The H-Town Countdown: We Interrupt This Countdown to Bring You Some Basketball/Rap Metaphors

Roughly 84,000 rap albums have been released in Houston since 1989. We're counting down the 25 best of all time every Thursday. Got a problem with the list? Shove it. Just kidding. Friendship. Email it to sheaserrano@gmail.com.

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You know how at the end of each American Idol season they drag the final two shows out in a completely unreasonable manner? That's what we're doing right now. We're at the final three spots of The Countdown; the holy trinity of Houston rap. It seemed like a good time to take a breather. Read this instead.

For the past 23 weeks, we have stood firm, unwavering, delivering the gospel of The Countdown without apprehension. Each pick has been measured and weighed justly. Within the construct of Houston's ultra-meta rap bionetwork, each album has received the absolutely accurate placement.

We're even glad to report that, after rehashing Pimpalation's placement in another blog post and likening it to Michael Jordan's famed "Flu Game" as evidence of its validity for landing a spot on The Countdown, no less than three separate readers emailed to say they had been swayed by the analogy.

If you missed it, the general premise of the argument was this: Considering Rap-A-Lot cobbled Pimpalation together from some studio lay-arounds and released it without Pimp's input and it still turned out to be a very strong album, that magnified its importance even more. Incidentally, it encapsulated Pimp C's strength as a rapper without a clear agenda to do so, similar to what happened with MJ's "Flu Game," where he put up 38 points and 7 rebounds against the Jazz in the NBA Finals but it felt more like 53 and 16 because he looked like he was about to die from dehydration the whole time. The situation rightly hyperbolized the ends in both instances.

One reader actually quipped that it might be more accurate to liken Pimpalation to Kobe's Injured Ankle Game where he carried the Lakers to an overtime victory in Game 4 of the 2000 NBA Finals. "Pimp C was no Michael Jordan," was his case. And he's right. And since both of those games spurred their respective teams to NBA titles (i.e. a spot on The Countdown), we're okay with his analogy too.

The only almost-problem we had with this was that Pimp C had to play the role of the Kobe. We know that's not the point of the analogy, but still. Kobe is the worst. It wouldn't be surprising to find that he was actually birthed from Satan's butthole.

And because we are complete hosers, we spent the better part of Tuesday and Wednesday evening arguing about which NBA games equaled which Houston rap albums with a guy that we regularly argue shit with. Here are the five we settled on:

Slim Thug's Already Platinum = Mitch Richmond's career

Both Richmond's career and Thugga's AP were somehow completely underappreciated even though they were both pretty damn good. Need proof? Richmond was the first real star of one specific NBA franchise. He averaged nearly 22 points per game over one particularly impressive five-year stretch, regularly earning himself a spot on the NBA All-Star Team for doing so.

Impressive, right? Ask four people in your office right now to tell you what team Richmond played for. Now ask those same four people to name two songs from Already Platinum not named "I Ain't Heard of That." Bet nobody got either one right. The place where you work sucks.

Chamillionaire's The Sound of Revenge = Reggie Miller's "I Just Hit A Three To Send This To Overtime Then I Dunked On Everyone To Send It To A Second Overtime" Game against the Nets in 2002

Had some big, fun moments, but ultimately fell justthisshort short of being a classic.

Scarface's Last of a Dying Breed = Kobe's "I'm Scoring 81 Points Against You Bitches Because I Can And There's Nothing You Can Do To Stop Me" Game against the Raptors in 2006

Impressive stuff on both accounts, but for some reason they both felt empty. The Source gave Scarface the Lyricist of the Year award after LoaDB came out, which has grown more and more ridiculous each year since he didn't get the same award in 1994/5 after The Diary, a far superior album. Feels the same as re-watching Kobe's teammates fake cheer for him after each bucket.

At one point it was like they were giving him the ball just to see if he'd keep shooting it. You have to appreciate any time Phil Jackson gives the "Okay, give it to him again; no fucking way he shoots it for a 39th time" head nod from the bench. Still, it says a lot when your worst album is the equivalent to the second highest-scoring game for one player in NBA history.

Hueston Independent Spit District's The District = Any game Chuck Hayes or Carl Landry ever played

Just some good ol' hard-working, ambitious, earnest work going on here. Poor H.I.S.D. isn't going to get any due until L Da Voice gets shot in the leg. (L Da Voice is one of H.I.S.D.'s MCs. After Carl Landry got shot in the leg this past May, everybody started talking about how valuable he was to the team. That's why the joke works. Thought we'd clear that up for you, just in case.)

Paul Wall's Fast Life = T-Mac's "No-Show" Game 7 against Dallas in 2005

Pretty bad stuff. Everyone who watched this game couldn't help but think the same thing: "Why isn't he doing more?" Same thing with FL because, for as much as we swipe at him, we'll admit Paul has the ability to be a pretty impressive rapper.

The clever part though: Walls and McGrady's careers are eerily similar. They both started out relatively slow (MacGrady piddling around in Toronto after being drafted out of high school, Wall piddling around in Houston after high school); they both looked possessed of the potential to really be something special while teamed up with someone who made them work harder than they really wanted to (Vince Carter for T-Mac, Cham for Paul); they both showed flashes of Hall of Famer talent briefly before momentarily fizzling away (T-Mac in Orlando before his relationship with them soured, Wall on Chick Magnet with "They Don't Know"); they both looked like world-beaters a short while later (McGrady in Houston, Paul with The People's Champ, which is still the best solo album he's ever made); and they both will be remembered for one huge individual highlight being followed by a whole bunch of unsatisfactory stuff (McGrady's monstrous dunk over Shawn Bradley in Game 2 of 2005's heartbreaker series against the Mavericks, Wall's wonderful "Sittin' Sideways").

Someone needs to flush this out more. This can't all be coincidence.

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