Thanks to Billboard & 1800 Tequila’s ‘Back to the Block’ campaign, I recently had the opportunity to provide a brief history and timeline of Houston’s thirty years as a significant center of hip hop culture. Here is the article: THE HIP-HOP HISTORY OF HOUSTON with Travis Scott
I am thankful that I got the opportunity to rep for Houston. While I hoped that everything that I submitted would be published, that’s not how publishing goes. Many things were edited out, like much of the underground releases that made Houston a model for independent success. Sad face. Nevertheless, Houston hip hop is still represented.
Here are the last two paragraphs of the essay that did not get published. These are the most important paragraphs that speak to what I believe is most significant about Houston hip hop. Below these paragraphs you will see the longer timeline that did not make the final cut. I post it here because I believe that its important for all those who made and make Houston hip hop what it is get their due. I tried to be exhaustive as possible. Please forgive me for any person or event or album that I missed.
“In addition to the screw music culture and serving as a significant center for Christian rap, Houston’s independent ethos is really what sets it apart, even from other southern hip hop centers. Houston rappers and label owners benefited from the city’s size and distance from other major markets, which allowed them to rely on local and regional sales for their hyper-local music.
One result of this is a huge catalog of music from a diverse group of Houston rappers. Some were mainstream hits, others were only local or regional successes, but all significant to making Houston’s hip hop scene. Here is a list of songs, albums, events, deaths, and places that offer more depth to understanding the history of Houston hip hop.”
Songs, Albums, & Events
Kidz Jamm was a radio program on Texas Southern University’s college radio station, KTSU. It was one of the systems of support for Houston’s hip hop culture before professionalization via record deals. Kidz Jamm played rap music every Saturday from roughly 1982 until 2005. It was the go to station to hear rap music before the one hundred percent hip hop radio programming of the 1990s. This was also the go to spot for local rappers to get their music played and where out of town rappers visited when they came to Houston to perform.
Many consider this song to be the first recorded rap song from a Houstonian. Ironically, the Houston rapper from the South Park community took on L.A. Rapper as his moniker to describe the joys of Sundays at MacGregor Park. Radio personality Luscious Ice recalled, “All it talked about [was] this cat hanging out at the park, ‘My car, my freak, and me.’ [MacGregor Park]—that’s where everybody was going on Sunday. I don’t care what part of Houston you lived in. MacGregor Park was the hot park in Houston for a long time.” The chorus of “MacGregor Park” alone served as an ode to the good times and happenings at the park: “MacGregor Park/Is where I got to be/MacGregor Park/ My car, my freak, and me/MacGregor Park/There ain’t no time to waste/MacGregor Park/Because on Sundays, it’s the place/Yall know.” In 2015, Houston rapper Fat Tony revisits the concept and pays homage to the song by recording his own song of the same title.
Steve Fournier founded the Rap Pool of America to distribute rap music “to DJs in untapped markets across America. Starting with thirty DJs who paid a monthly fee to be included in the pool, Fournier distributed the latest hip- hop records to these DJs. The Rap Pool of America grew to over two hundred members across the world, exclusively connecting hip-hop music to hip-hop DJs and hip-hop fans.”
This is the first time that we hear K-Rino rap. He and a group of his friends from Sterling High School, Timothy Hood (G.T.) and James Conner (Preppy Jay) recorded “Rockin’ It” under the name Real Chill. Although the group never recorded again, K-Rino went on to become an underground legend, master battle rapper, and establish a posse of rappers called the South Park Coalition (SPC).
Rap – A – Lot (1986)
The story goes that Rap-A-Lot Records came about as a fulfilment of a promise made to two teenaged guys, Keith Rogers and Oscar Ceres, who often skipped school to travel to James Smith’s (J Prince) car dealership to beg him to finance an album for them. Prince agreed to finance an album on the condition that they became good students. After fulfilling their end of the bargain, Rogers and Ceres, were paired with Prince’s stepbrother Thelton Polk. Taking on the names Sire Jukebox (Rogers), Raheem (Ceres), K9/Sir Rap-A- Lot (Polk), they recorded a song titled “Car Freak” under the group name the Ghetto Boys on Prince’s newly formed label, Rap-A-Lot Records
With an entirely new line up, except Sire Jukebox, Rap-A-Lot Records releases the first album of the Ghetto Boys. Along with Jukebox, this line up included recent New Jersey transplants D.J. Ready Red and his friend Johnny C. This is also the introduction of Bushwick Bill, then a dancer and hype man for the group going by the name of Little Billy. Most notable about Making Trouble, is Ready Red’s production work. He mixed in snippets from the 1983 film Scarface to make Tony Montana sing on the song “Balls and My Word”.
Raheem decided to go solo. Prince began shopping around for a major labor deal for his new groups. A&M Records decided to pick up Raheem, making him the first rapper from Houston to get a major label deal. At the time the album was recorded, Raheem was a sixteen-year-old high school student.
Recorded by Royal Flush, a group of rappers who gained local fame and the attention of James Prince by winning battle rapping contest at a local club called the Rhinestone Wrangler.
Nice and Hard – Def IV – Rap-A-Lot (1988)
Short Stop Records (1988)
Troy Birklett (Lil’ Troy) started Short Stop Records and within a year his company introduced the world to the rapper who would become known as Scarface, which was the title of DJ Akshen’s first recording.
John Bido was a friend of Troy. Bido introduced Troy to a young rapper/DJ by the name of DJ Akshen (Brad Jordan), who had been working on music with Bruce Rhodes (Grim Reaper). At the time, Troy didn’t have any artists signed to his label, so he decided to take a chance, signing DJ Akshen and a few of his high school friends (Grim, 3-2, Def Jam Blaster (William Ross)) to two-year contracts.
Blaster, Crazy C (Simon Cullins) and Grimm did the production work for Akshen’s first song, “Scarface,” which featured a drum beat from the Soul Searchers 1974 song “Ashley’s Roach Clip” (1974) and the bass line from Le Pamplemousse’s 1976 song “Gimmie What You Got”. “Scarface,” featured on side A with “Another Head Put to Rest” on side B, was the lead single. It presented DJ Akshen rapping about a drug dealer who started off small but eventually rose in the business like Tony Montana—hence, in the rhyme, he said, “Call me Scarface.”.
This is the second studio album from the Ghetto Boys and the third group line up. Sire Juke Box and Johnny C left the group, leaving only DJ Ready Red and Bushwick Bill. Prince added Scarface (who at the time went by DJ Akshen) and Willie D. Scarface and Willie D handled much of the writing, while Ready Red took care of most of the production work. Grip It! On That Other Level, initially sold over 500,000 copies. In 2002, it earned a posthumous five mic rating from The Source magazine. Reached number 19 on Billboard’s Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums.
Willie D. was initially signed as a solo artist, but as a favor to James Prince, he wrote songs for and joined the Ghetto Boys. Controversy was his debut solo album. Reached number 53 on Billboard’s Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums.
The Big Payback (August 1, 1990)
Before Lil’ Kim, Foxy Brown, Trina, and Nicki Minaj, there was Kim Davis, a rapper from Houston who went by the name Choice. Choice was the first female act signed by Rap-A-Lot, and on her debut album, The Big Payback, she served pearl clutching sexually explicit and sex positive lyrics as a clap back to male rappers and other guys who over talked their sexual prowess. Reached number 46 on Billboard’s Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums
The Geto Boys (October 17, 1990)
Seeking another major label distribution deal, James Prince caught the attention of Rick Rubin who two years earlier left Def Jam to start Def American. Rubin signed the Ghetto Boys to Def American, and after some controversy with other distributors, he secured a distribution deal with Warner Brothers. Rubin remixed Grip It! On That Other Level “by enhancing the production, removing two songs and adding three new songs. The most dramatic change, however, was the altering of the group’s name. They went from being the Ghetto Boys to the Geto Boys, and their remastered album, The Geto Boys, became a self-titled national debut.” Reached number 67 on Billboard’s Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums
“I am a dope fiend” (October 19, 1990)
Houston rapper and radio personality Jazzie Redd made a temporary move to California in 1989 to work with King Tee and Toddy Tee on their new music ventures. While there he began recording his second album, Spice of Life, which featured the song “I Am A Dope Fiend,” a song describing the experiences of addiction at the height of the crack era.
Convicts (July 9, 1991)
Rap-A-Lot created a concept group organized around the lived experiences of hyper-criminalization and mass incarceration affecting urban communities. The group was a pairing of Houston native Mr. 3-2 and New Orleans transplant Big Mike. The lead single from their debut, and only, album “This Is For the Convicts,” is a dedication to those marked with the convict label; it begins as a lament about life on the inside, but the remainder of the song is about all of the good and bad pleasures to be experienced post-incarceration. “This Is For the Convicts,” was sampled by rapper 20-2-Life in 1995 for his song on DJ Screw’s debut compilation album 3 ‘N The Mornin’ (Part Two).
We Can’t Be Stopped (July 2, 1991)
After a year of personal, political, and industry controversies, the Geto Boys released their fourth studio album titled We Can’t Be Stopped. The title was a message to all detractors or others underestimating them or Houston hip hop. The lead single, “Mind Playing Tricks on Me,” took the nation by storm and in the process helped Houston gain a spot on the hip hop map. Rapping on this album was the classic line up of the Geto Boys—Scarface, Willie D, and Bushwick Bill. At one point it reached number 1 on the Billboard Hot Rap Singles and number ten on the Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs.
Mr. Scarface is Back (October 22, 1991)
This is the debut solo album for Scarface. Mr. Scarface Is Back received four mics from The Source magazine. Reached number 1 on Billboard’s US Top Heatseekers Albums, number 13 Billboard’s Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums, and number 51 on Billboard’s 200
97.9 The Boxx (April 2, 1991)
First one hundred percent FM hip hop station for the Houston market.
The South Park Psycho – (February 19, 1992)
Ganksta N.I.P. cofounded the South Park Coalition (SPC) with K-Rino in the late 1980s. In 1992 he recorded his first studio album, The South Park Psycho, which along with the Geto Boys helped establish the horrorcore sound in hip hop. Reached number 63 on Billboard’s Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums
After having departed the second installation of the Geto Boys before the recording of Grip It! On That Other Level, Johnny C stayed on with Rap-A-Lot as a producer and writer. It’s Been a Long Rhyme Coming is his first and only solo project.
The Southern Way (April 26, 1992)
This is the debut work of UGK. It came about after they responded to a sign they noticed at Kings Flea Market, the base of Russell Washington’s record store. Washington was looking for talent for his new record label. Bun B and Pimp C played him their demo, and Washington was blown away after hearing their spin on the 1974 hit “Tell Me Something Good” by Rufus and Chaka Khan. He signed them to his label, Big Tyme Records, and put out seven of their songs on a cassette titled The Southern Way.
This is the first release from Point Blank, who was also a member of the rap collective South Park Coalition (SPC).
UGK signed a major label deal with Jive Records and released Too Hard To Swallow, an updated and extended version of their demo cassette, The Southern Way. Reached number 37 on Billboard’s Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums and number 14 on Billboard’s US Top Heatseekers.
Reached number 1 on Billboard Top Heatseekers, number 27 on Billboard’s Top R&B/Hip-Hop Album, and number 88 on Billboard’s 200.
This is the first solo album for Bushwick Bill. The lead single “Ever So Clear,” gave context to the gruesome cover art for the We Can’t Be Stopped album; Bill raps about failed a suicide attempt that caused him to lose one eye. Reached number 15 on Billboard’s Top R&B/Hip-Hop Album and number 32 on Billboard’s 200.
1590 Raps (1992)
For about thirty years AM radio station 1590 KYOK played only gospel, soul, and R&B, but for a brief time, beginning in 1988, it switched the format to rap music, to cater to a new demographic of radio listeners.
This is the first release from Klondike Kat, who was also a member of the rap collective South Park Coalition (SPC).
“Pocket Full of Stones” (May 25, 1993)
A remixed version of UGK’s “Pocket Full of Stones,” from their major label debut album Too Hard To Swallow (1992), was featured on the soundtrack to the popular 1993 movie Menace II Society.
Ghetto Dope (May 18, 1993)
While the rapping of the 5th Ward Boyz is praiseworthy, this album is also special because it features the first rap production credit for native Houstonian and hip hop super producer Mike Dean.
Houston entrepreneur Tony Draper signed Memphis rappers Eight Ball and MJG to his new label Suave House Records, releasing their debut album Comin Out Hard. The cover art showed Ball and G riding in a drop top pass the Houston skyline. Reached number 40 on Billboard’s 200.
This Geto Boy album featured another lineup change. Willie D left the group to pursue a solo career, in his place Big Mike was added. Reached number 1 on Billboard’s Top R&B/Hip-Hop Album and number 11 on Billboard’s 200.
Reached number 1 on Billboard’s Top R&B/Hip-Hop Album and number 7 on Billboard’s 200.
Somethin’ Serious (January 28, 1994)
This is the debut solo album for Big Mike after a stint with the Convicts and the Geto Boys. The stand out songs on Somethin’ Serious are “Playa Playa” and “Havin’ Thangs” feat Pimp C. Reached number 40 on Billboard’s 200 chart and number 4 on Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums
For their second showing, north side Houston rap group, the Trinity Garden Cartel, used the album to defend rap music against politicians, clergy, and journalists blaming hip hop for neighbor on neighbor violence in inner-cities. The cover art for Don’t Blame it on Da Music caused controversy because it depicted a dead body and Houston Police Department officers.
Reached number 9 on Billboard’s Top R&B/Hip-Hop Album and number 95 on Billboard’s 200.
Reached number 2 on Billboard’s Top R&B/Hip-Hop Album and number 2 on Billboard’s 200.
Reached number 31 on Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums.
Magic 102 Jamz (early 90s until 1995)
In the 1980s, KMJQ infrequently played rap music, in line with other black formatted radio stations across the country unpersuaded by the new music genre. After a briefly rebranding itself as Majic 102 Jamz in their early 1990s, it included rap music to its playlists. In1995, KMJQ switched to an urban adult contemporary format, leaving 97.9 The Boxx as the only hip hop station in Houston.
Reached number 43 on Billboard’s 200 chart and number 3 on Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums.
Sailin’ Da South (September 12, 1995)
This is E.S.G.’s major label debut album on Priority Records. A year earlier E.S.G. released his first studio album titled Ocean of Funk. A few of the songs from Ocean of Funk were remastered and featured on Sailin’ Da South, including “Swangin and Bangin.” “Swangin and Bangin,’ not only covers Houston’s car culture, but it is quite possibly the first mention of screw music on a major label album. Sailin’ Da South contains a DJ Screw chopped and screwed version of “Swangin’ and Bangin,’” which by the early 2000s would become a popular practice. In 2012, Drake sampled “Swangin’ and Bangin’” for his song HYFR (Hell Ya Fucking Right).
This is the first studio album for DJ Screw, and although his mixtapes reached well beyond the south side of Houston, this is first national distribution for Screw. 3 N the Mornin’ is compilation album with “original” songs, as opposed to the freestyles featured on the mixtapes curated by DJ Screw. It featured contributions from Screwed Up Click (SUC) members including: E.S.G., Botany Boys, Al D, 20-2-Life, Big Moe, Point 380, Point Blank, PSK-13, Lil’ Keke, Mass 187. The stand out song is “Pimp Tha Pen” by Lil Keke, which in many ways established the most popular rapping style of Houston artists, and found him prophesying, “the world gon’ drip candy and be all Screwed Up.” The leading words on the first verse “Pimp Da Pen,” “Draped up and dripped out,” describing the interior decorating and paint jobs on slabs, became the hook for Bun B’s 2005 hit single “Draped Up.”
The Resurrection is the fifth studio album for the Geto Boys. The album featured the reunion of the most consistent/popular members of the group to articulate matured perspectives of the existential realities of life in ghettos, Houston’s in particular. Reached number 6 on Billboard’s 200 chart and number 1 on Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums.
“June 27” (June 27, 1996)
The most popular Houston freestyle is “June 27”, featuring K-Luv, Haircut Joe, Big Pokey, Yungstar, Key-C, D-Mo, Bird, and Big Moe. Originally a “personal tape” curated to celebrate the birthday of D-Mo, this thirty-five-minute freestyle was DJ Screw’s most profitable and enduring. In 2009, Drake paid homage to DJ Screw and Houston by sampling “June 27” on his single “November 18” on his So Far Gone mixtape.
Ridin’ Dirty (July 30, 1996)
UGK third studio album was meant to be a chopped and screwed album, but Jive Records balked at that idea. However, the production work of Pimp C (he produces all but two of the tracks) still slows the tempo and gives listeners something to ride to as they rap about play and pleasure in the face of death, prison, and haters. It reached Number 2 on the Billboard Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums and at Number 15 on the Billboard 200.According to Bun B, its also one of the first albums recorded using ProTools.
This is the debut album from Scarface created group Facemob.
This is the first and only solo project from Mr. 3-2 as a solo artist with Rap-A-Lot Records. He previously recoreded as a group member in the Convicts and Black Monks.
10th Anniversary: Rap-A-Lot Records (November 19, 1996)
Reached number 1 on Billboard’s 200 chart and number 1 on Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums.
This is the debut album of Lil Keke, who gained regional fame from his freestyles on DJ Screw mixtapes. The album contains the song “Southside,” which went on to become a Dirty South classic
Reached number 180 on Billboard’s 200 chart and number 26 on Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums.
Performed by DJ DMD, Fat Pat, and Lil Keke. Beyond its initial regional success “25 Lighters,” has been sampled a few times in the broader hip hop community. In 2012, Texas rock band ZZ Top remixed “25 Lighters” for their song “I Gotsta Get Paid,” which takes its title from the hook of “25 Lighters”.
Reached number 4 on Billboard’s 200 chart and number 1 on Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums.
After gaining fame as a freestyle rapper on DJ Screw mixtapes, Fat Pat’s debut album, Ghetto Dreams, was released a month after his death. The lead song “Tops Drop,” was an instant southern hip hop classic, it reached number 5 on Billboard’s Hot Rap Songs.
Nuwine Presents 1998 – Nuwine (Christian Rapper) (May 5, 1998)
Reached number 177 on Billboard’s 200 chart and number 27 on Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums.
No Surrender…No Retreat – Bushwick Bill (October 27, 1998)
Reached number 88 on Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums.
As Tha World Turns, Vol. 2 – Nuwine (Christian Rapper) (December 22, 1998)
Jay Z makes a phone call to UGK expressing his admiration for their country rap tunes and recruits them for a Timbaland produced track for Jay’s fourth studio album, Vol. 3… Life and Times of S. Carter. Pimp C has the most memorable line of the song. At the end of his braggadocios verse detailing a few of the particulars of Houston’s hip hop culture, he boastfully asks a rhetorical question: “Uhhh, now what y’all know ‘bout them Texas boys”? His answer, a final attempt at irreverence and to stay true to Houston on a track of a successful mainstream east coast rapper, “coming down in candied toys, smoking weed and talking noise.” “Big Pimpin'” helped put the already successful UGK on more people’s radar. Chart positions – Number 1 on the U.S. Billboard Rhythmic Top 40, Number 6 on the U.S. Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles & Tracks, Number 18 on the U.S. Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles & Tracks, and Number 29 on the UK Singles Chart. The video, directed by director Hype Williams, was nominated for a Grammy for Best Rap Performance by a Duo or Group.
Female rapper Carmen Sandiego raps over Juvenile’s Back That Ass Up for this club anthem aimed to take attention away from male gaze, prompting ladies to ball together.
Because It Was Written – Lil Raskull (Christian Rapper) (January 19, 1999)
Originally featured on the Geto Boy’s 1992 compilation album, Uncut Dope: Geto Boys’ Best, writer and director Mike Judge used it for his 1999 film Office Space to dramatize the rebellious actions of a corporate IT guy fed up with cubicle life, performance reviews, downsizing, dress codes, and micromanagement. The film and the song have become cult classics.
“Braids and Fades” (March 9, 1999)
Is a song off of E.S.G.’s album Shinin’ N’ Grindin’ featuring Slim Thug. It’s not only a Houston classic, but it’s also important because it pairs an “elder” south side rapper affiliated with the Screwed Up Click with a younger north side rapper affiliated with Swishahouse, in an attempt to kill sectional beef.
Lil’ Troy, who gave Scarface is first record deal in 1989, recruited SUC rappers Fat Pat, H.A.W.K., Yungstar, and Troy’s cousin Lil Will for an end of the century ode to aspiration. “Wanna Be A Baller” was an international success, leading Lil Troy’s album, Sittin’ Fat Down South to platinum status.
Basshead – Nuwine (Christian Rapper) (July 20, 1999)
Certified Southern Hits – Lil Raskull (Christian Rapper) (August 10, 1999)
Glory 2 Glory – Lil Raskull (Christian Rapper) (August 10, 1999)
This is the first aboveground commercial release from Swishahouse, founded by D.J. Michael “5000” Watts and OG Ron C, which in the manner of D.J. Screw’s 3 ‘N The Mornin’ , brought together mixtape freestyle rappers from a few of Houston’s north side neighborhoods, mostly Acres Homes and Homestead. It “featured early Swishahouse artists such as Archie Lee, Big Pic, Big Tiger, J-Dawg, Lil’ Mario and Lester Roy plus newcomers Slim Thug, Chamillionaire, 50/50 Twin, and Paul Wall.”
Ghetto Mission – Nuwine (Christian Rapper) (November 9, 1999)
In line with a long tradition of music collaboration between Houston and Memphis (See: Duke Peacock Records), Memphis rappers Three 6 Mafia and Project Pat hook up with UGK in an ode to pimp culture and Houston’s most popular recreational drug-purple drank.
The Day After – Lil Raskull (Christian Rapper) (February 29, 2000)
The Leprechaun (July 18, 2000)
Lil Flip, who gained fame as a freestyle rapper on DJ Screw mixtapes, released his first studio album without major label backing. However, with the widely popular single “I Can Do That,” the album sold over 200,000 copies. Reached 67 on Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums
City of Syrup – (July 18, 2000)
This is the debut album for Big Moe, who had gained famed as freestyle rapper on DJ Screw mixtapes. The album’s title and cover art—showing Big Moe standing over the Houston cityscape tipping a white Styrofoam cup, deluging the city with purple drank—established Houston as the official home of syrup or “sizzurp”.
Reached number 124 on Billboard’s 200 chart and number 25 on Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums.
“Back Back” featuring Big Hawk is the single for Lil O’s second studio album. It considered a Houston classic.
This song features Big Tiger ft. Lester Roy, Lil Ron and Blyndcyde on a Swishahouse hosted mixtape for Big Tiger. “Drank Up in My Cup,” is probably the second most popular freestyle from Houston.
This is the second studio album for Big Hawk, who gained fame as a freestyle rapper on DJ Screw mixtapes and as a feature on Lil Troy’s “Wanna Be a Baller.” The lead single was “You Already Know.”
When Thugs Fly – Nuwine (Christian Rapper) (March 20, 2001)
Because It Was Written Too – Lil Raskull (Christian Rapper) (March 27, 2001)
Reached number 61 on Billboard’s 200 chart and number 11 on Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums.
Mission: Possible – Nuwine (Christian Rapper) (February 12, 2002)
Blood and Salt – Nuwine (Christian Rapper) (February 12, 2002)
Get Ya Mind Correct (June 25, 2002)
This is the first studio album for Paul Wall and Chamillionaire, who both gained fame as freestyle rappers on Swishahouse mixtapes. The album’s lead single was “N Luv Wit My Money”. Get Ya Mind Correct sold over 100,000 copies. Reached number 67 on Billboard’s Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums.
Received five mics from The Source magazine. Reached number 4 on Billboard’s 200 chart and number 1 on Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums.
This is the major label album for Lil Flip. Its lead single “The Way We Ball” took the album to over one million sales within the first months of the album’s release. Reached number 12 on Billboard’s 200 chart and number 4 on Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums.
Assholes by Nature – Assholes by Nature (Trae Da Truth and Z-Ro) (February 28, 2003)
Reached number 20 on Billboard’s 200 chart and number 3 on Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums.
Marooned – Tre9 (Christian Rapper) (January 1, 2004)
The Streets Are White (Lil Raskull) (Christian Rapper) (January 4, 2004)
Reached number 37 on Billboard’s 200 chart and number 54 on Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums.
Although Z-Ro had gained local and regional fame from mixtapes and his previous seven albums, this album was the first that charted and it was his first Rap-A-Lot.
Reached number 50 on Billboard’s 200 chart and number 7 on Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums.
This is the third studio album for Lil Flip. It was released as a double-disc cd. Singles “Game Over (Flip)” and “Sunshine” featuring Lea Sunshine helped the album go platinum twice. Reached number 4 on Billboard’s 200 chart and number 2 on Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums.
A Mike Jones song whose most popular version (including the video) features Slim Thug, and Paul Wall. Writer Shea Serrano argues that it was the most important song of 2004 because “It turned Houston into the epicenter of rap in the months.”
Gutta Mixx – Bushwick Bill (March 29, 2005)
This is the ninth studio album by Z-Ro and his second with Rap-A-Lot. It features one of the other most popular freestyles from Houston, “Mo City Don.”
This is Mike Jones’ major label debut album. Along with the 2004 hit “Still Tippin’,” the other popular song from the album was “Back Then,” one which Jones bragged that before his major deal the ladies did not want him. Who is Mike Jones? sold one million records in its first week out. Reached number 3 on Billboard’s 200 chart, number 1 on the Top Rap Albums chart, and number 1 on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums
This is the major label debut album for Slim Thug. He had gained fame as a freestyle rapper on Swishahouse mixtapes, with E.S.G., and his own Boss Hogg Outlawz imprint. The album’s title was Slim’s way of signifying that he was a millionaire because of rapping before signing with Pharrell’s Star Trek and Geffen. On the album’s introductory song Slim boasts that he was “already made, before the major deal.” Reached number 2 on both the Billboard’s 200 and Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums.
This is the second studio album and major label debut for Paul Wall, who gained fame as a freestyle rapper on Swishahouse mixtapes and through his collaborations with Chamillionaire and the The Color Changin’ Click. The People’s Champ reached the top spot on both the Billboard’s 200 and Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums.
Da Bloody 5th – Nuwine (Christian Rapper) (October 4, 2005)
This is the first solo project for Bun B. He had to keep the UGK brand going while his group mate was on lockdown. Reached number 6 on Billboard’s 200 chart and number 1 on Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums.
This is the first studio album for Chamillionaire, who gained fame as a freestyle rapper on Swishahouse mixtapes, through his collaborations with Paul Wall and the The Color Changin’ Click, and his own early embrace the internet. The “mixtape messiah,” as he branded himself, found immediate success with Sound of Revenge, mostly because he already had an impressive fan base. With the popular lead single “Ridin’,” a big up to UGK’s Ridin Dirty, featuring Krayzie Bone the album sold over one million copies. “Ridin’” was also the most popular ringtone download in 2006, with 3.2 million downloads. Reached number 10 on Billboard’s 200 chart, number 2 on the Top Rap Albums chart, and number 2 on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums.
Thy Will Be Done – Tre9 (Christian Rapper) (December 13, 2005)
Beyoncé ft. Bun B, Slim Thug, wins Best R&B Video at the 2006 MTV Video Music Awards
Reached number 12 on Billboard’s 200 chart and number 3 on Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums.
Reached number 87on Billboard’s 200 chart.
Pimpalation (July 11, 2006)
This is the second solo album from Pimp C. It’s the last album that he released before his untimely death in 2007. Reached number 3 on Billboard’s 200 chart and number 1 on Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums.
With Pimp C finally free, the duo went back to the studio to record their fifth studio album, Underground Kingz. “Int’l Players Anthem (I Choose You)” was the second single for the album; it connected UGK with other southern hip hop all-stars Outkast and DJ Paul and Juicy J of Three 6 Mafia.
Reached number 8 on Billboard’s 200 chart and number 3 on Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums.
Reached number 17 on Billboard’s 200 chart and number 2 on Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums.
II Trill (May 20, 2008)
This was Bun’s second solo album, and the first following the death of his friend and groupmate, Pimp C. “You’re Everything” is the standout song. Bun B collaborated with fellow southern rappers Rick Ross, David Banner, 8Ball, and MJG, to express love for the imagined hip hop geography known as “the south,” while at the same time depicting the differences among southern hip hop sites. Reached number 2 on Billboard’s 200 chart and number 1 on Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums.
Rep tha South- Ingrid Burley as IB3 – Music World Entertainment (March 13 2008)
“Your Fault” – Ingrid Burley as IB3 – Music World Entertainment (June 17, 2008)
Rapper Trae Da Truth first hosts his annual Trae Day. The event features school supply and school uniform give-a-ways, immunizations, HIV testing, health screenings, and concerts all paid for by Trae.
Reached number 24 on Billboard’s 200 chart and number 4 on Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums.
Reached number 4 on Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums.
The Farmer – Tre9 (Christian Rapper) (March 31, 2009)
Answering the Call – Von Won (Christian Rapper)(September 15, 2009)
Street Symphony – Gifted da Flamethrow (Christian Rapper) (November 17, 2009)
As the album title suggests, this is Bill’s attempt to make amends for his past sins, rapped and lived. Its considered a Christian hip hop album.
In its seventh installment, VHI Hip Honors salutes James Prince and Houston with other southern hip hop pioneers.
Reached number 7 on Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums
Received five mics from The Source magazine. Reached number 4 on Billboard’s 200 chart and number 2 on Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums.
Northside Houston rapper J-Dawg, who gained fame on Swishahouse mixtapes and with Slim Thug’s Boss Hogg Outlawz, released “First 48,” a rap narrating the details of a fictive homicide. It’s themed around the investigative documentary show First 48. The story that J-Dawg and Slim Thug tell are the details that homicide detectives would need to solve a case.
Reached number 89 on Billboard’s 200 chart and number 7 on Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums.
Kirko Bangz pays homage to the drugging culture made famous by Houston rappers in the late 1990s and early 2000s, by titling his debut single “Drank in My Cup.” It sold over one million copies and has had many remixes from the likes of J. Cole, 2 Chainz and Juelz Santana, Tyga, Bow Wow, Kid Ink, Chamillionaire, and singer Trey Songz. Reached number 1 on Billboard’s Hot Rap Songs, number 28 on Billboard’s Hot 100, and number 5 on Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums.
BullDoze City – Gifted da Flamethrow (Christian Rapper) (September 20, 2011)
Abandoned Hope – Reconcile (Christian Rapper) (March 23, 2012)
Conference hosted by the University of Houston Special Collections Library to inaugurate the DJ Screw Archive.
A song decrying the murder of Trayvon Martin by George Zimmerman.
Beyoncé́ releases an edgy braggadocios song titled “Bow Down/I Been On,” a two-part song where Bey unapologetically proclaimed queen status (“Bow Down”) and represented Houston’s hip-hop particulars (“I Been On”).
Kings – Still Trill Christians (Christian Rap Group) (June 11, 2013)
Grace Love Mercy – Corey Paul (Christian Rapper) (July 30, 2013)
In 2013, ethnomusicologist Langston Collins Wilkins coordinated the city’s first Houston Slab Parade and Family Festival. It included a fifty-car parade, street art, live music, and kids activities all in celebration Houston’s car culture.
Reached number 28 on Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums.
Beyoncé (December 13, 2013)
On the night of December 13, 2013 Beyoncé broke the internet and stopped the world with her surprise digital drop. This is Beyoncé at her most Houstoness, mostly because a few songs on the visual album take the world to the streets of Houston’s Third Ward.
93.7 The Beat (December 13, 2013)
iHeart Media launched its hip hop and R&B station in Houston in December 2013, giving Houstonians another option for consuming hip hop music.
Grace Still Abides – Vaughaligan Walwyn (Christian Rapper formerly known as Von Won) (September 30, 2014)
The lead single “Grace Still Abides” features a verse from Scarface.
Boom 92.1 (October 13, 2014)
In October 2014, Radio One launches one of its classic hip hop formats in Houston. The station’s playlist mostly feature hip hop songs from the 1980s, 1990s, and early 2000s.
Reached number 131 on Billboard’s 200 chart and number 15 on Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums.
Reached number 11 on Billboard’s 200 chart and number 3 on Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums.
Catchin Bodies’ – Reconcile (Christian Rapper) (September 18, 2015)
Reached number 3 on Billboard’s 200 chart and number 2 on Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums.
Today, Tomorrow, Forever – Corey Paul (Christian Rapper) (December 18, 2015)
Reached number 16 on Billboard’s US Top Heatseekers Albums
Debut EP from Ingrid Burley, the first artist signed to Beyoncé’s Parkwood Entertainment.
Deaths – Mourn Ya Til We Join Ya
Fat Pat – Original member of the Screwed Up Click (SUC). (Feb 3, 1998)
B.G. Gator – An original member of the Botany Boyz. (1999)
Big Steve – One of the first member of the Screwed Up Click (SUC) and founding member of the group Woss Ness. (1999)
Big Rue – Original member of Screwed Up Click (SUC). (1999)
DJ Screw (Robert Earl Davis Jr) – pioneer of the chopped and screwed sound. (November 16, 2000)
Big Mello – Rapper associated with Rap-A-Lot Records (June 15, 2002)
A.C. Chill – Member of South Park Coalition (SPC) (2005)
H.A.W.K. Original member of Screwed Up Click (SUC). (May 1, 2006)
Big Moe – Original member of Screwed Up Click (SUC). (October 14, 2007)
Pimp C – One half of UGK. (December 4, 2007)
Money Clip D – The right hand man for rapper Trae Da Truth (November 27, 2011)
DJ Primo – The King of Houston’s Christian chopped & screwed (April 3, 2012)
Ghetto MC – Member of rap group Too Much Trouble (June 14, 2013)
Wickett Crickett – Rapper, promoter, and host who helped build and sustain Houston’s hip hop culture. (November 23, 2015)
Zin (Anthony Mills) – Rapper, DJ, and radio host. (January 4, 2016)
Lil Will – Rapper featured on Lil Troy’s “Wanna Be a Baller” (February 12, 2016)
Nutt aka ButtaBoy – Original member of Street Military.
MacGregor Park – 5225 Calhoun Rd, Houston, TX 77021
MacGregor Park, located on the south side of Houston, is one of the two local parks many black families congregated on weekends, Duessen Park, in northeast Houston was the other. These two parks were the host sites for picnics, barbecues, pickup basketball games, juvenile fun, quality family time and, sometimes, fights and pistol play. The park has served as the title for two Houston rap songs, one by the L.A. Rapper in 1985, and the other by Fat Tony in 2015.
A neighborhood on the south side of Houston where rappers Lil Flip and The Botany Boys grew up.
Historically black community two miles northeast of downtown Houston. It was the label home of Rap-A-Lot Records.
Soundwaves (now closed) located on South Main near Astrodome
In the late 1980s and early 1990s, it was the primary spot to get rap music. Houstonians and people from other part of Texas and the Gulf Coast flocked to this Soundwaves to get their hip hop fix.
Southwest Wholesale (now closed) – 6775 Bingle Rd, Houston, TX, 77092
Southwest Wholesale was a music distribution company located in Houston that handled the Gulf Coast and Southwest markets. Independent artists were able to make large sums of money because of Southwest Wholesale’s regional distribution model.
Johnny Dang & Co – 253 Sharpstown Center Houston, TX 77036
TV Johnny is the go to jeweler for grillz and other diamond-encrusted jewelry.
Screwed Up Records and Tapes – 3538 W. Fuqua Houston, TX 77045
Record shop opened by DJ Screw in 1998 to sell DJ Screw mixtapes, SUC music, and other Houston hip hop culture merchandise.
UH Libraries’ Houston Hip-Hop Collection 114 University Dr.
Home to the archives of DJ Screw and other Houston hip hoppers, curator Julie Grob notes that “the Houston Hip Hop Collection at [is] the first [hip hop archive] to document local hip hop music and culture in the community in which it was created.”
Rice University- 6100 Main St, Houston, TX 77005
In 2011, Bun B began co-teaching a Hip Hop and Religion course with Dr. Anthony Pinn. The course has been taught several times since 2011 and in 2015, they taught an online version of the course.
King Flea Market – 5110 Griggs Rd, Houston, TX 77021
Home of Russell Washington’s Bigtyme Recordz, who first signed UGK.