Some try to say Hip Hop is dead or has lost its way. The statement has some validity to it but I believe that hip hop just needs more balance. There is room for everyone from Trinidad James to Kendrick Lamar in hip hop. People ask me all the time who are some dope hip hop artists that they may not know about. I was pretty apprehensive in writing this post because I know how people take hip hop so dearly and to their heart! And as many emails and tweets I got about my post 15 Most Underrated MCs of All-Time I knew that this kind of post will start more discussion. In earlier posts I highlighting underrated R&B Artists that people need to know about. So after some long deliberation I decided I would highlight some Hip Hop artists of different forms and types you need to check out. As usual I have also included a music video of each others for you to checkout their sound
Hailing from the City of Angels Pac Div consists of brothers Like & Mibbs, and BeYoung came on the scene in 2006. The first time I heard them was on one of the most introspective tracks about women and relationships “Paper” (I even used this song as part of the post “The Marcus Graham Chronicles: Evaluating Your Wants Vs. Your Needs”). The group has a creative vibe of everyday brothas going through everyday things doing every day things. They just dropped a new album GMB last week that must say is pretty damn good at worth seeing what these West Coast MCs are all about.
Pac Div- Posted
When you are talking about artists that is complete between production and MCing you have to mention Vandalyzm. One time Justus League affiliate Vandalyzm displays an aspect of the Midwest sound that isn’t known to come out of his hometown(and mine) St. Louis. The energy and love for hip hop exudes from his music. Vandalyzm brings a comedic and satirical edge to much of music which can found throughout the theme of many of his projects. I even had him on as a guest on an episode of Straight Outta Lo Cash. His new upcoming project “The End All Be All” and the new single “Ozymandias” is something that will quench your hip hop thirst.
Vandalyzm- April Fool’s Day
Strong Arm Steady
Some people may have heard of this group but I have found many don’t have any idea of the strong sound of Strong Arm Steady. Consisting of three solo artists( Phil Da Agony, Krondon, and Mitchy Slick) who were formerly affiliated with Talib Kweli’s Strong Arm Steady Imprint are the personification of West Coast Lyricism ( Krondon and Phil Da AGony from LA and Mitchy Slick from San Diego). The reason this group is one to check out is that each MC brings a different vibe and tempo to their music. Mitchy Slick brings more the street edge, Phil Da Agony has the voice and clever word, while Krondon brings the hardcore straight lyricism. There new album Stereotype is something you need to pick up.
Strong Arm Steady-Classic
L.E.P Bogus Boys
If you know anything about Chi-town sound it is one that is eclectic as anywhere in the country and this is no different with its hip hop either. L.E.P. which stands for Low End Professional Boys consists of Count and Moe who both grew up together in the Howard Ickes Homes on the Southside of Chicago. All of my Chi-town folks know about the “Ickies” so you know the L.E.P. Bogus Boys sound will reflect that hard street feel. L.E.P. reminds me of an updated Midwest Mobb Deep but with that Chicago street swagger. There mixtape with DJ Drama Now or Neva is something you want to cop.
L.E.P. Bogus Boys- Goin’ In For The Kill
Hip hop in many ways has lost its honesty and authenticity. There is something about an artist who can genuinely be themselves and do them regardless of what the rest of hip hop is doing. Macklemore is one of those artists who have found a lane of accomplishing this. The Seattle born and raised MC honestly caught my eye when he made XXL magazines Freshman Class cover. I was looking like who the hell this regular is looking white boy on the cover. I went to check out his music and was refreshed to hear an artist who was comfortable being him and discussing the ups and downs of his life. Mackelmore and his producer Ryan Smith just dropped The Heist which is something I would urge you to pick up if you want to see hip hop displayed from another perspective.
Macklelmore and Ryan Lewis- Thrift Shop
Kidz in the Hall
This group is one that many people have slept on for a long time. What I coined the preppy and fly version of Pete Rock and CL Smooth. Naledge (from Chicago) serves as the MC while Double O (from Brooklyn) is the one who orchestrates the sound of the group. The first song I heard them on “Wheels Fall Off” instantly became a part of my personal soundtrack. The group actually met in college at U. Penn and decided to come together as a group after meeting Jus Blaze. Naledge and Double work well as a group because of the even flow and diversity of their sound. They talk about basically everything that a young educated single man with little money in his pocket would talk about. From women to stock options Kidz in the Hall runs the gambit of content. Their new album Occasion is something you should go ahead and cop.
Kidz in The Hall feat. Bun B- Pour It Up
You thought this list wasn’t going to include a female MC huh? Nitty Scott is a female MC who has a voice in a game that feels that Nicki Minaj is the only female MC who can be on the scene. Hip Hop seems to have this concept that there can only be ONE MC heralded at the same time. I first came upon Nitty Scott last year when she was on the BET Hip Hop Award’s where she stood apart from even her male counterparts. I appreciate Nitty’s sound because it doesn’t shy away from her femininity but doesn’t overly embrace it either. Her new EP The Boombox Diaries is something that you want to checkout especially if you are interested to hearing a different slant from the female perspective.
Nitty Scott- Bullsh*t Rap
I was iffy about including Big K.R.I.T. because I felt that many people know who he is and was peepin his music. That was until I talked to a local radio personality who told me that they don’t have ANY Big K.R.I.T in rotation even though he just dropped an album. I knew then it was alright to include him on this list. Big K.R.I.T. is a throwback to many of the southern artists as Outkast, UGK, Eightball and MJG, etc. When I first his track “Sun, Moon, and Stars” I thought to myself this is the southern sound I want to hear more of. Just like Vandalyzm mentioned before he handles the majority of his production and you can feel the southern soul from his music and topics. He is signed to a major with Def Jam but people don’t really appreciate the content and quality of his music. His latest project Live From The Underground many feel gives Kendrick Lamar a run for hip hop album of the year.
Big K.R.I.T. feat. Slim Thug and Lil Keke- Me and My Old School
Kids These Days
This group is one I got hipped to last year and really appreciate their sound. The group consists of a late teens/ early 20 year olds from Chicago. The band’s sound is one of hip hop, rock, blues, and soul. Three horns, a rapper, a blues trio, and female singer makes up the band. The aspect of the band in hip hop is one that I would like to see more of. The only one many think about is The Roots and they have their lane but what about new hip hop bands infusing a new sound with new energy and this was why I was drawn to this group. Their rendition and flipping up of Kanye West’s Flashing Lights to speak on the perspective of police was something that made me keep checking for them. Their new album Traphouse Rock is something totally different from the landscape of hip hop but is something you will appreciate.
Kids These Days- Flashing Lights
Tef Poe is another fellow STLien who has been checked for. Just like Vandalyzm many people don’t think the STL sound is just in one lane when STL has so many lanes that hip hop as a whole hasn’t been able to see. He has already been featured by XXL magazine and made The Source Magazine’s Unsigned Hype section a few months ago. Tef Poe’s style is something I would describe is conscious street rap because he talks about the everyday struggling STL man but from a responsible position. His new project War Machine 2 is getting critical acclaim all over the world.
Tef Poe feat. Killer Mike- Wrist Game Proper