Morning MP3: "Welcome 2 Houston"

There's just something undeniably likeable about compilation rap tracks. They're great. That feel-good one from the early '90s where Eazy-E was walking through a playground, talking about not gangbanging or something, was actually one of our first favorite songs. (Right along with the one about the Ninja Turtles, by Vanilla Ice. A lighthouse for taste, we were.)

It's the reason we were so amped when stumbled across "Welcome 2 Houston," a Mr. Lee-produced - we're assuming it's Mr. Lee, but if it's not it's someone who does a damn fine impersonation of him- compilation featuring no less than 13 hometown MCs - Chamillionaire, Paul Wall, Mike Jones, UGK, Lil Keke, Z-Ro, Trae, Rob G, Lil' O, Big Pokey, Mike D and Yung Redd.

Beyond the novelty of the situation, it's a thoroughly mellow synth-heavy effort. Even Paul Wall manages to hold his own, a fact we hesitantly admit. At just under nine minutes, it's a little too long to just listen to, but it is an ideal soundtrack for gettin' throwed, sitting in traffic near the Galleria and getting a lap dance in a strip club. We swear those wily DJs are in cahoots with the dancers and spin the albums just a little bit faster than they should.

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Shea Serrano