Paul Wall and Slim Thug

Fast Life, and Boss of All Bosses (SwishaHouse / Asylum)

Texas Platters

Paul Wall

Fast Life (SwishaHouse/Asylum)

Slim Thug

Boss of All Bosses (Boss Hogg Outlawz/Koch)

It's been four years since Houston rap got its flashiest set of platinum grills at the hands of Chamillionaire, Mike Jones, Paul Wall, and Slim Thug. How time flies. Jones' The Voice came and went in April without so much as a whisper, while Cham's intended Venom was just announced scrapped last Wednesday. Wall and Thug stay chuckin' deuces and, in the latter's case, "Leanin" on what brought in all the bread in 2005. That's more than the People's Champ can say. His Fast Life flashes on sparse occasion ("Got to Get It," "Daddy Wasn't Home") but derails on fourth track "Lemon Drop," opting for the bubblegum rap that should have been six feet under by now. Travis Barker-produced "Pop One of These" fuels the bad habit. It makes ST's Boss of All Bosses the more appropriate "Welcome 2 Houston," marking "Hard" territory with a who's who of the Bayou City: Z-Ro, Scarface, J Dawg, UGK, Chamillionaire, Trae, and Devin the Dude. Their contributions – and Mannie Fresh's production on bouncer "Show Me Love" – offset Alabama native Yelawolf's abysmal knock of Flock of Seagulls' "I Ran (So Far Away)" and provide Thug with a needed break from verses about chains, cars, and "My Bitch." It's a welcome return but nothing that comes close to rattling trunks around the country.

(Paul Wall) **

(Slim Thug) ***

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Paul Wall, Slim Thug

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