Music moves quickly these days. With so many new artists popping up, it can be difficult for any rap fan to keep pace. Our monthly column 10 Rappers You Should Know Right Now cuts through the noise to tell you the rising hip-hop artists on Audiomack you should be paying attention to. Listen to standout selections from all 10 artists as a playlist below. This article previously appeared on Audiomack World.
Drakeo The Ruler
Hometown: Los Angeles, CA
Drakeo The Ruler is finally free. After almost three years in jail fighting a murder charge—for which he was eventually acquitted—and a litany of other charges that tried to paint his rap crew as a violent gang, the South Central rapper walked out of Los Angeles Men’s Central Jail a free man earlier this month. Of course, he wasted no time announcing his return in dramatic fashion with the release of “Fights Don’t Matter,” a typically swaggering track that proves Drakeo hasn’t lost a step.
Hometown: Fayetteville, NC
Morray is the latest arrival in the vein of rappers who are more soulful singers than traditional MCs (Rod Wave and the late Mo3 come to mind as recent forerunners of the style). “Quicksand,” the Fayetteville artist’s first single, seems to have come out of nowhere, and it’s quickly made a mark. Morray’s vocal control on the song is impressive as he sings with exaggerated enunciation about the struggles and triumphs of his youth.
Hometown: Baltimore, MD
Though Deetranada has been around for a minute—like Mulatto and J.I the Prince of N.Y, she was also a contestant on Jermaine Dupri’s Lifetime reality show, The Rap Game—it feels like she’s been steadily gaining momentum with each new release. “HELP!,” the Baltimore rapper’s latest, is a short offering that demonstrates her technical rapping prowess and lets the listener know exactly what type of time she’s on.
Hometown: Boston, MA
While Pi’erre Bourne has steadily become revered as a rapper in his own right over the last several years, he’s also been busy building up his SossHouse roster. Chavo, one of the more promising artists signed to Bourne’s label, is preparing to release his Chavo’s World album and “WYFW” is the first offering from the upcoming project. Of course, one of the best tools the SossHouse artists have at their disposal is access to Bourne’s definitive production, and Chavo takes full advantage on his new track, coasting over Bourne’s towering 808s.
Problem Child 5
Hometown: Atlanta, GA
Problem Child 5 is the rising protege of both Future and Duct Tape Entertainment, immediately making him an artist to watch in Atlanta. His new EP, King Opp, boasts features from both Future and Young Thug but the solo song “Rainy Day” is the track that’s probably the best indicator of his potential. Over an emotive beat, he recounts the losses he took to get to this point.
Hometown: Winnsboro, SC
As the Carolinas have become a dominant region in rap over the last two years, 18Veno has more recently emerged as one of the most exciting young rappers from the southern half of that equation. As a signee to Jetsonmade’s Spaceboy label, he mostly raps over production from others in that camp, like 1st Class and Neeko Baby—producers that bring the signature bounce that’s become associated with the region. Veno’s animated rapping is a perfect complement to those wandering basslines on songs like “Slugs,” a standout from his recent PABLO tape.
Hometown: Oakland, CA
Offset Jim has been the Penny Hardaway to ALLBLACK’s Shaquille O’Neal as the Oakland rappers have garnered more and more attention, but, more recently, Jim has also firmly laid out his own path. On songs like last year’s “No Pressure,” he carried the track with the combination of his laidback, almost monotone delivery and hard-hitting punchlines. “Mary Poppins,” his latest single, is no different: Over a menacing bassline from producer DTB, Jim raps about lost friends and enemies alike with a striking lack of emotion.
Hometown: Raleigh, NC
Big Mali has been making a name for herself at home since she was still in high school, then rapping as Mali NSB, but she’s more recently become the first lady of South Coast Music Group, the same team that brought DaBaby to national prominence. Like many rappers coming out of the region, Mali brings a turnt-up energy to every beat. On “4,5,6,” a song from her recent Gangsta Talk project, she makes the beat chase her, at one point slipping into a raspy whisper that somehow still sounds just as hard as her loudest bars.
Hometown: Bronx, NY
Meditations, Bronx artist Caleb Giles’ fourth project, is immaculately produced. Like much of his work, it constantly references avant-garde jazz and the sounds of New York rap, old and new. But Giles’ evolution as a rapper and songwriter is also notable, particularly building off his 2019 album Under The Shade. On “No Difference,” a standout from Meditations, he drops in over moody keys and steady hi-hats, delivering a sobering verse about the divergent, and sometimes destructive, paths he’s witnessed life take for those around him.
Read our feature interview: "New York Rapper Caleb Giles Is Meditating While the World Burns"
Hometown: Philadelphia, PA
“Adderall (Corvette Corvette)” seems like an unlikely TikTok hit. Popp Hunna’s song is essentially built around what sounds like an Eternal Atake type beat—he is from Philly, after all—but the short and catchy song is an immediate earworm. It’s the sort of bubbly, melodic rap that has been coming out of the city in the wake of Lil Uzi Vert’s continued ascendence and, if anything, shows the larger-than-life impact Uzi has had on his hometown and the young artists emerging out of it.
By Ben Dandridge-Lemco, for Audiomack.