Houston, Texas is known for many things—mission control’s carefully calculated space explorations, its culturally diverse array of restaurants, and its groundbreaking research within medicine, engineering and other fields. Among these traits, H-Town is known for having a music scene that largely rests on rap music, with artists ranging from undiscovered Soundcloud gems to world stars like Beyoncé and Travis Scott. Though Houston locals admit that there is much to be desired about the city’s music scene, it cannot be denied that the world has enjoyed the musicians that have come out of the city.
What is it about Houston that fosters such creativity within its music scene?
Well, first, it’s worth looking into Houston’s favorite artists: the power sister duo of Beyoncé and Solange, Astroworld pioneer Travis Scott, and the creator of our favorite 2019 summer trend, “Hot Girl Summer,” Megan Thee Stallion.
These four artists all grew up in various parts of Houston, whether it be the Third Ward, South Park or Missouri City. However, their families and background made deep impacts for all of them in regard to lyrics and style of music they would pursue. The 1990s in Houston were an important time in popularizing rap music, especially as The Ghetto Boys, a group native to Houston, released music from the 1980s to 1990s.
While Beyoncé and Solange had their start in Destiny’s Child—Beyoncé as a vocalist and Solange as a back-up dancer—Megan Thee Stallion and Travis Scott found their fame through social media. Houston is the fourth largest city in the United States, making it an overlooked titan in terms of potency in launching its talents into fame. However, these four gems didn’t shy away from the spotlight—Beyoncé has taken home 23 Grammy awards while Travis Scott has been nominated for five.
These artists have also referenced their hometown in some of their songs, such as Megan Thee Stallion’s “Last Week in HTx,” Travis Scott’s Astroworld, which is dedicated to the city itself, various lyrics where Beyoncé references “H-Town,” as well as Solange’s recent film, When I Get Home, which references Houston through shots in the Third War. These artists, though they may not talk about their city much, reference it often in their art. And their art is often the most notable commentary they can have.
Houston is not only a city that births great artists, but it is also influences many important figures in today’s popular culture. Lizzo, who just celebrated her song, “Truth Hurts,” climbing to the Top 10 of Billboard’s Hot 100 chart, studied at the University of Houston and also recently visited the university’s band practice. Dennis Quaid, a famed actor known for movies like The Parent Trap and A Dog’s Purpose, is also a University of Houston alumni and has filmed a promotional video for the university, which aired during the Houston v. Oklahoma football game on September. 1. Kevin Kwan, the author of Crazy Rich Asians, also spent part of his life living in the Clear Lake area of Houston, graduating with a creative writing degree at the University of Houston-Clear Lake.
If anything can be said about Houston, it is that, as Beyoncé would put it, “H-Town vicious,” and the future will keep being just as bright for our city and the creatives who live here.