Mike Jones feat. Slim Thug & Paul Wall — “Still Tippin'”

Released: 4.12.04

Peak: #60

At a time when Southern rap was undeniably ascendant, the guys from Swishahouse still came across as genuine underdogs, lucking into good fortune when the video for “Still Tippin'” went viral, as yet a novel phenomenon in 2004. And “Still Tippin'” itself, a re-juiced Salih Williams beat wound around a weird mournful creak of a violin, sounded both souped-up and broken-down, the ideal vehicle for a small-time hustler cruising around town, handing out homemade show flyers almost as an afterthought.

Some artists adopt “less-is-more” as an aesthetic choice; Swishahouse simply wrung all it could from its limited resources. Not only did the label’s big breakthrough slow down an old Slim Thug song, but the MCs would later recycle their best lines on “Still Tippin'” with a compulsion that verged on cannibalism. From Mike Jones turning “Back then/ Hoes didn’t want me” into “Back Then” to Paul Wall extrapolating “Goin’ Nutz” from “I got the Internet goin’ nutz” “Still Tippin'” launched more spin-offs than any franchise since Happy Days.

“Still Tippin'” tried no damn harder than it had to. Lead-off man Slim Thug’s voice drags with unnatural restraint, like his vocal had already been screwed; closer Paul Wall (“the people’s champ” — still love it) lopes along with laidback slacker cool. Sandwiched between such slices of low affect, Mike Jones himself sounds as antsy as Freeway by contrast. But only by contrast–up against southern rap packs intent on some crazy tear-up-the-club shit, Jones was a satisfying midday yawn. Hollering “If you don’t give a damn, we don’t give a fuck!” never made sense to me. Languid, chill, unflappable, “Still Tippin'” reminded us what not giving a fuck really sounds like.

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