The hip-hop world is a less than sensible place - lots of times, you're even required to clarify when bad means bad and when bad means good- so once a week we're going to get with a rapper and ask them to explain things. Have something you always wanted to ask a rapper? Email it to firstname.lastname@example.org. For this week's Ask A Rapper column, we were all set to cut it up with the founders of Sizurp magazine, a bi-monthly publication based here in Houston and dedicated to covering Southern rap. And seeing as how 2009 is just about over, we were going to discuss the best songs/tapes/albums of the year. It was going to be a proper right discussion. But then they disappeared on us. We spoke to one of Sizurp's founders last week and he agreed that he would get with his partner and respond to our questions via email. We even received a text back from them Sunday saying we'd have their picks before the end of the night. But then we didn't. We were worried sick. All of these crazy situations kept flashing through our brain. Maybe, just as they were about to click Send, a hell buzzard made of flames flew in through an open window, picked up their computer with its fiery talons and then flew away (we've heard this is the standard MO of hell buzzards). We were left dangling in the wind, so we fired off text messages and emails to about 45 different rappers/producers/music critics in an effort to cull together the five best rap songs from Houston rappers that came out this year. Due to the overwhelming response, and taking into consideration the resources that big-name guys have at their disposal, we've broken the responses down into two separate categories: Big Name Rappers and Guys Who Still Show Up to the Houston Press Music Awards. After the jump. Big Name Rappers"Da Game Been Good To Me," UGK
So many reasons why this song was amazing, but mostly it's the way that Bun and Pimp were able to examine the importance of their discography without upending what other artists are doing today that makes it the best song of the year."Round Here," Z-Ro featuring Billy Cook
So sad that this album didn't get released."I Run Remix," Slim Thug feat. Chamillionaire and Z-Ro
It was very frustrating that more people didn't get behind this album. There were at least seven bangers on here. Not sure what else you all want from Slim."I Could Use Somebody," Trae
One of the best things about this song being so good is that you can now drive around SW Houston and expect to hear Kings of Leon beating up somebody's trunk. It's always peculiar, and we almost always have to stop and watch."Dreams and Nightmares," Yung Redd
Somehow this song is not on Youtube. No matter, search it out and download it. It was the best song from a strong mixtape.Also Ran:"Boi," Young Problems feat. Mike Jones and Gucci Mane; "Good Morning," Chamillionaire; "I'm Back," Slim Thug feat. Devin the Dude; "Not My Time," Trae; "Ridin' On 4's," J-Dawg; "Hood Wired Up," Jay'Ton; "When It's Time," K-Rino; "Grand Deception," K-Rino; "Intro," E.S.G.Guys Who Still Show Up to the Houston Press Music Awards"I Can't Complain," Coast
One of the finest songs of the year, regardless of local artist status or genre."My Window," B L A C K I E
An insane song that's somehow even better live."ILuvVideoGames," JUZCOZ
, made lots and lots of people excited for other music the duo was going to release this year, then they didn't give us any. Still, this is a phenomenal song."Independent Bitches," Candi Redd
Admittedly, we're not a fan of this song, but there's no denying its appeal. But know this: It is not okay for YOU to refer to someone as an "independent bitch" and then tell her to get out on the dance floor. Something is lost in translation."H-Town Underground All Stars," Fat Tony, B L A C K I E, Nosaprise, Hollywood F.L.O.S.S.
We won't say that the fact that this was put together to highlight guys who were nominated for the Best Underground Hip-Hop Award by theHouston Press
is the entire reason it made the cut here, but it certainly didn't hurt.
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Yes, we are aware that there are six songs here. But "Polos and AKs," which samples Face's "High Powered" so we didn't feel okay with swiping away a spot from songs that featured all-original production, was just too, too good to be left off. Every time we listen to it, Prestige automatically becomes our favorite underground rapper. If we were counting the five best mixtapes of the year, this would be right near the top, though.Also Ran:"Runaway," Nya and Atmosphere; "There's An App For That," Thurogood Wordsmith; "Step Out Sharp," Delorean; "Runway," GT Garza; "Sick," Mic Skills feat. Hero and Rad