As of recent, I have been seeing many individuals complain about Hip-Hop and how it is in a very bad state currently. As the genre continues to get bigger, of course there will a lack of diversity in most popular songs and can be easily shown by just looking at the Billboard Hot 100.
Sure there are good points to be made about mainstream Hip-Hop, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that the entire genre is in crisis. Instead of complaining of the negativity present, I will be using this platform to present to you great Hip-Hop records being made by artists that deserve more light. My goal is to expand your taste in music and show you that there are good Hip-Hop records out there, just have to dig a little bit.
Valee is an artist from Chicago that is on my watch list for an artist to blow up for 2018. You are more then like to hear his single: “Shell” somewhere around Chicago as while the song is short, features a vicious flow and catchy lines. The rapper has been around for a couple years making with projects such as 1998 and VTM that feature production from producer: ChaseTheMoney. These albums while understated, have many highlights throughout and show the potential for Valee’s future. Recently, Andrew Barber of FakeShoreDrive has been in charge of managing Valee and has been doing great job of spreading his waves. Not too long ago the artist recently signed under GOOD Music and has stated his next album will be released with Def Jam. If that isn’t enough he also has a collaboration project with producer: CardoGotWings who produced Drake’s hit single this year: “God’s Plan”. Valee is an artist to look out for this year and already has a decent amount of music under his belt, make sure you keep him on your radar this year!
Payroll Giovanni and CardoGotWings- Big Bossin Vol 2.(2018)
If you’re a fan of the West Coast and G-Funk sound, then this project will be one of your favorites this year. Released last month under Def Jam, this project features Payroll Giovanni, an MC based out of Detroit and Houston producer: CardoGotWings. When I had first heard about this project, it had caught my interest due to CardoGotWings having produced the whole project and is one of my favorite producers currently. After listening to this project, it may be easily one of my favorites this year. Payroll Giovanni throughout this project delivers more luxury style raps with hinting towards his negative past life, showing how far he has came. While his rapping may seem simple and one dimensional, it fits the style of this project perfectly. The chemistry he has with Cardo further elevates his ability to rap on these tracks as the producer is delivering a sound that is so smooth and reminds me of a lot of the West Coast. Overall, this project is perfect to play for some motivation in life or blast out the car with the window open on a beautiful day. Make sure to give this a listen.
This project has some of the most experimental and craziest production I’ve heard in a very long time. JPEGMAFIA or Peggy, operating of out Baltimore, Maryland who previously served in the military and is an artist that already has a couple of previous projects under his belt. Veteran is the first and most recent project I’ve heard from JPEG. Veteran certainly isn’t for everyone as it filled with a lot of material that may seem ‘edgy’ , but if you’re fan of the indie scene of Hip-Hop then this project is perfect for you. The production throughout the project while experimental is still very modern and one would be able to see the inspiration in some songs from artists such as Playboi Carti or Lil Uzi Vert. JPEG, while not the best lyricist fills the project with plenty of political, educational, and satire jokes throughout that definitely made me laugh at how insane some of these lyrics were combined with such experimental production. “AR built like Lena Dunham” might be one of the most wildest lyrics I’ve heard in the 2010s so far. If you are looking for a Hip-Hop that is very experimental, but also modern at the same time, then give Veteran a listen.
Joey while only 23 years young, already has an exceptional discography under his belt. With his breakout mixtape in 2012: 1999 that sparked a lot of buzz for the artist and wasn’t until his debut album: B4DA$$ that Joey established himself as a proficient artist. He stuck to the traditional NY sound, but gradually began to experiment new boundaries into his sound. His second studio album: ALL AMERIKKKAN BADA$$ was a different direction for Joey in terms of his overall sound, but was a risk that was well paid off. From front to back AABA is his best project to date and shows his maturity as an artist. It definitely turned off some his fans that enjoyed his boom-bap sound, but that type of sound would have left Joey with hardly any room to experiment as he did on this project. AABA dropped in 2017 and felt it deserved more appreciation as an overall project. That being said, Joey is moving forward and starting 2018 off hot. He’s dropped a variety singles weekly such as “King To A God” featuring Dessy Hinds, “THUGZ CRY” that is a cover of iconic Prince song: “When Doves Cry”, and “80 Blocks” featuring Chuck Strangers. Make sure you check out these great singles and AABA if you haven’t already!
Brockhampton- Saturation Trilogy(2017)
This group soon enough will not need no more introduction as they are currently one of the most rising groups in Hip-Hop. Brockhampton is a group of fifteen individuals that is led by artist: Kevin Abstract. They had come together from mutual relationships and from iconic music forum: Kanyetothe. They had initially dropped few projects prior to 2017, but what would be the first of a trilogy: Saturation I that released over the summer marked the start of a new era. Releasing two more projects with a total 48 songs of quality before the end of 2017 has shown that Brockhampton is here to stay with still plenty of potential to grow as artists. Their style of music while pays homage to a lot of iconic Hip-Hop music, is just so fresh and enjoyable. They have been growing a strong fanbase since the release of the trilogy with still plenty of potential to expand. Make sure you check out Brockhampton as they are currently one of the best Hip-Hop groups currently.
Lalia’s Wisdom- Rapsody(2017)
Rapsody is a female MC that is currently one the best rappers right now in general. This album, produced by legendary producer: 9th Wonder that was grammy nominated which was a huge achievement for the underground Hip-Hop scene. Still I sometimes feel that this album does not get the praise it deserves. Rapsody uses her amazing abilities lyrics to create great lyricism and production from 9th Wonder only elevates her ability. The closing track: “Jesus Coming” is one of the most heartfelt stories in a song from 2017. Make sure you check out Rapsody and Lalia’s Wisdom if you haven’t already.
Injury Reserve- Driving Like It’s Stolen(2017)
Injury Reserve is a group of three based in Arizona that consists of members: Parker Corey, Stepa J. Groggs, and Richtie With a T. The group has been around since 2012 and had caught a lot of attention with their 2015 EP: Live From The Dentist Office and 2016 Studio album: Floss. They are probably one of the more consistent groups in Hip-Hop where every project while each different, is very consistent throughout. Listening to their music can at times sound very Tribe or Neptunes inspired with how Parker incorporates such unique production. Stepa and Ritchie’s great delivery in songs complements Parker’s sound as a producer that makes for great chemistry in this group. In 2017, they dropped an EP: Driving Like It’s Stolen(2017) that while is not better then their studio album: Floss dropped last year, is still a very consistent project that shows the group is still pushing boundaries with their sound. Make sure you check this group out.
Griselda is a group based in New York consisting of members: Westside Gunn, Conway, and producer: Daringer. They are one of only few groups currently that stays true to the New York Boom Bap sound that was very present in past Hip-Hop. Gunn and Conway have great way with lyricism and each have their own qualities that make them well refined MCs. Daringer’s hard hitting soulful production complements both their styles really well and his collaborations with legendary producer: The Alchemist are a match made in heaven. Griselda had dropped many projects over the span of 2017 with most recently Conway’s long awaited GOAT. Their biggest highlight recently though would be Gunn’s small collaboration with rapper: MF DOOM. DOOM while legendary in his own aspect towards Hip-Hop, does not come out from his shadows very often and Griselda able to collaborate with the rapper is an achievement that shows their credibility as a label. Griselda’s sound while one dimensional is done right with great lyrics that pays homage to the older era of rap.