Sosamann has the energy of a cartoon character trying to sell cereal to children. The way the Houston rapper bounds into the streetwear showroom where we are scheduled to talk, he might as well have run through the wall like the Kool-Aid Man. Trailed by a couple of photographers and his manager, he and fellow rapper Rizzoo Rizzoo flip through clothes while Sosa casually turns everything he hears into a couplet about “sauce” or “drip” in the cadence of a late ’70s proto-rap disc jockey.
Even Sosa’s gear is loud, literally: The clatter of the several chains around his neck follows him and even shows up in the background of his songs as he raps. One of his pieces is a gorilla wearing a tie. “You know Donkey Kong? That’s Saucey Kong,” he explains. “Mario and Luigi are they Super Smash Brothers? Well we’re the Super Splash Brothers.”
Sosamann is in New York for the release of Sauce Eskobar, his concise new tape with features from heavyweights like Young Dolph and Wiz Khalifa. He is part of The Sauce Factory, a frenetic crew at the forefront of a resurgent Houston rap scene. TSF’s nominal frontmen are The Sauce Twinz (Sauce Walka and Sancho Saucy), and Sosa shares their predilection for hyperactive raps, catchy adlibs, and non-stop references to sauce, splashing, and dripping. But while The Twinz can barely contain their charismatic momentum at times, Sosa works effectively with calculated energy shifts. On “Jus Wanna Win,” the first track on Eskobar, he starts with a subdued autotuned hook. When he swings into action for the verse, he sounds like an entirely different person.
He’s also celebrating a new deal with Wiz Khalifa’s Taylor Gang. The move is a real accomplishment for The Sauce Factory—landing one of its members on a roster with proven hitmakers like Ty Dolla $ign and Juicy J—but while it’s not hard to understand why a label would take interest with Sosa, it does make him the first member of TSF to sign such a deal. And that’s confusing when, by any metric, The Sauce Twinz and especially Sauce Walka are more successful acts. Locking down Sosamann before Walka and Sancho is sort of like signing Inspectah Deck before Ghostface or Raekwon.
So why didn’t one of The Twinz get the first deal? The short answer is that The Sauce Factory are very protective of their style, and Sauce Walka has been especially vigilant in calling out biters, maybe to a fault. TSF have, for lack of a better term, exceptional branding. They have their own slang, their own dance, their own walk, and their own IG-ready “Sauce pose.” The problem is TSF’s mission to drip sauce all over the globe has outpaced the actual reach of their music.
Last year, The Sauce Twinz got into it with none other than Drake. It started when the Canadian megastar, never shy in claiming Houston as his second home, posted a picture of him, Walka, and Sancho hitting the Sauce pose on his Instagram. The caption announced his plans to jump on a remix of their hit “2 Legited To Quited,” but for reasons that remain unclear, the remix never happened. Allegations that Drizzy was starting to use their slang and might have been dripping sauce in the “Hotline Bling” video only made matters worse. Drake was supposed to right this wrong during his Houston Appreciation Weekend event, but failed to do so. In response, Sauce Walka released “Wack 2 Wack,” a downright nasty dis track over Drake’s own dismantling of Meek Mill.
“I love how they ridin the wave, but I just want them to pay homage, especially if they on the higher scale of the industry,” says Sosamann of outsiders taking interested in The Sauce Factory’s style. “If we get poppin’ like we want to, people might look at us like we tryin’ to take [Drake’s] wave, but no, he jumped on our wave. He just got more notoriety, so people might see him doing it first.”
It’s not exactly a surprise to hear Drake accused of borrowing without attribution, given his reputation for cozying up to smaller artists for cool points without really returning the favor, but TSF are more concerned about far flung up-and-comers gaining fame with Sauce-adjacent styles. While that may sound like the typical delusions of the average young and brash rapper, it’s not hard to see the crew’s influence on a dude like Chicago’s Famous Dex. To be fair, Dex did reach out to Sauce Walka for a collab on his “Drip From My Walk,” but Walka also calls out Dex (along with Drake, Future, and Houston’s Trill Sammy) on the recently leaked art for his upcoming Holy Sauce tape. The situation continues to develop.
“The Twinz…they feel how they feel,” says Sosamann diplomatically when I ask him if he worries about collateral damage to his career. “But sauce is freedom. We never gonna bite our tongue.” So despite all the stress over proper credit, Sosa’s Taylor Gang deal is symbolically important. It proves that the industry is buying into the Sauce.