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The Five Best Houston Rap Songs So Far This Year

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Feel that sweeping change? That's May upon us. Which means I'll officially consider myself old as hell, despite being a fresh 25. Yes, we're now one-third of the way through 2013, and Houston rap has never looked as beautiful as it does now. Okay, maybe when she was the darling of everyone's eye some seven years ago, but you know how many better-looking chicks come around? Plenty.

Digging in, there have been at least 3,120 rap songs released within the city and in the past four months, but these five have stood out as the best of the best. You know, like Chandler Parsons is the most consistent player on the Rockets during these playoffs.

Will they factor into the year-end listomania stuff? Probably, but you knew that already.

5. Damilare feat. DJ Chose, Young Von, ESG, Maxo Kream, & Doughbeezy, "Texas Boys" Every year there's a posse cut that absolutely blows a few things off the hinges. Last year had enough super rap cuts from Dante Higgins' "Rhymes For Months" and DeLorean's "I Keep That."

So far this year, that belongs to Alief upstart Damilare who grabs a legend in ESG and the common denominator from those other two posse tracks for "Texas Boys." Anything with a well worked Pimp C sample gets a chance to survive beyond two minutes but this just stretches and slithers along with verses from PV's DJ Chose, Boss Hogg neophyte Young Von and Maxo Kream. And it's epic.

4. DeLorean, "Breathe" Have you been paying attention to DeLorean? No seriously, have you been paying attention? Grace isn't Hood Politics, but it might be even more vicious since he's calling in the big guns.

There's a track with Bun B on there; a track with Trae Tha Truth as well. Hell, the current king of Southern smoke-and-ride, Big K.R.I.T., produced something on there too. But Grace's coup de grâce to the competition is a tightly wound hummer of a track from DJ Mr. Rogers that is the simplicity of DeLorean wrapped in about three minutes or so. Calm, effortless.

3. Roosh Williams feat. Scarface & CG, "Bets On Me" In March, Roosh Williams released deja roo: Times Have Changed, a free album featuring heavyweights from Action Bronson to Bubba Sparxxx. We've been here before with the Bubba track, but not with the tape's gem, a crawling slab of piano-infused, Scarface-assisted sorrow and state-your-case ferocity. "Bets On Me" closes out the album and follows with Facemob's best verse since his kick-in-the-door return on DJ Khaled's "Hip-Hop" track a year ago. Boom.

2. Easy Yves Saint, "Smart" Why did this take forever? Get one of the city's more deft lyricists, toss him on some classic NYC production and let him just be him? Technical isn't the word with Yves. Well, it might be, but who else do you know will use a legit palindrome in a rap, call it out and then keep going? Only him.

1. Trae Tha Truth feat. Future, "Screwed Up" Future Vandross on a hook. Trae Tha Truth returning to that gravel-low double-time flow and being thoroughly enjoyable as always. I wish trillion-dollar swaggers existed, though. They sound like the greatest car accessory ever.


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