Five Best Songs from Lil’ Flip’s ‘The Leprechaun’ Album
Texas has always been in the conversation whenever southern rap has been the topic of discussion. Atlanta and Louisiana may have caught up in terms of producing quality rap talent, but Houston was among the first states south of the Mason-Dixon to truly make a splash on the national scene due to its favorite sons, The Gheto Boys, who put the wards of H-Town on the map.
A number of upstarts would emerge in the shadow of Scarface and company locally, but aside from rival Lil' Troy, most artists failed to break out nationally. That didn't deter the hometown talent though, as they would cultivate a self-sufficient music scene that would celebrate its very own, one of which was a promising rapper named Lil' Flip.
Born in Texas, Flip would grow to be one of the most highly-touted rap prodigy's out of Houston and would earn the moniker "The Freestyle King" from the late DJ Screw. Flip became one of the last artists the legendary inventor of the "chopped and screwed" sound placed his cosign on before his passing.
Signing with Suckafree Records in 1999, Lil' Flip would create an album titled The Leprechaun, his first independent release, which dominated the indie scene with more than 100,000 copies sold. This garnered Flip and company a lucrative distribution deal with Columbia Records. That deal would culminate in the release of Flip's major label debut, Undaground Legend, which earned platinum certification and cemented Flip as an H-Town legend. But many are unaware that The Leprechaun was the rapper's first shining moment and where his impressive run all started.
Fifteen years after its release, we ranked the five best songs from The Leprechaun in celebration of this southern classic.
Things get introspective on "Gotta Be Me," a track off of the Leprechaun which sees Lil Flip taking a break from the excessive to bare his soul to the listeners. I'm a 18 year-old CEO / I got fans that's trying to see me blow," Flip raps on the opening bars before showing a rare case of doubt with the lines "And I'm all about my mail like a man in jail / I wonder if I put my tape out, can it sell?" When all was said and done, The Leprechaun would prove to be one of the year's most successful indie releases and this song played a big part in that achievement.
After kicking off the album with one of his patented freestyles, Lil Flip immediately gets into go-mode with "I Got Flow." Produced by J.P. Nitty, the beat is dominated with 808 drums and steely hand-claps and various other quirks, over which the Leprechaun lays down his lyrical finesse. Rapping, "I put diamonds in ya face, I'm Lil Flip, you know me / I chill with Big Hawk, C-Note and Pokey," the prince of the Screwed Up Click makes his affiliations known before speaking on his jewelry game, bragging "I go to Johnny cause my P shine bright / If I look into the sun my teeth shine bright / I ride to the left, I swing to the right / They like, ' Lil Flip, lemme see your chain in the light." "I Got Flow" is an appropriately titled selection and the Flipster backs up the claim with every bar delivered.
The Leprechaun is stuffed with guest appearances, but they're best utilized on the posse cut, "Realeast Rhymin'." Sharing air-time with his fellow Screwed Up CLick cronies Slim Thug and E.S.G., Lil Flip and company form like Voltron and chrun out three verses chock-full of countrified lyrical miracles and showing they're more than capable as MC's. Slim Thug takes the first crack at the Solo produced rap, barking "What I want is what I'm buying / That's bottom line, I'm getting mine" while Lil Flip and E.S.G. hold court with their own 16's, resulting in "Realest Rhymin'" being one of the more potent songs on The Leprechaun.
Lil Flip goes full r&b on the Leprechaun standout, "Boxers" featuring crooners Deep Threat. Rhyming "I'm Lil Flip, taking trips to Cancun / Dropping tapes, my cartoon coming soon / Blowing up like a hot-air balloon / Living in a penthouse with 25 rooms" Flips kicks off the track with a short verse before handing the mic off to Wilson, who takes it to the end-zone with a flawless vocal performance. Flipping Adina Howard's classic single "T-Shirt & Panties" into a leisurely selection for the average Joe enjoying some quality time with that special one.
Lil Flip may have been highly regarded in the Houston mixtape scene for his high-powered freestyles, he really placed his stamp as a rapper with "I Can Do Dat," an infectious ditty that was released as the first single off The Leprechaun. Lil Flip is as boastful as ever on this cut, from the stuntastic chorus to verses filled with care-free musings of opulence. The third stanza sees Flip dominate with a heck of a finale verse, spitting "If I wanna start pimping (I can do that) / I wear Iceberg wit Bart Simpson (I can do that) / If I wanna take a trip to Honolulu (I can do that) / I step out wearing Platinum Fubu (I can do that)" and bragging he can "Sell 100,000 the first day I drop." "I Can Do Dat" was our first glimpse at the hit-making prowess that would later take Flip to stardom on the national level and is a certified H-Town classic.