10 Rappers You Need To Know: 2nd Edition
First off this isn’t a list. I’m not ranking these artists in a particular order. I’m not saying you should co-sign them. I’m just saying you should be aware of who they are. Hopefully you gain a new perspective on some aspiring rappers. That is the point of this article.
Sir Michael Rocks (Chicago)
I’m going to start this off with my cheat. Mikey Rocks is one half of The Cool Kids, so everyone kind of already knows who he is. That being said he has only recently been going hard on the solo tip. He dropped a mixtape, The Rock Report, which I felt was a little under appreciated. The thing that’s kind of odd is that The Cool Kids are kinda hit or miss with me. However, I find myself liking the the majority of Mr. Rocks rap tunes. “The Deal Went Sour” is where it started. Story rap about shady cell phones hustles. “Livin’ It Up” ft Trademark is the hot boi get lit and buy rolex watches song. “Don’t Wanna Brag” is the I’m cooler than you rapper song that people like me think theoretically should be played on the radio (it will never happen). Start there. I like the beats, I like the features, I like how he does his business.
Phil Ade (DC)
When I made this list, I knew I wanted Phil on it, but I wasn’t sure how to justify it. It sure helps that Phil has a team of people behind him marketing him and developing him. He is part of Raheem Devaughn’s 368 Music Group. To be honest I don’t think a co sign from Raheem DeVaughn is what gets him anywhere. What will get him somewhere is being around people who now how to make records and are familiar with the business. So instead of just coming out with some freestyles over a jacked instrumentals he had the infrastructure to drop impressive visuals. The “Always There” video single handily got Phil on my radar. Followed up with another impressive showing with “Toast 2 Life“. Check out his The Letterman mixtape and then try and look me in the eye and tell me the rap game doesn’t need a guy named Phil in it!
Rich Hil (Connecticut/NYC)
I have been going pretty hard for Rich. I’m probably going to get sh*t for this pick, especially considering it’s up in the air if we can even call him a rapper. He doesn’t really consider himself one. No one wants to root for him. Kind of why I like him. The whole elephant in the room is that he is Tommy Hilfiger’s son. So theoretically he is rapping so everyone should hate him and think he sucks. I was part of the demographic until I saw his “Cookies and Apple Juice Freestyle“. He has been rapping for awhile, and to be honest Rich has probably made a lot of terrible music in the past. But it’s 2011, and last time I checked it was pretty good. One thing you cannot take away from Rich is that when you hear a Rich Hil song, you know it is a Rich Hil song. He has been on a I don’t give a f*ck mixtape dropping rage as of late. Plus his image is crazy. Just rocking Rick Owen leather sweatpants and head tattoos. Rich isn’t a pussy when it comes to taking risks on the production side, and I have a lot of respect for him for that. A lot of people may think his stuff is weird. I think it’s innovative.
Grip Plyaz (Atlanta)
Grip is repping that low class lifestyle hardbody and it’s what the rap game needs. He isn’t smoking cuban cigars and drinking Crystal. He is smoking generic cigarettes and drinking Colt 45. I keep saying hip-hop is hair metal right now. It lacks edge, and we need a symbolic Nirvana. I’m not saying Grip will be the person to make the transition happen. But he definitely represents where rap may need to double back to. There was a time when rappers didn’t need huge video budgets to look cool. And I’m pretty sure your boy Grip recently looked pretty cool just standing in front of a brick wall. Dude needs some help in the production department, but I think he is on the right track right now behind the scenes. The dude has straight demeanor as demonstrated in his Purp, Wind & Fire documentary. I would check this recent “Vans” joint. Do me a favor and call Grip a hispter and see what happens. That’s what we need; a rapper with 2011 swag with a 1995 attitude.
Action Bronson (NYC)
The one and only artist from NYC proper on the list. Don’t even get me started. But this guy has swag, even though he would probably never use that word. He just has that Albanian Flushing Queens New York aura that is one of a kind. The below verse off “Ronnie Coleman” pretty much sums him up.
“Four philly cheese steaks/lobsters on the barbecue/I’m getting twisted eating chicken with a prostitute/an hour later eat the burger with my drug dealer/then ad the butter to the fudge to make the fudge realer“
He is smoking dope, banging out whores, and snacking like there is no tomorrow. F*ck your life if you have a problem with that. Ironically, I think the rappity rap scene in NYC is weak sauce city. But I think Action is the exception and more importantly highly entertaining. Scope this, buy this album, and get right or go left.
Main Attrakionz (Oakland)
A lot of people are giving me the sideways eye about these guys. When I bring them up it’s like people don’t want to hurt my feelings. I see potential in them though. I envision a bunch of kids from Oakland in a basement just rapping for the sake of rapping. Just smoking blunts and making rap music because they like to. Not because they think they are going to become famous. Or to make money. I’m not mad at that.
Plus their names are pretty sweet. The duo is made up of producer/MC Squadda Bambino & Mondre Man. I even think they have a guy named Shady Blaze (best rap name ever) down with the Green Ova movement. Danny Brown just linked to this “Shining Everytime” video on twitter and I have been f*cking with them ever since. With videos like “Superfly“, songs with sweet DJ Khaled samples, and “if you under 13 don’t do it” anti drug messages how can you not? The simple genius of their song titles never ceases to amaze me. These guys are content machines and pump out mixtapes with the most official art. If you are still checking links at this point also check the “Legion of Doom” video.
Casey Veggies (Los Angeles)
I’m not going to lie. It took me awhile to take this kid seriously because his name reminded me of an appetizer. He had been around for a minute, but my relationship with Casey’s music went like this. He dropped this song, and I enjoyed it. He dropped this mixtape, and I liked it. He dropped this video, and it was official. I f*ck with dude. Kid is definitely only 17 or 18 years old, but he doesn’t rap like a teeny bobber rapper. He isn’t going to look at his raps 5 years from now and cringe at his lyrical content, which is exactly what a lot of these teeny bopper rappers will be doing inevitably when they get older. I can’t sleep on a kid that is potentially 17 and making better music than some industry veterans. Plus he killed Dom’s fire “CDC” record.
Machine Gun Kelly (Cleveland)
I don’t f*ck with this kid. But the name of the post is 10 Rappers You Need To Know, not 10 Rappers Sam Likes. My reasons are pretty weak. I hate his facial expressions while he raps, and the first video I ever saw that involved him was one of the corniest things I have ever seen. That being said I think the Diddler might have secretly signed him because he is acknowledging his existence on twitter, and The Diddler tends to only do that for people he is getting money with. Kid gets hits like woah on youtube which matters a lot more than blog hype. He does have a little bit of the everyman appeal, I’ll give him that. People are f*cking with him regardless if I do, so you may want to get familiar. Check out some of his videos.
This chick is the truth. I pretty much only have her “Bumpin Bumpin” video as evidence. She dropped a mixtape that to be honest kind of sucked but I’m still down with her wave. First off Kreayshawn isn’t a rapper. She is a artist who’s favorite medium is video editing that happens to rap. Since she is a director/photographer and was behind the scenes she figured out how things “work”. She knows the persona she has to have and the image she needs to maintain to pop in this music sh*t. I might even enjoy her website and videos co-signing Kat Stacks as much as the music. She is going to win…watch.
Skeme (Los Angeles)
Obviously the city with the best hip hop scene in America right now, Los Angeles, is going to be represented more than once. It never hurts to have a distinct voice and delivery in hip-hop. It distinguishes you and that’s something I think Skeme The Duke may have going for himself. You might even think the guy has a southern twang to his delivery sometimes. My only complaint is that sometimes he can make some generic tracks. He wants to win, so maybe making a record like “Swish” can demonstrate he can make radio friendly songs. But maybe the song, “Don’t Lose Focus” with quotables such as “If I feel the need to say it, then it’s said” is where it’s really at. Plus doesn’t this “The Get Off Song” have the craziest beat? My point is I think this guy can make some records. He just has to find his lane. Not the lane other people want him to go in. He has a mixtape coming out soon called The Statement. Check out his fancy mixtape trailer/video thing that rappers are doing these days. He integrated Christopher Walkin into it, which in the grand scheme of things is kinda boss. Cop Pistols & Palm Trees to hold you over until then. I can see this kid doing well commercially if he plays his cards right. He just can’t try to be commercial. Skeme needs to just let it happen.
This isn’t a shot, but he is pretty much the poor mans Yelawolf. Obviously your eye is going to be drawn to the guy if not for the mere fact he looks crazy. Pretty much two things got your boy Rittz on this list. His “High Five” strip club super jam and the crazy dope “White Jesus” video he did that stars Yelawolf. I can’t say I bump all the joints on his White Jesus mixtape, but I bump enough of them for him to be here. Just dope fast country rap over crazy beats.