Welcome back to Houston coach Herman! Since you haven’t lived here since you were an assistant coach at Rice in 2008, I’ve put together a handy guide on Houston hip-hop to get you up to speed on the culture here in the land of the trill (just in case you haven’t learned yet… trill = true + real). Plus, I doubt you were able to pickup much culture from the Rice students, other than maybe culture of the math lab (seriously, Ruck Fice!).
Most of the young kids around the city that you’ll be recruiting during your tenure in the H will be well-versed in the local culture and music scene. This guide won’t make you completely fluent, but it’ll put you miles ahead of those poseurs in College Station and Waco. This list is by no means comprehensive or a “best-of” list, but just enough to dip your toes in the culture:
Fat Pat – “Tops Drop”
The late Fat Pat’s song Tops Drop is one of the first classic Houston songs that crossed over across race and class lines. Almost every Houstonian of a certain age group goes wild when this track comes on. It’s a laid-back ode to putting the top down and riding around showing off your car.
Houston has a very unique car culture that goes hand-in-hand with it’s vibrant music scene. You’ll see lots of cars around the city like this showing off the culture. Not everyone understands it, but then again, not everyone understands why some redneck needs a pair of nuts hangin’ from his trailer hitch.
Lil Keke – “Southside”
This song also took over the local airwaves around the time “Tops Drop” came out and remains another legendary Houston song to this day.
DJ DMD, Fat Pat, &Lil Keke – “25 Lighters”
25 Lighters is another laid-back ode, this time courtesy of Port Arthur native DJ DMD with some help from the aforementioned Fat Pat and Lil Keke.
You can still ride around the Space City and hear this song blasting out of speakers. It’s so legendary in the city that it inspired ZZ Top to do a remake.
Mike Jones, Slim Thug, & Paul Wall – “Still Tippin”
This song blew up and took the underground Houston hip-hop scene nationwide in 2004. Soon the H-Town’s syrupy sound was influencing music all over the country.
Paul Wall – “Sittin Sideways”
Paul Wall aka The People’s Champ is a master of making laid back music for the slab. “Sittin Sideways” came out a few months after “Still Tippin” blew up and another Houston classic was cemented.
This video is incredible for the introducing the world to slabs with horns on the hood. If there’s anything more Texan than having horns on your car, I’ve yet to find it:
Paul Wall, Mike Jones, and Bun B – “They Don’t Know”
This song is like an audio Urban Dictionary guide to Houston’s underground hip-hop culture.
UGK – “Use Me Up”
Picking just one song from Port Arthur duo UGK’s catalog is damn near impossible. Seriously, just listen to every to every song off of every album. I changed the song here at least five times but ultimately settled on this classic from their first album.
This track is a remake of the Bill Withers classic track “Use Me” and the video from 1992 features Pimp C rockin a Nirvana t-shirt.
Geto Boys – “Damn It Feels Good to Be a Gangster”
Such a silky smooth track by the 5th Ward legends. The Geto Boys were the first group to put the H-Town on the hip-hop map nationwide. This track blew up once Austinite Mike Judge included the track in his cult classic film Office Space. When you feel like cruising around the city feeling like a boss, this track is for you.
Beyonce – “No Angel”
Okay, before you wonder why I included Queen Bey on this list, just remember Rap = Music; Hip-Hop = The culture that rap is a part of… and no lady represents the Houston hip-hop culture better than Mrs. Carter. And plus, she’s “Mrs. Third Ward” and we’re Third Ward University. In this excellent video you can see the Moody Towers in the background.
Devin The Dude – “Lacville ’79”
While a lot of songs have emcees talking about all the money and nice things they have, Devin’s classic Lacville ’79 is about being broke and driving a hooptie.
Lil’ Troy – “Wanna Be a Baller”
Another Houston classic! RIP to Fat Pat and his brother Big Hawk.
Bun B – “Draped Up”
Holy hell this song goes hard! This is Bun B’s first single off his debut solo album Trill. Salih Williams produced another classic Houston song that still gets the crowd going wild when it comes on ten years later.
Geto Boys – “My Mind’s Playing Tricks On Me”
The Geto Boys masterpiece about life growing up in poverty in the Bloody Nickle… better known as Houston’s notorious Fifth Ward.
Oh, and uh, Bushwick Bill, 1/3rd of the Geto Boys was in an argument with his wife when she shot him, which led to one of the greatest album covers ever:
Slim Thug, Paul Wall, & Bun B – “UH Fight”
The most important song on the list! During the Coogs’ legendary 2011 undefeated regular season, Houston legends Slim Thug, Paul Wall, and Bun B made this song to pump up the Cougar faithful. Still a dope track to this day.
Bonus – “Womp Womp”
One of the best songs our incredible band plays during UH games to pump up the Cougar faithful. Get used to hearing this one a lot coach! The lyrics include the words, “I’m talkin’ bout the Cougars!” which is the origin of this site’s tagline.
There you have it coach! Hopefully this guide gives you a good overview of the city. Next Steps: You’re going to need an official UH slab to ride around the city in. May I propose some mockups?:
That’s our boy Keenum on the trunk! YEEEEAAAAH! Coach, you want to have the UH faithful eating out of your hand? Put Keenum on the trunk of your candy Cougar red Cadillac and swang on them losers from SMU! GO COOGS!