There was a collective suction for freedom that accompanied each summer that approached my childhood. When it finally arrived, we made our way to our bikes (and eventually our cars), navigating green grass, dirt roads and concrete streets until we landed in the shade of trees the size of Texas. Sometimes we found ourselves on long stretches of freeway, traversing the sprawling cities of this state, traveling to the beach, the countryside, or the next metropolis. We gathered in parks, backyards, ranches, fields and, of course, parking lots. No matter where we landed, we reached out, hoping they would be greeted with cold drinks, hearty plates of food, friends, family, willing dance partners and potential lovers. Sail this season on some tunes by Texan artists.
Song: “Captive of the Sun” (featuring Bun B)
Artist: Parquet floors
Hometown: Beaumont, Denton, Port Arthur
Who could have imagined Bun B rapping on a punk rock track? And with each passing summer, the title of this song becomes more and more relevant; its genesis was an interview with Nardwuar where the Canadian journalist presented the Texas punk band with an autographed copy of Bun B’s first solo album, Trill, on vinyl.
Song: “Satisfy My Mind”
Artist: Aaron Stephens
Start your day with this light and sweet tribute to the lover that satisfies your mind as much as your body. When he writes like that, Aaron Stephens oscillates easily between Bill Withers and John Mayer.
Song: “Gone Baby, Don’t Be Long”
Artist: Erykah Badu
Paul McCartney was at his Yacht Rock peak when he made “Arrow Through Me,” but Badu took it to 11 when she sampled the song on his fifth studio album, New Amerykah Part Two (Return of the Ankh).
Song: “Slick” featuring Ladybug Mecca
Artist: The tint
When the Hue released “Slick,” a tribute to the Grammy-winning trio Digable Planets, they got the blessing of Digable’s Ladybug Mecca on the intro.
Song: “H-Town Kinda Day”
The silky smooth beat of “H-Town Kinda Day” could only come from Houston’s most melodic producers: Beanz N Kornbread. This playlist just wouldn’t be good without a beat from them.
Song: “Relax” (featuring Slim Thug)
Hiram Clarke’s Lenora has the perfect voice for that sweet 1970s beat, and a guest verse from a legend like Slim Thug doesn’t hurt either.
Song: “Chop Blades”
Hometown: Port Arthur
As you roll down the freeway and open your windows, let UGK’s country rap hat trick to Bay Area E-40 be the wind in your sails, and let the freeway be your ocean of funk .
Song: “Savage” (remix) with Beyoncé
Artist: Megan you stallion
It was only a matter of time before Megan Thee Stallion landed on Queen Bey’s radar. This iconic collaboration led to three Grammys for Megan and also made Beyoncé the most awarded singer in Grammys history.
Song: “Money in My Pocket”
Artist: Jiffy Rockets
The synths on “Money in My Pocket” are so reminiscent of Pharrell’s remix of “Bonita Applebaum” from A Tribe Called Quest, that one can’t help but think Skateboard P will be proud when he hears it. Let Jiffy Rockets help you manifest an abundant summer.
Song: “Fuck the screw”
Artist: Paul’s wall
Few songs in Paul Wall’s catalog capture the euphoria of driving through town with your windows rolled down like “Bangin’ Screw.”
Song: “I Gotta Get Paid”
Artist: High ZZ
As ZZ Top’s main studio was being renovated in the late 1990s, they found themselves at Chimney Rock, where DJ DMD was working on a future Texas classic called “25 Lighters”, a song that will remain stuck in the frontman Billy Gibbons until the band got together to record their 2012 album The Futura. The rest is Texas history.
Song: “Texas Cuisine”
Artist: Guy Clark
This track is a timeless country ode to Texas barbecues by Guy Clark, who spent most of the 1960s playing in Houston’s folk revival scene before moving to Nashville, where he traveled the border between Americana and the outlaw country. Over the years, many of his songs have become country hits when covered by Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson, Jimmy Buffett, John Denver and Kenny Chesney.
Song: “Texan Sun”
Artist: Khruangbin and Leon bridges
Hometown: Houston and Fort Worth
In just over four minutes, this song uses elements of flamenco, soul, blues, zydeco, outlaw country and R&B as its palette and paints the picture of a day’s drive through the vast swathes of the Lone Star State.
Song: “The governor”
Artist: Gary Clark Jr.
There’s no such thing as a stripped country blues on a summer day, and nobody it’s better as Gary Clark Jr. This song was the visual B-side to the music video for his Grammy-winning hit “This Land.”
Song: “Neon Moon”
Artist: Kacey Musgraves
When the sun goes down on our side of town, this song appears in our queue, and so begins the party side of our playlist. Much like ZZ Top’s take on “25 Lighters,” we love this psychedelic, introspective cover of the Brooks & Dunn original because Kacey made it her own.
Song: “My mind has gone blank”
Artist: Point Blank and DJ Vis
When Aaliyah decided to cover the timeless Isley Brothers song “At Your Best (You Are Love)”, there’s no way she could have known that the guitar, when slowed down, would sound like a warm night in the Texas. This prime parking lot cut off from Point Blank (of the South Park Coalition), stripped bare by DJ Screw, breathes summer.
Song: “Origami Dreams”
Artist: Christelle Bofale
Hometown: Austin via San Antonio
Christelle Bofale’s music accompanies any nocturnal ride in Texas, as if the wheels of your car made such an effort to follow the drums and the guitar that they themselves became an instrument. Whether you’re driving across town or across the state, signal it before hitting the freeway.
Song: “I want to be a baller”
Artists: Lil’ Troy, Fat Pat, Yungstar, Lil’ Will, Big T and HAWK
With a snippet of Prince’s “Little Red Corvette” and an absolutely belted age bracket by Big T, Lil’ Troy managed to make an all-time classic song without adding a verse to it – maybe a young DJ Khaled was studying Troy at the time.
Song: “The night”
Artist: Charley Croquet
Hometown: San Benito
Although Charley Crockett grew up loving rap music and plays a nostalgic brand of country stitched together with echoes of blues and Americana, this song is a little direct, barnstorming southern rock.
Song: “El Chico Del Apartamento 512”
Hometown: corpus Christi
No summer playlist is complete without Selena. This cumbia is about a woman crushing the boy next door hard; When she finally finds the courage to knock on the door, she is discouraged to see a woman answer the door, but her hopeful romance is renewed when the woman asks, “Are you looking for my brother?”
Song: “Do not disturb me”
Artist: The suffers
After almost two years of being stuck inside, we’ve all been waiting for the music to unleash – thank goodness for the Suffers.
Song: “Jump, Jump”
Artist: The Child of Destiny
You know what time it is when this song starts. Literally, it’s 11:30 p.m., and the club is… well, I don’t have to tell you.
Song: “Parking Lovers”
After the club, it’s the parking lot, but what if the parking lot was love is lost and found? This is the thesis on one of Solange’s most timeless records. For fun, watch the video to see Mannie Fresh and Bun B participate in what may be the only choreography what they have done in their career.