It's almost Thanksgiving time. Election season has ended, and your bellies and ears are itching to pull in more new music before the end of the year. Frankly, Houston's rap contingent has been putting out mixtapes and singles to the point where if you happen to sleep one day, you might miss six of them. Here are the best of the past week.
Dante Higgins, Rhymes For Months Trillogy (Download) Sunday, Higgins released the third edition of his Rhymes For... series. The last one -- before his proper debut album The Dante Higgins Story -- was robust with freestyles and tracks such as "Mongoose," and his double salvo of "play this anywhere and the hobos will know the words" cuts of "H.A.M.," with Doughbeezy, and "Blow Up." The third one works much like the last two: Plenty of topics, sharp humor and wit, and "holy shit, did you hear that?" moments.
Best Track: Depends on your mood. Want absolute bar destruction between three Texas rappers? Check the title track where Doughbeezy, he of bald fade legend bats leadoff, Propain swings for Killa Cal Wayne getting off of lock and Higgins bats cleanup and literally keeps his stamp on the "Best Lyricist in Houston" title. Extra point to Beezy for enunciating the hell out of "flyer and Piper."
Runners-up: "Prom Dress," where Higgins becomes the first rapper (so far) to freestyle over Kanye West's killer "White Dress" track; and "Monkey See, Monkey Do," with Delorean.
hasHBrown, Rap Mayor II: Landslide (Download) hasH will always have to contend with his producer alter ego in terms of who's better. Some contend his beats are better than his bars, he contends otherwise. What separated the first inauguration of Rap Mayor and the second one (released days before Halloween) is quite simple: hasH is even more pissed-off and feeling slighted than usual. Hence everybody is given a snack-pack of tracks, whether they be freestyles, original cuts, remixes, snippets of his upcoming 1994 project or instrumentals. It might be Houston's first a la carte rap release in quite some time.
Best Track: "Southside Virtuoso": Out of all the freestyles that use N.Y. thoughts -- as in, mostly Jay-Z -- this one feels like 1998, swallowed into a vacuum where Maze feat. Frankie Beverly and Charlie Wilson all had a jam session. Astroworld gets a mention, as does Mo City -- which could possibly be the best suburb in Houston rap history, along with Third and Fifth Wards -- and hasH sways with every punchline. Elsewhere? He's just another mad rapper with punchlines to disperse.
Runners-up: "Here 4 the Weekend," featuring El Prez, John Dew and Hollywood FLOSS; "HeavyIsTheHeadThatWearsTheCrown" with Kyle Hubbard and Roosh Williams. ABBA samples kill, son.
Hollywood FLOSS, The Legend Continues (Download)
Dude, it's a mixtape cover made from a Zelda cartridge. ZELDA. That alone would merit mention here, but the true fun lies in the fact TLC is essentially Hollywood going East Coast, with features from Termanology and Thee Tom Hardy, while also making his Texas roots known with Nosaprise and Fat Tony on board. Plus, Chris Rockaway is here for plenty of the production, so not only can Legend be quickly digested, it can be beloved as well.
Best Track: "Ridin Feelin Good". The '70s blaxploitation feel of the claps and guitar waahs mesh easily with Fat Tony's trip through childhood, but FLOSS makes it more than known that it's his track when slowing his flow down to a whisper and begging the question, "Where the hoes at?" Mitt Romney asked this question when digging through his binders Tuesday night, trust.
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Runner-up: "Safe Than Sorry," with Nosaprise and Ryshon Jones.