Drake, A$AP Rocky and Riff Raff represent Houston. This is the year 2015 and this is where we are with rap. While regional music can still thrive, the national consciousness mostly follows internet-driven, post-regional rap. So while Drake is really from Toronto, he can still host Houston Appreciation Weekend while ripping off actual Houston artists. While A$AP Rocky is from Harlem, his music has been praised for incorporating pieces of the Houston and Memphis rap he grew up on. They copy the shell of Houston music (mostly slowed-down beats and vocals) and tip-toe around offering any innovation or contributions to the "Houston sound." It's a shoddy homage. While Riff Raff is from Houston, he's mostly from a strange corner of the internet and whether he intends or not, his music comes off like much more of a parody of the Houston rap archetype than it does as actual Houston rap. He's at best a cheap imitator of Houston rap and at worst a character practically in blackface. Unfortunately, many people would rather listen to a clown with eccentric punchlines clamber through raps than listen to the great Houston music being made today.
Rather than actually putting on artists from the city they claim to love and respect, Drake and Rocky rep Houston because it's cool. It's what they're supposed to do. It's almost a joke--"Hey, remember when we all wore grills and big black tall tees back in 2005? Man, was that silly." Similar to how the word "trill" lost any and all relevance pretty much as soon as people who weren't rappers from the South started using it, claiming Houston without taking stake in the artists who actually represent it is lazy and does a disservice to a great thing.
While the world turned its eye away from Houston after 2007 and Mike Jones, Chamillionaire, Lil Flip, Slim Thug, Paul Wall and the whole crew drifted into relative obscurity nationally, Houston rappers have continued making great music. For a city that's never received the respect it deserves on a national level (Z-Ro, Devin the Dude, Scarface, the list is infinite), it must be incredibly frustrating to see pop stars treat the city this way while the independent rap scene in the city is as bustling as ever.
On this playlist, you'll hear all kinds of music. There are still Houston artists perfecting and furthering slowed-down, chopped and screwed styles, like Beatking. But there are also the playful, Atlanta-influenced sounds of everyone out of the Sauce Factory collective and more straightforward traditional southern rap from Doughbeezy, Maxo Kream and Propain. Houston has been home to one of the strongest regional rap scenes since the mid-to-late 1980s and it's not going anywhere. It's great to see Rich Homie Quan working with Propain, Father working with Maxo Kream and Migos working with Sauce Twinz. But this generation of Houston rappers shouldn't have to bring their style up and rise to prominence through Atlanta rappers.
Here's to hoping everyone who listens to an A$AP Rocky or Drake song that appropriates Houston styles also takes time to listen to artists from the city who are actually carrying on and forwarding Houston's great rap legacy.
|0:00||"Tippin (feat. Propain)" - Doughbeezy - Footprints On The Moon|
|4:16||"Trigga Maxo [prod. Christian Lou and Rayayy]" - Maxo Kream - Maxo 187|
|6:17||"Trap’d Out [prod. Bro Dini]" - Sosamann - Trap’d Out 2|
|9:34||"Drip (feat. OMS MC Beezy) [prod. D Bando]" - Rizzoo - It’z Hot Vol. 1|
|13:40||"They Know It (feat. Trae The Truth) [prod. The Democratz]" - 5th Ward JP - (2014)|
|17:21||"93 (feat. DoughBoy) [prod. FredOnEm]" - Sauce Twinz - In Sauce We Trust|
|22:00||"Chest Pump [prod. Bank Chambers]" - Moe Gang - Paid In Full|
|24:52||"Stopped [prod. Ray Hunna] - Beatking - Houston 3 AM|
|28:21||"Errrbody (feat. Sauce Walka, Sancho Saucy and 5th Ward JP)" - Slim Thug - Thug Thursday 2|
|31:10||"2 Rounds (feat. Rich Homie Quan)" - Propain - Ridin Slab|
|34:47||"Fetti (feat. Da$h and Maxo Kream)" - PlayBoiCarti - (2015)|
|39:53||"Houston 3AM Freestyle" - Beatking - Houston 3 AM|
|43:43||"Cell Boomin (feat. Father) [Prod. by Wxlf Gxd]" - Maxo Kream - Maxo 187|
|47:45||"Bass N Da Trunk" - Gangsta Boo & Beatking - Underground Cassette Tape Music|
|51:37||"2 Legited 2 Quited (feat. Flame) [prod. JRag]" - Sauce Walka - In Sauce We Trust|