What's up RefinedHype Nation. I'm back with
- mostly discovered through way too much clicking of related videos on YouTube. The Nation is full of rap nerds, so you might be familiar with some of these names, but we're willing to bet you'll find at least a few new faces as well.
Let me know what you think of this batch of artists, and if you have any recommendations for an artist on the next article feel free to hit me on Twitter at
. I don't bite, I swear.
I talked about how Seattle is slowly becoming a hip-hop capital, and Blue Scholars really back that claim. MC Prometheus Brown brings a poetic feel to each song, using his verses to relay messages that relate to the "Blue Collar" members of society (notice that "Blue Scholars" is a play on the term "Blue Collar"). DJ Sabzi has a very soulful production style, and sounds nothing short of dope when meshed with Brown's intelligent, but real, lyricism. Check out their uplifting jam "Motion Movement".
Astronomy Class, a hip-hop group out of Australia, is the perfect group to listen to if you're looking for chill beats and smooth, positive lyrics. Their 2006 album "Exit Strategy" received a lot of airplay on local stations, but never managed to pop off in America like it should have. "Exit Strategy" showcases MC Ozi Batla's ability to see the bright side in life as he often reminisces on the day-to-day and everything he's learned - while also displaying Sir Robbo and Chasm's ability to create infectious, head-nodding jams in the background. Each time I listen to one of their tracks it makes me think of when I would cruise on summer days while eating ice cream and bumping my 12" subwoofers way too loud for my old ass neighbors. Good times. Check out "A Bright Tomorrow".
3. Alyssa Marie
Ok, she's a female. Now that that's out of the way, let's talk about how Alyssa is actually next level when it comes to flow. I first came across her work after she won a youtube contest out of over 1000 MC's in 2011, and she's done nothing but improve since. She is the first person since Kendrick Lamar to bring a delivery that I haven't heard before, somehow construing countless rhyming words in a row, combining multiple bars into what seems like a single flowing word. It's hard to truly understand until you actually give one of her songs a listen - so watch her demonstrate her lyrical acrobatics on "For The Record".
InI is one of the most underrated hip-hop groups of all time, consisting of Rob-O, Grap Luva, Marco Polo, I Love H.I.M. and DJ Boodakhan. They recorded an entire album "Center of Attention" with Pete Rock (Grap Luva's older brother) in the mid-90s, which got shelved by
after the release of just one single, "Fakin' Jax", in 1996. I'm not sure what Elektra was thinking, as "Center of Attention" is easily a classic and actually my favorite album of all time - eventually being released through Pete Rock's label in 2003. Each beat on this album sets a classic atmosphere for the record, and was created by either Pete Rock in his prime, or Grap Luva when he was young and hungry. Every MC brings a golden age Common-esque vibe, combining consciousness with dope lyricism and smooth flows. Instead of doing what I usually do and linking you to a single song, I'll play you their whole album. Beware, however, as your next hour will be very far from productive if you press play.
The Palmer Squares
The Palmer Squares are a duo consisting of MC's Acumental and Terminal Knowledge. These guys are hilarious because the represent "Scrub Life", truly not giving a single fuck about any hip-hop norms or their physical appearance, but still focusing on nothing but dope lyricism when it comes to their music. They manage to rhyme almost every word in each line with the next, and it seems like they spend most of their spare time getting high and reading the dictionary because their vocabulary is always interesting - bringing a breath of fresh air to a genre that tends to lean towards "bitch" and "fuck". Check out one of my personal favorites, "Broken Language".
Gracias is one of the few artists today to bring a real hip-hop vibe, becoming quite a large name in his home country of Finland. He moved to Finland at a young age, but sounds no different then the classic acts raised in New York and California. His delivery is reminiscent of early Nas, and his beats tend to sound like they were crafted in 1996, stashed on a cassette tape, then transferred into MP3's in the present day just for him to rap over. He creates the ultimate head-nodding, problem-fading type of music - demonstrated on Feel Me.
Boston MC Akrobatik is truly an MC. When I hear his commanding flow, I can only think of a crowd of 100 people standing in front of him going crazy, paying close attention to every word he spews. He makes the perfect type of music to play while working out - keeping each track hype with heavy rhymes and banging production. Check out his track "A to the K", which has Cypress Hill's B-Real laying down the hook.