What’s up DJBooth? – in case you guys didn’t know, I used to do a series for Refined Hype titled “7 Dope Underground Rappers You (Probably) Haven’t Heard Of” before they merged with the mothership. Basically, I spend way too much time on Pandora/YouTube/SoundCloud/AudioMack, where I occasionally find some dope jams that I select to share with our readers. Check out some of my latest favorite hidden gems below, and let us know what you think.
1. Trace Blam (@traceblam) & SoulChef (@soulchefmusic)
Emcee Trace Blam and producer SoulChef have proven their undeniable chemistry when releasing a collaborative album (see “Bottles,” released back in June of 2011). Trace brings his smooth flow and real lyrics to each record, speaking from the perspective of a struggling musician in a rough industry, while SoulChef blesses each track with head-nodding production that reminds me of 9th Wonder. While this duo only released a single album, they’ve managed to be in constant rotation on my iPod for two plus years. Enjoy one of my favorite jams, “Where I’m From,” above.
Truly a rapper’s rapper, Shaya is a one of the best spitters (you've never heard before) in the game. Every song on his “Fallen Awake” album focuses on having the rawest, most stand out lyrics in the game. A single listen to the final product shows his hard work has definitely paid off. From my experience, Shaya’s slick flow and engaging subject matter make his songs a great listen for a blunt cruise or a walk through the city. One of my favorite albums of the late 00’s, be sure to check out “Fallen Awake” above.
3. Case Arnold (@StillCase)
Case Arnold, who isn't a stranger to The DJBooth, is an artist out of Tennessee who can flow his ass off, not to mention he kind of looks like a stoned hip-hop Jesus. Case is a very relatable rapper, whose biggest strengths are his hook writing and possessing a great production ear. Not to take away from his lyrics, however, as his flow is mad original, relaying deep subject matter. Thanks to his undeniable versatility, Case is someone I’d recommend to both old school heads and new school fans alike. One of my personal favorites, “Runnin’ Through My Mind,” is available above.
4. All City
All City is pure '90s underground New York boom-bap. Even though they have only released one album, the Brooklyn duo managed to snatch production from DJ Premier, and landed a top 3 rap single with “The Actual.” Their 1998 album, “Metropolitan Gold,” never saw such success, but after years of listening I honestly can’t see why. Catch them trading bars over a heavy boom-bap beat on “Xtreme.”
5. Petty (@Petty615)
Nashville emcee Petty is a southern rapper with a laid back, original style. Each of his songs brings a vibe reminiscent of summer nights and no worries – perfect for any time you need to take a break from the world. His voice is smooth as hell, not to mention it’s paired with a classic southern flow that makes for a solid jam each and every time. Check out one of my favorites, “New HD,” above.
6. Looptroop (@LooptroopDVSG)
Representing Sweden, Looptroop is without a doubt one of the best rap groups out of Europe. Each record in their arsenal is filled with wild rhymes, which are accompanied by a heavy head-nodding backdrop. You can certainly hear the competition among the members to be the best rapper on each track, as all three emcee’s make sure to bring nothing but top notch lyricism every time they step to the mic. Certified banger ”Four Elements” is featured above.
7. Non Phixion (@NonPhixionNYC)
Non Phixion, for those who love golden age boom bap hip-hop, deliver nothing but slick, witty lyrics over heavy DJ Premier-esque production. Not for the weak of heart, MC Serch and Ill Bill drop hardcore lyricism, truly painting pictures of the struggles they live on the day to day. If you're truly in the mood for a classic jam, check out (see above) their single “Rock Stars,” which is produced by DJ Premier himself.
There you have it, DJBooth; a first batch of dope emcees that you (probably) had not heard of before today.
I’m always looking for new music, so feel free to get at me on Twitter @A2ZAlecZisi with your suggestions. Until then, throw in your headphones and enjoy some real ass hip-hop.