It wasn't that long ago that the Southwest was coming up due to it's independent grind and the long work put in by artists like Scarface and UGK. Fueled by the explosion in Lousiana rap, the progression to the area just South of Cali seemed to complete the full hip-hop coverage of the map. All at once, Paul Wall, Mike Jones, Lil' Flip, Chamillionaire and Slim Thug threatened to take over the game the way the Miami rap scene has.
I mean this was my shit. These dudes weren't lyrical for the most part. But they were like a continuation of the "Bling-Bling" era of hip-hop. Talking about the woodgrain, and you cant be anymore hood rich than the burberry print on the bottom of the little jag. They represented the party feel of the time, but maybe it was a lack of ability to adapt, or the realities caught up to the world as George Bush was elected for the second time, but dudes fell off of the national scene hard.
Even the styles seemed to fall off hard. The above video for "Grillz" I think played a huge role in the downfall. It was the last straw for people who saw these few people as trendy or fads with no serious staying power, well that and Slim Thug.
Not to say Slim by himself killed the scene, however the immense hype that was generated with his signing to Star Trak to work with the Neptunes and subsequent "failure" of the album to amass major commercial sales probably put the kibosh on a lot of artist development from the area. Labels had to feel it was a risk to sign these artists to lucrative deals, and using their independent mind-set, they aren't going to sign some wack deal.
The death of DJ Screw also had a negative effect and the "new" Bun B hasn't seemed to do anyone any favors, as he mentions "grippin wood-grain" more than Young Dro mentions "chevy's and the movie Lean on Me".
Chamillionaire has managed to try and carve out a niche by being more lyrical and creative with his music, however, in today's karaoke market, it's hard to move units when people can't keep up with what you're saying, just ask Twista.
(editors note I could only find the uncut version of this next video which isn't really safe for work so please don't click it and get yourself fired-we're in a recession and some of you all are thisclose to being cut loose anyway.)
It's funny, because I thought Mike Jones was going to be the worst rapper I ever heard, I really thought that he was the bottom line for bad rappers. That and Paul Wall, but apparently the hip-hop community saw fit to prove me wrong and introduce Gucci and OJ the Juice man. But anyway shout out to H-town for holding it down.