Houston’s massive Club Tequila sits in a pretty unremarkable strip mall off the Southwest Freeway, and when we pull up on a Sunday night the sky overhead is blowing up with lightening. “There’s a tornado warning,” our Uber driver tells us as we skitter out of the car, dodging raindrops. Conditions don’t seem conducive to the turn-up, but then again, if there’s anyone who knows how to bring the H-town mexas out on a rainy Sunday night, it’s this headliner.
Claudia Alexandra Feliciano, better known as Snow tha Product, has been rapping circles around pretty much everyone for a few years now, and she’s still waiting for the world to catch up. Her rapid-fire delivery – which switches seamlessly from English to Spanish – sounds impressive on a track, but her live show is where she really wins you over. I’ve seen Snow walk into dead room and whip it into a frenzy in a matter of minutes. When she says to put your middle fingers up, every hand shoots up in the air; if she catches you texting in the front row, she’ll snatch the phone out of your hand, take a flawless selfie with it, then spray the crowd with water so you don’t dare take that phone out again. If ATL’s Kap G is the reigning Prom King of Mexican-American rap, then she is undoubtedly its Queen – and tonight she is the headliner for Green Label Live.
Joining Snow on the bill are Corpus’ own #CyberCholo El Dusty, and NYC’s GhE2OGOTH1K high priestess Venus X. They’re a group of artists who have been circulating in overlapping online circles for a while now, but club bookers are just now catching up. To oldheads, it’s not immediately clear how an Uptown New Yorker who references everything from Dominican dembow to vogue fits with a Tejano who cuts cumbia with EDM and trap, and a rapper who sounds like Tech N9ne possessed the body of a small Mexican-American girl. But luckily, forward-thinkers like Green Label are catching the wave – and the result is nightlife that is finally starting to look like the borderless online spaces where the new sounds of Latin music are being forged.
The Green Label Live event is the perfect cap to a whirlwind weekend that reflects the trajectory and sprawling potential of Latin music in the US. We’ve just come from Corpus Christi, where we joined Dusty and 50,000 thousand reverent fans celebrating the life of Tex Mex legend Selena Quintanilla at the inaugural Fiesta de la Flor. Now we’re sitting in the Green Room of a norteño club in Houston, popping bottles with a new generation of musicians from New York, Texas and California who all grew up listening to Selena. Their music might not sound anything like hers, but each of them is carrying on her legacy of unapologetic bicultural identity. Even the room itself is heavy with history. “Vicente Fernandez performed here, I just want to do him proud,” says Snow, nodding at the framed, signed photo of Fernandez hanging on the wall behind her.
With a crowd outside that braved apocalyptic rain on a Sunday night to chant “Hola, hola bitch que pasa” with her, she had nothing to worry about.