Houston Music

The H-Town Countdown, No. 2: UGK's Ridin' Dirty

Roughly 84,000 rap albums have been released in Houston since 1989. We're counting down the 25 best of all time every Thursday. Got a problem with the list? Shove it. Just kidding. Friendship. Email it to [email protected].

UGK

Ridin' Dirty (Jive, 1996)

When UGK first came into focus with their proper debut Too Hard to Swallow, Pimp C was doing the yeoman's share of the work. He was both the better MC and producer of the two, attributed to the head start he got by his oft-referenced musical upbringing.

And with regards to production, Pimp reigned for the duration of his and Bun B's partnership. He just about perfected the "I'm Going To Make This Track Sound Exactly Like Short Texas, But In A Manner That Gives It Just Enough Mainstream Sensibility" formula. From 1993 to 1995, and then again for a stretch from somewhere near the end of 2005 to the middle of 2007, there was no one on the planet better at it. Bun was never going to catch him - not that he wanted to; Bun has zero production credits on no less than three UGK albums.

However, by the time their sophomore album, Super Tight, rolled around just two years later, the gap between Pimp and Bun as flat-out rappers had somehow all but disappeared. It was remarkable, and it became almost impossible to discern which was the better MC.

The "Who's Better, Bun or Pimp?" argument was one of the great music debates at Ronald McNair Middle School in 1994-95. Other notable debates from that time period: Did John Starks do more to help the Houston Rockets win their first championship than any Rocket not named Olajuwon? (yes); At the very beginning of Bone Thugs-N-Harmony's "Thuggish Ruggish Bone" Layzie says, "You're feeling the strength of the rump," so what the fuck does that mean? (still no clue); and "What does a boob actually feel like?" (still waiting on that one too).

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Shea Serrano