Houston Rappers Who Have Next
There was a period when H-Town artists like Paul Wall and Chamillionaire were some of the biggest stars on the planet, and of course there’ll always be Bun B the Trill OG. But for the most part, after the initial Swishahouse wave, Houston found itself in the odd position of having its culture thoroughly repped by mega-stars like Drake and A$AP Rocky while fighting to actually get anyone who grew up in the city into the spotlight. The music industry, it seemed, wanted everyone to be like Houston but not from Houston.
But there’s a new crop of young artists from within the area code, who are grinding on albums which they hope will carry them far from Houston, while always, absolutely, being from Houston, and will put Houston back on top. Without further ado, here are eight Houston artists you need to keep an eye—and ear—on.
As he proclaims on his recently released mixtape, Unorthodox, Roosh Williams is the new guy challenging the heavyweights. Countless ambitious artist before him have made similar claims, but how many have the skill set to stand amongst giants?
Roosh does. Despite not having a label’s backing, Roosh is already in the presence of some real greatness. Both the lyrical titan Emilio Rojas and the legendary hometown hero Scarface are featured on Unorthodox, both delivering valiant performances. But Roosh is far from outshined or overshadowed. He’s a more than capable of bringing something fresh to the Houston scene, and maybe in due time to the world.
A Drake co-sign can do a lot for an artist—just ask The Weeknd or PND or Migos or Makonnen or anyone else who found themselves basking in Drizzy’s glow. Especially considering Aubrey’s Houston ties, it’s only right that the OVO king has been showing love to one of the city’s most buzzing acts, the Sauce Twinz.
The Twinz are comprised of Sancho Saucy and Sauce Walka (you have to admit, those names are amazing) and the duo’s sound, which often draws closer parallels to Atlanta’s trap scene than Houston’s traditional chopped sound, has been absolutely exploding. Their In Sauce We Trust mixtape is in steady rotation throughout Houston. Trust us, one Drake verse on a remix and the Twinz will become household names overnight.
It’s been hard to have a conversation about hip-hop with someone from Houston in the past two years without the name Doughbeezy coming up almost instantly. In a few short years, Beezy has gone from an almost complete unknown to an emerging artist that has worked with nearly every local legend alive, from Bun B to Slim Thug and more.
On the surface Doughbeezy’s music sounds openly aggressive, but a deeper look reveals a rapper who’s carefully crafted every word, one who can drop bangers that can also make you marvel at his wordplay. More than just a solo act, Beezy’s also building his Headwreckas Worldwide label, paving musical roads that lead from Houston to the rest of the world.
Dustin Prestige doesn’t deal in some of the things we’ve come to expect from Texas rappers; Candy paint and slabs go largely unmentioned. Instead, Prestige’s music is filled with meditations on the aftermath of failed relationships and parallels between spirituality and music—topics most would associate with experimental East Coast hip-hop.
While many expect Houston artists to take a more laid back approach to their music, Propain is a rapper’s rapper, an emcee still very much concerned with destroying any microphone in the vicinity.
Pro created the Texas anthem “2 Rounds,” that also features Rich Homie Quan. He constantly experiments with pushing Houston’s traditional sound in new directions, which has the potential to make him a star on the larger stage.
Cory Mo should need no introduction, certainly not within Houston. Some know him for his production work for UGK, others are more familiar with his M.A.D. Studios.
Despite being a part of the Houston scene since 1999, Cory put his solo rap career on hold to pursue other aspirations but has recently returned to the microphone. He still has style, the sound, and the respect from everyone from Big K.R.I.T to Talib Kweli. He is the spirit of country rap tunes, something that hip-hop needs more of.
A rapper married to the idea of only making music about his real life experiences—something that’s in short supply in hip-hop these days—Delo has been slowly but surely building a presence in his home stateAt this rate it feels like he’s only one big song, one big project, away from vaulting from his native Mo. City to some of the biggest stages in the game.
Fat Tony raps with the ease of Devin The Dude and the hypnotizing patter of an auctioneer. His voice is weightless; he’s able to levitate over production and sound effortlessly. He also has a sense of humor and an original style (see him rocking a dog costume in his video for “No More”) that can pick up fans from everywhere.
Tony’s hometown has been aware of his talent for years. Impressively, the Houston Press rewarded him a Best Underground Hip-Hop award in 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2013—could 2015 be the year that the world also embraces his undeniable rhymes?