Dallas hip-hop has always played in the shadows of Houston’s superstar hip-hop scene, but every so often a local rapper or group from the city produces a song that catches fire. These songs resonate in the streets (often found in the legendary T-Town Music & More record shop in Pleasant Grove), become favorites in the clubs, receive heavy radio play and influence a new era of artists. Based on the dates of these songs, Dallas’ most prominent hip-hop era remains the boogie movement from 2007-2010.
Notably missing from this list are hip-hop stalwarts and Dallas residents Erykah Badu and The D.O.C. but while Badu has undeniable hip-hop ties, but her music is distinctively neo-soul. Her chorus on The Roots’ “You Got Me” may be one of the most celebrated pieces of hip-hop but its connection to Dallas is nonexistent. The D.O.C.’s most prominent work was made in Los Angeles and resonates with the West Coast more than it ever did in Dallas.
Vanilla Ice is missing as well. But listening to this list, you won't miss him.
10. A.Dd+ - “Likeamug”
A.Dd+ was a blunt rebuttal to the boogie movement. Paris Pershun and Slim Gravy believed the dancing and monotonous raps ran their course and the city needed a new identity. Along with groups like Sore Losers, Damaged Good$ and The Mohicans, A.Dd+ helped usher in a new era of underground hip-hop also known around here as the Deep Ellum hipster rappers. “Likeamug” was one of the strongest songs from their debut mixtape When Pigs Fly, released in 2011, which earned them praise from Spin and Pitchfork. In the years following they would be celebrated as one of the city’s best hip-hop acts and earned several Dallas Observer Music Awards. With a promising start and buzz, A.Dd+ never quite met expectations and broke up earlier this year.
9. Lil Wil - “My Dougie”
Lil Wil’s “My Dougie” was peak boogie movement. The song was the perfect cut for a ringtone and featured a dance that was easy to do and caught on with everyone. The song was top 5 on Billboard’s Heatseekers chart and was in heavy rotation on BET and the radio. The song spawned several local imitators such as B Hamp’s “Ricky Bobby” and GS Boyz’ “Stanky Legg” but none was more egregious than Cali Swag District’s “Teach Me How To Dougie.” The California duo took Dallas’ boogie sound and made it more popular, going double platinum with the debut single.
8. GS Boyz - “Stanky Legg”
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The GS Boyz were a group from Arlington who also cashed in during the ringtone rap era. “Stanky Legg” earns a higher ranking here because not only is it a better dance that became much more popular than the "Dougie" but because the song has a ton more energy.
7. Young Nino - “Oak Cliff That’s My Hood”
Young Nino’s “Oak Cliff That’s My Hood” was a throwback to Lil Jon’s Crunk Era. The aggressive anthem was a hit on local radio and club favorite, inviting everyone to represent their neighborhood. The song is one of Dallas’ few iconic tracks that out-of-town DJs always play in Dallas to warm up crowds at concerts.
6. Yung Nation - “Pimp”
When Yung Nation released “Pimp” in 2012 they were already local sensations in Dallas high schools and its surrounding suburbs. Teenagers B. Reed and Fooly Faime delivered an infectious energy in their music that was unmatched and their music featured its own distinct dance moves. The duo consistently delivered party anthems and to this day Yung Nation makes a living performing on college campuses across the country. Yung Nation were ahead of their time and the mainstream success of Rae Sremmurd is evidence of that.
5. Treal Lee & Prince Rick - “Mr Hit That Hoe”
Treal Lee & Prince Rick took everything about the boogie movement and raised the stakes. They did this with the help of Atlanta-based producer Mr. Collipark, who was delivering hit after hit in that era. The duo went all in on their image with Prince Rick’s meticulous braids, Treal Lee’s shag haircut, the pressed outfits and color-changing slabs. But more than anything the duo’s dances were the most enviable at the time as seen in this clip of “Mr Hit That Hoe’s” dance moves.
4. Chalie Boy - “I Look Good”
Chalie Boy’s self-affirming anthem is not only a banger that was a huge hit in the clubs and on the radio, but it’s one of the few feel-good songs listed here that’s appropriate for the whole family. The 2009 song was recently given new life when Toyota featured the song in a commercial for one of their new vehicles.
3. Dorrough - “Ice Cream Paint Job”
Dorrough’s “Ice Cream Paint Job” is one of the most successful songs from the ringtone era. The song spent 14 weeks on the Billboard 100 and peaked at No. 27, going platinum in the process. The song was remixed by tons of artists including Soulja Boy, Snoop Dogg, Lil Wayne, E-40, Slim Thug and more. Dorrough has gone on to have a moderately successful career following the mega hit but every year at 97.9 The Beat’s DUB Show the crowd goes crazy to “Ice Cream Paint Job,” proving its legacy.
2. Mr Pookie & Mr. Lucci - “Crook For Life”
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Before the boogie movement, only gangsta rap mattered. No song of that sub-genre is more well-known or notorious in Dallas than Mr. Pookie & Mr. Lucci’s “Crook For Life” from 2001. The ominous beat and diabolical piano set the tone for the rappers’ sinister and sobering lyrics. The song was in constant rotation on the brand new 97.9 The Beat hip-hop station and is one of Dallas’ most iconic rap songs of all time.
1. Big Tuck - “Southside Da Realist”
Big Tuck’s “Southside Da Realist” was released in 2004 on his Purple Hulk album and to this day it is still the most iconic Dallas rap song to date. That album made Big Tuck a local star along with songs like “Tussle” and “Welcome To Dallas” thanks to his imposing personality, authoritative rap style and bleak storytelling of Dallas’ south side. “Southside Da Realist” is an anthem and an introduction to Dallas. The song never saw national mainstream success but in hip-hop circles it is a classic. So much so that rappers, i.e., Big K.R.I.T., RiFF RAFF, Post Malone, Boosie and Nipsey Hussle to name a few, bring out Big Tuck to perform the track in the middle of their sets. If not then it’s sure to be played during the DJ set. The hard-hitting track will continue to live on as Dallas’ most essential listening for rap fans.