Hip-Hop is very much alive and breathing in this present day, with many artists making big impacts across the entire music landscape. As the genre grows, the hope for quality and innovation becomes easier to expect. Hip-Hop is as big as it ever has been, stretching to mainstream audiences it previously didn’t see as much. The culture, the style, the progress of the music, the mixing is all evolving and changing. Naturally, all of this excites me; it shows that the genre will continue to prosper.
2013 was no exception to this. It was a great year for Hip-Hop, and anyone who says otherwise clearly wasn’t paying attention. Whether topping the chart, or making waves on the underground circuit, catchy music was plentiful. This particular article focuses on the latter: the “hungry” artists ready to make an impact. It was a tough choice, as there are many more than 5 that I liked.
Anyways, here goes the Top 5 Hungry Artists of 2013 (in no particular order). Make sure to check them all out, all of them are playlist worthy. Ronzo guaranteed.
1. Audio Push
These West-Coast MCs are some of my new favorites. I’ve been playing this Come as You Are mixtape quite frequently, ever since The Smoking Section put me on to them. Talented lyricism mixed with catchy hooks and well-produced beats is a perfect recipe for Hip-Hop success. These guys have it all: Hit-Boy produced beats, great video direction, cosigns and features from popular artists in the industry (such as T.I. and Wale), and the comraderie from other Hungry Artist honorable mentions, Joey Bada$$ and Vic Mensa. These guys are doing it, and doing it well. Look for them in 2014, and take a listen to Come as You Are before everyone else notices them. The hipster in you is begging to brag about it.
2. Schoolboy Q
TDE this, TDE that. The Hip-Hop game at this point should just be referred to as the TDE version. It’s well deserved though, don’t think for two seconds it’s not. Kendrick Lamar has everyone’s attention. He’s getting magazine covers, dominating awards shows, and becoming a pop culture icon. The success is benefitting all the members of the label, but I understand the frustration from being overlooked as a group. It was fair for Ab-Soul to get upset about the infamous XXL cover that referred to Black Hippy as “Kendrick Lamar and Black Hippy“. Jay Rock has been gaining notoriety for quite some time, Ab-Soul is on the way up, and suddenly the homie Schoolboy Q has everyone’s attention. “Collard Greens” is a radio smash hit, catching airwaves (hah) across the country. Oxymoron is set to drop February 25th, and the hype for it makes sense. His ability to make catchy music has been legit ever since the heavily praised Setbacks release that made him a household name to the Hip-Hop heads across the world.
You already know there’s gonna be a whole LOT of TDE in 2014. All members of Black Hippy are due for another release, as well as newcomers to the label: Isaiah Rashad and SZA. Anthony “Top Dawg” Tiffith himself promised six releases from the label in 2014.
Q is next in line for success in the Top Dawg dynasty, and I don’t see many other artists on the West Coast competing with that.
3. Mac Miller
2013 was an important year for Mac. It signified his status as one of the top Hip-Hop artists currently doing his thing. It was the year that proved Blue Slide Park was just the beginning for his evolution of songwriting. A lot happened for Mac, even though he generally had a reasonably quiet year musically.
Watching Movies with the Sound Off was one of the best albums of the year, and he found success with a reality show about him and his crew on MTV2. Mac has made it big time, and this year proved it . People who generally aren’t rap fans are starting to know who Mac Miller is. That’s still a little weird for me. I’m used to the K.I.D.S./Best Day Ever era, and I was also in the category of people who were not impressed with Blue Slide Park.
What impressed me the most from him was his ease into accepting his train-of-thought flow as his main method. K.I.D.S. was more about his life and who he was as a person, and Best Day Ever followed the same formula. At this point in his life, though, he’s done a lot of things that many people can’t really relate to. His train-of-thought flow and laid-back attitude has always been an important part of his musicianship, and keeping it as his go-to was an intelligent decision. Mix that with the fact his lyricism and rhyming capability has improved tremendously.
Revisiting Watching Movies with the Sound Off is a good decision.
4. The Doppelgangaz
Lyrical head-nodding grimy boom bap East Coast Hip-Hop is the best way to describe The Doppelgangaz. Their music is something straight out of the late 90’s, and I couldn’t love it more. Oh, and did I mention that they make their own beats? Many of the songs off Beats for Brothels have made their way around cypher sessions with the crew. Quite a talented group, these Doppelgangaz.
I expect them to be making moves on the underground circuit in 2014, they really seem to have a lot of potential. If you’re into grimy-type underground style, give their most recent release HARK a listen.
5. Dizzy Wright
Dizzy’s already been written about here on Ronzo’s Word, on a Monday Grooves post awhile back. The Golden Age was one of my favorite projects of the year, and it was surprising to see him get a head start on Funk Volume label frontman Hopsin. Plus, he’s a Michigan native. Can’t go wrong with that. Being from Flint, he joins the fray with Jon Connor as two extremely talented rappers coming out of that city. The mitten has talent!
Dizzy, along with Hopsin, represents a strong force represented by the likes of Funk Volume in 2014. Solid projects this year could put them in the running of top label.
HONORABLE MENTIONS: Joey Bada$$, King Los (that “Control” response was an eye-opener), Astro, Casey Veggies, Problem