There are roughly 84,000 rap albums that have been released in Houston since 1989. We're counting down the 25 best of all time. We'll be here every Thursday. Got a problem with the list? Shove it. Just kidding. Friendship. Email it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Between the two of them, Chamillionaire and Paul Wall have sold about a kajillion albums. They are wonderfully appropriate examples of Houston hip-hop's new money: young, aurally arrogant megalomaniacs fixated on shiny shit. There was even a time back in 2005 when they were (arguably) two of the six most important emcees in the country.
But with that said, neither Wall's People's Champ nor Cham's The Sound of Revenge (their two best mainstream albums to date, the latter earning a Grammy) made the list. That's how good 2002's Get Ya Mind Correct is.
GYMC is technically a group album, which sounds like the sissiest kind of album (we immediately thought of Day 26 when we wrote that), but it has all of the tenacity and grit of a hood-certified mixtape.
Cham has always been at his best when he feels like has something to prove (see: Mixtape Messiah Vol. 1, 4 and 7) and this was the first time anyone really saw him take on that Respect Me-persona so wholeheartedly. He's relentless. Listening to it straight through, which you almost have to do to really appreciate the album contextually, his buzzy, speedy flow feels like a swarm of bees in your ears. He even looks extra-pissed on the cover, which probably wasn't on accident.
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SHOW ME HOW
Paul is a bit more unperturbed and non-confrontational in his approach (which also seems implied on the album cover's image, but that probably was on accident). He slithers through each song with just the right amount of cockstrong manner and rap drawl, making it almost impossible not to appreciate his schtick. Wall seems to become more and more of a caricature of this album's version of himself with each passing year, but here he feels naturally complex and layered. Subsequently, this is the best work he has ever done. (Double subsequently, it's also the reason why people suspect Cham ghostwrote for him, a claim Cham denied when we asked him about it specifically.)
Alone, GYMC sold more than 150,000 copies -and remember, tapes back then were easily going for $10 to $15; that's between $1.5 and $2.25 million dollars.
Its fundamental premise might not have been anything to build a thesis around (I got money, look at my money, cause I got a lot of it, so look at it), but with respect to Houston's "Major Without a Major" mantra, Get Ya Mind Correct is unquestionably important.