To the casual observer, American hip-hop culture seems to have been traditionally polarised between the East and West Coast scenes – L.A. And New York rappers were certainly the ones calling each other names and shooting each other most often at any rate. While all that back-and-forth was going on, Houston has been coming up through the middle, and in the eyes of photographer Peter Beste at least, the Texan city is now home to “arguably the most powerful hip-hop scene in the world today”.
Beste has been documenting that scene for the past nine years with writer Lance Scott Walker, and the two have presented their findings in Houston Rap, an immersive new book from publishers Sinecure. Although a long time in the making, editor Johan Kugelberg has organised the book into a 24-hour tour of the city’s hip-hop world, taking in the Third and Fifth Wards and South Park, starting in the projects, stopping at the studio before hitting the strip club. Just a normal day in the life of a Houston hip-hopper then. The book, featuring a foreword from contributor Bun B, is available in both a ghetto fabulous slipcase with 7″ vinyl and a stupendously bling deluxe edition with double album, DVD, tote bag and more. Dope.