Houston's history is dotted with albums that, fairly or not, have been swept aside. We'll examine them here. Have an album that you think nobody knows about but should? Email email@example.com.
Le$ The Beautiful Struggle (Self-released, 2010)
Le$, the least burly, most modern Boss Hogg Outlaw, released The Beautiful Struggle last year. It is good fun, almost a rap version of a blues album - there's even a song on there called "Muddy Waters" - that's disguised as an old soul album; there is a completely respectable, revamped version of Diana Ross's 1976 "Love Hangover."
Buoyed by production from DJ Mr. Rogers, Le$ is feather-lite and seamless on it, proving himself mean enough to keep pace with Slim Thug and deft enough to sound entirely comfortable in front of a jazz horn.
Y'allmustaforgotability: 91 percent
Making Things Right: Last December, we wrote a listicle counting down the 16 best Houston rap albums of the year. The Beautiful Struggle was not on it, but that was only because it somehow managed to squirt past us until January. Were we to rewrite that feature, it would be on there, for certain. Apologies to Le$.
Most Guttural Slap Shot: On the sunburnt sonics of "Baby Mama," Le$ spouts, "Got your gal getting' naked, sending pictures to a nigga. Her name I don't remember, I just call her by her Twitter." By her Twitter name, yo. Do you realize how subtly brutal that is?
Imagine finding out that the mother of your first born son has been sending guys naked pictures of herself (already devastating). She tells you that she's been seeing Le$, a burgeoning rapper (already devastating x 2), and has slept with him several times (already devastating x 4).
You track him down, confront him, screaming as loud as you can that you're about to fuck him up, murder him, burn his house down, only for him to be like, "Wait, wait, wait. Vanessa? Who is Vanessa? I don't know a Vanes - oh, wait, you mean @BadYellaChick? Oh yeah. Okay." You might as well kill yourself.
Best Song on the Album: Several songs campaign admirably for this spot; the swooping "Gangsta Lean," the readymade swing of "The Cure," the lurching "Secret Society." But the best is the agro, super sampled punch of "G-Shit," which blends pieces from the songographies of LL Cool J, Jay-Z, Young Jeezy, Drake, Slim Thug and J-Dawg into a furious background.
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Obscure Fact(s) You Can Pawn Off As Your Own So As To Make Yourself Look Smart:
One of the most entertaining things to do, if not altogether absolute wastes of time, is to type a rap phrase into Google's image search and see what silliness pops up. The most bizarre thing that comes when you search "Settle 4 Les"? This lovely woman squatting barefoot on a pool table in 2007. Who knows?