A Slew Of New Houston Rap MP3s That Don't Suck

Here's a story.

Back in late April, early May I had to fight through the most unwanted thing to anyone who owns a Macbook: A hard-drive fail. I'm sure we can curse Steve Jobs, Siri and the rest for making those short-ass chargers, but there's more headache than need be with a hard drive fail.

So I drove to the Apple store closest to me and attempted to transfer everything over to my external HD, which had been gathering dust. Thought it would be smooth. Until I checked the HD later that night and saw all of my music had transferred -- all the way up to T-Pain.

Can you think of any best/worst artist for your music collection to stop on than T-Pain? I'm not saying he's terrible or anything on a Flo Rida level, but I wish the Music Gods had at least let me get past Usher.

Judging by that loss, that meant my entire discography of UGK was still trapped on that failing hard drive, some WreckShop freestyles and somehow I didn't turn into an audiophile and iTunes junkie and properly tag up ZZ Top's "Gots To Get Paid" (still music's most WTF moment of 2012).

In other words, I was fucked, to put it mildly.

Thankfully, the Houston rap community has given me a little hope with some new MP3s, and plenty of them don't suck. Which makes my iTunes library pretty happy -- and your mid-week pretty damn good too.

Devin the Dude, "You'll Be Satisfied" Download

Somewhere in the cosmos, the sleepy-eyed Devin the Dude long-stroked Aretha Franklin's "Day Dreaming" and decided to make a song about it. The claps of "You'll Be Satisfied" make it one of the stickier "love songs" in recent memory. In true fashion from the Dude, it's about as everyman as everything else in his career has been.

Bun B feat. Aaron LaCrate, "Turn It Up" Download

"Back on that P.A. bullshit," the omnipresent King of the Trill proves that his now slow, methodical gut-punch flow is the third best flow in his arsenal behind the 2005 onslaught that kept up with every percussion-based moment anybody produced and the blitzkrieg of neck-snapping that was "Murder." Destined to live outside of computer speakers, "Turn It Up" with Aaron LaCrate provides Aaron a moment of trill with xylophones and dirty synths.

Slim Thug feat. Settle 4 LeS & Young Von, "Mercy" Download

They shot a video for this a few days ago, but if Thugga openly states its time to bring out freestyles the way they used to then God help us all. Braggadocios to the umpeenth degree, the "Mercy" freestyle from the Boss Hogg Outlawz make shrimp wraps sound as decadent as dancing around in a Pakistani parking garage.

I mean, even Young Von makes references to ATL sound fun with his rapid-fire banter. Also, notice how Le$ had to change his name to Settle 4 LeS? Yeah, legal situations suck, especially when the guy on the verge of stardom is more commonly associated with the name than you are.

Express feat. Jack Freeman, "Katrina" Download

Express is from Alief, one of the more interesting places in Southwest Houston. At times you can refer to it as the S.W.A.T.; others it's just Alief. Rather distinctive. This cut with Jack Freeman, who can either reside in '70s funk or Donny Hathaway mode, from his How To Be a Player EP is breezy, horn-heavy and about as smooth as a mack wooing a flock of women without any of them knowing it.

Twenty Eleven feat. Stockz, "When She Home" Download

You ever come home from college and think to yourself, "I hope so-and-so comes back with a freaky side to her like every college freshman"? It's happened more than once, so much so that now college-aged foursome Twenty Eleven decided to add R&B to their growing palate of alternative rock and bubbling two-man rap. AVE11 cooks up a static cling of snares and snaps for rappers Brad Gilmore (second), Tre Will (first) and Stockz (third) to roll over, each packing a story of their freshman year.

Mine happened to deal with the third floor at UH's South Tower. And it will be the only time I ever mention it aloud.

Killa Kyleon, "Kill a Man Freestyle" Download

By now, we've all seen The Avengers and if you haven't you're not probably contributing to the American belief that capitalism is good and funding Tony Stark's drinking problems. Remember the scene when Loki tries to man up to The Hulk and proceeds to get tossed around by his legs like a super-combo off Street Fighter?

Well, for this analogy, Killa Kyleon is The Hulk with racing flags and a RUN IT tattoo on his back. Cypress Hill's "How I Could Just Kill a Man" track? Loki. I think that sums up what Killa does here. Also, wasn'tT.R.I.L.L. supposed to be coming? Like really soon? I need more music in my iTunes that represents homicidal lyrical murder while making a 5'6 guy like me feel 6'3", 218.

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Brandon Caldwell has been writing about music and news for the Houston Press since 2011. His work has also appeared in Complex, Noisey, the Village Voice & more.
Contact: Brandon Caldwell