It all started out as a bet, of sorts. Maybe more like a challenge. In 2014, when a previously unknown artist is being called the next big superstar after their first YouTube video, how "new" can you really get? Just like it's (nearly) impossible to come up with a Google search that yields only one result, is it even possible to find an artist with "Under 1K" Twitter followers, Soundcloud streams, YouTube views, Facebook likes, etc? And better yet, is it possible to find an Under 1K artist who's any good?
Turns out, yeah, it is pretty fuckin' possible. So much so that we are going to make this a regular thing. Finding those needles in a haystack of "0 to 100" freestyles and bringing them to your doorstep is what I live for and I'm excited to do this bi-monthly. So let's get right into it shall we?
Tino(@hiphoptino) 261 Followers
If you were a RefinedHype regular and now a loyal member of DJBooth Nation, than you already know the deal. Tino is family! Tino is the genius behind the theme song for the "This Week In Hype" podcast, A.K.A the greatest theme song since Saved By The Bell. You might think this is some bullshit ass homerism, giving a close internet friend some love, but trust me, Tino is a better rapper than you...and he has under 1K errythang! In addition to a dope ear for beats, Tino has a really unique flow. Not only is it powerful and raspy, but the passion in his voice is tangible. So yeah, Tino is family, but he's only family because he's a real dude with real talent. Normally he can be found in our comment section, but now it's time to show his well made, heartfelt, and relatable work some love in this feature's comment section! Check out all his music over on at hiphoptino.com.
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Porter Ray (@porterbeplayin) 876 Followers
Independent. Seattle-based. Really great beat selection. Under 1,000 errythang. No, it's not Macklemore (who is approaching 2.5 million followers). It's Porter Ray! Though he is still very much undiscovered, I was amazed at his organization. Porter has a great website, ample social media outlets, and seems very put together. It might not seem like a big deal, but I can't tell you how many times a day I come across someone immensely talented who just doesn't have their shit straight, which makes it impossible to feature them and is just very frustrating. Half of the battle is being professional and Porter has that down; he is more organized than some emcees with verified Twitter accounts.
Perhaps that's because he was recently signed to the legendary Seattle label Sub Pop. No big deal, only one of the most legendary indie labels (ever heard of a little band called Nirvana?). On top of all that his music is really interesting. Porter has a higher-pitched flow which, paired along with some great, jazzy instrumentals, should resonate well with the smokers out there. While it works well with his sound, his flow take some adjusting to, but it helps that his lyrics are on point. The way he seamlessly dances around tongue twisting bars is his most impressive function and is what sold me on his work. To grab his recent project, Fundamentals, hop on over to BandCamp or his already talked about, impressive website porterray.com.
brandon*(@EyeLoveBrandon) 550 Followers
Per usual, I like to switch things up and include someone who isn't a rapper (but is still under 1K). After all, variety is the spice of life. This edition's variety comes in the form of a stellar instrumental project from a producer by the name of brandon*. Dig Nujabes? Then you are going to want to take a listen to his Dreamscape project. Now, I'm not saying he's up there with one of the greatest producers ever to grace the boards, but his smooth, feathery, jazzy style is eerily similar. Sometimes, I like to put on an instrumental album and just relax and vibe out, but there are other times I get bored--there isn't always enough diversity and substance to keep me enthused, but brandon* does a great job of creating a consistent sound while not replicating the same beat 10 times over. This album is good for the soul! Take a listen to the full project via his BandCamp.
[Lucas Garrison is a writer for DJBooth.net. His favorite album is “College Dropout,” but you can also tweet him your favorite Migos songs at @LucasDJBooth.]