The neighborhoods of Fifth Ward, Fourth Ward, Third Ward, and the Southside of Houston, Texas, gave birth to Houston rap, a vibrant music scene that has produced globally recognized artists such as Geto Boys, DJ Screw, Pimp C and Bun B of UGK, Fat Pat, Big Moe, Z-Ro, Lil’ Troy, and Paul Wall. Lance Scott Walker and photographer Peter Beste spent a decade documenting Houston’s scene, interviewing and photographing the people—rappers, DJs, producers, promoters, record label owners—and places that give rap music from the Bayou City its distinctive character. Their collaboration produced the books Houston Rap and Houston Rap Tapes.
This second edition of Houston Rap Tapes amplifies the city’s hip-hop history through new interviews with Scarface, Slim Thug, Lez Moné, B L A C K I E, Lil’ Keke, and Sire Jukebox of the original Ghetto Boys. Walker groups the interviews into sections that track the different eras and movements in Houston rap, with new photographs and album art that reveal the evolution of the scene from the 1970s to today’s hip-hop generation. The interviews range from the specifics of making music to the passions, regrets, memories, and hopes that give it life. While offering a view from some of Houston’s most marginalized areas, these intimate conversations lay out universal struggles and feelings. As Willie D of Geto Boys writes in the foreword, “Houston Rap Tapes flows more like a bunch of fellows who haven’t seen each other for ages, hanging out on the block reminiscing, rather than a calculated literary guide to Houston’s history.”
Lance Scott Walker has written for the Houston Chronicle, Houston Press, Red Bull Music Academy, Vice, Wondering Sound, Local Houston, and Free Press Houston. He is the host of Houston Rap Tapes Radio and the founder of the live writers series Evil Hour Evening Reading.
Houston Rap Tapes is a book that any self-respecting hip-hop head should read. Through copious amounts of research, care, and empathy, Walker allows the city of Houston to tell its story the way it deems fit.
~Los Angeles Review of Books
One of the best specific explorations of hip-hop you'll ever find.
~San Antonio Current
Houston...is changing. Books like Houston Rap Tapes help put on record the history and creativity that have long bubbled in the city's core neighborhoods.
Lance Scott Walker…is a historian with a capital H. What I enjoyed most about this book is that great lengths were taken to include participants at all levels of exposure, from mainstream to underground.
~Day and a Dream
The oral histories, drawing on interviews conducted from 2005 to 2017, highlight the connections between the artists and the community they built.
I want this Houston hip-hop oral history book…because it details an essential rap locale via interviews with H-Town titans including Scarface and Slim Thug.
~Pitchfork Holiday Wish List
[Walker's] documentation may be more crucial now than ever.
For Houston, this book is iconic because local voices break down the models that they embedded in early 'Hustletown' culture that are still alive to this day as underground Texas rappers attempt to adapt to the streaming era.
~Passion of the Weiss
An authoritative history of one of America's most innovative and radical music scenes…[Lance Scott Walker] offers a dream realized for fans of Houston's explosive rap scene.
~Texas Books in Review
[Houston Rap Tapes] is a guide on how to appropriately archive and document regional rap over a generational timeline. It’s gold.
~Taylor Crumpton, Music Journalism Insider
Houston Rap Tapes tells a story. Houston, Texas, is a bona fide hip-hop city. It has a history, it has its b-boys, it has its graf artists, its DJs and its rappers that the people have supported since the beginning, and I love them. This book reflects that.
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