The Best Artists You Should Be Listening To
Drake and Rihanna get a lot of love, but who doesn’t get enough?
The modern age is one filled with music. Everywhere you look, you see posters of some famous singer, from Drake to Zayn, representing their newest clothing line. But in today’s world, we tend to overlook some other artists trying to move up the chain. Many artists are at the bottom of the pile, struggling to get their name out as the radio stations are dominated by pop hits. Unless you have specialized satellite radio stations, you’re very unlikely to hear new music releases from up and coming artists.
Becoming famous is definitely a process. Not everyone is an Eminem, who drops one album and is instantly a megastar. Most famous artists reach stardom through years of hard work. Take Kendrick Lamar, who had to release two mixtapes along with two less than optimal albums before finally breaking through with good kid m.A.A.d city. There are hundreds of artists who are underappreciated, but there are some that deserve special recognition.
A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie
A Boogie, A Boogie, A Boogie. This man is like if you took hype as a feeling, and coalesced it into a human form. Coming out of The Bronx, Boogie has had his share of heartache. His first mixtape came from his breakup with a girlfriend, whom he found was pregnant with someone else’s child. “She was playing mind games with me,” Boogie said. “I thought it was mine.” He attributes the feeling of the mixtape, Artist, to that heartbreak. Although it has hype songs such as “My Shit” and “Trap House,” the tape also bears a plethora of emotion-filled songs. The most prominent of these is “D.T.B. (Don’t Trust Bitches),” a heart-wrenching song about how he no longer has trust in his life for women, because he believes they’ll cheat on him. Boogie is reinventing the New York hip-hop sound, and he knows it. Giving him a listen would definitely be worth your time, especially for these looking for a new voice.
Another New Yorker, this time hailing from Brooklyn, Devvon Terrell is a rising star in the R&B scene. Terrell claims that good music “comes from a place that is insightful, meaningful, and modern.” He also states that this place is where he “lives and sleeps.” Terrell started as a cover artist, and still stays true to those roots, remixing hit songs such as “Black Beatles,” “Panda,” and “One Dance.” However, unlike many cover artists, he manages to make these songs better than their original renditions, even garnering attention from Chris Brown on one project. No matter your speed, Terrell has songs for everyone, from slower ballads to all-out rap. He’s become one of my favorite artists, and he’s definitely worth the listen.
Oh, man. This guy can go off. K.A.A.N., coming out of Maryland, has the ability to rap so fast that nobody on earth can truly match him, bar Twisted Insane (I’d include Twista here, but he hasn’t really been in the mainstream since the 90’s). For starters, take a look at his remix of Eminem’s “Rap God.” Now any sane human being would shake their head at most anybody to try and match Em on this song, let alone an underground rapper they’ve never heard of. But statistically, in some aspects, K.A.A.N. beat out Eminem. The original “Rap God” currently holds the record for most words in a song with 1,560. K.A.A.N.’s rendition has 1,732, and also beats the original in words per minute. But words don’t do it justice at all, just give him a listen.
Heading out west, we can find Anderson .Paak, an artist whose upbeat styles landed him on the XXL Freshman Class of 2016. His debut album, Malibu, was wildly successful, with the single “Come Down,” even garnering attention from the NBA. However, his biggest victory came late 2016, when he was nominated for not one, but two Grammys. “I think the journey is the reward,” .Paak said, “Winning a Grammy would always help me remember what it took to get something this special done.” .Paak’s feel-good attitude would be a great addition to any playlist, especially if you enjoy over-the-top R&B.
It has long been a tradition for large urban areas to produce great rappers, seeing as how they’re surrounded by art and artists, but who would’ve thought Milwaukee could pump out a future rap star? IshDARR has this jello-y cadence to his raps that sounds like the way a ‘98 Toyota Sienna bumps around. Not only that, but the man can do it live. In 2014, at 17 years old, he dropped his first EP, The Better Life, and quickly gained attention. A few months later, he was signed to EMPIRE. Last year, he gained attention after Chloë Grace Moretz tweeted his single “Too Bad,” stating, “Ooh, I feel.” And she isn’t wrong. Too Bad has to be my favorite song out of any mentioned on this list, and even if you don’t listen to Ish’s entire discography, this song is worth your time.
Oakland native Kamaiyah Johnson is gangsta rap’s rising female star. While most of mainstream rap moves towards (back to?) party anthems, Kamaiyah is keeping to the thug roots of Oakland hip-hop, pairing with YG to increase this reputation. She released her debut, A Good Night In the Ghetto, in March of 2016, and shot up the charts, earning critical acclaim as one of the year’s best albums. She signed with Interscope later that year, granting her access to some of the world’s greatest musical minds, such as Kendrick Lamar, Schoolboy Q, and Tory Lanez. She was finally taken on by Oakland rap legend E-40 on his newest album, The D-Boy Diary, cementing her future as a part of O-Town rap.