Y'all Musta Forgot: H.I.S.D.'s The District

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 sheaserrano@gmail.com.

H.I.S.D. backstage at Free Press Summerfest 2009
H.I.S.D. backstage at Free Press Summerfest 2009
Amber Roussel

H.I.S.D. The District (Peace Uv Mine, 2007) There were three albums that did not stream off directly from a Traditional Houston Rapper Estuary (SUC, SPC, Swishahouse, etc) that had a chance of earning a spot on The Countdown. The District, Hueston Independent Spit District's debut LP, was one of them. H.I.S.D. is a still-active potpourri of hip-hop heads that operates under the Peace Uv Mine creative umbrella. We could write for days about their history - there are roughly 97 rappers in the group, each with their own individual stories of successes and failures - but all you really need to know about them is that they sample baroque pop groups like The Free Design and have been namedropped by ?uestlove. Y'allmustaforgotability: 96 percent Sadly, we've still yet to meet anyone who had not met H.I.S.D. personally that knew about this album. Read what Y'allmustaforgotability means.

Y'all Musta Forgot: H.I.S.D.'s The District

Best Verse on the Album: Scottie Spitten's verse from

"Only A Fool"

Second Best Song on the Album:

"Cold World"

(with

"Pay As U Go Flow"

a close third) "Only A Fool" is the clear runaway track on The District. It marshaled everything that H.I.S.D. did well all at the same time. "Cold World," however, is a lot closer to that spot than people realize. Lyrically, Scottie Spitten is the most dynamic, most clever of H.I.S.D.'s cavalcade of MCs. And stylistically, Savvi, the group's de facto leader, towers above everyone else. (Incidentally, he's also their best live performer, which might have something to do with his long, long hair and penchant for wearing tube socks.) But the earnest and adenoidal Ldavoice managed to wrestle away the award for "Best Performance" from both of them on The District, and that was due, in part, by his work on "Cold World." "Pay As You Go Flow" gets a hat-tip too, mostly because of this one line from Scottie Spitten: "Came from Cali to bring heat; Axel Flowly." See that there, how he says the line and then, without any direct ties other than an implied association, says "Axel Flowly"? That's something a lot of rappers are doing today. Jay-Z, for example does it in "Hate" from The Blueprint 3 ("I can't even stomach myself; ulcer") and Nicki Minaj does it in just about every song she's in (something like, "I just be coming off the top; asbestos" in Young Money's "Bedrock"). Spitten didn't make up that rhyme scheme, but he was copying it almost three years ago, and that counts for something. Best Use of a Sample on the Album: Nearly every song on The District has some sort of sly, subtle sample. The best comes via "Cowboys" where they steal a bit of "Little Cowboy" by Free Design. Song That Was Meant To Be Goofy But Actually Ended Up Convincing You That The Guys That Made It Might've Been Geniuses After You Listened To It About 30 Times:

"3 Story House."

This is also referred to as The Tom Green Corollary. Obscure Fact That You Can Pawn Off As Your Own To Make Yourself Sound Smart: Two things this time:

  • 1. This album had to be recorded in near entirety nearly three different times because the group couldn't quite nail down the aesthetic they were going for.
  • 2. Several of the songs on here were actually recorded before the group had a name, including "Only A Fool" and "Pay As U Go Flow." Matter of fact, there's a brief line on "Pay As U Go Flow" that tips their hand a bit in this respect, with Spitten saying they're doing a "pot luck mixtape, we bring different styles to the plate."

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