The Best “Underground” Rappers You Aren’t Listening To
Hip-hop has finally turned its back on auto-tuning and the rap game is redeeming itself in big ways. Talented rappers like Kendrick Lamar and A$AP Rocky have made huge splashes in the industry, and there are plenty of other newcomers with a lot to show. Unfortunately, a lot of genuine talent gets lost in obscurity. This list was created to give people the opportunity to check out some rappers that they otherwise might not have listened to.
Keep in mind, some of these rappers have been making music for several years, and some of them have already seen a lot of success. Overall, though, it’s fair to say that most of these artists have not yet entered the ‘mainstream’ in many people’s eyes (not to say that they will or should).
Pause your routine playlists, read over this list and listen to some fresh music from the latest up-and-comers.
The order of this list is not significant in any way whatsoever. Did I forget someone? Leave comments below
2014: Fresh Additions
Yep that’s one letter, Z, formerly going by Seer this London born, New York raised artist residing in Harlem, NY has been putting out music for over a decade. With a brand new project soft launched, ALL YOU NEED, and new dope tracks coming out seemingly daily, Z might be primed to be removing the ‘un’ from his label status in 2014. Although you won’t hear him reference rap much when talking about his music—his genre on Facebook is listed as ‘dance soul poet’—it doesn’t take too many tracks to realize he’s too good of a rapper not to give him rap props, regardless of base genre.
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Check out new tracks on SoundCloud
Paraphrasing his own rhymes, Sonny was likely a soon-to-be XXL Freshman Class selectee as frontman of The Dean’s List. He just had to “stay the course”. He did the opposite, and now the frontman of half-of-the-dean’s-list group The Kings Dead and new religously fueled solo work, Sonny has lost almost all the notoriety he had banging the college rap scene back in 2010. Listen to The Return of The Beast though and you’ll know he deserves even more respect he had then when he was burning it all touring off a mixtape dude.
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The Top 10 Rappers You Aren’t Listening To
Originally published 7/2/2013
1. Freddie Gibbs
The Indiana-born rapper just released his debut album “ESGN” this past June, and his eighth mixtape ‘Baby Face Killa’ (released September 2012) featured some heavy hitters as well. Keep an eye on Freddie as his music becomes more well known.
2. Childish Gambino
Childish Gambino might be the only rapper on this list more well known by his actual name: Donald Glover. Mr. Glover is well known for his role in the show Community (recently renewed for a fifth season), as well as his hilarious stand up. Beyond being funny, he is also an amazing and entertaining rapper, known on stage and in the studio as Childish Gambino.
3. Big K.R.I.T.
The King Remembered In Time, Big K.R.I.T. has already become a well-known name to many rap fans. He’s collaborated with several well known artists, including Wiz Khalifa and Trinidad James, and even worked with Yelawolf to produce the album Country Cousins. He is currently working on his second studio album.
4. Dizzee Rascal
Dizzee Rascal is one of the most famous rappers in the United Kingdom, and it’s time some of his work got recognized on this side of the pond. He’s released a ton of smash hits and even performed for the London Olympics. Give the chap a chance and listen to ‘Dance Wiv Me’.
5. Nipsey Hussle
Hailing from Los Angeles, California, Nipsey Hu$$sle has done work with Rick Ross, Dom Kennedy and Wale. His latest mixtape, The Marathon 3: Victory Lap was released this year.
6. Three Loco
As the kings of comedic-but-catchy hip-hop, ¡Three Loco! has been on many people’s radars. The group consists of Andy Milonakis, Riff Raff and Dirt Nasty. In 2012, the trio received a cease and desist order from Farmer’s Insurance Group for their sampling of the company’s jingle ‘We Are Farmers’. The song was taken down, but a similar version was released entitled “We Are Llamas”.
7. Casey Veggies
The California-based rapper Casey Veggies has produced five mixtapes and just released his latest studio album in January of 2013. Since becoming active around 2007, he’s worked with Mac Miller, Dom Kennedy, Wiz Khalifa and Odd Future. Listen to one his older hits off the mixtape Sleeping in Class
8. Die Antwoord
The South African group Die Antwoord is hard to explain, so instead of reading about them, you should just watch these videos. You might find that you can’t stop watching.
9. Tyler, the Creator
Many people will say that Tyler, the Creator is too famous for this list. While he is certainly well known, a wide range of his music doesn’t get as much circulation as it should. The LA-based rapper started the hip hop collective Odd Future, and he recently released his latest album Wolf.
10. Earl Sweatshirt
Earl Sweatshirt is the youngest rapper on this list, but he is far from the least talented. His debut album Earl made waves when it was released, and even more hype is building for his next album Doris. Although he hasn’t released many songs since he rejoined the rap game, the few that he has released are amazing. Listen to ‘Whoa’ if you enjoy ‘Chum’.