Houston's history is dotted with albums that, fairly or un, have been swept aside. We'll examine them here. Have an album that you think nobody knows about but should? Email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dante Higgins School Boy Music (Self-released, 2010)
Dante Higgins is a baby-faced college kid with grown-man ambitions, yet another gifted MC fighting for air in Houston's thick-with-talent rap landscape. His appeal seems preordained - he's smart and funny and clever and judicious and hip and, in a very short amount of time, has learned to piece together all of those things into a fairly bump-free rap persona. School Boy Music is his third mixtape in his lifetime.
Y'allmustaforgotability: 94 percent
Best Song on the Album:
There are certainly songs on School Boy Music that are more fun or more immediately interesting or more useful when trying to deconstruct Higgins' id than "Karma," but none come close to painting him as brightly.
There's no hook, no snazzy production, no nothing on it. It's only Higgins, an idea and some free space to stroll around in. He sounds like a champ, and anyone that hears it will straight away think something like, "Yo, is it just me, or does sound exactly like Lupe Fiasco did when he was first figuring it out?"
Best Line on the Album: On "Take Me Home," whose unexpected creepiness seeps into your pores, Higgins describes his neighborhood as such:
"Where the ladies is scared to walk alone 'cause the rapists don't spot 'em, they smell 'em like they're cologne."
Most Unexpectedly Enjoyable Moment on the Album:
The "School Goon" skit, where a college student posing as a thug argues his worth with an actual gangster, is, in no uncertain terms, no less than the second most entertaining skit on any rap album from 2010, jousting only with the "David Blaine" bit from Big Boi's excellent album for the top spot.
If you're at work, put on your headphones. There's a fair amount of cussing. If you can't listen to it now, know that the best part comes after the real thug suggests that he and the college student thug go handle some gangsterly business right now. The college student thug responds with:
"I really can't do it right now, I got this little research paper... But after I type that bitch up! After I hit print, my nigga. After I hit print... sshhhiiitttt. Niggas is dying, dawg! Ain't gon' be no fall semester for these niggas, you understand me! Ain't gon' be no, ain't gon' be summer school for niggas after I come through!"
Best Feature on the Album:
This one could go one of three ways. Propain and Delo show up to snarl at everyone for a few bars on "The Game" and "Forever" respectively; both are convincing in their roles. And O.N.E. shows up on the bubbly "Rather Be" for a bit of levity. Choice is yours for this one.
Obscure Fact(s) You Can Pawn Off As Your Own To Make Yourself Look Smart:
Higgins makes mention in the tape of having once put someone's head through a window. This, in fact, is true. When asked why, Higgins responded, "I had to mash on a nigga." This is, no kidding, the third or fourth time a rapper has responded with The Mashing Of Or On Niggas defense when asked about an episode of violence.
The rap game does not have the same parameters for justification of one's actions as the court system, it appears.
See Dante Higgins on Facebook here.