Mike Jones 

WENZ-FM 107.9 Birthday Bash, with Mike Jones, Brooke Valentine, Slim Thug, Ray Cash, and Lyfe. Sunday, May 15, at the Agora Theater.

Who is Mike Jones? That's something the MC from Houston's north side has been asking on mixtapes for some time -- the query, along with his name and cell-phone number, are his favorite catch phrases -- and now the rest of the country can play his one-question quiz. The answer: Mike Jones is a high school dropout whose late grandmother convinced him to perform under his extremely common given name. A stint writing rhymes for strip-club dancers reduced his anonymity and led to a deal with Houston's independent Swisha House label for his Ice Age Entertainment company.

As has been the pattern with other rap hustlers from down south, the majors eventually came calling, and Jones' new album was released under a deal with Warner/Asylum, which has established a strong hip-hop presence in the city of cough syrup. In fact, Jones' slow-moving first single, "Still Tippin'," sounds like it was dipped in that popular southern intoxicant, while his friends Slim Thug and Paul Wall appear elsewhere on his big-label debut -- to offer a different line of self-promotion, at least.

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