Swishahouse becomes first hip-hop label archived in Rice library’s Special Collections

Fondren Library, home to the Woodson Research Center Special Collections and University Archives, which now houses materials from Swishahouse.

Houston recording label Swishahouse is the first hip-hop label — and first label of any music genre — to have materials archived by Rice University’s Center for Engaged Research and Collaborative Learning (CERCL), part of the Kinder Institute for Urban Research. These materials, which will be housed at the Woodson Research Center Special Collections and University Archives in Rice’s Fondren Library, chronicle the origin and achievements of Swishahouse for future generations of scholars, artists and other interested parties.

Swishahouse, one of the pioneers of “chopped and screwed” music, was formed in the mid-’90s and is responsible for launching the careers of Slim Thug, Chamillionaire, Paul Wall, Mike Jones and others.

Among the materials archived are music from the early days of Swishahouse, vintage pictures and posters, items from their community outreach work with CCM Foundation, Houston S.E.A.C.’s “Don’t Sleep On It” syphilis awareness campaign and a platinum record on a plaque commemorating Wall’s 2005 “The People’s Champion.” These materials are also now part of the Houston Hip-Hop Archives Network, a partnership developed by CERCL and the University of Houston Libraries.

“We are delighted to be able to initiate this effort with the materials brought to us by Swishahouse,” said CERCL founding director Anthony Pinn. “You can’t think about hip-hop without giving attention to the brothers (G Dash and Michael “5000” Watts) who’ve made this happen (through Swishahouse).”

Pinn, the Agnes Cullen Arnold Professor of Humanities and professor of religious studies, created and has taught a course at Rice on religion and hip-hop culture with rapper Bun B that received national attention.

About Amy McCaig

Amy is a senior media relations specialist in Rice University's Office of Public Affairs.