20 Apr JACK’S MUSIC CORNER: REGIONALITY OF HIP-HOP
If there’s one thing that has defined hip-hop since the 90s it has been its regionalism. From the East vs West battles between Death Row and Bad Boy during the 90s to trap music’s rise from being a staple of the South to topping Billboard, each region and city has its own sound and vibe. For this music corner, I wanted to take a look at some of the up-and-coming artists from different cities and regions around the US.
DavidTheTragic – DavidTheTragic is one of my favourite artists out of Atlanta right now. His production is all over the place with drums kind of scattered around the beat but never quite on top of it. However, when he starts rapping in his gravelly voice it somehow ties it all together. Songs like “matter/marry” and “Ayeyuh” are two of my favourites by DavidtheTragic and showcase the groove that he brings to his songs.
Ken Car$on – One of the artists in this new wave that has taken heavy inspiration from SoundCloud era artists such as Playboi Carti and Lil Uzi Vert. Ken Car$on is signed to Carti’s imprint and in my opinion, looks like someone who could take Playboi Carti’s mantle as Carti pushes into the punk-trap realm. Ken Car$on has kept dropping extremely catchy tracks such as “Teen X Babe,” “High as Sh!t” and “Yale.”
MICHIGAN (DETROIT + FLINT)
Rio Da Young OG – Flint-native, Rio has been one of my favourite artists of the year so far. I only started listening to music out of Detroit and Flint more recently but out of that whole wave Rio has impressed me. His flow and voice fit the vibe of the instrumentals he chooses perfectly. After getting a co-sign from Lil Yachty, Rio’s music could make it to the mainstream unfortunately Rio is locked up until 2024 but he released a lot of music before going away for listeners to enjoy. If you want to dive into Rio I would suggest “Movie” ft Louie Ray and “Practice”.
Sada Baby – Another rapper out of the new wave of Michigan, Sada Baby first got big attention for his music video for “Bloxk Party” which dropped on WorldStar in 2018 but I first started listening to him after I heard his verses on BfB Da Packman’s “Free Joe Exotic.” Sada has this rough voice combined with his energy on the mic and in his adlibs that makes his songs so fun to listen to. Although he’s been putting up numbers for a while, I think he could make a push to the mainstream with just the energy he brings to each song he’s on.
BBYKodie – I’ve talked about BBYKodie before in my articles but never about his come up. Born in Louisiana, Kodie moved to Houston at a young age. He started rapping in high school with his friend (now rapper HVN) and it’s taken off for him. With an album in the pipe right now and a re-release of all his SoundCloud projects on to streaming services, Kodie has been releasing new music frequently as of late. What attracted me to Kodie’s music however were his beats which are all self-produced. The beats tend to come at you in unexpected ways but bring more intensity each time. Combo that with Kodie just gloating over all the tracks and it’s a recipe for hits.
Diego Money – Diego Money has been around for a while now having first blown up during the original SoundCloud era of 2016-17 and even landing a music video with one of underground hip-hop’s biggest names Cole Bennett for his song “Blue and Green”. Diego Money brings a super chill vibe to all his tracks thanks to his smooth voice and his collaborations with GOATed SoundCloud producers StoopidXool and MexikoDro. Although it hasn’t popped for him yet, I could see him making a surge out of the underground again especially with the attention the underground has been getting recently. Some of my favourites by Diego Money have to be “JUUGRICH” with MexikoDro and his collab “Gotta Blast” with Tay-K and Bandman Fari.
Teezo Touchdown – Teezo Touchdown is probably the most unique artist on this list. His fashion, creative direction and music defy what is regular about the artists in the genre. With nails all through his hair, Teezo is a refreshing figure. His songs spread several genres such as “Social Cues” which is more of an indie jam, “Strong Friend” which is a ballad to those in your life who are always there for you and “Technically” which is a more traditional hip-hop/RnB love song. With a co-sign from Tyler the Creator for “Strong Friend” I wouldn’t be surprised that in the future we will be hearing more about him.
Bat Boy Bankie – Bat Boy Bankie is one of the more lowkey artists coming out of Florida that I could’ve talked about with only 7500 Spotify listeners, but I think he deserves the mention. With a unique style and flow, Bankie surprises me on all his tracks. My favourite track by Bankie has to be “Wake Up” which opens with a soft guitar lullaby sung by Bankie before falling apart into a crazy club shaking beat with Bankie flexing for the rest of the track. Some other good tracks by him include “Jame$ Bond” and “Safe”
PyroThePoet – Pyro is another more low-key but just as talented artist from Florida but I think she should be closer to the mainstream than she happens to be. With only 998 monthly listeners on Spotify, she has a small following but I think her songs sound more like they should be topping Billboard than being resigned to Florida. Her tracks “Soldiers At War,” “She Got It,” “Groupies” and “Scars” are all amazing ballads about life on the streets. Pyro’s voice combined with the luscious beats sets the perfect scene for what she’s talking about on her tracks. I hope that she’ll be rising to the top sooner rather than later.
CMMND – CMMND is an LA/Bay Area-based art collective made up of rappers okaycoleman!, Seiji Oda and sleepyboybryan as well as other artists, designers and videographers. With a more traditional West Coast bounce combined with dream-like production from
AG CLUB – AG Club has been on the up and up since their song “Memphis” from their Halfway Off the Porch project blew up and received a remix from A$AP Ferg and NLE Choppa. The group is an art collective made up of young people from the Bay Area and have taken on a BROCKHAMPTON kind of vibe. A lot of their music could be classified as hip-hop but it’s a lot more ambiguous than that. Songs like “SNÆKS” and “Hngover” are more reminiscent of alternative while tracks like “Memphis” and “Brass” sound more traditionally like hip-hop.
MaxThaDemon – I found out about MaxThaDemon at the start of last year and have been keeping my eyes out for his new releases since. Max brings a crazy flow and aggression which is one of the most unique in the New York drill scene. A
EDot Babyy – One of the youngest rappers to come out of the New York drill wave, 15-year-old EDot Babyy has proven what it takes to compete sonically with some of the bigger acts out of the city with tracks such as “Ride the O,” “James Bond” and “Ready 4 War.” With how the drill wave appears to be going, I can see EDot making a name for himself in New York, especially with so much ahead of him.
Hatesonny – Hatesonny was an artist I found out about recently, but he has impressed me with his music. He’s shown he can be versatile no matter the instrumental with some songs sounding like Chicago drill while others sound like some old school New York tracks.
Lucki – Lucki has been a favourite for a time in the underground for a while now. Lucki has been pushing his sound year on year and has evolved into a potential tastemaker in the trap scene. His sound has a crazy vibe to it with ethereal instrumentals and lowkey flows that put his songs right in the pocket.
EST Gee – With both Bryson Tiller and Jack Harlow hailing from Louisville, Kentucky EST Gee is not in bad company. Having worked with Harlow previously as well as artists such as 42 Dugg, EST Gee is positioning himself to take to the mainstream. With a brash trap sound, EST Gee is capitalizing on the new wave of artists from the streets
FEATURED IMAGE GRAPHIC BY DREW LITOWITZ (From left: Sada Baby, Boldy James, Rio Da Yung OG, and Dej Loaf.)