In Texas radio, it’s required that you at least have one mix dedicated to the best that Houston hip-hop has to offer, past & present. You will hear syrupy drawls, catchy production, the absolute works. Some of our favorite songs are well made schizophrenia featuring a former Golden Gloves winner, a little person missing an eye thanks to his then girlfriend and another who referred to himself as the titular character of one of Al Pacino’s most noted works.

By and large growing up in Houston, I found myself moving through the various eras. When Jason’s Lyric decided to butcher damn near everything Houston by adding funky accents, I still found it funny they let local radio jock Mad Hatta be apart of the film as the unofficial voice throughout.

I came of age somewhere around the 4th grade when it came to Houston hip-hop. By then, the city was enamored with the Screwed Up Click. Yes, UGK was by and large the second most noted group to come out of Houston and the first to make any dents nationally since the Geto Boys but the SUC was viewed as to have next up to bat and maybe no SUC member had more inclination of becoming that “star” more than Patrick Hawkins.

For quite sometime between 1997-98, Fat Pat had every DJ in Houston in pocket with a string of notable hits from various SUC mixtapes. A vast majority of those songs would wind up on his debut album Ghetto Dreams that somehow debuted as the #5 rap album in the country on the Billboard charts.

Two weeks before that however, Pat was shot dead after attempting to collect money from a performance he had. Pat’s death started the tragic trend of many of Houston’s brightest and most influential dying suddenly with capitalizing on their potential along with Big Moe, DJ Screw, Pimp C and sadly, Pat’s own brother H.A.W.K..

From the moment it broke through in 1998, “Tops Drop” has been played by many a Houston radio station, whether it be the period when the city had two hip-hop stations or its current situation as it’s just the Boxx. You hear it so often that maybe once a night, Mr. Fat Pat will crease through your speakers with that heavy baritone of his from the grave and that Yarborough & People’s sample.

Long live P-A-T.

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