The Top 25 Songs From Houston Rap's Glorious 2011: The Mixtape
These are the 25 best songs from Houston rap's glorious 2011. They've been pressed onto actual cassettes (not pictured above). We only made ten of them, because, fuck, it takes a long time. They are for sale ($600). And, as a way to honor the city's grey tape past while being entirely self-indulgent (pretty much our two favorite things), they're called the Shea Tapes. Email if you want one.
At any rate, the 25 songs. Now, naturally -- NATURALLY -- there are a few qualifiers:
(a) There was a bit of a hullabaloo this year during the Houston Press Music Awards process when the Best Underground Rapper and Best Rapper categories were squished into one. And that makes sense; it's hard for, say, someone like Delo to keep pace with Slim Thug when fan voting is concerned. So, for here, for this mixtape, only artists that could reasonably be considered "underground" within Houston's sphere were included. Basically, that's goodbye to Bun B, Slim Thug, Trae, Paul Wall, Chamillionaire, Z-Ro, Lil Flip, SPM (he had a tough, tough song released this year called "Pyramid" that nobody bothered to talk about) and, now, Kirko Bangz. You could have them as a guest feature (Le$'s "3rd Coastin'," for example, which has a Paul Wall verse on it, would be eligible), but they can't be the primary. Oh, speaking of...
(b) No artist was allowed to be the primary on more than one song. That's why Killa Kyleon's "Make Me" featuring Jack Freeman didn't make the list, even though it is (arguably) one of the best local songs of the year. You could sneak on twice if you had the good fortune of being a guest feature on someone else's really good song, but that's it.
(c) If your song was just you rapping over someone else's beat, you didn't qualify (there's a vast difference between sampling a beat, which nearly everyone does now apparently, and straight-up taking one). Houston is thriving right now. There are too many talented producers at everyone's disposal. Those beatjack types of things are almost always fun -- did you hear Marcus Manchild yank apart the instrumental for Drake's "Cameras"? -- but they can't be rated higher than tracks with mostly original production. It's just not right. That's why, say, KDOGG's brilliant flow over the "Mo' Money, Mo' Problems" beat or anything from Tawn-P's wonderful tape The Wake Up Kiss didn't get included.
(d) Interludes/breaks/skits weren't included. This rule had to created specifically for DJ Mr. Rogers, who's "RidingThruMrRogersNeighborhood" interlude on Le$'s Settle 4 Le$ Vol. 2 was so gregariously creative and enjoyable that, rapping or no rapping, it very likely would've landed somewhere within the top four. That shit should be 22 hours long. If you ever have to stand in line for anything in Heaven (new robes, get your wings repaired, trade in virgins, whatevs), that's what they should play while you wait. Also, Jett I. Masstyr's "The Madness Pt. 1" interlude would've wiggled its way up to teens, for sure.
Now, the songs, 25th to 1st:
Children of the Corn-ish production, an aggressive contribution from the previously unknown Lil' Pooh, one great Zavey line ("You prolly think I'm out my mind. Well, bitch, I'm out my mind."). Lots to like here.
She won't explain how, but Rodriguez has kept herself in new SPM music since his incarceration.