How Houston Influenced Your Favorite Rapper

Picture Courtesy of Peter Beste

As we all know, Hip-Hop originated in New York, and eventually made it to different regions of the United States, and beyond. But what many people may not know, is that Houston, and all of Southern hip-hop has been very heavily influenced by Houston, Texas. While this may seem like a lofty inference to make, it’s not far off from the music we listen to today.

Houston’s sound can best be described as a slowed down funk. There’s a certain groove that comes with the branded Houston sound. While the sound of Houston can’t be copied, the flow and cadence of our hometown heroes has been used by quite a few artists that have surfaced in the industry.

Screw has had a major impact on music. And it’s not just the Screwed and Chopped versions of popular albums that DJ’s drop every month. For starters, DJ Screw has had an immense amount of influence not only in Houston, Texas, but all over the U.S. He was continually one of the genre’s most creative rappers, his wordplay was unparalleled. Alongside a few others, he was a primary influence on Drake, one of hip-hop’s current stars; songs like November 18 and Faithful are samples from the Texas natives.   Also A$AP Rocky; the New York native made his debut paying major tribute to southern artists including Screw and Three 6 Mafia. Songs like Houston Old Head, Goldie and Long Live A$AP are great examples of this.

UGK revolutionied the use of the R8 drum, and coined the term “country rap tunes.” The duo made it popular to use unorthodox sounds in hip-hop; including organs, live guitars and other instruments. Being raised in baptist households opened Pimp C up to a whole new world of sound. There will never be another group to sound like them, and you can find samples of Pimp C in quite a few artists music today. His popular sayings can be found as intros to a lot of Southern rappers music, including “Smoke Sumn B*tch” and pieces of the song Pourin Up.

Houston rap groups and collectives focus in hip-hop was mostly reality rap; not because it’s what sold records, but because it’s just what it was; their reality. While that reality may not have been pretty to most, it was relatable to many, and that’s what made it popular. While most of Houston’s talent current and former, began independent and underground, these artists managed to make enough waves to reach the mainstream.

Knowing the state of hip-hop today, making it out of the realm of underground is no small feat. Getting national notoriety for your style of music is another thing as well. Southern hip-hop has been underrated for some time now, and still falls behind other regions, even with the amount of talent coming out of the Southern states. We know that hip-hop originated up north, but it was for sure perfected in the South, and even New Yorkers will give credit where credit is due.

If you want to see this topic personified, just listen to Mt. Olympus by Big K.R.I.T. You can only sleep on Southern hip-hop for so long.

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