Pop Life

Behind the Lyrics: Bunz is Twin City's Lifeline to Houston Hip-Hop

[Ed. Note: We temporarily interrupt our real-time SXSW coverage to give you something else to read about for one of the last times this week.]

Richmond and Rosenberg are tough places to describe, partly because there are many faces to the two towns, which are referred to on the streets as just one name: "Twin City." Only a dip in the road separates the two cities, which sit about 20 miles southwest of the Houston city limits. There are some pockets that look like good ole' white-picket fence Americana, and there are parts that look like Acres Homes. You have your old-style country homes on one block, but cross the wrong railroad tracks and you're in Fifth Ward. The towns' bipolar landscape is nothing to underestimate.

You remember "City Under Siege" don't you?" It was Fox News' spotlight on high-crime areas in the Houston area back in the early '90s. Well, let's just say "City Under Siege" used to live in Twin City, covering gangs from Rosenberg's 4th Street Crips to Richmond's La Familia Bloods. The gang culture isn't as prevalent today, but you can still get your block knocked off if you run your mouth. The rough edges of the two cities are still prevalent, and they'll cut.

If you're from Houston, Twin City, for the most part, is just a blip you see when you're looking at the weather forecast, but it's where one of Houston's rising Latino hip-hop artists is from and calls home. Alex Perez, 26, is known as Bunz to the streets and the machine-gun flow he's brought to Houston's underground rap scene is turning heads, and not just those of Latino artists and their fans, but all who are invested and follow Houston rap. In fact, you'll find him soon on the Houston Press Mic Pass.

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Contributor Rolando Rodriguez is the co-founder of Trill Multicultural.