Summer in Texas brings about a number of welcome traditions, including music festivals, floating the river, camping and general outdoor good timing. Float Fest manages to fit all of these into one weekend. The third annual tubing/music confluence, scheduled for July 16-17 in San Marcos, offers festival-goers the opportunity to float the river, camp overnight (one or two nights, depending on the ticket package) and spend a weekend jamming out to nearly 20 hours of live music.
This year’s edition will be headlined by Rick Ross (Saturday) and Chromeo (Sunday), but features a number of Houston-based artists as well, including Fat Tony, Wild Moccasins and Slim Thug. These artists will most certainly entertain the sun-soaked masses, but they aren’t the only ones who can do so.
Here are 10 Texas tracks from Texas artists tailor-made for summer outdoor fun.
10. ZZ TOP, "Gimme All Your Lovin'"
The key to any successful summer song is to be up-tempo and catchy, and these Houston legends don’t disappoint on this 1983 single. This feels like the type of song you’d hear blaring from a Harley parked outside Buffalo Fred’s on a hot July afternoon.
9. UGK, "Pocket Full of Stones"
Southern rap and steamy summer days go together like floating the river and light beer. Something about the swampy beat just speaks to the heat we Texans endure four to five months a year. Fortunately, that heat is a lot easier to handle with UGK on the radio and a cold body of water nearby.
8. ROBERT EARL KEEN, "The Road Goes On Forever"
Arguably the greatest “Texas Country” song ever produced, this Robert Earl Keen number not only mentions a woman meeting her friends at the river, but also a couple running off to the beach. Plus, the lyrics “the road goes on forever/and the party never ends,” perfectly contextualizes how many feel about summer.
7. TOADIES, "Possum Kingdom"
For those unfamiliar, this 1995 summer single from Fort Worth outfit Toadies borrowed its title from Texas’s own Possum Kingdom Lake. In fact, the lake provides the setting for the song itself, which can be interpreted in many ways. Some have speculated it’s about a serial killer or vampire, while others think it’s simply a weird song about a strange kind of love. Yeah, it’s a dark song, but thanks to a catchy hook and lakeside imagery, it makes for perfect summer listening.
6. BEYONCÉ (feat. JAY-Z), "Crazy In Love"
Fitting, considering this was the summer anthem of 2003. This was Beyoncé staking her claim as the new queen of pop, assisted by Jay-Z, who still sounded inspired (pour one out for inspired Jay-Z). The up-tempo horns set the mood; “Crazy in Love” was made for summer dance parties.
5. JAY-Z (feat. UGK), "Big Pimpin'"
Speaking of Jay-Z, he is not from Texas. But UGK is, and they outright hijack this song from Jiggaman himself. The late Pimp C shouts out Texas, Bun B calls himself the “Southern rap impresario” and the video takes place on a yacht loaded with bikini-clad ladies. That’s textbook summer game.
4. SCARFACE, "On My Block"
The Houston rap legend provides a play-by-play of his upbringing — the good and the bad — on this iconic shout-out to Houston. Somewhere in the Bayou City this weekend, this song will blare from an outdoor cookout, just as it was intended.
3. FAT PAT, "Tops Drop"
The late Fat Pat didn’t crank out a ton of singles during his all-too-short career (he was fatally shot in 1998 at the age of 27), but man, did he make them count (see No. 1 on this list). “Tops Drop” has everything you could want in a summer song that pops – a hot beat and catchy lyrics. Next time you feel like dropping the top or rolling down the windows on a hot summer day, put this track on and remember the golden age of Houston rap.
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2. PAT GREEN, "Take Me Out to a Dancehall"
“If we get a little crazy/blame it on the alcohol.” Many a summer tale can be summed up with those lyrics from this track off 2001’s Three Days — the album that officially established Green and his gang of Texas country brethren as commercial forces. In fact, a number of other songs on Three Days are perfectly suited for a day on the river, including “Texas on My Mind,” “Carry On” and “Southbound 35.”
1. LIL’ TROY (feat. FAT PAT, YUNGSTAR, LIL’ WILL and H.A.W.K.), "Wanna Be a Baller"
And it’s not even close. This song has everything you could want in a summer anthem. It features one of the catchiest choruses ever assembled in a mainstream rap single. It offers a very distinct, regional sound. Hell, it gives a shout-out to Prime Co. phones! To top it off, the song was released in May 1999 and actually WAS one of the summer songs of that year.