To appear interesting at parties and to curry favor with Drakesap Rocky, Passion of the Weiss has long maintained a correspondent in Houston. His name is Shea Serrano and he is the best music writer in a red state. By “red state,” I mean frequently drunk. And by frequently drunk, I mean raising twins while occasionally rolling around H-Town with Bun B, Z-Ro, and Trae (and presumably H-Town). Just read this. (Do it.)

Last week, Shea wrote an excellent cover story for the Houston Press about the history of Houston hip hop, within the context of the latest generation of local rappers. After promising him a handsome compensation package including a $20 Groupon for Handsome Sam’s and an NES copy of Magic Johnson’s Fast Break, Shea agreed to learn us something about Houston rap.

At the conclusion of each NBA season, after that year’s champion has been decided, the NBA makes a DVD commemorating the winner. I love those things. I think I own every one made after 1999. Being nostalgic is fun, even if you weren’t actively involved in what you’re being nostalgic about.

On the 2005 edition, the one made after the Spurs won, there’s a video clip of Robert Horry explaining how when they played the Suns in the conference finals they were super keyed up because Nash had won league MVP and they all thought Duncan should’ve won. The key sound bite was something like, “Every team thinks they’re best player is the best player and should win the award” and blah, blah, blah.

Anyway, the point: When you’re close to something –a person, some people, a movement, whatever—it can be difficult to think about it without being at least moderately biased. Your kids are only three and they can read already? Who gives a shit, bro? My kids are four and they’re not above pulling their own poop out of the toilet. Malibooyah. That whole thing.

Anyway, the point of the point: I wrote a 3,500-word story for the Houston Press about how the city, teeming with exciting young rappers doing very excellent things, is potentially in the infancy of another rap boom, and very well may become the center of mainstream hip-hop yet again.

I live there.

And I’m likely biased.

But that doesn’t make it any less true.

I mean, fuck, man. Everyone saw it: Tim Duncan was way better.

Twelve songs from some of Houston’s young talent:

Fat Tony, “Home”

Overweight Anthony is Houston’s meta demigod. He wears African zip-up jackets and refers to the relative moisture of vaginas without refrain. I went with him to a Young Jeezy concert once. He giggled a lot.

Killa Kyleon, “Bodies,” featuring Bun B

There’s a whole section in the story about Kyleon, explaining how he was around for Houston’s 2005 rap boom but has more readily established himself with this new surge. Read it.

Rob Gullatte, “The Way Things Are”

I mean. Possibly the most underappreciated song of Houston’s 2011.

Propain, “Real Talk,” featuring J-Dawg

Propain might be the most ornery member of Houston’s new class. He also might be the best. Here, he is entirely convincing in the nouveau gangster role (i.e., gangster by way of being non-gangster). Incidentally, he is rapping alongside J-Dawg in this clip, the most unstoppably salt-of-the-earth monster currently in existence.

Doughbeezy, “Pass The Swisher”

5’7″ on Earth, 9′ tall on stage.

Le$, “G Shit”

Mug, “G’d Up”

Le$ and Mug are both parts of the latest incarnation of the Boss Hogg Outlawz, most famous for being headed by Slim Thug. One is likely to warm your chest with his flow, the other to kick a hole in it with his. You’ll probably be able to tell which is which.

UZOY, “Fast Forward”

Quietly establishing herself as one of (if not THE) top female rappers in Texas.

Hoodstar Chantz, “New Shit”

(Jump to 1:45)

Some context: One night, Slim Thug mentioned on Twitter that he had an open verse or two on a song, that he was going to post the beat for everyone and whoever it was that recorded the best bit for it was going to be on it with him. Chantz had his up in what seemed like minutes. And he destroyed everyone.

hasHBrown, “Forgive Me Not”

Most notably a bold, courageous producer, hasHBrown released “Forgive Me Not” as part of a project called Relationsh*t and very nearly wobbled the moon’s rotation.

Delo, “One Shot”

People like to say that Delo resembles Houston’s finest weed sartorialist, Devin the Dude. They also like to say that Delo might be the best new rapper Houston has seen in years. Go figure.

Kirko Bangz, “Drank In My Cup”

The story starts with Kirko and this song.

Again, this is just a sampling.

Fuck yo’ hospital. Houston is the illest.