The 2012 Houston Press Underground Rap Awards: Vol. 1

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Killa Kyleon's Candy Paint N' Texas Plates 2: The best mixtape from 2011
So, 2012 is 33 percent of the way done. And (thankfully) the antiheroes of Houston's Underground Rap World have been just as busy trying to make music being made in the rest of the country entirely obsolete as they were in 2011.

Seems fitting then: Let's run through the first installment of the Houston Press Underground Rap Awards, shall we? There will be three sessions this year, culminating with the official Houston Press Music Awards. Let's all e-drink and be e-merry.

Now, enough pre-tomfoolery. To the actual tomfoolery:

The "Best Mixtape of 2012 So Far" Award:
Dustin Prestige

A new face. Everyone, meet Dustin. Dustin, everyone.

Here's how this goes: We say, "Plaid is the best tape that's come out this year. It justbarelybythismuch topped the third go 'round of Delo's Hood Politics series, Doughbeezy's Blue Magic and Mug's Money and the Pain."

You say, "Man, hell no. [NAME] killed it. Instant classic. It's been in the deck nonstop since [DATE]." We say, "Respectfully, we disagree."

Plaid is an engaging, creative listening experience. It might not be a strict rap album in its entirety, but there's no better way to describe it. He took the best parts of his fun-but-slightly-scattered EP from last year and evolved them here, and that makes it even better than it would've been otherwise.

He flexes a fake Jamaican accent at one point, but whatevs, so has Z-Ro. What part specifically did you think was lackluster? You say, "I didn't listen to it." Then we shake our head and purse our lips.

The "Best Logical Extension of a Song" Award: The Niceguys

The Niceguys had a song in 2010 called "Toast." It was tempered and it was soft. This year, they grew it into "#Overtoast," a sudden slang word that, in essence, means "getting, or have gotten, fucked up." It is better than the original in every single way. Those guys don't miss often, do they?

The "Best Music Video of 2012 So Far" Award: Michael Artis


We are actively petitioning to get an official Best Music Video category added to the ballot of the Houston Press Music Awards. There has just been too much quality directing going on to ignore any longer. To wit, Michael Artis's spin on Propain's "My Life." It is appropriately dark and appropriately bleak and somehow aggressive without being ostentatious about it.

The "Fuck Your Hustle" Award: Doughbeezy

He went from obscurity to MTV in a matter of months. It shouldn't even be called a "work ethic" anymore, it should be called a "doughbeezy." As in, "Amare Stoudemire is good on offense, but on defense he just has a poor doughbeezy." Can we get this to happen, please?

The "So Can Everyone Gloat Now?" Award: Mug

Going into the new year, the dominant story line (as dominant as underground rap story lines go, anyway) was that Mug, one of the Boss Hogg Outlawz's more imposing forces, was going to release a tape called Money and Pain and it was going to be good. Then he released Money and Pain, and it was good. So can everyone gloat now?

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