20. Rosewood Thievz, Enter the Terrordome No rap tape dug into the most basic components of an old Houston tape better than this one. A guilty pleasure that lasts for over 60 minutes with horrorcore thought processing (waiting for one of the Obama daughters to become legal), Terrordome sounds like anything you may find in the early Geto Boys discography, dusty yet organic, but nothing like Houston rap from 1995 onward. Shocking, isn't it?
19. BeatKing, Club God 3 Many BeatKing tapes have come before this, and his Astroworld sufficed as a great reminder that club music will forever hold a spot in Houston's dizzying lexicon. HOWEVER, the fullness of Club God 3 showed that Mr. "Throw Dat Ahh" could black out and make these kinds of things in his sleep. He did make like 30 tapes this year, but this is his Sistine Chapel.
18. Paul Wall, #CheckSeason Somewhere in a galaxy not to far from us, Paul Wall's grill will still shine bright. #CheckSeason, his most recent effort joins the likes of Slim Thug's Boss Life as tapes that went straight to iTunes and dealt with none of the major-label drama and clearance issues. Stunna Bam feature? Check. Odes to drank, getting money and his own greatness? Indeed. Plus, there's a DJ Mustard synth monster with Kid Ink here that should have destroyed every radio this year.
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17. hasHBrown, I Had a Moment EP The annoying narrative about hasHBrown has been that his production is better than his rapping skills. That's not the case on I Had a Moment, where his verses on cuts like "Unofficial Theme to the Groove" and "Life Is Real" sliced around inside that battle-rap mentality he'll forever walk around with. Rob Gullatte's guest verse on "Life Is Real," by the way, might be the best guest feature on a real-life situation we got all year.
16. Mike Red, Smoke & Soul Soul and pain could be the short summation of Mike Red's early-spring release Smoke & Soul. Everything about it screams everyman -- not as if Red is some kind of Houston rap superhero, but more like an everyday figure who enjoys the blues and, from time to time, escapes by crafting some of the best traditional homages Houston has ever witnessed (and sadly overlooked).
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