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Five Great Texas Tributes from Unlikely Sources

Drake, Houston's favorite Canadian-born adopted son
Drake, Houston's favorite Canadian-born adopted son
Photo by Marco Torres

All month long now, the AV Club has been running a new feature called State Songs featuring performances of famous songs revolving around each of the fifty states, one state per month. This month was Texas, so of course it caught our attention here at Rocks Off. But it made me think about something. Why are all the great shout-outs to Texas coming from Texan artists?

Sometimes it seems like we have the greatest appreciation for our own state. Sure, everybody in the US loves New York or California, but you don't hear many from the northeast saying how much they love Texas. That's why I decided to compile a list of some of the tributes Texas has received from bands who aren't from here but love the state anyway.

5. Rick Ross, Kanye West, Lil Wayne, and T-Pain - "Maybach Music 2"

We all know Kanye West reps hard for his hometown of Chicago in almost every song he ever drops a verse on, so imagine my surprise when jamming this track back in 2009 and hearing Yeezy spit a line about having a loft in Austin, Texas.

Most rappers wouldn't be caught dead rapping about any cities outside of the "territory" they've claimed, so it's just a testament to how cool Austin is that Kanye would be down to admit to having a loft there. At press time, I don't know if he actually does own a loft in Austin, but he does show up for SXSW almost every year so...

4. Frank Black and the Catholics - "San Antonio, TX"

Perhaps it's the stomping, country-western beat that this song marches to that inspired Pixies frontman Frank Black to write this tribute to "San Antone, Texas" with his solo band the Catholics.

The lyrics are bit obscure, as most Black lyrics are, but he seems to be singing about flying away from an ex-lover and hiding out in a "room all alone" in San Antonio. He considers visiting the Alamo, but one thing's for sure: he'll be away from her, whoever she is.

  3. Drake - "9 AM In Dallas"

Drake may not be a native son, but he sure does love Texas. He's even called himself a Houstonian and name-dropped the city multiple times. In this one, he puts down some of his hardest flows about stacking papers and killing haters.

So why the title? Drake wrote the song while he was 9 AM while he was sitting in Dallas, Texas. For the amount of time he spends here, he might as well just move here. We'd be happy to have him, but listen, Drake, about Dallas... It's not good for you. Come on down to Houston. We've got a place for you.

2. Dean Martin - "Houston"

Dean Martin was certainly no Texan himself, but the "King of Cool" knew where to come when he was down on his luck. As he outlines in the song, even if he's lonely, walking in the rain, and broke, he's going back to Houston.

You might wonder why, until you get to the upbeat fourth verse where the singer tells us of a girl and a big warm bed waiting for him back in "Houston, Houston, Houston."

  1. R.E.M. - "Houston"

One of the best tracks from R.E.M.'s late career comeback

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was this tribute to Texas, specifically our city Houston. The Georgians lay it down with a heavy drum beat and their signature mandolin, calling Galveston a "beautiful place," and mentioning that Houston is "full of promise."

We'll put aside the fact that the lyrics of the verse seem to indicate a paranoid narrator running from the government is hiding out in Texas. Otherwise, the rousing chorus makes for one of the greatest tributes to Houston I've heard from a band who didn't live here and regretfully didn't even play here on their last few tours.


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