Lew Houston is a hip-hop artist currently based in San Diego. Originally from Houston, Texas, Lew rose above the violence and poverty in his life by playing sports and creating music. Influenced by Southern rap styles, he began writing his own lyrics at a young age and released his debut album “The Progression” in 2016. His latest EP “Back to da Money” is available now, and features the single “Safe”. With no forewarning, Lew gives us a sharp and compact four-minute statement on “Safe”. It’s just a quick and efficient declaration of supremacy, a warning for us not to underrate this artist. Part confessional, part testimony, the track is a candid soliloquy built upon a booming 808 foundation.
Though Lew Houston maintains a talking pace throughout the song, there’s a sense of urgency in his gritty flow that adds to the lyrical poignancy. It shows off a darker edge, sharper bite, and more bounce to the ounce than a Southern-sized helping of trap beats.
You can’t skip the fact that Lew blesses us with phenomenal rap bars that entertain and drop a message without ever sounding preachy. Rare is the emcee who can balance gritty street raps with clever punchlines and actually deliver relevant commentary. From the first sound of the sinister keys on “Safe”, Lew attacks this project like a dude that’s going all in.
The slow-burning vicious beat and the precision flow drench the track with confidence and a swag so thick you could cut it with a knife. If you’ve always thought one of the main keys to being a great emcee was a distinctive, inimitable voice. Lew Houston’s southern drawl checks all boxes in that category.
It marries his delivery seamlessly and adds to his presence on the beat. One thing that so called lyrical rappers seem to suffer with, is an inability to pick suitable production that slaps. Often I find myself shaking my head at some of the boring ass, lifeless production that they choose to rap over. This doesn’t happen to Lew, who blends his formula perfectly.
The word play, the production, the bravado – it’s what hip hop was built on, as Lew Houston trumpets the return of the southern emcee. This dude definitely can spit. I try to keep my finger on the pulse of hip hop’s beating heart. I keep an eye on the up and comers and an ear on the airwaves.
But I have to admit that somehow, like many, I have managed to sleep on Lew Houston. To me, it feels like Lew just appeared overnight and became one of the more exciting new artists on the block. But to those in the know, the excitement surrounding Lew has obviously been a long time coming.
At most times Lew Houston sounds like the emcee that vintage hip hop fans will cherish, yet throughout “Safe” he maintains certain vocal frequencies that assist in keeping a crisp modern atmosphere. With this latest work, Lew has most definitely solidified his spot as one of the great up and coming rappers, and one of the few that are also talented song makers.