Houston isn’t just any city — Houston is our city. It has an identity all its own, with many names to match the faces. Whether you’re a new Houston transplant or a long-time native, here’s a quick guide to help you learn a few of the terms you might hear in your time at UH.
Houston is home to NASA at the Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center. With mission control serving as the primary contact in the heyday of the space race, the nickname arose in the late 60’s. In fact, the first transmitted words from Neil Armstrong were “Houston, Tranquility Base here, The Eagle has landed.” Houston continues as an epicenter of outer-space exploration.
One of the most recognizable nicknames for Houston, Clutch City came about after the 1994 and 1995 NBA titles won by the Rockets. Behind the skills and leadership of former Cougar Hakeem Olajuwon, the Rockets staged a series of improbable and amazing comebacks en route to back-to-back titles, earning them a moniker for the ages.
The Bayou City
Houston boasts a series of 10 bayous which intersect throughout the city. The most famous, Buffalo Bayou, runs through the heart of downtown, and the city itself was founded by Augustus Chapman Allen and John Kirby Allen right where the Buffalo and White Oak Bayous meet. Over the years, the bayous have played a large part in the Houston rise as an economic powerhouse with the establishment of the Houston Ship Channel. The bayous also serve as security for Houston residents, helping contain runoff in the event of flooding. This nickname has also been rebranded on the Bayou Bucket, part of a tradition of competition in football with the Rice Owls. After a few years of no competition, the series is set to be revived in 2017. Of course, the Cougars expect to retain the trophy.
Energy Capital of the World
One of the largest forces behind the economy in Houston is the large number of energy-related businesses located here. Housing more than 5,000 energy-related firms, Houston is a top producer of all energy forms and leading the way in the oil and gas field. Thirteen of the 20 largest natural gas transmission companies corporations in the nation are located here, in addition to more than 170 pipeline operation businesses. Both the Sam Houston Tollway and I-10 West are lined by a large number of them, dubbed Energy Park. This has allowed people from all nations to relocate to Houston as the city became an energy powerhouse, lending to the amount of diversity found here.
This one takes a bit more digging. The city is a hotbed of the “chopped and screwed” style of hip hop attributed to DJ Screw, who pioneered the style in Houston. In a time of fast southern hip hop, Screw served as a pioneer by slowing down the music and applying techniques like record scratching.
Houston has a long history of hosting many styles of music, especially rap and hip hop, and the local artists quickly took to the “chopped and screwed” style, forming a hip hop super-group “Screwed Up Click,” or “SLC” for short. Led by DJ Screw, the group SLC has hosted a number of Houston-area legends and continues actively today. Houston quickly took to the music style that was all their own, and the nickname encapsulates exactly how the city is unlike any other.