Fair or not, Houston has been, and likely for the foreseeable future will continue to be, seen from the outside as a caricature of itself. A hamfisted snapshot of its most commercially viable period, the 2005 MEGABOOM that turned Mike Jones, Paul Wall, Slim Thug and Chamillionaire into insta-folk heroes, has been stretched out into a gigantic billboard and planted right the fuck at every street leading into the city.
But Houston, like all of the proper rap cities, has a long and winding history; nearly a quarter century's worth of stories and characters and songs. There was the early era Miami bass-infused silliness, the '90s West Coast funk that conquered America, and, eventually, the brands/cultures/lifestyles that UGK and the Geto Boys created, which have served as the influence and inspiration for an untold number of Southern (and, as of late, northern, western and eastern) rappers.
We spent an unreasonable amount of time combing through the hallways of history, listening to everything from the adored and undeniable classics to the ultra-meta and rap nerdy. These are the 50 Best Houston Rap Songs that have ever been.
P.S. UGK is from Port Arthur, everyone knows that. They're included in this list though because they belong to Houston. Everyone knows that too.
Written by Shea Serrano (@SheaSerrano)