Hometown: Newark, NJ
The prolific New Jersey rapper Mach-Hommy had always been somewhat of an enigma in the world of contemporary rap, showing up for scene-stealing features and consistently delivering engrossing projects while maintaining his anonymity. His Pray for Haiti album earlier this year expanded on his legend while diving into the specifics of his past and his ancestry. His latest, December’s Balens Cho, continues where the other left off. On standout track “Separation of the Sheeps and the Goats,” he leans into more melodic territory, conjuring turn-of-the-millennium Mos Def in his gravelly cadence while rapping about having “the Book of Revelations on the seat in the Rolls.”
Hometown: Lafayette, LA
Autumn! has been a star of internet rap’s underground for years at this point. Trawling around online, you’re sure to hear the influence of his quick and melodic flow and the “PluggnB” sound he helped push forward. Though he’s had hits within this online scene in the past, his latest single (which fans have been clamoring for much of the year) seems like his clearest step towards mainstream recognition thus far. “One Way” pairs soft keyboard and bass notes with the Louisiana artist’s forlorn singing, as he paints a picture of broken promises and one-way flights.
Hometown: Dallas, TX
After releasing his Pain Cobain project this past summer, Grind2Hard Osh’a returned with a new full-length titled Universal Language at the beginning of November. The album shows the rising Dallas rapper’s versatility as well as his penchant for turning the turmoil of his past into emotional rap ballads. On “Stay Balanced,” one of the strongest efforts on the recent project, he adopts a bouncy cadence, singing on the hook, “Two steps forward and one backwards / Only got one life, gotta take advantage.”
Hometown: Sacramento, CA
After rapping alongside fellow Sacramento artist Saweetie on her September track “Seesaw,” Kendra Jae continues building momentum with her latest single “Big.” The song, built around the infamous bed squeak sample from Trillville’s 2004 hit “Some Cut,” finds Jae riding the beat skillfully. “Don’t compare to me nobody, too much capping in that shit / I’m a look, I don’t even need a caption on the pics,” she raps on the second verse.
Hometown: Macclenny, FL
After releasing his debut project Who is Quail? this past March, Quail P returns with “Keep It Going,” a catchy slap that shows off his soulful delivery. Quail P hails from the small town of Macclenny, Florida—and many of his songs focus on the trials and tribulations he’s endured while striving to be heard. “Keep It Going” serves as a motivational mantra; “If you feeling down, boy, you better get up / Get on my knees just to pray and hope that God give me luck,” he sings in the song’s opening line.
Hometown: Orlando, FL
Over the last few years, KickkOne has been a pioneer of the aggressive Florida rap sound that’s risen to popularity with rappers like Nardo Wick. The Orlando rapper sounds just as at home over smooth sample beats and deafening, threatening instrumentals. On “Badazz,” a standout from his recent Out My Element 2 project, he raps around an interesting piece of source material: Michael Jackson’s 1995 cover of The Beatles’ “Come Together.” In between guitar stabs, KickkOne turns the upbeat production into a hardcore anthem.
Hometown: Baton Rouge, LA
After rolling out a handful of singles and collaborations earlier this year, FL Dusa seems poised to become the latest rapper to break out from Baton Rouge. The recent signee to Kevin Gates’ BWA imprint joins forces with his label boss on “Dear God,” a heartfelt track that finds both artists asking for guidance. Following a typically catchy Gates hook, the two rappers trade melodic bars about coming a long way from where they started.
Hometown: Houston, TX
OTB Fastlane has been a hometown hero in Houston going back to his breakout hit “Dawg Azz” in 2018. Since then, he’s stayed consistent, releasing a slew of mixtapes and albums. His most recent project, November’s Bussin Behind Tint, is full of songs made to soundtrack a ride around the city. On “Dem Boyz,” OTB Fastlane channels Juvenile with his chanted hook and goes verse for verse with Detroit’s Icewear Vezzo over a sparse, hard-hitting beat.
Hometown: Atlanta, GA
It’s difficult to find much information about Rizz Capolatti online. He’s from Atlanta, and he guested on Smino’s 2020 song “Mike Jones,” but a dig through the archives of what appears to be his long-defunct Tumblr shows that he’s been at this for some time—around a decade, in fact. In those early posts on his site, he shares mostly sample-based songs with an emphasis on his laidback lyricism. His new single, “HELLUTALMBOUT,” takes things in a different direction while maintaining its focus on Rizz’s lyrical dexterity. Over a slow-rolling instrumental, he punctuates the snare and bass with his double-timed flow.
Hometown: Miami, FL
Te Aly’s “War Ready” has been out in the world since 2020 but has only recently made its way to my ears. Though it’s well over a year old, the song seems to have correctly foreseen the “rage beat” frenzy we’re in the midst of at the moment. The track builds around simple synth chords and a driving drum pattern, as the South Florida artist delivers the high-energy song with lilting Auto-Tune.
By Ben Dandridge-Lemco for Audiomack