Every city has its local heroes, its songs that are absolute anthems inside city limits but are virtually unknown to the rest of the country. So as I talk to people and travel around, that's my favorite question to ask. "What are the songs that are huge here that no one else knows?" In the Bay Area it's Mac Dre, in Chicago it might be Bump J.
I've been digging into the world of Houston hip-hop lately, and when I asked that question, the name Fat Pat would come up over and over again, in particular the song "25 Lighters," but frankly I'd never even heard of him. So I hit play and, sure enough, there was that "I got 25 lighters on my dresser, yes sir" line that I'd heard both Kendrick Lamar and Big K.R.I.T. recently drop. There's no better feeling than making hip-hop connections, realizing how inter-connected the culture is, and I was now obsessed with finding more connections.
So I spent some time doing hardcore research and talked to everyone from Houston willing to talk to me. While there are of course more than eight songs that qualify, I think I've managed to create at the very least a beginners guide to Houston hip-hop that only a true local would know and love. So check it out, you never know what connections you'll find.
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[Nathan S. is the managing editor of The DJBooth and a hip-hop writer. He also occasionally talks in podcast form and appears on RevoltTV. His beard is awesome. This is his Twitter.]