From the sultry harmonies of Big Moe to the Southside swag of Lil Keke, Houston rappers have heavily influenced today’s music scene. The Geto Boys informed the world that the big eaters and storytellers live in the South, while UGK mixes church production with street melodies. The sound of Bayou City can be admired by guests but never duplicated. Check out these classic rap songs every Houstonian should know.
- Mind is playing tricks on me – Geto Boys
Legendary rap group Geto Boys highlighted mental health awareness in the early years of hip-hop. Released in 1991 and certified gold by the RIAA, “Mind Playing Tricks On Me” became the first single from their third studio album, We cannot be stopped. The bizarre track features Scarface’s piercing lyrics and tackles paranoia, self-centeredness and trauma in the ghetto.
- South Side – Lil Keke
“South Texas and South Louisiana and South Mississippi, Atlanta South Georgia …”
This H-Town classic was an instant hit, which led with a southern appeal and gave way to dancing and “Southside” fade. “Southside” was a hit single on Lil Keke’s Do not mess With Texas album. In 1998, the single spent 12 weeks on the US Billboard Hot Rap Songs and Hot R & B / Hip Hop Singles Charts.
- Big Moe – Just a dog
The late Big Moe was a Southside Houston rapper and singer.
In 1999, he released “Just A Dog” which instantly became a favorite song for DJs in southern clubs. Big Moe’s unique flow and sound brought a natural groove to the instrumentals that left Houston begging for more.
- Down South – Mista Madd feat. Thin Thug & Yungstar
Did you know Mista Madd is Madd Hatta, formerly of Houston Radio 97.9 The Boxx? “Down South” was released in 1999 and had country-esque home guitar productions from Crazy C. “Down South” was released independently on Madd’s label, Paid in Full Entertainment and included fire pack verses from Slim Thug and Yungstar. Mista Madd’s classic H-Town was remixed in 2019 by Houston New School rappers KenTheMan, LebraJolie and OMB Bloodbath.
- I can do this – Lil Flip
Lil Flip’s “I Can Do That” was released in 2000 from his first independent album, The Elf. Lil Flip was only 18 when he caught the eye of DJ Screw who crowned him “The Freestyle King”. The success of his debut album caught the attention of Columbia Records who gave him his first contract with a major. Lil Flip continued to create hits, releasing two back-to-back Platinum Certified albums.
- Still Tippin ‘- Mike Jones feat. Slim Thug & Paul Mur
Mike Jones entered the rap game with arrogance and revenge, and he had the lyrics to back it up on his 2005 single “Still Tippin”. “Still Tippin” captured the slow, strong, and vibrant vibes of SLAB culture from Houston, hypnotizing listeners to swing their cars on any boulevard. The track is listed on the US Billboard Hot 100, US Hot R & B / Hip Hop Songs and US Rap Songs charts, and was certified RIAA Platinum in 2006.
- Mo City Don – Z-Ro
“Mo City Don” was released in 2005 and quickly became a Houston anthem. The rhythm uses samples from the track “Paid in Full” by Eric B. & Rakim, which samples “Im Nin’Alu” by Israeli singer Ofra Haza, which Z-Ro cuts beautifully in his sample production. Whether you’re new to Houston or visiting the city, go to a popular club or lounge and you’ll hear “Mo City Don” at least once.
- Int’l Players Anthem (I Choose You) – UGK feat. Outkast & Three 6 Mafia
Released in 2007, “International Players Anthem” is the ultimate southern collaboration. The track brought heavyweights like Pimp C, Bun-B, Big Boi, André 3000 and Three 6 Mafia to the mic. “Int’l Players Anthem” was featured on the US Billboard Hot-100, Hot R & B / Hip Hop Songs and Hot Rap Songs, and the self-titled UGK album in 2007, Underground kings debuted at no. 1 on the US Billboard 200 Chart.