Houston rappers Paul Wall and Chamillionaire have been friends since they were young’uns, back when candy meant more to them than candy paint. Escalating as compadres in the Color Changin’ Click, the peaked with 2002’s Get Ya Mind Correct, a fierce self-released album that sold more than 150,000 copies and hyped the Houston rap scene, garnering hefty major-label deals for both of them. But since beef split up the duo last year, their styles have also diverged. While Wall sounds like he’s kicking it in an Impala with a beer cozy, Cham sounds reactionary, furrowing his brow at backstabbers, ill-wishers, and maybe even Paul Wall.
If you want your record screwed or your grill iced, Wall is the go-to dude. He reps his skills as both producer and dental diamond-fitter on The Peoples Champ, but the album’s real mission is to ensure that the masses don’t get it twisted about the Houston scene. “I got the Internet goin’ nuts” was Wall’s most quotable line from the crossover hit “Still Tippin’.” On “Internet Going Nutz,” he clarifies: While bloggers effuse about his pithy drawl, Wall is perfecting his chatroom game, picking up ladies online with his smooth typing skills. Medicine Men’s KLC sets the sound of a clicking keyboard to a trunk bounce, and that’s only one of many off-kilter beats supplied by some of rap’s most interesting producers — Salih Williams, Grid.Iron, Speez. And Wall’s rap collaborations don’t slouch either. His track with Kanye West, “Drive Slow,” will rule the radio, but “State to State” runs the album, with Freeway rubbing Paul’s loping brogue with his own sped-up spit.