By Maurice Bobb
Hip-hop was officially put on notice by Houston recording label Swishahouse back in 2005, when its biggest triumvirate, Mike Jones, Paul Wall and Slim Thug, exploded onto the Billboard charts with the seminal hit, “Still Tippin’,” which was originally released on the imprint’s compilation album, The Day Hell Broke Loose 2.
Now Swishahouse, one of the pioneers of H-Town’s signature “chopped and screwed” sound, is the first hip-hop label to have its materials archived by Rice University’s Center for Engaged Research and Collaborative Learning (CERCL), part of the Kinder Institute for Urban Research. The memorabilia, which includes music from the early days of Swishahouse, vintage pictures and posters, will chronicle the origin and achievements of the label for past, present and future scholarly hip-hop aficionados.
“We are delighted to be able to initiate this effort with the materials brought to us by Swishahouse,” Anthony Pinn, the Professor of Humanities and Religious Studies that created and taught a course at Rice on religion and hip-hop culture with rap legend Bun B, said in a statement. “You can’t think about hip-hop without giving attention to the brothers (G Dash and Michael “5000” Watts) who’ve made this happen (through Swishahouse).”
And while Swishahouse’s biggest artists like Thugga and The People’s Champ have moved on to other musical endeavors, they still appreciate their prodigious origins with the pioneering North Houston-based label.
“I feel like I am the SwishaHouse,” Slim Thug told RapFix. “I was there from the beginning and a big part of their success. Even after I left, I been back and forth at Rice working on this for a while and I’m proud that something I’m a part of is making history and being archived at a university like Rice. It’s something my kids can look up and see. So I want to thank them for recognizing us and I’m honored to be a part of this.”
Additionally, the platinum plaque commemorating Wall’s debut album, The People’s Champ, will also be on display in the archive.
“It’s an incredible honor to have such a prestigious school like Rice University show love like this,” Paul Wall told RapFix. “My album, The People’s Champ, debuted at #1 on Billboard’s Top 200, so it’s a big part of the Texas’ hip-hop history. Being a part of the Swishahouse journey is something that is still unbelievable to me. We came from Michael Watts’ childhood home-turned-studio (that we nicknamed the Dust Bowl because it was so dirty); to having myself, Mike Jones, Chamillionaire, and Slim Thug all go platinum. That shows Michael Watts and OG Ron C’s incredible ear for music to discover and develop four platinum acts.”