Originating in the Southern rap mecca of Houston, South Park Mexican (SPM) slowly built up his own personally run record label, Dope House Records, for years before eventually signing a distribution deal with Universal Records. With the promising deal in place, SPM stood on the verge of extending his reach outside of the South and becoming one of the first Mexican-American rappers to attain national success. Unfortunately, he never fulfilled his promise. First, his releases for Universal failed to top the charts in the early 2000s, and then he went to prison in June 2002 after a Houston jury convicted him of sexual assault.
Before he became South Park Mexican, Carlos Coy spent years in the dope game. Born in Houston's predominantly Hispanic South Park neighborhood, he committed his first felony at the tender age of ten and continued on a path of crime, eventually getting involved with drugs by his teens. After several years of hustling on the streets, he finally got out of the dope game after a deal went bad. Around the same time, his daughter was born, causing him to re-examine his priorities. It was at this time in 1994 that Coy turned to a new hustle: the rap game. Even though he had never really rapped before, he started his own record label and began honing his rhymes. At first he did what he could, hustling tapes for five dollars apiece in his neighborhood, and by the late '90s, he was putting out his own CDs on his label. His two 1998 albums — Hustle Town and Power Moves — established him in the South as an up-and-coming rapper and his rigorous touring throughout Texas won him even more fans.
Coy won a deal with Universal following releases in 1999 and 2000 — 3rd Wish to Rock the World and The Purity Album, respectively — and had his Time Is Money album on the streets by the end of 2000. The following year, he returned with his second album for Universal, Never Change. Though Universal heavily marketed the album, as it had done with Time Is Money, the results were similar — no crossover. Big marketing budget or not, Coy's hardcore rapping proved to be too harsh for the masses. His 2002 release, Reveille Park, a collection of freestyles, proved no different, especially since Universal chose not to release it. Finally, Coy met his fate on May 18, when a Houston jury convicted him for aggravated sexual assault; in June the same jury sentenced him to 45 years in prison. He continued to record and release albums on Dope House, including When Devils Strike — his highest-charting album, released in 2006 — and The Last Chair Violinist, issued in 2008. ~ Jason Birchmeier