One of the most remarkable things about the new Houston Rap book by photographer Peter Beste and writer Lance Scott Walker is that it captures not just the men and women who produced the city's syrupy sound, but the day-to-day environment that produced them. It's safe to say that no book has delved as deeply into Houston's historic African-American neighborhoods at the dawn of the 21st Century as this one has. That means big, glossy pictures of vibrant, happy places full of smiling people, from nightclubs and jewelry shops to car washes and convenience stores.
Photos courtesy of Peter Beste
It also means full-page pictorials of boarded-up houses, overgrown lots, sketchy parking lots and abandoned vehicles. Like the music that inspired this project, Houston Rap celebrates both the good and the bad found in the 'hood.
Both Beste and Walker are originally from the Houston area, but the neighborhoods in the book are clearly not their own. How did they convince some of the city's oldest and hardest hip-hoppers to take them around these highly insular places and open their world to a couple of strangers with a camera and a tape recorder?