The Texas 30: Texas' 10 Best Rap Albums

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Texas rap has played no small part in hip-hop's history. More specifically, Houston (and of course P.A.) rap has played no small part in hip-hop's history. (There are other cities in Texas, I hear, though with the exception of Dallas's brief swag-based blip, they've, to this point, remained largely invisible on a national scale.)

Rewind:

The Texas 30 (cover story)

Slideshow: The Texas 30 album covers

Listen To Our Texas 30 Picks On Rdio and Spotify Right Now


There's been The Geto Boys, Rap-a-Lot, UGK, the 2005 boom, the titans that preceded the 2005 boom, etc. Finding albums to rate the best has never been a problem. Actually rating them though, that's something completely separate.

However, after about 1 million hours of arguing and about 2 million emails, this is it: These are the ten greatest Texas rap albums that ever existed.

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The Texas 30: Texas' 6 Best Latin Albums of the Past 30 Years

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Photo by Marco Torres
Los Lonely Boys sing the National Anthem at a Texans game.
As I was reviewing the list of The Texas 30, in the back of my mind I kept thinking one thing...

"Where my brown people at?!"

Rewind:

The Texas 30 (cover story)

Slideshow: The Texas 30 album covers

Listen To Our Texas 30 Picks On Rdio and Spotify Right Now


Sure, Queen Selena rightfully made the list with Amor Prohibido, but over the past 30 years, especially in the '90s, many more Tejano artists created masterpiece albums that elevated Tejano to the same rank as the best of the best in Texas rock and blues.

Throw in a Texican Rock & Roll band from San Angelo and a Mexican rapper from South Park HTX, put the fajitas on the grill and the cervezas on ice, and you have one helluva party.


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The 10 Best Metal & Punk Albums Too Rough for the Texas 30

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These gentlemen would like five minutes alone with your list.
So, the Texas 30 has been revealed at last. And it's a good list, too: Well-considered, fair and complete. Even if a lot of the records that got picked tend to be a little... well, pussy, I guess is the word I'm looking for here.

Rewind:

The Texas 30 (cover story)

Slideshow: The Texas 30 album covers

Listen To Our Texas 30 Picks On Rdio and Spotify Right Now


Now, that's no surprise, really. When you take a poll of the top music writers in the state like the crack staff at the Houston Press has done, the more extreme bits of musical Texana are sure to slip past the consensus. But the fact is that the Great State has produced more than its fair share of brow-wrinkling punk and metal in the past three decades that's too good to be wholly ignored.

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The Biggest Surprises From the Texas 30 Ballots

Categories: The Texas 30

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Photo by Marco Torres
Lots of Willie, not a lot of Hayes, Z-Ro, or Beyonce.
Perusing the final ballots for the Texas 30 with a few highlighters this past week was a blessed odyssey into the past three decades of all things Texas music. For as many no-brainers as there were, there were plenty of head-scratchin' exclusions.

Rewind:

The 30 Best Texas Albums (cover story)

Slideshow: The Texas 30 album covers


The albums a lot of folks may claim to be landmarks of the past 30 years didn't make the top 30. As I type this sentence, people are no doubt firing off screeds about Bedhead, "the right Roky album," Don Henley, and the Zeitgeist/The Reivers legend. I'm glad people are so passionate.

(Hell, none of my favorite George Strait, Hayes Carll and Black Angels albums made the final cut. And I could have slipped someone a few bucks to make that happen, I bet.)


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Listen To Our Texas 30 Picks On Rdio and Spotify Right Now

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Today we reveal the top 30 Texas albums released over the past 30 years. It was rough work, but we did it.

Rewind:

The Texas 30: The Third Runners-Up, Albums 60-51

The Texas 30: The Second Runners-Up, Albums 50-41

Behold the Texas 30, Plus Albums 40-31


From Selena to Steve Earle to Pantera, there is something for everyone on the Texas 30. From 1982 to 2012, some crazy awesome albums came out.

As voted on by our esteemed group of music writers from all over the state, these albums have shaped Texas music over the past three decades, touching on country, metal, indie-rock, punk, soul, noise, folk and the blues.

Where else could Erykah Badu rub shoulders with Robert Earl Keen, Doug Sahm, and Dimebag Darrell?

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Behold the Texas 30, Plus Albums 40-31

Categories: The Texas 30

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At this point, hopefully you know what the Texas 30 is and why Rocks Off is counting down to the Top 30 Texas albums of the past 30 years, as determined by a statewide panel of professional music writers. The short answer is, of course, because we can, and because it was a great excuse to listen to a lot of great music during a stressful time of year.

Rewind:

The Texas 30: The Third Runners-Up, Albums 60-51

The Texas 30: The Second Runners-Up, Albums 50-41


As a good friend of ours likes to say, it's all over but the shouting. There isn't much else to say about it at this point, except that because the author was getting short on time this morning, here you can also read about the ten albums that just missed the cut, Nos. 40-31.

You can read all about the actual Top 30 in this week's cover story, and because we love album covers, we put together a slideshow of the Top 30 covers as well (coming soon). This has been a lot of fun, and a lot of work, and we hope all of our readers enjoy it.

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The Texas 30: Willie Nelson's Best Albums of the Past 30 Years

Categories: The Texas 30

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Willie Nelson's Across the Borderline is one of the albums that made it onto our Texas 30 list of the best 30 Texas albums of the past 30 years, which runs later today.

We promise that you will dig it, and hate it, which is how it's supposed to be.

Rewind:

The Texas 30: The Third Runners-Up, Albums 60-51

The Texas 30: The Second Runners-Up, Albums 50-41


We've already showed you the albums that barely made the cut in blogs previous, but today you will get to see the albums that our esteemed group of voters deemed worthy of the big 30.

From all the votes, I culled together the Willie Nelson albums that got mentioned in the balloting. He's made a metric ton of music since 1982, with numerous friends and musicians.

What, no Rainbow Connection or Songbird? Well, even I left off the Ryan Adams-produced Songbird from my ballot, because I'm greedy and don't want anyone else to get into it.

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The Texas 30: The Second Runners-Up, Albums 50-41

Categories: The Texas 30

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Graphic by Monica Fuentes
On our computer, Rocks Off has been looking at that damn Texas 30 spreadsheet so long our eyes are frosting over. Monday we said about 400 different albums were spread across the ballots we received from almost 25 music-media wags across Texas. We looked at the sheet again after that and it was actually closer to 500. Sheesh.

Rewind:

The Texas 30: The Third Runners-Up, Albums 60-51


So here we are at the middle of the middle, albums No. 50-41. Fittingly, because it is getting hard to tell up from down, this range is about the ceiling for one-shot breakout records by acts that burned bright but quick like The Plus and Minus Show, and cult artists who would have been higher up if they had been more accessible or hadn't broken up 25 years ago. It's also about the basement for some very well-known acts whose particular albums were excellent in some ways but somehow off the mark for one reason or another.

Either way, it adds another layer of context to what has been both an enriching and exhausting project for me, sifting through the best Texas music of the past 30 years. Enjoy.

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The Texas 30: The Third Runners-Up, Albums 60-51

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Friday, Rocks Off told you about our "Texas 30" project, compiling a list of the best 30 albums of the past 30 years. Today we're about to show you the first of three bubbling-under appetizer lists we did just to put a little oil on the gears.

Here, starting with No. 60, is where it gets interesting, because here is right about where the albums started clotting, and getting mentioned multiple times in our poll of almost 25 newspaper and magazine music writers across the state. You could say that before this came about a 400-way tie, more or less. We forgot how exactly many albums got mentioned (hey, maybe we'll count), but it's a lot. Somewhere in the neighborhood of 500, probably.

Our first ten runners-up might give you a hint of what's to come later on this week. Or they might not. Either way, we hope it helps us all appreciate how much great music there really is in Texas, and how many different kinds of great music there is in Texas, all on top of each other. Enjoy.


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Coming Next Week: The Texas 30

Categories: The Texas 30

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Graphic by Monica Fuentes
One day this summer, it must have been, a certain Mr. Craig Hlavaty brought a book he had found at a Houston-area thrift shop called (the) Genuine Texas Handbook into the office. This book is about everything you ever loved about Texas in the early '80s condensed into 200-something pages -- big hair, big oil, cattle ranching, beauty queens, Tex-Mex cuisine, "Lone Star Legends," Houston vs. Dallas, etc. Yum.

However, both our eyes couldn't help but be drawn to the part of the book, several pages in fact, devoted to Texas music. In just a few pages, it goes into the several different types of Texas country -- apparently the editors had a little trouble admitting there were other types of music in the state in 1981 -- as well as offering a detailed guide to Gilley's nightclub, a look inside the "cult of Willie," dance lessons, and a Texas Troubador "Hall of Fame." If you can find a copy, we highly recommend it. Maybe Craig will let you borrow his.

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