First of 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.
Theo is from Providence, Rhode Island. He just does him. Originality goes far in my book. Theo has been around for a year or two, but I feel like he is really finding his lane right now. He dropped a FreEP entitled You Can’t Do That On TV (which had some sick art) in April that put Theo on the map in my mind. Well it was really more a song called “Checkin In” to be perfectly honest. Mr. Martins followed up with a remix of Little Dragon’s “Feather” called “20 Thousand Leagues (The Feather)” as well as a ill flip of Kanye’s “Power” produced by Party Supplies. The later of displays conveniently had one of the best videos I have seen in a minute. Plus it was nice to hear that Theo “knows the real Noreaga/ owe him bout zero favors“.
I remember when this MC from Tampa who had signed to Atlantic and was down with J.U.S.T.I.C.E. Leaugue popped up on the scene, I dismissed him. Then he did a fire song produced by DJ Khalil called “Hold You Down“, but once again I brushed it off as a fluke. It took his 5:01 Overtime mixtape before I finally had my moment of clarity. Actually it was probably his dope series of prequel freestyles/visuals such as “The Morning After” (Crooklyn Freestyle)” , “Last Day” (Pharcyde Freestyle)“, & “Overtime” (ATLiens Freestyle)” that really got me on board. This guy just has an ear for beats, that are not only dope but progressive. I think “Colors” is a perfect example of a lyricist using the pop trend in hip-hop right now to their advantage.
This guy is just dope. Has a lot of depth. Ironically I have the least to say about Kendrick, since his music speaks so loudly. He dropped a fire composition of original music entitled Overly Dedicated, which you need to download and listen to in it’s entirety. Also watch his video for “P&P 1.5“. Just be on the look for ANYTHING this guy does.
I legitimately feel like STS is slept on. One of my favorite rappers right now. His delivery is unique. I think he has crossover appeal. I’ve always felt that the sound of a rappers voice is an integral piece of the puzzle, and STS has a distinct voice. He has dropped two projects in the past 8 months. Demand More 2 & Sole Music. Both are dope. Demand More 2 is more on the underground tip, while Sole Music is more commercial sounding. I would just keep an eye on the Atlanta born, Philly based artist. You can start off with his most recent video “In For The Kill“.
Trademark Da Skydiver
Trademark is like Laws in that I didn’t want to give him a chance. He was “down” with Curren$y, which in my mind was just code for weedcarrier. However, Trade started ambushing the internet with visuals. Videos for “Supervillian“, “10th Wonder” & my favorite “Dead Fool” forced me to hop on the Trademark movement. To be perfectly honest I’m listening to this guy more than Spitta himself now. The thing about Trade is that he maintains the weed life/hot boy persona while staying super lyrical and gritty. You can literally hear the NOLA in his voice. “Oxygen” & “Lameguage” being perfect examples. I recommend that you get familiar.
This guy! I actually had the pleasure of kicking it with him over the weekend, and regardless of his music I gotta co-sign him as a person. He popped on a lot of people’s radar with his jam “Rollin” that featured Kid CuDi. After I saw his “Haze” video, I had to admit I was entertained. This guy isn’t a crazy lyricist. Jackie isn’t going to dumfound you with his wordplay. But he may just make you crack a smile. Plus sometimes you just wanna think about smoking a blunt while pouring champagne on a stripper b*tch. Guess what? That’s called Jackie Chains life! Might as well check out his “Diamonds & Cadillacs” video that is a dope display of Alabama car culture. I wouldn’t be suprised if this guy drops a monster hit in the next year.
Danny might be one of the most interesting rappers in this post. His music evokes some of the most nontraditional responses from people. I’ve never heard anyone categorize him as whack. A lot of people don’t even know how to react to his music, since it’s so different and raw. I think that is a good sign. A good place to start with Danny is his visual for “Re-Up“. It was the first time I ever heard his music or saw him. In the first scene he is hanging out in a shady living room selling drugs to fiends, and in the next he is hanging out on a bed wearing Zebra pants. That’s Danny Brown. His music reminds me of the raw street energy that Wu Tang has. I highly recommend that you download his The Hybrid mixtape and listen to it at least twice over. I’m not saying you will like it, but you will have to acknowledge the music is unlike anything else.
The looks that this trio of rappers from Atlanta are getting right now is dumbfounding me. These guys are getting HEAVY spins on radio and they aren’t even signed. They are one of the few artists that have transitioned their internet buzz to tangible accomplishments such as radio spins and touring. The first song of theirs that I was f*cking with heavy was a song called “Futuristic Differenter” that featured them and was actually off a J. Futuristic & Yung L.A. mixtape. Then their Proud To Be A Problem mixtape dropped and it’s been on ever since. Like I said these guys have a hit record at radio right now with “Make It Rain“. They might be more of a boy band than a rap group, but they are definitely here to stay. You may not like their music, but twenty bucks says that the average 16 year old kid does.
Awhile back my man XV told me he was going on tour with some group called Chiddy Bang. I had never heard of them, but I quickly rectified that. Then their Air Swell mixtape dropped and I knew these guys were going to be a problem. Even their live show is on point. I feel like Chiddy (the MC) & Xaphoon (producer) create music that is just as relevant to black kid from the American inner city as it is to a white kid from the English country side. I think that is dope. I would check out their video for “Pass Out” as well as my interview with these fools. People are messing with these guys in real life. They are really selling out shows. They really have 7 million hits on their videos. F*ck what a taste maker says, because the people have spoken.
The L.E.P. Bogus Boys
These guys are the dudes I know the least about. They recently dropped a cool video called “Trading Places” and even got some ironic love from MTV in which they were spitting gully bars in front of a Lion King advertisment. Street music is kind of in a tough place in that it is hard for new artists to get mainstream attention, which L.E.P. has managed to do. An impressive feat in my book. I would get familar with videos like “Chicago Niggaz” & “Goin’ In For The Kill“. These two videos definitley have some of the illest treatments I have seen from rap in a minute. They even have a vid with Jim Jones called “Hit The Town” that I thought was whatever whatever, but at the end of the day it is a good look. You can just tell these guys have a bunch of street money behind them. So chances are all that talk about hustling isn’t just talk.