Meet 5 Rising LA Hip-Hop Artists: The New Wave

Meet five more artists who are making noise in Los Angeles.
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New Wave LA, March, 2019

Welcome back to The New Wave, the DJBooth series that highlights rising talent in Los Angeles. Since launching our series in February, previously featured artists 1Take Jay and AzChike officially announced record deals with Atlantic and are heading out on a brief tour up and down the West Coast. 

Now, it’s time to present five more names who are making noise, highlighting their talents while also showcasing the diversity between them. Let’s get into it.

Rucci

Relentless consistency, radio-ready hits, and a strikingly loyal fanbase have built Rucci into an Inglewood powerhouse. Without much digging, you could make a strong case for Rucci delivering three of the LA underground’s 15 most impressive projects in 2018, which speaks to the strength of his well-received El Perro and For My Dawgz mixtapes and his joint tape with 1Take Jay, entitled The Winning Team. 

With the poise of a veteran, Rucci freestyles nearly every bar he records, while barking ad-libs add an antagonistic tone to each line. On brisk tracks such as “Like Woah,” he expertly builds momentum for a firecracker of a song that’s barely over 100 seconds long. When he chooses to be more pensive, like on “Bodak Rucci,” he’s just as captivating, narrating his story with passion and paying tribute to his fallen comrade, Sean Mackk.

There are gems aplenty in Rucci’s extensive catalog, but the best way to truly connect with the Inglewood standout is live in concert. Without fail, his dedicated following always packs out the house, bringing plenty of energy and illuminating the venue with cell phone lights every time his biggest hit to date, “Light It Up,” comes on.

Rucci's already conquered LA; as his star continues to rise, it won't be long before the rest of the country follows.

Standout tracks:

“Like Woah”

“Intro”

Saviii 3rd

When Saviii 3rd steps to the mic, you can feel it in your bones; his seething vocal punts every bar through the speakers with unforgiving force, creating a chilling atmosphere with stadium-sized grandeur. 

The title for his latest mixtape, Snowboy, couldn't be more appropriate as the point guard for Cash Money West coats his hometown of Long Beach with icy powder through cold production and hard-hitting lyrics.

Right off the bat, opening track “The Glory” introduces Saviii in his most devastating form, shredding the slopes with a patient swagger over slow, yet purposeful production. Rarely does the tempo rise throughout the tracklist, but his passionate vocal performance supplies more than enough energy to keep listeners adhered to the music. That energy extends to his videos as well, as his frenetic, possessed movements stress the intensity in his music and dares you to look away.

Saviii’s keen awareness of how to successfully employ tricks is a major reason why his songs are so infectious, while his lyrical content ensures listeners hang on every word just the same. It remains to be seen if his decision to sign and join forces with Birdman will negatively affect his surging trajectory, but the star power in Saviii 3rd is undeniable.

Standout tracks:

“Bullshit” ft. Mozzy

“Ridin’ Interlude”

Chris O’Bannon

Chris O’Bannon is a jack of all trades. A singer, rapper, songwriter, and producer (by the name of SLGHTWRK), O'Bannon has worked with everyone from 03 Greedo to SOBxRBE, filling in impressively whether he’s on the frontlines or behind the scenes. 

His production is intricately interwoven, with an assortment of sounds expertly laid on top of each other to create a fully-formed final product. On the flipside, his vocals feel effortless and conversational, casually uncovering new melodies as he talks his way through every bar.

Sauce Meets World, released in 2018, tied his vocal work and production skills together beautifully, fitting an admirable amount of range into less than 30 minutes. On the colorful and feel-good R&B cut “She My Type,” laid-back warmth oozes through the speakers as hints of instrumentation create a lively, exciting soundscape, while “No Rush,” his biggest hit thus far, lives at the opposite end of the temperature spectrum, with sparkling keys that create a frosty habitat on the original as well as the G Perico and $tupid Young assisted remix.

O’Bannon never shies away from experimenting with new sounds and textures, as evidenced by a second Instagram account filled with guitar demos, and a SoundCloud page that showcases the full range of his artistic potential. 

Ambitious, well-connected and flush with ability, Chris O’Bannon is the full package.

Standout tracks:

“Keep It Player”

“No Rush (Remix)”

UMI

In an era where visual branding and distinctive, eye-popping music videos are central to the success of an artist looking to set themselves apart from the pack, UMI is primed for success. 

Soothing vocals and sparse, lo-fi inspired production have made UMI a name to watch in R&B, while her creative, narrative visuals have garnered a devoted fanbase. Look no further than “Remember Me” to understand why her star has been rising, with its vintage film treatment doing much to accentuate the sentimental feeling of longing that’s stirred by the music itself.

After years of uploading covers, and eventually original songs, to YouTube, UMI, who was born in Seattle and relocated to Los Angeles to study at USC, formally introduced herself in 2018 with Interlude EP, a tranquilizing project with its mellow and melodious atmospheres. Much of UMI's discography is littered with dusty, subdued loops, but when she brings lush instrumentation to the table, like on “River,” there’s a sweeping peacefulness that takes hold and transports you into a new sonic landscape.

Yet to release a body of work longer than four songs, UMI has all the room in the world to grow into a household name. With a crystal-clear vision and a unique, individual sound, there’s a good chance she gets there soon.

Standout tracks:

“Midnight Blues”

“River”

Correy C

Less than a year ago, Correy C sat in a jail cell; less than a month ago, the rapper was traveling the country with Bas as direct support on his Milky Way tour. As a longtime Dreamville collaborator who also appeared next to Cozz on Revenge of the Dreamers II, Correy has wasted no time getting back into stride, hoping to turn opportunistic placements into sustained success.

If you're looking for one song to win you over, it's “One Try,” with its contagious hook that buries itself into your eardrums mere seconds after pressing play. Its bouncing production is a stark yet successful switch up from the trap sounds of his prior EP, Digital Scale, which should have fans excited for the upcoming project he's been teasing on social media.

Subtly melodic with a penchant for ear-catching flows, Correy C has what it takes to make noise. So long as he keeps up the momentum, the Crenshaw talent is poised for a major 2019 campaign.

Standout Tracks:

“One Try” ft. Teejay3k & Deborah

“Forever”

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