In 2011, Houston rap officially began its trek back toward national acclaim. So with the end of the year here, really, we have a question.
What are you, Rapper, expecting in 2012, both for yourself and for Houston?
We put this question to a wide range of the city's talent. We asked the established guard, guys whose actions have already built them into legends of history (Bun, Paul, OG Ron C). We asked the budding stars, the guys just now tasting radio spins and MTV attention (DJ Chose, Kirko Bangz). And we asked the guys powering the underground movement, where some of the city's most interesting, most courageous music is being made.
Here's what they said.
Paul Wall: I hope a new rapper and producer that I've never ever heard of makes it on the national scene to rep Texas and continue the cycle of Tex rap. Meaning, that I hope the next generation of Texas hip-hop begins to evolve and birth careers. And get/keep Texas in the national spotlight.
Young Sensation: More respect for the city musically. And more listeners.
Delo: Success to us all and Whataburger coupons.
Chuckway: I hope my album, Still Mashin' Vol. 1, is the topic of discussion. And I hope more Houston artists stick together and take up for each other.
Mac (from the rap group Undergravity): For myself, my group, I'd like a more broad fan base and opportunities for paid shows. For Houston, I want less hating, more unity.
O.N.E.: I would hope for all eyes to be on my city.
Chingo Bling: I would like Houston to create more platforms/avenues for indie labels, i.e., re-establish the indie infrastructure. Fans have been corralled to corporate outlets who are about blockbuster releases and profits. [It] isn't always healthy for our music culture.
Zavey: I hope I get some recognition for the hard work me and my team have been putting in for my next mixtape, Up Yonder. And I hope Houston supports more underground artists. It's talent everywhere.
DJ Young Samm (rapper/DJ/videographer/producer/John Everything): Hoping to do more beats for more H-Town artists, R&B and rap.
Kyle Hubbard: I hardly made a sound in 2011. It was a long, long year and not too proud to admit that it was hell for me. But it was all about growth, and I made the choice to go through that process in private. I had to rebuild every aspect of myself. But as it stands right now, I am sitting on the best music I have ever created in my life, and I found my voice again, so 2012 will see me coming back as a much stronger artist than ever before.
Carolyn Rodriguez: I am really hoping to break the segregation cycle on the airwaves. Radio doesn't play Latin hip-hop, only Latin OR hip-hop.
OG Ron C: For myself, I hope Chop Not Slop becomes a household name. For Houston, I hope artists support each other more.
Yung Redd: I hope niggas stop confusing Twitter hype with a fan base. I hope people stop not playing records 'cause we ain't friends.
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Jett I. Masstyr: Hoping for an even more productive 2012 for me and my crew than 2011. For Houston, I'm hoping for more national attention.
E.S.G.: [Hoping we] make our way back towards the forefront of Southern hip-hop.
Preemo: Hoping to expand my brand in 2012 and I hope Houston continues to nurture this underground hip-hop movement that's going on.
One Hunnidt: I for one am a little overwhelmed with the cliques and political "hierarchy" that seems to be populating right now. I think the attitude is a little high school-ish at times, causes a lot of unnecessary tension and seems pretty counterproductive, especially on an underground level. I like the fact that more people are starting to work together, but not when the support is merely ulterior energy in disguise. There is tons of talent here. If we can concentrate on that and not throw so much shade onto the other side of the fence, I think we can all do great things.