Houston Press: Have You Heard? Something Magical is Happening in the Third Ward This Fall

Full article by Susie Tommaney


Psst. Have you heard? In a modern twist on an old telephone game, three magical pay phones with mysterious properties have popped up in Houston's Third Ward.

The magic isn't that they're free, though that part is cool. Walk up to one phone, press the handset to ear, push a button and voila: the unmistakable sound of a Third Ward rapper. Dubbed El Mix-Tape, this phone not only functions as a jukebox — with recordings by Brandon Willis, Jewetta Boney, T Lee, Blessed Child 100, Global Gospel's Stacey, Jalen Baker, Roderick Felder and J Free — but also allows the user to make a recording.

"The innards have been reprogrammed. Pop in an SD card and change the recordings," says Jeanette Degollado, one of the collaborators on this Project Row Houses public art installation. "One through nine is a different track or recording. The pound is record, the zero is playback. One can record their voice, rap music or speak over field recordings. The star is the colophon that thanks the sponsors and partners."