Houston's ghetto cowboys

When I first moved to Houston I was introduced to Tejano or Kicker (is that the correct spelling?) gear. My first rodeo season was a cultural shock. I mean, I didn’t even own a pair of jeans when I moved to this city.

Now I’m reading about ghetto cowboys and how Houston’s artists are influencing hip-hop attire. Weird.

Ghetto cowboys
Western chic has filtered over to the hip-hop scene thanks to the rise of Houston artists

— reported by the Houston Chronicle


This South Houston store is where his Chingo Boots are made. Today he’s carrying some five pairs — all with ostrich skin, some in black, some in white, some in bright orange. But on the side, they all have Chingo’s ghettofying trademark: an extemporaneous Nike swoosh.

Chingo is the best, if not the most exaggerated, representation of the ghetto cowboy — a very different breed than the ones on the walls, or, for that matter, the postmodern singing cowboys like Keith Urban and Dirks Bentley, who shun Wranglers for low-rise jeans and cutoff Western shirts. Top to bottom, Chingo is a remix of the old-school vaqueros his parents taught him to love and the ghetto rappers he grew up listening to a few miles from this store.

“I grew up admiring the 40-piece norteño bands,” he said.

So his black hat comes from there, but his three-quarter-length jean shorts and razor-thin beard are pure hip-hop.

Over the years, rappers have taken on all sorts of personas. In the gangster genre alone, there’s a handful — Yo Gotti, Bazooka Joe Gotti, Big Gotti, Juan Gotti, Don Gotti and Irv Gotti — who took their names from America’s most infamous mafioso, John Gotti.

Then there are the chalices — gold- and diamond-encrusted — that come straight from the Tony Montana myth of Scarface. And let’s not forget the pimp: Snoop Dogg on a throne with a red fur coat and tricked-out cane.

So right now, as Houston has grown into the ground zero of hip-hop, cowboy iconography — the buckles, the boots, the dusters — has been adopted by hip-hop artists.


Today I own one pair of jeans, no boots and no bling. I guess I won’t be passing for a ghetto cowboy or a groupie anytime soon.

Author: Paloma Cruz

Find out more about Paloma Cruz through the About page. Connect with her on Twitter (www.twitter.com/palomacruz) and (Facebook).

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