-screw effect, Hoodlum (often referred to as Southside Hoodlum) is truly one of a kind.
A proud representative of his overlooked city and underrepresented ethnicity — down to the Mexican fire opals on his teeth — Hoodlum’s sound is unapologetically original and unmistakably Texas. After a long wait, it seems he’s finally getting back in the “Groove” to build on his early success with a new project.
Hoodlum initially popped on the radar in 2019 with a series of viral singles and AceTheShooter-directed visuals for tracks like “OJ” and “Walk In,” catching audience’s ears with a combination of speaker blowing production and his intense, understated delivery that’s been described as everything from syrupy to a demonic whisper – his deep-toned raw vocal sounding uncannily like the slowed-down DJ Screw-pioneered style Texans can’t seem to get enough of.
Following numerous delays and Lost Files 1 & 2 to feed the fans while they wait, Hoodlum finally delivered on his promise of Southside Story. With a lengthy 19-song tracklist, Hoodlum takes you deep inside his gritty world to paint vivid pictures of what it takes to get by in the unforgiving streets of San Antonio as one of the city’s few artists to ever make it out.
Almost entirely produced by his go-to Bigtexjohhny, the project walks listeners through a surprising range of production and an impressive number of different applications for Hoodlum’s very particular style. On previously released tracks like “Pressure” and “Outside” featuring his good friend Maxo Kream, he channels that same infectious high energy of his early hits. While on other standouts like “Groove” and “Crooked” – where he’s joined by Texas legend Paul Wall – he takes a much more chill approach to contrast the light and airy production with a heavily sedated flow that just seems to go on for days.
With just two other features from Valee and Doeman, its clear that Hoodlum sees Southside Story as a formal introduction. He takes the opportunity to stamp his signature sound while also broadening his range, breaking out of his normal Texas-centric production to apply his idosyncratic flows over soul and R&B samples on tracks like “Somethin 2 Say” or “Money Talk”, and he even slowing all the way down and dropping the drums entirely for his “28 Shots Freestyle” outro.
Overall, the arrival of Southside Story is a welcome sight for fans of San Antonio’s polarizing lone star. As new listeners continue to acquire a taste for his intensely original sound, hopefully we will be seeing more of Hoodlum in 2023.
Listen to Hoodlum’s ‘Southside Story’ below