You might not remember the first two days hell broke loose, see back then hoes didn’t want ‘house, but now they hot and hoes all on ’em, I SAIDâ€¦But seriously, the first time Swishahouse dropped the compilation was in 1999 and back then they were really independent, dropping mostly mixtapes and few legit CDs. The first comp featured what was then a limited Swishahouse family but other Houston rappers made up the bulk of the CD and the focus was on DJ Michael Watts. See back then Paul Wall and Mike Jones, the label’s only stars to date (if you consider Slim Thug blew up on Star Trak and not Swishahouse) hadn’t been discovered yet. The second version rolled around in 2001 and Tha House was still independent but this time around had a few more talented rappers to hold them down. That compilation included a song by the name of “Still Tippin'” which was semi-popular at the time but really caught on when it was re-released with a new beat. The remixed version marked Swishahouse’s first big hit and ushered in their current era of success. With the third installment, Swishahouse hopes to repeat the success of the second one by releasing a single featuring the label’s newest stars and hoping it leads to successful albums by said rappers.
Those new rappers are mainly Lil’ Keke and Yung Redd, with Archie Lee and Coota Bang rounding out the crew. But anyone even semi-familiar with Houston will know that none of these rappers are new. While Paul Wall and Mike Jones were undiscovered talents developed by Swishahouse through mixtape appearances, the latest class of rappers are mostly established Houston vets who just signed to the House to drop an album. Lil’ Keke is a legend and has released multiple albums, even being signed to Koch in 2001. Archie Lee was associated with Lil’ Keke and appeared on various albums before he signed to the house. Yung Redd already dropped an independent album earlier this year. The only relative newcomer is Coota Bang, but he plays the smallest role on the compilation.
The lead single is “How Hustler’s Do It” which sounds like it’s trying to be “Still Tippin'” but fails. It’s not a bad track as the beat by Mr. Lee is a decent, if typical, southern track, but despite strong verses from Lil’ Keke and Yung Redd the track sounds like any other hustler’s anthem from the south. “Swervin'” is almost an identical track but features Archie Lee and Coota Bang with Lil’ Keke. While we all know Swishahouse is all about the hustling, ballin’, and shinin’, material things seem to pervade this release more so than other releases. “So Fly” is one of the album’s best tracks thanks to the smoothed out beat and semi-clever take, but it still is nothing more than an anthem about cars where the twist is the rappers address their cars as they would their women. Of note is Crystal on the hook only because she’s the first R&B artist on the House and also happens to be Paul Wall’s wife. The lack of substance isn’t new on compilation type releases but the problem here is that the attempted anthems tend to fall a bit flat compared to the House’s previous successes.
As the main artist featured on the comp Lil’ Keke shines above all others and gives us reason to eagerly await his major label release. “In These Streets” Lil’ Keke is at his best spitting heartfelt rhymes about the streets and the rap game. Crystal’s high-pitched yells on the hook give us reason to believe there’s more than a little Paul Wall influence in her getting a deal, but if you’re into southern music you’re used to the ghetto vocals. Keke also steals the show on “Still Shinin'” where he outclasses both E-Class and Yung Redd on a track that features the album’s strongest beat. Keke also goes round for round with Mr. Scarface on “Gangsta” where the two exchange g-tales over a simple, but effective beat. Juelz Santana sounds surprisingly at home on “On What We On” where it’s either a good or bad thing that Dipset once again makes better southern music than a lot of southern rappers.
Overall, “The Day Hell Broke Loose 3” is actually a decent compilation of Houston talent. The difference between this and previous Swishahouse releases is the fact that it features no big breakout single nor a potential one. You get a lot of solid tracks, nothing superb, and more than a few so-so tracks. The real, and possibly only, reason to cop this is if you want to get some more Paul Wall and Lil’ Keke before their albums drop. Archie Lee is a veteran but not the most charismatic of rappers. Yung Redd sounds like every other stereotypical southern rapper. E-Class sounds like every other east coast mixtape rapper. Coota Bang sounds like he took both styles and blended them for equally bland results. So in the end this time around it seems that hell as broken loose for Swishahouse unless they can get some better talent. Paul Wall is a star and Lil’ Keke is a long overdue potential star, but outside of them the label lacks anything to get excited about.