Houston's history is dotted with albums that, fairly or not, have been swept aside. We'll examine them here. Have an album that you think nobody knows about but should? Email firstname.lastname@example.org.
All In the Game (Suave House, 1995)
Crime Boss was Suave House Records' most vinegar-voiced, bullet-strong MC; All in the Game was his debut and arguably best album. It came out a year and a couple of months before UGK's Ridin' Dirty effectively defined what a contemporary Houston rap album would sound like, so there's plenty of the high-pitched tinkering and biting rat-a-tat speedy moments on there that eventually faded away from local albums. Good, good stuff.
Y'allmustaforgotability: 99 percent
Crime Boss couldn't name two songs from this album. Highest Y'allmustaforgotability rating yet. Unless we feature one of Perseph One's mixtapes, this score likely won't be beat anytime soon.
Best Song on the Album: "The Chick" is, for certain, the best song on the album, if for no other reason than because they managed to make a keyboard sound cool. Have you ever told a dude that you "play the keyboard"? Try it. He'll look at you like you just asked to smear butter on his peepee. Least cool instrument of all time.
(The real reason it's the best song: It's an amazingly well-told bit of commentary on the long-term effects infidelity has on relationships.)
Worst Feature on the Album: Whoever it is that delivers the first two verses on "Dreamin'." Anyone have any idea who that is? It's probably best we don't know.
Most Expository Line on the Album: None. Or all of them. Whatever. It doesn't matter. Because they're the same thing in this case. And neither option is good. Here's what we mean:
Aesthetically, All in the Game is very pleasing, particularly listening to it today on YouTube; there's a hearty amount of "Oh Shit! I Was Killing This 14 Years Ago!" You can go beginning to end without really feeling like you need to skip anything (the first two verses of "Dreamin'" render it close, but the chorus and blistering last verse save it).
There's one essential track on it ("The Chick") and two other really good ones ("Point of No Return," "That's How The Story Goes"). But by and large, it mostly lacks a narrative of any real importance. There aren't very many moments when Boss says something so profound or revealing that you feel any smarter for having heard it. That's probably why the album fell so far back into everyone's album crate after a few years.
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Obscure Fact(s) You Can Pawn Off As Your Own To Make Yourself Look Smart:
• Suave House Records is still operating today. That they're mentioned in this section of the write-up tells you how relevant they are.
Hat-tip to reader Kevin Adams in San Antonio, who emailed to suggest an album we had forgotten about. Perhaps San Antonio isn't all bad after all.