"Underground Kingz" is HOUSTON CULTURE
INSIDE HOUSTON HIP HOP
When you say the words Underground Kings of course you immediately think about the the group of Bun B and Pimp C, but not only is that the name of the legendary rap duo, but it’s also a term that basically describes the Houston music scene as a whole. Bun and Pimp were brilliant to coin the name and I think they knew that they were not only representing their movement but the movement of the south and Houston in particular.
For so long Houston and the south were under the grid in regards to mainstream hip hop although we were selling records down south in droves independently. For a long time independent labels in the south refused to sign to major record labels because they were making so much money alone and the labels weren’t offering fair enough deals. Im sure you’ve heard of the amounts of money DJ Screw was making independently selling Screw tapes. People have said that they saw screw make $10k in one day with people lined up outside his house waiting for him to open his gate to the point his neighbors complained and he had to open an actual store. This was the norm in the late 90s and early 2000’s in Houston and most of it came from the DJ Screw tree, who himself is in context to the words, an Underground King. There aren’t any major record labels in Houston like there are in New York, LA or even ATL at this point, so to a certain degree our drive has always been to make enough noise in the south for the big boys to take note of us.
When we interviewed DJ Michael Watts of Swisha House, he was asked what made them finally breakdown and sign the deal and he said this.
Even to this day we to a certain degree face the same challenges. Artists in Houston still struggle to breakthrough to main main stream. of course we have the isolated cases of Travis Scott and Megan Thee Stallion , but there are artists here that are great artists with great catalogues. Even Sauce Walka reportedly turned down a 5 million dollar offer from Roc Nation. Because it just wasn’t enough for what he had built and what he makes annually as an independent.
Maxo Kream signed a major deal with RCA and management with Roc Nation after he built a solid underground following but still by many is one of the most underrated artists but does nearly 2 million Spotify listeners per month.
To many, Houston is the birth place of Southern Hip Hop by way of Rap A Lot Records. They opened up the doors for many companies to follow their blueprint of getting in the game when in reality you don’t have many avenues to do so. Numbers don’t lie, and if you look at the numbers of many Houston artists Spotify or YouTube views that haven’t crossed over to main stream recognition, its undeniable that we are indeed Underground Kings. No Major Labels, Just hustle.
#UGK #PimpC #BunB #UndergroundKingz