Billy Gibbons: My Life in 15 Songs

ZZ Top's guitarist on how the Stones, Devo and a backwoods cathouse inspired some supercharged Texas-blues classics

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"I Gotsta Get Paid" (2012)

I heard "25 Lighters" [a 1998 Houston rap single by DJ DMD, Lil' Keke and Fat Pat] when it came out. It was so peculiar I couldn't forget about it. We were in the studio and [co-producer] Rick Rubin called up: "We need one more song." Our engineer Gary Moon was in the other room, watching Lightnin' Hopkins on YouTube. An earful of that prompted me to blurt out "25 Lighters." Gary said, "I engineered that." Isn't that ironic?

We put the two [sounds] together for "I Gotsta Get Paid." It was legit ghetto. Hip-hop is the cry of angst that propelled the blues. If blues is the highest of highs, lowest of lows and all points in between, what comes out runs right through hip-hop.

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