36. Chamillionaire, King Koopa: The Mixtape Messiah (2004)
Two years after Chamillionaire and Paul Wall released the punchline-heavy comedy rap classic Get Ya Mind Correct, the national spotlight had shifted to Houston as a new generation of Texas rappers had begun a slow rise to national stardom.
"Ridin,'" the rapper's biggest hit, was still two years away; Cham watched as his former affiliates Swishahouse garnered national attention, largely off the back of "Still Tippin," a hit that had initially included Cham himself. There was the beef between Paul Wall and Cham's brother, Rasaq; then there was the generally disrespectful attitude Mike Jones seemed to be cultivating towards other rappers in Houston.
By 2004, bad blood was in the water. Chamillionaire's landmark three-disc 2004 mixtape, King Koopa, was an argument that Houston could stand with the rest of the country on a lyrical level. It was disc one, that got the most attention; after Cham's falling out with Swishahouse, the entire first disc of his tape was extended shots at Mike "Dyke" Jones, each track a pointed attack on the rapper over a different industry beat, from "You Got Wrecked"'s "Bow Down" remake to "Body Rock"'s reinvention of "Lean Back." Most inventive was "Roll Call," a track that had Cham rapping in the voices of everyone from Slim Thug to Big Moe to Z-Ro.
Disc two was a screwed and chopped version of disc one, while disc three featured Cham's crew, the Color Changing Click. Everyone in Houston made a lot of noise in the mid-2000s, and when the dust settled, it was Cham's ambitious three-disc opus that remained not just a Houston mixtape classic but one that impacted nationally. (He and Mike Jones have since settled their differences.) —David Drake