1. Vince Staples
The 21-year-old Los Angeles emcee first got his start on Earl Sweatshirt’s “epaR” back in 2010 and hasn’t slowed down since. He’s already put out two stellar solo mixtapes as well as a few collaborative ones and is slated to debut his solo album on Def Jam later this year. His cold delivery and serious subject matter is sure to win over hip-hop fans craving gritty gangsta rap over the fun/party-seeking masses.
Sounds Like: No-nonsense West Coast hip-hop; fearless, deadpan, and very, very serious.
Project(s) to Check Out: Shyne Coldchain Vol. 1, Stolen Youth w/ Larry Fisherman, Shyne Coldchain Vol. 2
Upon First Listen: The cold steeliness of Ice Cube circa early ’90s meets Odd Future’s occasional spark of color and excitement.
Notable Line(s): “Tools hit like pool sticks, the way I cue shit/ If this was ’88, I would have signed to Ruthless/ ’94, would’ve had ’em walking down Death Row”.
Staying Power: As long as Los Angeles continues its winning streak Vince Staples can easily find himself at the forefront of the revived gangsta rap style.