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.
Hometown: Louisville, KY
You’d be forgiven for assuming EST Gee is from Detroit. The Louisville native tends to rap over beats featuring the minor-chord piano riffs and rapid percussion stabs that characterize much of Detroit rap production. But over the past year, and particularly on his latest project, I Still Dont Feel Nun, Gee further establishes the current sound of Louisville street rap: a mix of this borrowed, menacing production and localized Louisville references. On “Ball Forever,” a standout from the tape, he raps about his street history over dark keys courtesy of Tay Keith.
Read our feature interview: “EST Gee’s Authenticity Is His Superpower.”
Hometown: Deerfield Beach, FL
Trapland Pat has recently joined the ranks of South Florida’s rising cast of rap talent. His 2020 Vision project, released towards the end of last year, features fellow Floridian up-and-comers like 26coop and FCG Heem and presents Pat as a rapper unafraid of a catchy melody or a slightly off-kilter beat. “Big Business” is more of a straightforward affair, with the sort of bouncy beat and heavy drawl that can be found in much of Florida’s biggest regional songs. Still, Pat adds his own flair, slowing down his flow for a melodic turn at the end of the track and singing, “You don’t know what I been through / Taking chances for advances when the rent due.”
Hometown: Rochester, NY
Rx Papi has all the makings of rap’s next cult icon. He raps over constantly surprising production and brings a unique charisma to recurring phrases (“Walk in this bitch like ____”) and characters (“Auntie”). The Rochester rapper has also been incredibly prolific, particularly in the past year, releasing a total of eight full-length projects in 2020 alone. “Oil Leak,” a song from his recent Mood project, is a good example of Papi’s appeal; he conveys both humor and self-awareness.
Hometown: Atlanta, GA
2FeetBino is a young artist coming up under the mantle of Young Nudy’s Paradise East label. While much of Atlanta’s younger generation seems to owe a debt to Young Thug’s sound, Bino tends to have a more uncomplicated delivery. “No Such Thing,” a recent song about loyalty and betrayal, finds him slowing down the pace and leaning more into his strong songwriting.
Hometown: New Orleans, LA
Bounce music has had many flirtations with mainstream rap, stretching as far back as the commercial success of Juvenile’s 2004 hit “Back That Azz Up” and as recently as Drake relying on bounce’s familiar drum samples for hits like “In My Feelings” and “Nice For What.” But, for the most part, the New Orleans-born regional rap style remains confined to southern Louisiana, its BPM too fast and its vocal directives too demanding for most people not from New Orleans.
CeeFineAss is the latest from the city to expand the bounce sound beyond the borders of the N.O., first scoring a regional hit with “Payback” and now building on her success with her Welcome to My City tape, which finds her combining repetitive bounce hooks and rapped verses. On “Cocky,” she brings in Memphis rising star Pooh Shiesty to rap over a muted “Triggerman” sample.
Hometown: Chicago, IL
Chicago’s Chris Crack has established himself as a virtuosic rap oddball in recent years, releasing a strong string of independent releases with titles like Being Woke Ain’t Fun and White People Love Algorithms. “False Evidence Appearing Real” is the first single from Might Delete Later, his upcoming album on Fool’s Gold Records. Over a distorted guitar riff from producer Sonny Jim, Chris Crack cuts into the meditative instrumental with questions like: “Why the beats better than the rappers?”
Hometown: Orlando, FL
Lul Wavvy’s “Success” sounds like it’s built off a sample from a ‘70s sitcom. The whimsical sample contrasts only slightly with the Orlando artist’s breezy raps about ducking relationship commitments and warring with his enemies. Though Wavvy first started making regional noise with a sinister flip of D4L’s “I’m Da Man,” his latest is still a significant change of pace. As he raps in the second verse: “No drill shit, versatile, I’ll drop some chill shit.”
Hometown: Savannah, GA
Dess Dior’s latest single, “Don’t Play,” true to its name, is about the way the Savannah rapper treats those around her, particularly those with less money and less ambition than herself. She raps with precision, injecting insults in one phrase and praising her own mind in the next, rapping at one point, “Hoes talking like they bulletproof/ I’m Dess Dior, now who are you?”
Hometown: New Orleans, LA
Rob49 is from the 4th Ward of New Orleans but, on his latest single, “DeeDay,” he seems to channel the energy of Chicago rappers like G Herbo and Lil Bibby. Still, over the quick string sample, his accent is unmistakable, and his booming voice commands attention as he flows nonstop about his city’s street politics and his imminent come-up for the song’s two-minute duration.
Hometown: Toronto, ON
Toronto is quickly becoming a city full of melodic rap crooners, and Tizzy Stackz is among the fastest-rising. On songs like last year’s “Rainstorm” and “Projects,” he established himself as a street-oriented artist with an impressive ability to tap into a more vulnerable side. On “Black Heart,” he connects with fellow Toronto rising star Lil Berete and the two trade verses about making haters mad with their success.
By Ben Dandridge-Lemco for Audiomack.