Hometown pride is the norm in hip-hop. Nearly every rapper, especially when they first break through, is looking to put on for their city. Now a vet in the game, Slim Thug is still focused on that same mission, as he makes clear with the title of his recent Houston mixtape.

Usually, when the theme music for the NFL on Fox plays, the first thing that comes to mind is crushing gridiron action. Slim Thug’s hope is that you will also equate the tune his raps, as he starts off the tape with a loop of the recognizable beat on "Houston," featuring Paul Wall and Z-Ro. The opener flows straight into another strong track in “Creepin’,” featuring Paul Wall and Bun B, as all three MCs up the ante, riding the beat with nimble lyricism and exhibiting natural group-like chemistry.

Unfortunately, Houston does not maintain the momentum that the first two cuts bring. Tracks like “Ball” are neither interesting nor innovative, with grown men discussing their shopping habits. “Bout Dat,” consisting of a very monotonous beat, leaves little other option than a skip. “Come Here Bitch” and “Favorite Bitch” are also avoidable, as they are both opportunities for Slim to attempt crooning.

However, “My Life,” featuring Propain, is a redemption point on the album as both artists get personal about where they’ve been and why they won’t change who they are because of their journeys. On “Outro,” Slim reflects on the changes in Houston in recent years, including the loss of Pimp C. This hammers home the reality that the more introspective tracks shine through as some of Slim Thug’s stronger musical offerings.

With a powerful opening and subdued closing, both focusing on Houston, Slim Thug’s release is a fitting tribute to the H-Town. While it is not groundbreaking, Houston should definitely bring pride to those who came up on Rap-A-Lot and other classic Houston releases, and whet the appetites of those waiting for a new album from Thugga. —Matt Wright