The Lone Star State has produced a number of prominent MC's who have gone on to international stardom — while at the same time never abandoning the Texas traits which elevated them in the first place.
While other large markets like New York City and California have gotten their due, Texas is often marginalized as "niché" because of its Southern DNA. Everything from the state's signature drawl — to the area specific references — can sometimes be off-putting to casual Hip-Hop fans.
Since the state is so large, it's hard to pigeonhole Texas as a singular sound. That would be like examining California and putting Snoop Dogg and E40 in the same Golden State "bucket."
Does the perfect Texas MC exist? We broke down the key traits to create our own version.
Voice - Scarface
When Scarface comes on a record, there's no mistaking who is spitting. His voice is equal parts preacher, as it is a conduit for unexplored issues in early '90s Hip-Hop — like depression, doubt, and suicide. There aren't many MC's who make you feel their words like Scarface does. I'd compare his commitment to that of a method actor like Marlon Brando who studied under Stella Adler and Elia Kazan in New York City. Like Brando, Scarface steals the show once he opens his mouth.
Lyrics - Bun B
While Bun B certainly could give Scarface a run for his money when it comes to vocal qualities, the Port Arthur native really shines when examining his lyrics. Bun had a knack for taking words you didn't normally hear in the Hip-Hop lexicon and injecting them into his verses. The results speak for themselves.
Hooks - Pimp C
There are very few artists who are equally dangerous as singers as they are MC's. Names like Lauryn Hill, Andre 3000, Mos Def, and Cee-Lo often get mentioned. However, one can't overlook the vocal chops of Pimp C. Need proof: look no further than songs like "Pinky Ring," "Top Notch Hoes," "Quit Hatin' the South,""Living this Life," "Gravy," "Havin' Thangs," and "Ride Wit Me."
His father was a professional trumpet player, and he studied classical music in high school. He even received a Division I rating on a tenor solo at a University Interscholastic League choir competition.
"That's how I came up listening to everything," he told The Associated Press in a 2005 interview. "Music don't have no color or no face. It's a universal language. I think being exposed to all that kind of stuff influences the way I make records."
Anger - Willie D
In the aftermath of the brutal beating of Rodney King, people from all walks of life were rightfully outraged. However, after King's apology, Willie D response with a vicious attack on him.
He later clarified his thought process in an interview, stating, " The feedback that I received first of all was all good. It was low key good. People was like, 'Damn man I can’t believe you said that shit. We was trippin’ out when we heard that shit, Willie D you fuckin’ crazy!'A lot of rappers told me that shit—a lot of big rappers. See what happened with that song, I was pro-Rodney King when it first happened. I was like, yeah, let’s tear this motherfucker up! Then Rodney is on TV saying 'Can’t we all just get along,' after these people just beat your motherfuckin’ ass into the concrete. No motherfucker we can’t all just get along! The motherfuckers we cannot get along with need to be punished. If it can’t be done legally, it needs to be done illegally. You cannot let people walk over you. It’s gotta be done some kind of way. You can’t let them get away because they’re going to keep on getting away with it. The United States is not even built like that."
Humor - Devin The Dude
Devin The Dude was — and still is — the king of self-deprecating humor. Hits like "Lacville 79" and "Go Somewhere" poke fun at perceived shortcomings related to the car he drives and the size of his sexual organ. He's Hip-Hop's everyman, and there's nothing wrong with that.