It’s a good time to live in Los Angeles.
Cookout season is underway, and there’s plenty of new music to soundtrack each gathering. Mustard returned at the end of June with his highly anticipated Perfect 10 album, featuring names young and old such as 1TakeJay, Roddy Ricch, YG, and the late Nipsey Hussle; TNW alumnus HeyDeon dropped off his biggest release yet, a refreshing reprieve from the summer heat titled Sucker for Love; and Saviii 3rd’s long-awaited debut on Cash Money, All Eyes on 3, arrived just before the 4th of July.
With another 2019 month in the books, it’s only right we dive into another edition of The New Wave, highlighting five more promising talents in LA. Lyricism, creativity, and meme-ability all lie ahead in the diverse selection of artists listed below, each of whom is hard at work paving their way out of the underground. Your next musical obsession could be in this article; don’t turn back now.
Holland Izz’s screeching ad-libs and free-ranging inflections defy rhyme or reason, making the 20-year-old rapper an unmistakable presence.
Several of Holland’s earlier mixtapes underline his inventive approach on the mic. At the end of 2018, he made a splash with “Two Tone Drip.” The single’s ridiculous hook will make your bob even as you bleed from your eardrums. Holland’s recently-released Stay Sunny mixtape is a complete body of work, showcasing ambition and skill from start to finish.
On the high energy “Classless,” Holland hops on a timeless, colorful sample, with a high-pitched delivery that sounds like one eternal voice crack. The Compton-bred artist brings the same amount of unbridled enthusiasm throughout the tracklist, even on downtempo songs like “Penny Proud” that shed light on his more reflective side. “Rum Pum Pum” is similarly soothing, encouraging the listener to stay the course on their journey as watery guitars set the tone in the background.
“It Izz What It Izz”
“Rum Pum Pum”
Don’t be fooled by his juvenile name; Nfant is not here to play around. He’s genuinely a magnetic presence, blessed with charisma that helps him create vivid imagery. On “Memories,” Nfant kicks his feet up to reminisce about days in the hood, speaking with an earnest tone that quickly pulls you into his world.
Nfant's sonic palette stretches far beyond the boundaries of Los Angeles County. He hails from Baldwin Village, but on tracks such as “Preacher Kid,” you’d swear Nfant was following in the footsteps of soulful Southerners such as Big K.R.I.T. or YGTUT. His twanging vocals on “Live From The Trenches” glide over bouncing hi-hats as he details his struggles and proclaims his authenticity (“I’m rapping what I live, hoe you just rapping what you’ve seen”).
When Nfant does rap over more traditional West Coast instrumentals, he’s no less compelling. On “Stick on Me,” he revisits Suga Free’s “I’d Rather Give You My Bitch,” with an agitated delivery that adds an extra jolt of energy. Earlier this year, Nfant stole the spotlight on The Norf’s “15 Chickens” with his attention-grabbing hook, emphatically touching down before a slew of Inglewood talents step up to finish it off.
“Stick on Me”
Do not trifle with TikTok. Following in the footsteps of Lil Nas X, who used the app to elevate “Old Town Road” into the stratosphere, is rapper Ambjaay, whose equally meme-ready song titled “Uno” is taking off.
Ambjaay’s trademark “it cost to live like this” ad-lib sparks the party, as the Latin-influenced instrumental brings an extra layer of flair. His youthful voice adds to the song’s playfulness, even if his entry-level Spanish could use a bit of work. On the more straightforward “Do the Math,” he relentlessly attacks the microphone without pausing to deliver a chorus, rapping with enthusiasm over the raucous brass section.
Ambjaay’s strongest skill set is his hook work, which is catchy enough to draw your attention and simple enough to be memorized by the end of the song. A shining example is “Knock Knock Who There,” with its “knock knock knock knock, nigga who there / we the reason why you niggas had to move there” quickly boring into your skull. The Watts rapper already has a deal with Columbia, and a co-sign from Drake; time will tell if he’s able to flip it into a successful run.
“Do The Math”
Free Ackrite’s music is equal parts smooth and sinister. With a snarling delivery and penchant for gripping storytelling, the Inglewood rapper combines funky basslines and teeth-rattling percussion with ease. The combination makes for a catalog best enjoyed on a long drive through the summer night.
If you’re looking for an entry point, consider “Gang” as a fitting introduction. Growling through his gold grill, Ackrite lays out his lifestyle with a relaxed yet urgent tone over a booming bassline that’s impossible to resist. On “Ackrite Back,” he attacks an active instrumental that provides an infectious bounce, declaring his triumphant return to form. On “Missed Calls,” Ackrite creates the essence of paranoia through the use of siren-esque synths while painting a picture of his combustible situation in his lyrics.
Having worked alongside artists such as Cozz, Rucci, and Skeme, dating back to the early 2010s, Ackrite is best described as a new veteran. Through the first seven months of 2019, he has released a series of freestyles, including “Who You Foolin’” and “Splashin’,” while the follow-up to 2017’s Out On Bail is reportedly on the horizon. Expect the 24-year-old to deliver more of the same as he looks to build his name higher.
Mac P Dawg
Mac P Dawg raps like he’s trying to incite a riot that he wants no part of. There’s a coldness to his music that seeps through the speakers, as he combines rebellious lyrics with an even-keeled delivery that seldom rises even a single decibel.
Earlier this year, Mac teamed up with Dirt Rich for “Money Walk,” featuring a laid-back flow over thudding bass hits. Straightforward lyrics create a mellow vibe when played through headphones, even as the elevated keys yearn to cause chaos in a stadium-sized setting. His latest single, “Let Me Know,” contains a similar delivery over more upbeat production, while guest Ohgeesy blends in beautifully on the second verse.
Had it not been for Fenix Flexin of Atlantic Records recording group Shoreline Mafia, Mac may have never even picked up the mic. The two became fast friends during high school and eventually decided to work on what became P Dawg’s first single, “Half N Half.”
It’s unsurprising the song and much of Mac’s subsequent catalog lines up with Shoreline. He’s yet another beneficiary of the biggest rap group in Los Angeles and has set himself up to get bigger and better looks moving forward.
“Let Me Know”
“Half N Half”