The 50 Most Slept-On Rappers of All Time

47. E.S.G.

From: Houston, TX
Signature Song: E.S.G. "Swangin' and Bangin'" (1995)

When Houston exploded on the national media scene in 2003, in part thanks to new-wave Houston rappers like Slim Thug, Chamillionaire, and the Swishahouse camp, it gave national exposure to a scene that previously had very little profile outside of the pages of Ozone and Murder Dog magazines. One such artist was Cedric Hill, better known as E.S.G., who came from Bogalusa, Louisiana. A member of the Screwed Up Click (S.U.C.), DJ Screw's conglomeration of South Side Houston MCs, E.S.G. was partially responsible for the spread of Screw music throughout the South in the 1990s. Although he was behind bars when Screw first started to gain prominence, he maintained a steady flow of albums for most of the last two decades.

A nasally flow and gangster subject matter dominate his records, beginning with 1994's Ocean of Funk (check out "If it Ain't One Thing It's Another," which reappeared in screwed format on DJ Screw's 1997 tape Chapter 45 100% Business) and 1995's classic Sailin' Da South. That record spawned many fan favorites, particularly "Swangin and Bangin," a hooky single that became one of the rapper's most well-known. Other tracks gained prominence thanks to Screw's mixtapes; his landmark 3 'N The Morning Part 2 prominently featured tracks from Sailin Da South mixed in with tracks from more well-known national artists like Dr. Dre, Warren G and 2Pac.

E.S.G. was also well-known for his freestyles for Screw's tapes; before T.I. and Lil Flip's beef was a national story, E.S.G. and Lil Flip became embroiled in a conflict over the title "Freestyle King" after Screw passed away, as each claimed the title. He came closest to the mainstream when Jimmy Iovine showed interest in the Boss Hogg Outlaws project E.S.G. worked on with Slim Thug; after the record did 100,000 in independent sales, major labels swooped in, but Slim Thug's relative youth made him the preferred pick and caused a rift between the two artists. E.S.G. has continued recording mixtapes and LPs throughout the 2000s; last year he released Owner's Manual, his 10th album.

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