Slim Thug
Welcome 2 Texas

Beats: L
Lyrics: L
Originality: L

On his latest project, Welcome 2 Texas, Slim Thug creates an unofficial soundtrack for the 2010 NBA All-Star Game in Dallas. Through a balanced blend of new songs, freestyles and remixes to local anthems, the self-proclaimed boss of all bosses does a solid job repping the Lone Star State.

Though it’s pegged as a pep rally for the star-studded All-Star festivities in Big D, the Houston rapper spends the majority of the tape proving why he’s still in charge. And that’s not necessarily a bad thing. On the hard-hitting “Dedication 2 My Haters” and the sample-driven “Sweet Love,” Slim credits his doubters with continuing to give him the motivation he needs to succeed. Over the 808s of the Mr. Lee-produced “Starched Down,” he paints a descriptive portrait of running the streets on the north side of H-Town. And, most interestingly, the 29-year-old uses the aggressive “Strong Enough Flow” to acknowledge that he’s slowly maturing as both a rapper—and a person: “I guess I’m growing up, I changed a little bit/I’m starting to take baby steps with this tricky shit.”

While the mixtape piggybacks off All-Star Weekend in a neighboring city, Slim rarely steps far outside of his own hometown. At times, that causes him to trend on tired topics, like on the generic “Throwed,” where he boasts excessively about boppers, slabs and sippin’ drank. But elsewhere, he has more than enough fun commandeering the microphone over Gucci Mane’s “Lemonade,” Timbaland’s “Say Something,” and Waka Flocka Flame’s “O Let’s Do It” to score back some bonus points after his missteps. So while Welcome 2 Texas isn’t exactly a slam-dunk, it does have more than enough highlights to keep things interesting. —Chris Yuscavage