Recommended by Kyle Fleck
There’s a strain of melancholy, Southern rap that bangs bluesily, utilizing chicken-scratch guitars, deep-fried organs, and sumptuous horns to tell bleary-eyed street tales and revel in sun-baked nostalgia. Think UGK’s first few albums, or the work of production team Organized Noize. It’s a lush, humid sound, and Houston’s Devin the Dude has pretty much perfected it over a decades-long career in the game. His sleepy drawl and penchant for hilariously kush-addled observations have afforded him a cult fan base many up-and-coming rappers would kill for, and his remarkable streak of good-to-great releases (from 2002’s Just Tryin’ Ta Live to his latest, One for the Road) suggest a quality control that may surprise you, given his nonchalance and chilled demeanor on record. I’d be remiss if I didn’t single out for special mention his track “Doobie Ashtray,” the most heartbreaking ballad about friends stealing your weed ever released.