Kyle Hubbard
Gig Seeker Pro

Kyle Hubbard

Houston, Texas, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2008 | SELF

Houston, Texas, United States | SELF
Established on Jan, 2008
Solo Hip Hop




"Premiere: Rapper Kyle Hubbard says 'This is Houston'"

Rapper Kyle Hubbard hopes to "take Houston hip-hop tropes and turn them on their head" in the new video for "This is Houston."
The clip features Hubbard, Lyric Michelle and T2 the Ghetto Hippie along with various familiar spots, including Frenchy's, The Breakfast Klub, Warehouse Live and The Safehouse.
I've got the premiere right here. See how many places you recognize. (And this is your explicit language warning.)

Hubbard explains:
Lyric, T2, and I don't fit into the mold that is so often associated with Houston hip-hop, despite the fact we have all three been active members in the city's hip-hop scene for years.
Lyric's hook is dripping with Houston hip-hop stereotypes, but that it is delivered by a female emcee known for her poetic lyrics gives the whole thing a tongue-in-cheek feel. The verses delivered by T2 and myself are more on the nose with the entire concept. The juxtaposition between the hook/production and the verses is all very deliberate.

And take a look at Hubbard's shirts. He's wearing exclusively Houston bands and brands throughout the video. - Houston Chronicle

"Kyle Hubbard Celebrates Tax Day By Giving Away Raps Four Free"

Local rapper Kyle Hubbard just can’t stand the thought that you might forget about him. Or maybe he just can’t stand the thought of you bumping stale beats out of your trunk. Either way, he’s debuting some new hip-hop tunes today, and the price is right: completely free.

It hasn’t been so long since Hubbard last dropped a project. Last September, he delivered Majestic Hotel, a comeback album that was written and recorded after a self-imposed Arkansas exile from the rap game. It was the debut release from Roologic Records, the label headed by longtime local DJ Ruben Jimenez, and it looked like the beginning of a fruitful H-Town partnership. Alas, it was both beginning and end; Hubbard and the label have parted ways.

The rapper says that the separation was amicable, with both sides headed for bigger, better things. And to prove it — to himself, perhaps, as much as anyone — Kyle Hubbard celebrated his renewed independence by hitting the studio with some buds last weekend and putting in an all-nighter. The result is a group of four new songs that he’s released on his Bandcamp page today titled Four Free.

Hubbard says that some of his closest colleagues, such as his live collaborator DJ Discipline and his fellow MC Guilla, encouraged him to get his name back out there on a new playlist. Initially, at least, it was a hard sell.

“DJ Discipline, when we were rehearsing for South By Southwest, he was like, ‘You really need to put more music out,’ the rapper says. “And at first, I was like, ‘Dude, fuck that. I don’t have the time; I don’t have the willpower. I’m not into that at all right now.’ And then, the thing me and Roologic happened and I thought, ‘Well, I need to do something. I need to kind of reassert myself and show everybody that everything is going to be operational as usual.’

“So, I hit DJay Cas up and ran the idea by him, and he pretty much ran with it instantly,” Hubbard continues. “It was one conversation, and then Cas was giving me four beats.”

Djay Cas has been Hubbard’s go-to producer for some time now. The two met years ago, posting opinionated bullshit together on the same rap message board. Before he could talk himself out of it, the rapper booked time at the iMix studio on the Southwest Side last Saturday and got to spittin’. The final product would have to be ready in a week, before Hubbard takes the stage tomorrow at Guilla’s album-release concert at Raven Tower.

“It happened, like, in two weeks, which is insane for me,” he says. “I work very good with a deadline; if I don’t have a deadline, I dick around. Recording everything in one session in one night is something that I didn’t know I could do. It’s not something that I would have even thought about doing had it not been for such a strict deadline that I put on myself.”

It might have been understandable if Hubbard had chosen to go it alone on the new project, in that weird way that newly single people refuse to date anybody for a while. But for Four Free, Kyle went in the opposite direction, calling in features from local standouts Fullmetal and T2 the Ghetto Hippie as well as Mississippi’s Fred Nice.

And naturally, Hubbard had DJay Cas in his corner, who dusted off a couple of old beats for the project and put together two new ones just for the occasion. Typically, Hubbard is a pretty hands-on guy when it comes to putting tracks together, but this time out, there simply wasn’t the time for second-guessing.

“I’m lucky to work with someone as dope as Cas, because when it comes to something like Four Free, where I have to essentially put my fate into other people’s hands, I know that I can do that with him,” Hubbard says. “He was essential to having the idea that I even could do something like this in such a short amount of time, because I knew that I could let him take the wheel completely and I’d still be happy with what he does for me.”

A perfect example of that trust working out beautifully is Four Free’s best track, “Same Old Song.” Every Kyle Hubbard release seems to contain a love letter to Houston, but this one is a lot more syrupy than he’s ever dared before.

“Normally, Kyle will come to me with a concept and we’ll map it out from there and he’ll have me switch up pieces, but this was something that I kind of sold him on,” says DJay Cas. “I don’t want to say it’s a brand-new sound, but I think it’s a new form of our sound. It’s the next level.”

“Same Old Song” is heavily indebted musically to the swang-and-bang Southside anthems of yore, but lyrically, Hubbard refuses to play the gangsta. With sterling assists from T2 and Fred Nice, the rapper manages to pay his respects to classic Houston hip-hop while still acknowledging life in the city far beyond the confines of MacGregor Park.

“The hook was already on the song when I heard it, and it’s straight-up H-Town,” Hubbard says. “I was like, ‘Dude, I love this kind of shit, but I don’t know if I’m an accurate representation of that side of Houston.’ Cas really sold me on the way that I need to approach it. It’s for every Houstonian in every corner of the city. It’s not just, like, the draped-up/dripped-out or the backpacker kids. It touches on every subculture that makes Houston great.”

By pushing Hubbard just a bit outside his comfort zone, DJay Cas helped to create one of the rapper’s best songs yet. And now that Kyle Hubbard is a free agent again, expect to hear plenty more new explorations from him and his merry band of collaborators real soon.

“We’re just going to keep the ball rolling,” DJay Cas says. “We have more to come, but this is just to hold people off for right now.”

Recommend you savor the new one while you can—the next one might just cost you something. - Houston Press


Majestic Hotel is the record that Kyle Hubbard never thought you’d hear. Hell, this time last year, odds seemed pretty set against it ever existing at all. After struggling mightily to come up with a worthy successor to his critically acclaimed 2012 debut, You’re Not That Special, Hubbard had given up. The young MC’s writer’s block was so bad that he actually skipped town, moving away to the hip-hop wasteland of Arkansas, enrolling in school and vowing to put his fledgling rap career in the rearview for good.

Turns out, a little time and distance was all he needed. Far away from the pressures, frustrations and potholes of big-city life, Kyle Hubbard’s creative juices began flowing once more. Out of nowhere, he dropped the song “Rip the Page,” featuring Truck North, back in January. But that was just a taste. On September 14, the rapper releases Majestic Hotel, the new EP whose title is meant to reflect his rejuvenating vacation from the Houston hip-hop scene.

Hubbard says that the new disc is something of a direct counterpoint to the much-admired You’re Not That Special, containing an older, wiser and downright fresher perspective than the one he delivered back in 2012.

“A lot of the stuff I’m dealing with on this record, I dealt with on You’re Not That Special; it’s just that I’m not a stupid fucking kid anymore,” the rapper says. “It’s been a few years and a lot of life experience, and I feel like that’s the big difference. It’s been an evolution.”

Another big difference? Majestic Hotel might be the first Houston rap record written and recorded entirely in Arkansas. Hubbard’s frequent collaborator, Djay Cas of Charleston, S.C., produced all of the tracks, and the MC traveled from Hot Springs to Conway, Ark., once a month to lay down his rhymes. The arrangement led to a fruitful working relationship with Greenwood Studio engineer Chad Wigley, whom Hubbard says was instrumental in helping to push his sound forward.

“[Wigley] was super dope,” the rapper says. “He actually had a big impact. He loves the music, and he’s without a doubt the best engineer I ever worked with. We had a shorthand almost immediately, and he just knew what I needed without me even having to verbalize it.

“The first song I recorded, he said, ‘You really rap a lot. You’re really dense,’” Hubbard continues. “I was like, ‘Yeah, that’s true. I am really dense.’ He said, ‘It’s almost like a wall of text. You should try to incorporate a more melodic flow and play with pauses.’ I was always under the impression that you should rhyme as much as possible. He told me to play with pauses, and I took it to heart. It changed the entire way that I wrote, and I feel like I’m more musical than I’ve ever been before.”

Indeed, Majestic Hotel features a more confident and practiced sense of phrasing from Hubbard, offering Cas’ beats more room to breathe and stretch out under his verses than on some of his previous work. It’s a subtle change that lends a strong sense of wistfulness to tunes like “Going Back to Houston,” and, especially, Hubbard’s favorite track on the disc — the spacey “Not Without a Scar,” which features a terrific hook from local psych-pop prince Chase Hamblin of Chase Hamblin and the Roustabouts.

“I’ve admired Chase forever,” Hubbard says. “His music is right up my alley, and he does it so well. He’s definitely one of my idols in the Houston music scene. When I got that beat from Djay Cas, I knew that I needed some help with the hook, and Chase was my first choice. I was really confident in my verses and the work that Djay Cas did, because approaching Chase Hamblin, you want to come with something that’s worth his time. I felt that this song was that.”

Hamblin wasn’t the only local mover and shaker that felt Majestic Hotel was worth his time, either. Ruben Jimenez, better known as longtime scene fixture DJ BabyRoo, heard the record and decided to make it the very first release under his new record label, Roologic Records.

“DJ BabyRoo is a true OG in the hip-hop scene, and he’s seen so many people come and go,” Hubbard says. “He’s seen people who were hot and then fuck it up somehow: He’s seen it multiple times. I think he just got sick of playing on the sidelines, really, and he wanted to take a much bigger role in the scene that he’s helped cultivate and that he loves so much. So, he’s gathered up a roster of artists that he has faith in, and he’s put in a lot of effort behind us to try and get us more exposure. We’re trying to become a community within the community.”

The wider Houston music community will get its first taste of Majestic Hotel this Saturday at Cactus Music, where Hubbard will perform the new EP in its entirety. The rapper is planning to make as big a splash as possible when the record drops, and his eagerness to make a strong push into the Houston rap pantheon is palpable. After all, Kyle Hubbard never thought he’d get the chance to rock a stage again. He has every intention of making good on all of the help he received on his way back to town.

“I want it to matter to people,” the rapper says. “With the Roologic thing, I want to set a good foundation for my friends. I want them to be able to build further on something that I built. I want to make everybody that’s put effort behind me proud — the people who never stopped believing in me, even when I didn’t believe in myself.

“Basically, I want to make them significantly proud and go out and tear some shit down—even though I don’t really know what that looks like for me,” Hubbard adds, slipping into his trademark introspection. “What’s my ultimate goal? I really don’t know. I guess, make money and fuck bitches!”

Yep: pretty safe to say, then, that Kyle Hubbard is back in love with hip-hop. Welcome home, kid.

Kyle Hubbard will perform Majestic Hotel for the first time at 1 p.m. Saturday at Cactus Music, 2110 Portsmouth. - Houston Press

"Top 15 Rap Tapes of 2015"

Like the return of Paul Bunyan from a hunt, Kyle Hubbard figured out what he needed most from Houston was a break from it. He moved to Arkansas for a little while, kept up with was going on and then ended up submitting an entire album while not even actually being here. “Here,” for Kyle Hubbard, was dead in the center of his own heart and mind, a more mature effort that utilizes his flow, clever assertions and creativity, and a bouncing ball of laughs. It led to the spaced-out trapeze that is “Not Without a Scar” with Chase Hamblin and the pensive but self-fulfilling “Going Back to Houston.” He couldn’t help himself by revisiting the emptier things he revealed on You’re Not That Special, mainly because it was time to let go of the past and move forward. - Houston Press

"Rapper Kyle Hubbard inspired by going back to Houston, Houston, Houston"

Kyle Hubbard revs back into Houston's hip-hop scene this month with a new EP and a new attitude. And it's all thanks to Dean Martin.

The rapper stepped away from the local spotlight in 2013 after releasing critically acclaimed album "You're Not That Special." He was overwhelmed, disillusioned and creatively stunted.

"I got to a point where every song I wrote was just a lesser version of something on 'You're Not That Special,' " Hubbard says.

"I felt like I was writing and performing out of a place of obligation. The fear of putting out new music that didn't live up to my old music became way too powerful for me to handle."

He moved to Arkansas and swore off music. During that time, Hubbard heard "Houston," a 1965 tune from Martin, on the radio.

"I was floored by the fact that I couldn't recall any song in Houston's hip-hop history that sampled it," Hubbard says.

It sparked something, and he reached out to longtime producer Djay Cas, who created a beat around the Martin sample. That collaboration led to "Majestic Hotel," a seven-song EP Hubbard describes as "deep-fried, Southern soul."


When: 1 p.m. Saturday

Where: Cactus Music, 2110 Portsmouth

Admission: Free; 713-526-9272 or

Q: What's different about today's Kyle Hubbard?

A: I am older, I am calmer and I am, allegedly, wiser. My notion of success is also completely different than it was in 2013. There was a time when all I cared about was increasing the number of people who cared, but now I realize how incredibly lucky I am, and was, for those who listen. I may never in my life be able to make music my actual career, but I have enough people that want to hear what I do to warrant my continued efforts.

Q: What was most important to get across with "Majestic Hotel"?

A: Everything about my approach differs from things I have done in the past. I never actually wrote down any of the lyrics for this EP. I would come up with some lines, repeat them day in and day out and build on top of them. I worked with just one producer, Djay Cas, for the entirety of the project. This album is mine just as much as it is his.


Diplo and Madonna perform onstage during her "Rebel Heart" tour opener at Bell Centre on September 9, 2015 in Montreal, Canada. (Photo by Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for Live Nation) Madonna brings Rebel Heart Tour to Houston Multiple cars in paid parking lots were reported burglarized during a Taylor Swift concert at Minute Maid Park, Sept. 9, 2015. Taylor Swift's Houston concert had multiple car break-ins despite Free Press Houston announces winter festival on par with Free Fans pose for a photo before the Taylor Swift concert at Minute Maid Park, Wednesday, Sept. 9, 2015, in Houston. Houston readies for Taylor Swift's concert Houston rapper Kyle Hubbard sampled the Dean Martin song "Houston" for his "Majestic Hotel" EP. Rapper Kyle Hubbard inspired by going back to Houston, Houston, Pearl performs Saturday at South Beach in support of album "Pleasure." Houston's top weekend shows include Lila Downs and Pedro
Q: How do you see yourself fitting into the city's current rap scene?

A: Hip-hop is weird. Houston hip-hop is weirder. I'm not entirely sure how I fit in these days. I just turned 28, which means I have officially been doing this for 50 percent of my life. I know in rap you're supposed to beat your chest and be cooler than everyone, but I'm too old for that. I want to be the soundtrack for your bad days, moments of doubt and fear, or even heartbreak. I want to make music that reaffirms to listeners that they are not alone.

Q: You share a birthday with Beyoncé. Which classic B song would you cover?

A: I really hope she reaches out for a joint birthday shindig soon. I would have to go with "Single Ladies." I know that song is clearly written from a female's perspective, but this is 2015. Girls can put a ring on it, too.

Q: You're performing at Cactus. What's a favorite record-store memory?

A: In my early high school days, my older brother drove me to several Best Buys in search of (hip-hop trio) Little Brother's debut album "The Listening." I couldn't find it anywhere. We eventually gave up the search, but several months later, my older brother took me to Cactus. I found it sitting on their shelves. To this day, it is one of my favorite albums of all time. Cactus became my go-to for albums I knew I wouldn't find anywhere else.

Q: Give us three Houston rappers we should no longer sleep on.

A: Fullmetal, Raymond A and T2 the Ghetto Hippie. Roosh Williams is one of the best rappers in the city and one of my best friends, but I don't think you can describe him as slept on anymore. - Houston Chronicle


I don’t think anyone who hasn’t written a song, toured the country in a small beater van, or who hasn’t attempted to record something, realizes how hard it is to be a musician or artist. To me, when someone says, “I’m done,” I get it because I’ve been there and done that. In today’s music climate, it’s so much more understandable. The internet has given a voice to many who wouldn’t have had it before, while giving so many that outlet that getting heard in all of that chatter is almost near impossible. So, back in 2014 when Houston’s beloved rapper Kyle Hubbard hung up his mic and moved to Arkansas, I got it. Though he was going through writer’s block, still…being an artist even with love from every corner is still difficult to keep going at times. Then, out of left field he dropped a single with Truck North earlier this year as a way to show that the writer’s block had ended, and a new Hubbard was coming back.

Then, about three months ago, Hubbard would tell me that he’d begun work on his next release. That release, the now titled ”Majestic Hotel,” has been on repeat at my house since I received it and it’s a doozy of an album. The fully fleshed out ideas, the rhyme skills, and the true mc prowess that Hubbard had when he retired is back with a full force. However this time, he’s stronger, older, wiser, and definitely more of a Kyle Hubbard 2.0 than he was back in 2012. The Hubbard on this release has more firepower while keeping that signature Kyle Hubbard sound intact.

Over the weekend, FPH was happy to hear that Hubbard had finished the mixing and mastering, and was ready to drop the first single, “Going Back To Houston (feat. Bateau),” and even better; he wanted us to debut it. The song, starting with a dope sample and fresh female vocals at the start shows how Hubbard has grown before his signature vocals come in with the same power that you’ve become used to. The fifth track of the album’s seven, it’s quickly obvious that Hubbard overcame his writer’s block. The lyrics cover his past and present times as a rapper trying to find his way in an ever changing world, and overly crowded rap scene. The track, available only here, just proves how you can’t keep a good act down, and that good rappers don’t ever stay silent for long.
You can hear this song and the bulk of “Majestic Hotel” live at The Nightingale Room, when Hubbard perms there on Thursday August 27th with Def Perception. The tentative release date for the album, the first through Houston’s Roologic Records, is set for September 14th. - Free Press Houston


Fat Tony, Kyle Hubbard
The Safehouse
October 16, 2015

I don’t mind admitting that I walked straight past the Safehouse on Friday night. I’d never been to the strange little venue before, and wasn’t quite sure where it was or what to expect. The place barely seems to exist online, and there was no helpful sign or marquee out front to look for. That’s how I ended up creeping through EaDo’s eerily silent warehouse district in the dark, listening intently for the tell-tale sounds of deep hip-hop bass.

Somewhere out there was Fat Tony, the prominent local DJ and MC who is one of the city’s most dynamic live performers. He recently put out a song with Asher Roth that’s called “Sushi” about sushi, and I was hoping to hear it. Kyle Hubbard, who’s another top local talent on the mike and a cool dude to boot, would be there too. Assuming the crowd was as hip as a halfway-secret warehouse show implied it would be, the odds of achieving dope tunes and cool vibes seemed highly favorable.

Finally, I came upon a group of young people chatting outside another darkened, nondescript warehouse building on Saint Charles Street. This was the place. As I was ushered inside, I was surprised to find a tastefully appointed studio apartment beyond the door, with a bed and other furniture mostly shoved out of the way. It was cute and cozy in there, decorated with a few old skate decks. Through another door rumbled the unmistakable sounds of live music, so I opened it.

I stumbled into the coolest little warehouse space you’ve ever seen, lit dimly by strings of bulbs and a few funky fixtures. In the middle of the place was a small stage constructed of stacked palettes. That’s where Fat Tony was spinning records.

Fat Tony & Kyle Hubbard Hole Up at the Safehouse
While Mr. Obi tore through a long set behind the Macbook, mixing snatches of Marvin Gaye with Smashing Pumpkins and the like, I wandered around a bit. Clearly, somebody lived in this place. There was no bar, just a free keg from 8th Wonder brewery and some noxious potion they were calling purple punch. The domesticity of the front room and the informal nature of the performances couldn’t help but give the night a strong house-party vibe, with attendees easily striking up conversations with strangers.

And hell, the soundtrack was dope. Around 11 p.m., DJ BabyRoo began setting up to take over for Fat Tony behind the controllers. Kyle Hubbard’s new EP, Majestic Hotel, is the first release on BabyRoo’s new Roologic label, so it was only fitting that he’d have his artist’s back. Kyle was greeted by a nice crowd of what looked like at least 100 people back there and opened with his spaciest new tune, “Not Without a Scar.” Local roustabout Chase Hamblin, psych-popper supreme, was on hand to sing the hook, and it sounded real good. It was little tough to see them up there, though, as the guy in charge of lighting had apparently bailed hard in classic DIY fashion.

Kyle Hubbard
Kyle Hubbard
Hubbard had a couple more pals come up to help him out with his new material, including Roosh Williams and Def Perception’s Raymond A., and BabyRoo delivered on some very nice scratching. Everyone was well-pleased with the set — performers and audience alike — and found themselves primed for Fat Tony up next.

With his partner iLL FADED commandeering the decks, Large Anthony delivered a tight and sweaty set up there in the darkness. It was past midnight by the time he began, and the crowd seemed to be feeling that punch — grooving gently and happily as Fat Tony dropped the hard-hitting lyrical science on ‘em. It was a real pleasant vibe in the place. Maybe a little too pleasant for Fat Tony.

“Y’all look smoked out, no doubt,” he told us. “I’ma put on a Cypress Hill CD, I swear!”

He didn’t do that, mercifully. He did bring up a gentleman whom I think was named Flyger Woods for some cool, high-energy back-and-forth bars, and iLL FADED took the mike, too, for a fun verse about meeting an attractive lady in Montrose. The whole set was capped off with a bonkers version of “You Ain’t Fat” that was drowned in reverb, the beat seeming to dive deep underwater. I think Fat Tony has performed that song every time I’ve seen him, but I’d never heard it like that before.

Fat Tony & Kyle Hubbard Hole Up at the Safehouse
As iLL FADED started up a new mix with some Juicy J song or another, folks milled around a bit and chatted. A dude named Alex from Oklahoma came up and explained that he’d just moved to town and was looking for some cool live music. I thought he was doing pretty damn well for himself already, making it out to a weird little warehouse/house show in the middle of some industrial nowhere. As a concert, it was a little loose, I guess, and the lighting sure sucked. But as a party, it was pretty goddamned cool. Just watch out for that punch.

Personal Bias: Poor navigation skills.

The Crowd: Young and hip and diverse.

Overheard in the Crowd: “We were just admiring your boobs from over here.”

Random Notebook Dump: I don’t think I could let that many strangers file through my bedroom to get into a rap show. Whoever runs the Safehouse is a lot more trusting than me. - Houston Press


Typically, you don’t see a lot of old, abandoned hotels in rap videos — and if you do, there’s probably somebody twerking in there. But local MC Kyle Hubbard found inspiration in the ruins of a long-defunct getaway thousands of miles away. He named his new album after it. And now he wants to take you inside.

You see, back in 2014, Kyle Hubbard felt like his rap career was in ruins, too. The talented rapper had won plenty of admiration and acclaim with his full-length debut, You’re Not That Special, only two years prior. But his trajectory in the Houston rap scene seemed to have stalled out. Even as he was playing bills with hip-hop royalty the likes of Slick Rick, Hubbard found himself creatively stymied, stuck with a paralyzing bout of writer’s block. As the pressures and frustrations mounted in his attempt to come up with a worthy followup to his popular debut, there was only one idea rattling around in his head: Kyle Hubbard had to get the fuck out of town.

Like, way out of town. In an effort to put hip-hop behind him and start over fresh, Hubbard moved to Hot Springs, Ark., to give small-town college life a try. Almost immediately, he found a kindred spirit there. It just wasn’t a person.

“The Majestic Hotel was this grand old hotel in downtown Hot Springs,” Hubbard says. “Basically, back in the ‘20s and everything, people believed that the hot springs that the town is named for had a medical value, so people would come from all over the country to get well in Hot Springs. The town was booming, and the Majestic Hotel was the result — it was super-swanky back in the day, a destination for a lot of celebrities.

“But then, everybody smartened up and said, ‘Hey, this is just hot water,’” the rapper continues. “That whole industry died, and with it, basically the entire town died.”

Kyle Hubbard’s Holiday Jam Explores an Abandoned Arkansas Hotel
There was no more prominent casualty of Hot Springs’ decline than the Majestic, which crumbled away until closing for good in 2006. A month after Hubbard arrived in town, the place caught fire, drawing out half of Hot Springs to watch the old hotel go up.

“Everybody was just standing there watching this once-prestigious building succumb to the flame,” Hubbard says. “To this day, the rubble is just sitting there still, because Hot Springs does not have the resources to clean up the mess that was once this hotel. You have this open wound just sitting there, right in downtown Hot Springs.”

The blackened husk quickly became a symbol of Hubbard’s own crossroads. The Majestic was now just as burned-out and abandoned as Hubbard felt as he struggled to match his early success. The kernel of inspiration took root.

“I would pass it every single day,” the rapper says. “The concept of something once so grand being reduced to ashes, and people not even caring to clean up the mess — that was an idea I really clung to. I identified with it in a small since, because in 2012 my rap shit was going great, and then people didn’t give a shit anymore and I didn’t know how to handle it. Me and the Majestic were on the same page.”

With his creative juices once again flowing so far from the bayou, Hubbard and his longtime collaborator Djay Cas created Majestic Hotel, a revitalizing return to form that found the rapper confronting his own doubts and fears and then defeating them through the sheer love of hip-hop.

No song on the new record resonates more deeply with the spirit of the ruined hotel than his new single, “Notes in a Song”— one of the biggest, brassiest and realest tracks on Majestic Hotel.

“I wrote it at my lowest point,” the rapper says. “It’s about me accepting that there’s highs and lows, and that there’s something to appreciate about the lows. This song is kind of me trying to squeeze as much beauty out of the ugly shit as possible.”

Hubbard says he’s never been much given toward music videos, but it was the only way he could find to communicate a full sense of his experience in Arkansas.

“I knew that if I was going to make any videos off of Majestic Hotel that the Majestic Hotel was going to be the star,” he says. “A videographer in Arkansas hit me up and wanted to work with me. I figured that since he was there, he was in a position to actually make a video revolving around the hotel.

“I honestly did not anticipate them getting inside the hotel,” he adds. “No one is supposed to be inside that building! It’s boarded up. He definitely gets points for being ballsy enough to bust into that bitch and shoot in there.”

Hubbard himself was stunned when he saw the raw footage, featuring a lone tagger exploring the wreckage that once symbolized Hot Springs’ success. The exploration is fascinatingly creepy and probably not altogether legal, but no one was around to care. Everything has simply been left to rot, right in the middle of town.

Majestic Hotel breathed new life into Kyle Hubbard’s rap career, and he’d like nothing better than to see the old place restored to its former glory. A piece of him remains back in Arkansas, recorded for posterity in the rhymes on his new record. But the haunting “Notes in a Song” video represents his final trip back to that place, he says.

“The reason I wanted to do the video is because I feel I’ve reached a point, artistically, where the Majestic Hotel season of my career is coming to an end,” Hubbard says. “That’s not to say I won’t still promote the album and perform the songs, but creatively, I’m closing that chapter. I’m content with what I did with it, but I’m all the way back home in Houston, now. It’s time to tell a new story.”

And so, Majestic Hotel will be boarded up for good this time. But it’s still with us, ready to be explored. - Houston Press


This time last year, Kyle Hubbard was preparing for the biggest gig of his life. Two years after recording and releasing his critically acclaimed album, You're Not That Special, and after clawing his way to respectability as a young white man in Houston's underground hip-hop scene, Hubbard had been tabbed to share the stage with none other than Slick Rick on the rap legend's 25th anniversary tour stop at Warehouse Live. It was a position 100 other local rappers would have killed to be in. If Kyle Hubbard wasn't on top of the world, he certainly seemed on his way.

But despite any outward appearances, Hubbard was frustrated and lost. He was worn out. And soon after his gig with Slick Rick, he officially gave up. He retired from hip-hop.

"I just got to a point when I didn't want to do it anymore," Hubbard says. "There's so much that goes into doing music and the music industry. It's just so draining and not me -- the politicking and high-fiving people that you don't really like. Trying to make it or whatever, trying to blow up, made making art almost difficult for me. My thought process totally changed, and I had to walk away from it."

So, Kyle Hubbard moved from Houston to Hot Springs, Ark., and enrolled in college. A young artist experiencing a little hardship, growing up, and leaving it all behind? Not exactly a new story, there. So why are we still talking about Kyle Hubbard at all?

Kyle Hubbard Is Back; Kyle Hubbard Is Dope
Because Kyle Hubbard is back. And because Kyle Hubbard is dope. Have you heard You're Not That Special? It's like no other Houston rap out there. When he hit the trails, the local rap scene lost a unique voice that was special, indeed.

But in his drive to be different - his drive to be dope - Hubbard found himself burning out. After devoting all of his energy to becoming Houston hip-hop's next big thing, Hubbard began to experience every lyricist's worst nightmare: writer's block. For months, it lingered. Before he hightailed it to the Ozarks, he'd been working on follow-up material to You're Not That Special with his frequent collaborator, DJay Cas. It wasn't working.

"DJay Cas put together this amazing beat," Hubbard says. "He got a saxophone player on there; he got this dude Chuck Norris from Philadelphia on there. Everything was good. I just had to write the hook, write the verses.

"And I started to do it, but every time I tried writing the song, I was just writing a worse version of a You're Not That Special song," he continued. "I just couldn't finish it. This song became, within my mind, this huge mountain that I didn't have the capability to climb."

His creative dead end, coupled with the increasing pressure he was placing on himself to succeed, convinced Hubbard that he had no right to continue pretending to be a rapper. He packed up and put H-town in the rearview, hoping to leave hip-hop behind and find something new.

Kyle Hubbard Is Back; Kyle Hubbard Is Dope
But the itch to command a mike never went away. Before long, Hubbard found himself climbing the same old mountain again. And whether it was due to the distance or the fresh air or the distraction of school, he was finally able to find his voice once more. The unfinished song that had broken his will to continue was completed, at last. The new track, called "Rip the Page" and featuring Truck North, suddenly appeared on social media in late January.

It was Kyle Hubbard's first new record since 2012. Now, he says it was only the beginning.

"The writer's block goes away and the flood gates open, and you're like, 'Oh, shit!'" Hubbard says. "It's like, I haven't written anything that I've liked in a year and some change, but I think I just dug through all the bullshit to get to the center of my creativity. I do feel like I've become so much better, and I have a much better grasp on the artist that I am now, compared to who I was in 2012."

Story continues on the next page.

Kyle Hubbard Is Back; Kyle Hubbard Is Dope
Hubbard will be debuting more of the new tunes he's been working on this Saturday at Walters Downtown, where he'll be opening for longtime bud Roosh Williams. It'll be his first time home in about a year, let alone his first time onstage.

Expect a new EP to drop soon, produced once again by DJay Cas. And in case you need further proof he might really be back, know that he's also put in for a transfer to the University of Houston in the fall.

So yeah, Kyle is really back, with new music, new shows and possibly a new zip code soon that starts with two sevens. But what's to say he won't get fed up again in six months? The rapper says his time away from the game, spent from the outside looking in, has changed his perspective on hip-hop dramatically. His expectations are different. His priorities,too. Hubbard's fanatical ambition never left, but now, he says, it's focused on the things he can control.

"The idea of blowing up, becoming famous, or making rap my only purpose in life, I've let go of that completely," Hubbard says. "And having let go of that, I'm able to create freely again. I feel like it's fun for me again.

"I know you're not supposed to get high on your own supply, but there's something about creating something, coming out and executing the way you had imagined it, is truly the best high in the entire world," he adds. "And I need it, to a certain extent. I get the shakes without it." - Houston Press

"Don't Call It A Comeback: Words with Houston Rapper Kyle Hubbard"

Every little kid you meet will tell you what they dream of becoming when they grow up; firefighter, space cowboy, or even Batman. The list goes on, but the answers we all get are as real or ridiculous as any dream should be. When the answer coincides with anything music related, I laugh to myself and become instantly giddy for my inner child that always dreamed of working in the music industry. I recently schmoozed it up with one of Houston’s hidden hip-hop gems, Kyle Hubbard, and when I asked, he methodically answered.

The story starts out a lot like the rest of ours; Kid finds dream. Kid chases dream. Kid achieves dream and what the hell life is awesome! That’s everyone’s story, right? But it’s all in the details how Kyle Hubbard grew up from just a kid chasing his dream to a relevant place holder in Houston’s rap game.

Being raised in Houston, TX, Kyle explained where he got his start, “I had an older brother who played the drums and being the little brother looking up, I wanted to be like him.” We all have to start somewhere, and Kyle used the folks closest to him to create reality out of a dream.

I was surprised when he told me he started DJ-ing for his friends’ birthday parties in jr. high, and after doing that for a couple years, he started doing his own recordings. (Who is this business man in 7th grade being hired for gigs already?) “I figured out xka8Jvrw8t2RXLJ0C1V1QTa2HJkrbgGblL2PA9-Oydchow to record with just my mic and a computer; your most basic recording, and it went on from there.”

Kyle went on to say that he grew up just a few streets away from another Houston hip-hop favorite, Roosh Williams, and together they fueled both of their careers to where they are now.

“I can remember being in my parent’s study, on our family computer, recording with Roosh. *laughs* Thinking about some of the stuff we started off recording makes me cringe, but it’s real, and we became really good friends.”

When he made the awkward jump from jr. high into high school, and it became apparent to everyone where he should be. “I felt like going through high school that I was looked at as the “rapper dude”; I was definitely labeled that, but I also had a serious hand in orchestrating it.”

After countless recordings and graduating from high school, things got serious for Kyle. He remembered talking with Roosh about their future as artists, “Someone is going to blow up out of Houston…and it could be one of us. It should be one of us. It’s gonna be somebody. Why can’t it be us?” His story looks almost picturesque at this point, but it wasn’t until 2011 that Kyle said he really hit his own creative stride; staying focused, writing, recording, repeat.Screen Shot 2015-03-04 at 8.21.31 AM

In 2012, fans and critics finally got a taste of what Hubbard had been working on. You’re Not That Special was Kyle’s first LP release, and made everyone think just the opposite of the humble artist. The Houston Chronicle even took notice, wrote a full-page feature, and named You’re Not That Special number three on 2012’s top ten albums of the entire year. We live in America’s fourth largest city; Kyle Hubbard was definitely special. When an artist pours their blood, sweat, and tears into a project, overcoming said project with the next one can sometimes be an incredibly hard and daunting task. Spending the time in between You’re Not That Special and the next phantom project, Kyle made one of the biggest decisions of his career.

In April 2014, he publically announced his retirement from hip-hop.

“I reverted back to the person I was before that You’re Not That Special release. I couldn’t even listen to rap music. I had writer’s block; I basically wrote and re-wrote You’re Not That Special over and over again.”

When I asked him about that decision, and if there was any backlash from fans, he simply stated, “That was just my mindset at the time. I know it sounds childish, but I just needed to see that people really cared. I’m not proud. My biggest regret is being so public with the announcement. I hate the fact that there’s a Houston Press article about it. It was also something I considered when I did that gig with Slick Rick a couple months after. I didn’t want it to come across as…”well, it’s not that I don’t mean what I just said, but…” but the fact is that you say yes to opening up for Slick Rick; it’s just what you do.”

*Fast forward almost a year*

I asked Hubbard what took him so long to come back from the hip-hop dead to rejoin society as the creative monster he is, and naturally he just said, “I had finally reached a different headspace. My priorities had changed, my idea of success changed. Not putting pressure on myself, I cannot quit. It is such a part of me; to deny it, is to deny myself. I need food, air, and music; that’s it. I’ve let go of judging my own success by the standards of others. I’m an artist and I want to be able to make my art for people that appreciate it.”

Fresh off the retirement block, Kyle Hubbard is once again back at it and just released to the public his newest track, “Rip The Page feat. Truck North”, produced by Djay Cas. (Who just so happens to also be the producer of his upcoming project. Stay tuned.)RIPTHEPAGE

And speaking more on his new single, it’s been a long time coming- “The hook is from 2013. Truck North came on board, recorded his parts, and then I started writing the hook/verses for my own part. I literally took off right where I left off. It was a mountain for me to climb, I was nervous to be on my own track. Truck North was on it, Djay Cas produced it, Patrick Marshall from Knifight played sax; I wanted to give the song justice.”

You can see for yourself this Saturday, March 7, at Walter’s Downtown. Kyle is set to be back on stage with Roosh Williams and friends for Williams’ Unorthodox album release party.

This is how we can all give thanks to the hip-hop gods for the return of Kyle Hubbard. Go pay your respects. - AudioPhix

"Kyle Hubbard Is Not That Special- "You're Not That Special" album review"

Kyle Hubbard isn’t that special.

That’s not a slight against the gifted hip-hop artist. It’s a credo he employs in everyday life.

“I think it’s one of the most powerful phrases in the English language,” he says. “The first time you are told you are not that special can be Earth-shattering, but it grows you up. I don’t think you can start to become the person you truly are until you can look in the mirror and realize you are not exempt from struggle and hardship. But that is also what unifies us.”

Hubbard’s new full-length album, “You’re Not That Special,” taps into that lesson artfully and aggressively. (He revisits the phrase throughout the disc’s 12 tracks.) Each song is a candid snapshot of his struggles, told in terms that are relatable to a larger audience. Commercial sensibility with plenty of H-town edge.

It’s his first release since 2010’s “Tomorrow in Retrospect” EP. Hubbard, 24, says he “had to get better” and reclaim his voice before he could move forward.

“A year ago, the thought of having an album to talk about seemed like a dream. I embarked on this process as a way of dealing with my own issues,” he says. “I was trying to make sense, and move past, some things in my personal life. All I did was tell my story and comment on the things I was going through. I wasn’t trying to preach or offer any kind of guidance on this album. I was trying to save myself.

“Sometimes I think people can find comfort in the mere fact that they are not alone in their pain and despair.”

Hubbard’s flow — typified by tunes “Just Breathe,” “Even Though It Shines” and “It’s Making Sense” — is engaging and effortless. He has a strong ally in producer Djay Cas, whose credits include work with Ice Cube, Young Jeezy, Scarface, Chamillionaire and Paul Wall. Cas gives everything a strong musical framework, building his contributions around soulful samples and beats that don’t adhere to rote rap standards. Hubbard calls him a “huge inspiration.”

Standout “ Brief Intermission” makes its point in roughly two minutes, Hubbard adopting a confessional-style delivery over a somber piano. It’s one of the album’s most powerful moments and bristles with vulnerability. (“I got lost trying to find God
I’m still searching ...”)

“The idea was foreign to me, but it was something I felt strongly about trying,” Hubbard says. “I’ve always been drawn to songs with nothing but a voice and a piano but I always felt that was something a rapper couldn’t do. It really pushed me to open up and pour myself into it. It’s the shortest song on the album but I think it says the most.

“There is a line in there that says, ‘I’ve seen half my heroes go from an overdose.’ That is a true statement, and this song serves as a dedication to those heroes.”

Local flavor and references abound, though Hubbard says he is far from a traditional Houston rapper. He shouts out the Rockets, Pimp C and DJ Screw on “Around the Way” — but is less complementary when it comes to another local institution (KBXX 97.9 FM) mentioned in the song.

“97.9 doesn’t care about me or my artist peers,” he says. “Mainstream radio hasn’t offered any kind of platform for an artist in my position to expand, and I can’t imagine it happening anytime soon. 97.9 basically serves as a way to further the reach of manufactured music.

“I fund my career with my nine-to-five (assisting real-estate agents). I can’t tell you how thankful I am for people like 90.1 FM and local?”

That said, Hubbard maintains a DIY aesthetic when it comes to music. “You’re Not That Special” is available as a free download via his Facebook and Bandcamp pages. (Go ahead, give it a chance.) It’s a smart, and near-standard, way for artists without label distribution or national radio play to maximize audiences at the least cost.

But if and when the green does come rolling in, Hubbard has a dream of superhero proportions.

“The simple truth is I rap in hopes I can blow up and get rich so I can have access to all the rare “Batman” comics I have always wanted but couldn’t attain,” he says, nary a trace of humor in the claim. “I don’t want a shiny chain, an expensive car or easy women. I want “Batman No. 1” wrapped in plastic and securely placed in a safe in my bedroom.” - The Houston Chronicle

"Houston Chronicle's "Best Local Music of 2012""

3. “You’re Not That Special,” Kyle Hubbard: Houston’s hip-hop/rap scene continues to be a national force. But some of the best music is still bubbling underground. Hubbard’s soulful effort both adheres to and flies in the face of genre standards. He’s an arresting, charismatic rapper whose gift is documenting personal struggles in a way that’s accessible to a larger audience. And he’s found a perfect match in producer Djay Cas, who softens some of the sharp edges - Houston Chronicle


12. Kyle Hubbard, You're Not That Special Few rappers are able to discuss their own rapper illegitimacy in a manner that makes them completely legitimate; on You're Not That Special, Hubbard (yet again) did exactly that. - Houston Press

"If I Were Famous: Kyle Hubbard"

Ask any artist why he or she creates anything, and “to become famous” is an unlikely answer. You’re more apt to hear “to express myself artistically” or “to forge a bond with other humans on the planet through the communicative power of art.” Even less noble reasons, like “to buy a Trump-like mansion,” generally check in ahead of finding fame. But what if fame did come? And not just the sort that elicits occasional nods of recognition, but the kind of fame that makes a man take things over. We’re talking "baby, remember my name" fame, the sort that’s associated with mega-celebrities like Beyoncé and Taylor Swift.

Because Houston boasts a wealth of superb musical talent, the chance one of your local favorites might someday join the ranks of the preposterously well-known is anything but remote. We decided to reach out to some of these folks with ten questions about fame and how they might respond to it. Our first subject, Kyle Hubbard, was a perfect choice. For one, he agreed to indulge us; second, he has the skills and appeal to boost him into this rare air. He also doesn’t take the whole fame thing too seriously, which is a nice attribute to find in the famous (or soon-to-be).

If you’re worried you might never see him again once he’s a global phenomenon, you still have a chance to catch him right here at home this week. Hubbard joins Nosaprise this Thursday for the 12th Annual Trills the Season holiday party and toy drive at Boondocks. Bring a new, unwrapped toy worth at least $10 to get in for DJ sets by Vic G, DJ Gracie Chavez and Fat Tony and performances by Hubbard, Nosaprise and Dirty & Nasty.

Houston Press: You’re coming back to H-town as a megastar. Which venue do you hold your triumphant return show at and who is your opening act?

Kyle Hubbard: Much like Lady Gaga on her Bud Light-sponsored "Dive Bar Tour,” I'd want to make this performance intimate and not about money or gimmicks. Naturally, I'd gravitate toward the DIY aesthetic of the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion. To further promote the "for Houston, by Houston" feel of the event, the bar would be told to serve Karbach exclusively. I mean EXCLUSIVELY. Minors either get really creative or go thirsty. As far as openers, I would surely have to select Paul Wall so he can see what it feels like to be the "other white rapper from Houston" for once.

First thing you would buy yourself because you’re filthy rich:
The most gently used 2010 Ford Focus I can possibly find.

First thing you would buy someone else because you’re filthy rich:
The second most gently used 2010 Ford Focus I can possibly find...for my niece. She's about to start preschool and her parents are busy people. She needs a way to get herself to and from school.

Local act — just one — you would sign to your label since you could run your own label:
I know everybody is going to think that Fullmetal is my choice. However, Fullmetal is a far superior rapper than I am and that fact makes me feel bad about myself. That leads to an extra scoop or two of ice cream before bedtime. Basically, Fullmetal sends me on a shame spiral. Anyways, he would be fine without me...I mean, have you heard how good that guy raps!? Someone needs to sign him, but not me. My neighbor has a teenage son who always says stuff like "It was lit" when I ask how his day was, so I'd sign him or Corporate Dough. Whichever one knows the most about Star Wars.

Name one Houston celebrity-type person who is not in music that you’d make part of your business team, and why you’d choose this person.
I'd have to go with Clutch, the Rocket-scientist bear.

1. The dude's a bear.
2. His sunny disposition is infectious.
3. I'd be bulletproof. Who in his right mind is going to do bad business with a guy who has a bear on his team?
4. He never lets the fact he is a bear define him.
5. He's a goddamn bear.

If I Were Famous: Kyle Hubbard
Photo by Paul Davis/Courtesy of Kyle Hubbard
What local charity would you align with as a super-powerful superstar whose influence could help others?
I think that I would put my efforts behind helping The Council on Recovery or another equally established charity in the same field. That isn't to say I think one charity is more important than another, but I feel like [if] I am truly going to make myself a part of one, it needs to be one that I can personally identify with. Addiction does some very not cool things to families. This is something that I've actually wanted to take on more directly in my music for years, but I have hesitated because it is all so personally delicate to me. There is only one way to do it right, and about a bajillion ways to do it wrong.

When people ask you how you got so damn famous, what would be your standard answer?
I would yell, "JUST LOOK AT MY FACE, YOU STUPID IDIOT!" while I pointed at my face.

You’re asked to invest in a Houston sports franchise. Which do you select, if any, and why?
I would put tons of money behind Booker T's Reality of Wrestling. Houston has legitimately produced some of the true greats of wrestling, including The Undertaker. The ROW roster is stacked with talented young men and women inside and outside of the ring; the next Undertaker could very well be among them. If I was rich enough, I would make serious efforts toward helping the organization expand regionally. No jokes here...this is a shoot. I would be overcome with joy to be able to invest in what Booker and his team are doing.

Answer either but not both of these questions: Name the first celebrity you’d bring home to introduce to your friends and family in Houston; or, which exotic animal you would purchase as a prized pet with your filthy riches?
Christian Bale. I really doubt my friends would be so eager to disagree with me when I say his Batman voice "wasn't that bad" when the man himself is sitting right across from them. You think those idiots are going to tell Batman he doesn't sound like Batman? No way.

To which Houston music writer would you grant your first interview as a big-time big shot?
A part of me wants to say Shea Serrano because he was the first person to ever write about me, but I will never forgive him for having the audacity to become significantly more famous and successful than 100 percent of the rappers he used to write about. With that said, I'd have to go with Nathan Smith. I don't think he knows how much I cherish the things he's written about me. Nathan wrote about me during the most important time in my life as an artist, which included my "comeback" to Houston hip-hop and the release of my best work to date. He's told my story better than I ever could myself. When my autobiography is released, I will proudly take credit for all of the writing he does for it. - Houston Press


"You're Not That Special"- Album

"Majestic Hotel"- EP



Kyle Hubbard is a hip-hop artist from Houston, TX with a style that stresses strength in lyrics through an accessible presentation. Hubbard was nominated "Best Underground Rapper" in the 2010 & 2012 Houston Press Music Awards. His debut album, "You're Not That Special", won several awards in 2012 and was ranked third on Houston Chronicle's "Top 10 Albums of 2012" list. After a lengthy hiatus, Hubbard returned to Houston hip-hop with his new EP "Majestic Hotel". The EP cracked the top 10 on Houston Press' "Top 15 Rap Tapes of 2015" list. In 2016, Hubbard was an official SXSW performer and was noted by Billboard as one of the artists keeping Houston hip-hop alive. He was also nominated in the "Reader's Choice" category of the 2016 Houston Press Music Awards. In 2017, Hubbard returned to SXSW for his second consecutive year as an official performer and was listed as one of Houston Press' "50 Houston Music People We Love." His sound has positioned him to be the South's answer to Atmosphere with a bit of Phonte's every-man lyricism sprinkled in. 

Band Members