1995, Houston, TX
Documenting the beat of 1990s and early 2000s
The year was 1993 and Deron Neblett, having establishing himself as a notable photojournalist in Houston, TX, was ready for his next challenge. Setting up shop in a desolate corner of downtown Houston, he operated a studio in a converted live/work warehouse space along the railroad tracks. With the late graphic designer Clyde Bazile, founder of Blackat Production, to guide him, Neblett began documenting the local and regional hip hop music industry.
Armed with a 35mm Nikon SLR, Neblett would spend the next decade collaborating with Clyde and various music labels and publishers to capture images of performers primarily from the Southern parts of the United States. The results were striking, personal images of hip hop musicians at the dawn of their careers documenting a critical period in Houston and southern hip hop's evolution.
A select few — the Geto Boys, UGK, Scarface, Slim Thug, Fat Pat and DJ Screw — would achieve national fame and influence a whole new generation of artists. Neblett's images captured moments in time, all the more noteworthy, because the internet and digital devices were in their infant stages and social media was not yet in existence. His work realized the dreams, hopes and aspirations of these artists, celebrating the beat of 1990s and early 2000s — today, known as Southern Rap.