A Little Recommendation: Eight Rappers I Like (And You Should Too…)

Posted: August 15, 2012 in Blog, Dyscyplynary Action, Hip-Hop

For much of my 21 years of life, Hip-Hop has played a major part in it. Sure, I went through my phases coming into my teen angst years listening to nothing but Metalcore and Prog Rock, but Rap has always been there. It’s living through that tail end of the Golden Era, seeing the East/West Coast feud, and the never-ending debatable Nas/Jay-Z feud that still rings in my mind. It solidifies my love for Hip-Hop and the amount of changes we see throughout the years. The genre may have reached another fanbase in popularity and the mainstream sound has shifted in another direction, the quality overall has never dwindle.

It is here where I’ll list 8 rappers/groups with different grooves, from different regions, and bring an approach that can be enjoyed by all. These guys are a little under the radar compared to the internet darlings and radio powerhouses, but they embody the attributes that can put them right at that pedestal:

1. Chance The Rapper

Chicago is becoming the hot spot for Hip-Hop with the growing popularity of Chief Keef and King L. Perhaps the one name that stands out the most is 19-year-old Chance The Rapper. His full-length debut mixtape 10 Day was a conception of his during a 10-day suspension from high school – mere weeks before graduation.  His style is a mixture of sing-song, lighthearted appeal and creativity in his themes. He’s currently touring with Childish Gambino (as well is featured on Gambino’s Royalty mixtape) and hoping to build a bigger following.

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Recommended Listening: 10 Day

2. King Mez

King Mez is a Raleigh, N.C. native with a penchant for great lyricism. After first building up his name with his work with 9th Wonder and Khrysis, he released his free album My Everlasting Zeal with production from J. Cole, Soundtrakk, and Prolyfic. His explosive rhyme schemes and vivid storytelling makes him a truly overlooked talent with the amount of rappers increasing. He can still work out some kinks with versatility, but he’s as good as it gets.

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Recommended Listening: My Everlasting Zeal

3. Joe Cool

The city of New Orleans had a ton of Hip-Hop moments: The rise of No Limit Records and Cash Money, which both spawned the future success of Lil Wayne and Curren$y. While their sound was entrenched in its Southern roots, MC/Producer Joe Cool brings a sound that is opposite of that. His latest output aptly-titled Cooley Hi showcases his ability as an artist, rapping over soulful, snare-heavy instrumentals crafted by himself. The highlight track, “I Wanna Sell Drugs” is a confessional on how the struggle of achieving your goals can make you take precarious choices. He really doesn’t bring too much new to the table, but his production is worth checking.

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Recommended Listening: Cooley Hi

4. Nacho Picasso

How many people often wake up in the morning calling themselves a Greek God and actually believe it? With Seattle’s Nacho Picasso, he exudes a unique charm about himself: braggadocious and stealing other men’s girls. With production duo Blue Sky Black Death, they created three projects together including the excellent For The Glory. Their spacey, layered beats complemented the monotonous voice and witty one-liners of Picasso, especially on tracks like “Bad Guy”, “Benjamin Segal”, and “Phantom Of The Opera”. His overly-tatted persona gives him the most out of this list in terms of commercial appeal, though his music is anything but.

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Recommended Listening: For The Glory

5. Iamsu!

Representing Bay Area’s HBK Gang, Iamsu! is looking to make his mark in the resurging West Coast scene. To me, he has a sound that comes off very similar to Wiz Khalifa, as shown on his recent KILT mixtape. It doesn’t deter him too much however, as he focuses on quality lyricism over feel-good, colorful beats. I don’t know how much of an impact he’s going to make in the game, but he’s sure enough putting out a strong showing.

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Recommended Listening: KILT

6. OverDoz.

Continuing on with the West love, South Central’s OverDoz. are a quartet of emcees Tube, Kent, Sleezy, and pseudo-comedian/videotographer Creamie. Along with the production crew ThC, they form the extension know as The Dested. While they have a solid laid-back style, it is their videos that make them stand out for me. They’re set like little comedic short-films where Creamie often looking to get weed, denied by girls, or denied receiving weed by girls. With the number of rap crews in California, I can see why these guys would be under the radar. But as long as they continue to put out projects like Live For, Die For they will be turning more heads.

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Recommended Listening: Live For, Die For

7. Two-9

NAACP, can no bitch excite me!” is the first line darted from Key on the stellar “Scottie 2 Hottie” single and after viewing the video, I knew these guys were for me. Two-9 are a crew of rappers, producers, and promoters that are providing a sound that sets itself apart from their usual counterparts. The Atlanta-based collective has produced for Meek Mill, Juicy J, and Lil B along with working on their own material. Along with Key, Curtis Willaims, Retro Su$h!, and others, Two-9 released their first collaborative tape #Two9Forever  a month ago, which highlights their influences and sound as a group. They are already making huge waves in the local area and it’s only a matter of time until we see more of them everywhere.

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Recommended Listening:  #Two9Forever

8. Fly.Union

I wanted to save the best for last, in my personal opinion. Hailing from Columbus, Ohio, the group pairs emcee Jerreau Smith with producers JSwifa and Eyeon in creating some of the most honest and innovative music around. They dropped a number of EPs called “Value Packs” which featured the likes of Big Sean, Curren$y, and Dom Kennedy. All of that culminated to their outstanding 2011 full-length TGTC (The Greater Than Club). Jerreau in particular proves to be a formidable rapper, dropping subtle gems and fascinating wordplay throughout. This is a group that gets slept on a lot, and now after producing tracks for Pusha-T and BJ The Chicago Kid, they will finally get their due.

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Recommended Listening: TGTC

Another week, another recommendation list and I can say that I’m looking to do more soon in the future. If you needed to beef up your music library, then here are the guys you should check out for. You never know what you will like.

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