I’ve spent quite a bit of time looking for new music from lesser known artists. While I enjoyed every minute, it didn’t come without challenges. I listened to other people who love hip hop as well as artists who named their favorites in interviews.
What I found were a lot of up and coming rappers who sound like Drake, Future, or Young Thug. Many of the artists who were recommended have that sing songy flashy, trap style that’s popular right now. While there’s nothing wrong with that, it’s not what I was looking for.
I’ve included one or two of them in this lineup out of fairness. After all, I can acknowledge when I hear something that will probably blow even if it’s not my style. So, check out MY list of MCs to look out for this year.
I wasn’t able to find a lot of info on this MC. All I know is he’s from Atlanta and has been doing his thing for a minute now. This video is from his 2017 album Porch. You can also check out his other joint Jail Pose featuring Tate228. This dude is a breath of fresh air.
This guy is from North London and started making music in the early 2010’s as part of a group called Star Gang. In February 2018 he released his first solo mixtape called The One. In June he released The One 2. This track was the first release from that project.
Polo G is one of the artists I referred to in my intro. This is really not my type of hip hop, but he’s still relatively unknown and has created a serious buzz in the streets. This video was just published last month and already has over 8 million views. Add that to the current trend in hip hop and he will most likely have a great year. Despite my personal taste, he deserves a spot on the list.
This Chicago based MC has been in the game for some time. You might remember him from his verse on Chance The Rapper’s 2013 Acid Rap mixtape on a song called Everybody’s Something. They collaborated again in 2015 on a song called Angels. I hope he adds my city to his tour schedule this year. From this point on, we don’t have any excuse to keep sleeping on dude. He’s dope.
This Bay area MC hails from Oakland, and is carrying on the rich musical legacy of rappers who came before him. Like many of his predecessors, he is unapologetic about not being a conscious MC. In an interview with Fader last year, he spoke candidly about his background as a pimp. And if you listen to his lyrics, you will notice that he sometimes uses football terminology to describe his experiences in that life. If you have love for the Bay area sound, this is your guy.
Benny The Butcher
From Buffalo New York, this MC just released what he refered to as his Magnum Opus back in May 2018. In his debut Tana Talk he weaves street tales that do little to glorify hustling. Instead, it serves as description of who he is and how he came to be in the position he’s in. He doesn’t sound like a swag rapper reaching for street cred. This project sounds like the diary of someone who marched on the front lines and lived to tell the story. He’s definitely one to look out for
Here’s another traptastic track from up and coming artist Quando Rondo. He’s from Savannah Georgia, and just dropped his first single I Remember featuring Lil Baby last month. I probably wouldn’t slap it in the ride, but I have the ear. I know we’ll be hearing more from him this year. If he’s not on the radio yet, he will be soon.
This MC is from the Bronx. The above video is produced by Showbiz and came out some time last year. He just released his first solo project, an EP called Bars Over Bullshit. I listened to it the other night and didn’t skip through one song, so check it out.
Hopefully the time I spent listening to countless artists will help you sort through all that’s available and decide who you should really be checking for this year. If there’s at least one MC on my list who you’d like to hear more from, I will have done my job.