Notable Artists: Erykah Badu, The D.O.C., Fila Fresh Crew, Lil Twist, Vanilla Ice, Dorrough, Cardo, Play-N-Skillz, Snow Tha Product, Black Milk, Big Tuck, Tum Tum, A.Dd+
Most Underrated Artist: Dorrough
Most Underrated Contribution: The D.O.C. writing for N.W.A., Eazy-E, Dr. Dre, and Snoop Dogg
When most people think Texas rap, they think of Houston, while Dallas gets labeled as the city of Vanilla Ice. But the largest metro area in Texas has contributed far more to hip-hop than just the genre's first hit to top the Billboard Hot 100 ("Ice Ice Baby").
In 1989, local rapper The D.O.C. saw breakthrough success nationally as a solo artist with his album No One Can Do It Better, but he was also a key creative force behind West Coast legends N.W.A., Eazy-E, Dr. Dre, and Snoop Dogg, co-writing or ghostwriting many of the tracks that appeared on seminal albums like Straight Outta Compton, The Chronic, and Doggystyle. A decade later, Dallas singer Erykah Badu (who dated and had a child with The D.O.C.) helped define the neo-soul sound as part of the music collective The Soulquarians.
In recent years, the Dallas/Fort Worth area has become a bit of a producers' hub: In addition to Play-N-Skillz, the duo who have produced hits such as Chamillionaire's "Ridin'," it's home to Wiz Khalifa's sonic architect, Cardo, and popular underground producer/rapper Black Milk, who recently moved from Detroit. Meanwhile, "Ice Cream Paint Job" rapper Dorrough has given the city's current scene a public face, and a few other upcoming artists like recent Atlantic signee Snow Tha Product have both local and national buzz.
With a look that's a little more in line with traditional ideas of the Lone Star State—you may see some bull riding in the videos—Dallas/Fort Worth makes a case for different version of Texas rap.