Copyright 2006 Houston Chronicle
Houston rap has taken the title from New York and Los Angeles as the city of choice for a new hip-hop generation. The multiplatinum success of Mike Jones, Paul Wall, Slim Thug and others has made local slang — like slab (for a car), swangers (tricked out rims) and references to Houston as the Third Coast — common hip-hop vernacular nationally.
Led by the city’s two royal houses of street poetry, Swishahouse and Rap-A-Lot, the totems that come together to create Houston’s deep and talented scene dot city streets from the Fifth Ward to TC Jester.
It’s in stores where Mike Jones sells his signature sneakers. And the jewelry shack where diamond-encrusted gold grilles are made.
Here’s a tour of the places where hip-hop happens, from pioneers the Geto Boys to up-and-comers like Z-Ro and Lil’ Keke.