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Whether it’s rap, rock, country, pop or indie music, Houston musicians are at the forefront. It’s no surprise that a city as large and diverse as Houston has produced some of the best musical talent in the country. These icons hailing from Houston are the best of the best.
What can be said about Bey that has not already been said” She’s the Queen. Born and raised in Houston, Beyoncé honed her perfection at the High School for the Performing and Visual Arts in the heart of Montrose. She proved to be an unstoppable force at a young age, beating 15 and 16 year olds in talent competitions when she was just half their age. If giving music lovers Beyoncé was Houston’s only accomplishment, everything would still be worth it.
DJ Screw is the godfather of Houston rap. There’s a reason they call him ‘The Originator.’ Trace back the sound of any hip hop artist from Houston and you’ll eventually end up at DJ Screw. What makes him so iconic is his creation of Houston’s unique chopped and screwed sound. His status as a legend was cemented by his untimely death due to the ‘purple drank’ that has become so closely associated with Screwston.
The four-time Grammy award winner and country music legend also hails from Houston, where he still resides. Lyle Lovett is the consummate musician, bringing class and consistency to everything he touches. Lovett’s talent can’t be contained by the country music genre. With such a long and diverse career, it’s hard to categorize Lyle Lovett to those who have never heard his work. It’s not country, jazz or blues, or rock and roll; it’s all of those things.
Though he was born in California, Edwin Butler, known simply as Win, was raised in The Woodlands. Arcade Fire’s groundbreaking album The Suburbs is based on Win’s time growing up in there. Arcade Fire has come to represent the best indie rock has to offer — honest emotion conveyed through complex music. As a result of the constantly changing lineup, Arcade Fire’s sound is evolving, but Win’s leadership and outstanding vocals have been a constant.
Clint Black was a massive success right out of the gate. His debut album had four straight number one singles. Since then, Clint Black has had 22 songs hit the number one spot on Billboard’s Country charts. Clint Black is a prolific songwriter as well, insisting throughout his career that he only perform his own work. Black has also done a lot of work on the small screen. He’s appeared on a variety of television programs including The Larry Sanders Show, Las Vegas and Celebrity Apprentice.
In Houston, southern rock only means one thing — ZZ Top. How many other bands can say they’ve held the same lineup for over 40 years” Not many. ZZ Top is known for their sunglasses and the long beards of Billy Gibbons and Dusty Hill. Ironically, the member without a beard is the drummer, Frank Beard. When combined with rocking bluegrass, the humorous motifs of their songs create something truly special. Roll down the windows, crank up the tunes and drive to that home out on the range.
The nation fell in love with Danielle Bradbury on the hit program The Voice where she became the program’s youngest winner. Fans of the show knew she was a winner from her very first performance. Her angelic voice and drop-dead-gorgeous looks are a match made in heaven. All season long, she brought the best of country music to the nation with the help of Blake Shelton. Her second album has a more mature sound without losing her wonderful pop-country roots.
If you only know one Houston Hip Hop artist, it’s probably Chamillionaire. The Houston rap scene was thriving for decades but was mostly contained to the city itself; however, when Ridin’ hit the airwaves in 2006, Houston Hip Hop took the nation by storm. To this day, Chamillionaire is the only rapper from Houston to ever win a Grammy (sorry, Bey doesn’t count). These days, Cham is busy making moves in the business world with various investments in the technology sector as well as owning a tour bus company and a modeling agency.
Before Stevie Ray Vaughn brought Texas blues to the masses, there was Guitar Shorty. Born David William Kearney, he got his nickname at the age of 16 when a venue’s marquee displayed that night’s performance as ‘The Walter Johnson Band featuring Guitar Shorty.’ Shorty might be the best guitarist you’ve never heard of. Jimi Hendrix often said Shorty was one of his main influences. Indeed, Shorty lent Hendrix a wah pedal until he could afford his own, resulting in Hendrix’s ground-breaking guitar tone. Shorty’s explosive riffs are matched by his wild onstage antics and forceful vocals. He’s still going strong at 81 years old.
Scarface is an original member of the legendary Houston Hip Hop group The Geto Boys and the only member to always remain with the group. His career took off while part of The Geto Boys, quickly overshadowing the other members. What set Scarface apart was his cutting lyrics, culminating in him winning Best Lyricist in 2001. If you said Scarface was one of the greatest of all time, no one would call you crazy. Indeed, he’s often described as your favorite rapper’s favorite rapper. Born and raised in Houston’s South Park, Scarface represents what it means to be trill.