History of Southern Rap:
Texas Rap and Hip Hop
While break dancing, graffiti, and most importantly the genre of music by the name of hip hop was all created on the East Coast, New York City specifically, southern rap has held the reign of being the most influential market in hip hop since the beginning of the 2000s.
When hip hop first began the focus was on the East Coast and later followed by the West Coast. Eventually individuals from Luke Skywalker and the 2 Live Crew to J Prince and Rap-A-Lot to Master P and No Limit helped with the contribution of hip hop coming to the South. What many do not know since the 1980s there were other executives and artists that helped with the contribution of southern hip hop south.
While southern rappers have hailed from cities and states from all over the south, the Last Mr. Bigg of Alabama or David Banner of Mississippi, the most important states that have help with the growth southern rap are Florida, Texas, Tennessee, Louisiana and Georgia.
TEXAS Hip Hop and Rap
The credit for bringing hip hop to the south goes to the Houston entrepreneur, J Prince and his creation of the Rap-A-Lot imprint. Rap-A-Lot would eventually become known for putting out albums from southern rap legends like the Geto Boys, Scarface, Z-Ro, Pimp C, Bun B, Devin The Dude, Juvenile, Do or Die, and even West Coast artists like Yukmouth.
The Geto Boys are credited as being the first rap artists to come out the south that was not party or booty shaking music. The Geto Boys are well known for the classic song “Mind Playin Tricks On Me” that had proved that there was more to southern rap than just club songs.
Scarface, “Now I Feel Ya”
One of the standout members of the Geto Boys, who featured Willie D, Bushwick Bill, and DJ Ready Red, was Scarface who many claimed to be one of the greatest rappers of all-time as he created numerous of solo albums and hits since the early 1990s with many receiving gold and platinum recognition.
Another standout rap group from Texas was UGK. A duo of Bun B and the late Pimp C hailed from the small East Texas city of Port Arthur, but had deep ties to the Houston hip hop scene, almost to a point one would think they are from Houston.
Can be debated, but no rap group has as many underground hits than UGK with key songs like “Something Good”, “Pocket Full of Stones”, “Use Me Up”, “Diamonds & Wood”, “Front Back, Side to Side” and many more as the group has put out music since 1992.
After the Geto Boys and UGK created and established a Houston and Texas foundation within the southern the rap scene, Houston DJ’s, DJ Screw and DJ Michael “5000” Watts and OG Ron C, became known for producing multiple artists out of their Screwed Up Click and Swisahouse brands.
DJ Screw, of Houston’s South Side, was the first to begin a true era of Houston and Texas rap as Rap-A-Lot brought Scarface and the Geto Boys, but DJ Screw brought Houston and the nation dozens of rappers creating a new movement and shedding more light onto Houston’s culture.
DJ Screw & Lil Keke, “Pimp Tha Pen”
Under DJ Screw the likes of Lil Keke, Z-Ro, Fat Pat, Big Moe, Big Hawk, Lil Flip, Big Pokey, ESG, Mr. 3-2 and many more first gained recognition through the Screw Tapes as many can say DJ Screw played a key part in the growth of southern and Texas hip hop.
While there was a rival between the North Side and South Side in Houston, when DJ Screw’s S.U.C out of the South Side was on top, the North Side’s Swishahouse slowly began to come on the scene during the late 1990s.
Slim Thug, “NorthSide Anthem”
On the city’s North Side, Swisha House, spearheaded by DJ Michael “5000” Watts and OG Ron C, led the wave of the Houston and Texas rap scene during the early 2000s with the breakout song “Still Tippin'” as Swishahouse has contributed to many artists careers like Slim Thug, J-Dawg, Paul Wall, Chamillionaire, and Mike Jones.
During the national rise of Swishahouse and the hit single “Still Tippin'”, Houston’s culture was exposed to the world and eventually led to being one of the country’s most influenced cities within the America’s hip hop and urban community, from Chopped and Screwed music to “Sippin’ On Syrup”.
While many know about the Screwed Up Click, Swishahouse, and Rap-A-Lot Records, but other companies and groups have contributed to the Houston and Texas hip hop scene like Suave House, who consisted of Crime Boss and South Circle, Slim Thug’s Boss Hogg Outlawz, or the South Park Coalition.
Street Military, “Dead In A Year”
Outside of the main circles of Texas hip hop, like S.U.C or Rap-A-Lot, there were plenty of artists that contributed to the history of Texas rappers, artists like Big Mike, Wickett Crickett, Big Mello, Street Military, Klondike Kat, Ganksta Nip, K-Rino or the 5th Ward Boyz.
While Texas’ Houston region has had the most attention, DFW or Dallas-Fort Worth, also known as Triple D and Funkytown, has had its share of rappers. During the 2000s, the DFW had a handful of artists that consisted of Twisted Black, Tum Tum, Chalie Boy, Mr Lucci and Mr Pookie, Big Tuck, Dorrough, Lil Wil and the single “My Dougie” and a few others.
Today’s Texas hip hop and rap scene is still striving with Dallas’ Yella Beezy and Mo3 or many of the Houston legends, from Z-Ro to Slim Thug, still being relevant and creating quality music, together with a new wave of Houston rappers like Megan Thee Stallion or Maxo Kream.
Like the years of the “Still Tippin'” movement during the mid-2000s, Houston’s culture and the Texas rap scene is still the most influential in today’s era from the imitating of Texas lingo like “Sauce” or “Drip” to the popularize of “Sippin’ on Lean” nationwide.