Explore Houston's Hip-Hop History in the new book WELCOME 2 HOUSTON

20 years later, and “Still Tippin’” from the 2005 album Who is Mike Jones? is still a staple in Hip-Hop Culture, and Houston’s Legacy in the genre. The Chopped N’ Screwed vocal hook captivates you, even if you have no idea what it means: “Tippin’ on fo’ fo’s, wrapped in fo’ Vogues.” Mike Jones’ song, featuring Jones, Slim Thug and Paul Wall, hit No. 26 on Billboard’s Hot 100 pop chart landing it in the deck of car stereos across the country.  “Still Tippin’” however, is also an ode to the city’s SLAB culture. Customized American luxury cars with candy paint and extravagant sound systems. “Fo’ fo’s” refers to the protruding, spoked 1984 rims, popular in the SLAB community; and “fo’ Vogues” refers to Vogue tires, specifically those embossed with yellow lines, also known as mustard and mayo.

Welcome 2 Houston: Hip Hop Heritage in Hustle Town, the new book releasing Aug. 1 from Houston native and University of Wisconsin-Madison professor Langston Collin Wilkins.

“Still Tippin’” is just the tip of this iceberg. Wilkins, grew up in the Hiram Clarke neighborhood of South Houston and has put together this curation of Black Houston History. Wilkins dives deep into the city’s signature sound, made famous by the late DJ Screw, Chopped N’ Screwed music, and the local artists who have solidified the genre’s place in Hip-Hop history.

“I was just trying to tell the story of Houston hip-hop, and also the story of these working-class Black communities,” Wilkins said. “I want to give particular love to the underground hip-hop scene in Houston because I think that’s a community that doesn’t get enough attention but is making incredible music that pulls from local heritage but also has wide-ranging influences.

I grew up in Houston, and it’s my favorite city in the world, even though I haven’t lived there for a long time,” said Wilkins, who earned his undergraduate degree at the University of Texas in Austin and his Ph.D. at Indiana University in Bloomington. “I wanted to do something that combined my love for hip-hop and my love for the city of Houston, and also the magical hip-hop culture that’s been there for a long time.”

This book will take you on a journey with the likes of Fat Pat, K-Rino and Big Mello; South-west Houston has produced Lil O and Trae tha Truth, among others; while the Northside gave us Geto Boys, The Mighty D-Risha, and the label that helped put Houston hip-hop on the map, Rap-A-Lot. These neighborhoods have been steady hubs of creativity and resilience. “Some of these folks have such incredible stories of personal struggles that they’re still facing, but even with that they remain steadfast in their desire to create an impact, not just in local culture, but in the world,” Wilkins said. “I think that’s so beautiful.”

This book takes us back to the popularity of Cadillacs in the earlier Black community, where they served as status symbols in a society that didn’t offer much more.     

“Slab represents this connection between Black folks in Houston and how they use cultural output, like cars and music, to represent this pride of place,” Wilkins said. “It’s not just a big part of the Houston hip-hop scene, but the story of local African American heritage as well.”

Get the book HERE.

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