Roologic Records Artist Roster, Photo: Scot Overholser
I’m not sure who knows Ruben Jimenez and who doesn’t in this town. I’ve known Ruben for quite some time, and you might know him better by his stage name, DJ Baby Roo. Under that name, he’s been grinding in the Houston hip hop & DJ scenes collectively for half of his life. Without getting into the vast arenas of all he’s done for this city, his latest venture is easily his most exciting with Roologic Records. An actual label with real distribution and a roster of artists as mixed as the records he scratches for Def (formerly Def Perception), Ruben has done something few who’ve started a label here have done before…started making a dent outside of Harris county. On Thursday March 10th, the label will make things official with their launch party at House of Blues.
Back when this all began over a year ago, I asked Ruben what his plans were, and his response told me that he not only knew what he was doing, but he’d planned it out as well.
“It’s easy to say, ‘I have a label,’ but the distribution side of it is what makes it more than an imprint and what makes the difference between labels and hobbies,” he replied. And, he’s correct. Through Symphonic Distribution, the label reaches digital marketplaces globally while growing the brand outside of Houston and the U.S. The label is more than just an imprint, with distribution digitally you can find artists on Roologic on Apple, Tidal, Google Play, Spotify, iHeartRadio, Pandora, Rhapsody, Juno Download, 7 Digital, Qobuz, Bleep, K Digital and Amazon. There’s a good chance that you haven’t heard of some of these, and that’s because they’re digital outlets that aren’t in the United States. 7 Digital for example is offered in the U.S. but is primarily out of London, and they set themselves apart by offering high quality DRM-Free MP3’s. K Digital is in Asia, Bleep is in the UK and Europe, Qobuz is throughout Europe and now entering Asia, and Juno Download is UK based but also specializes in dance and hip hop. Physically you can find the label at Deep End Records, Cactus Music, and Mega DJ, though Jimenez has assured me that they’re in talks to take the physical aspect to a larger audience sooner than later.
The roster over at Roologic reaches far beyond hip hop, while the acts themselves promote the brand through various forms of marketing and event coordination, making it more of a collective than just another label. On the music side of things the roster includes Houston heavy hitter Kyle Hubbard, whose recently released “Majestic Hotel” was a nice welcome back to performing, the sometimes controversial hip hop of Dirty & Nasty, the live band and DJ mixture of Def, the rhyme spitting intensity of Genesis Blu, and the crazed energy of Space Villains*. There’s also the intense rhyme flow of Raymond A of Def, DJ Baby Roo of Def, and the MO City hip hop of Brew. The label also has an art side, currently handled by artist and art curator Chelsea Mariah, who has organized multiple art events throughout Houston and beyond. Mariah’s “The Streets” show at Walters last year was one of the best non-music events I saw, and was heavily attended by many who had never set foot in the venue before, thus making our city stronger. There’s also, a comedy side to the label, right now only represented by Houston’s Gabe Bravo. Gabe is Gabe, meaning he’s always been funny, he’s been on various festivals including Come And Take It, Fun Fun Fun, and he’s toured with Todd Barry as well as performing at Meltdown.
As you can see, the label is as diverse as the countries in which they’re being offered in. How they’re positioned, you could see Roologic being something greater than our city itself for years to come. You can catch the bulk of the roster March 10th at House of Blues for their Launch Party. The show, hosted by Gabe Bravo with art curated by Chelsea Mariah, will feature sets from Space Villains*, Def, Kyle Hubbard, Genesis Blu, Brew, and Dirty & Nasty. The all ages show has doors at 8:00 and tickets for $15.00.