Below are five rappers on the verge of changing hip hop over the next few years. If you’ve heard of one or all of them, then you already know. If you haven’t, then this is your opportunity to get in on the so-called “ground floor” so when they blow up you can tell your friends, “Man, I’ve been listening to that dude forever.”
1) Yelawolf - Alabama’s own is being touted as the next Eminem by many, though Em claims Yelawolf is unlike any other rapper out there. With a lightning tongue and a southern accent, Yelawolf is carving out a new sound in hip hop. With his debut album out later this year (Trunk Muzik: 0-60) on Ghet-o-vision Records (an imprint of Interscope), Wolf has been touring on the Rock the Bells tour and can be found on Big Boi’s solo album Sir Lucious Left Foot: The Son of Chico Dusty on the track “You Ain’t No DJ”. If you’re just now hearing of him, you’re probably too late. He’s on the cover of FADER MAGAZINE (out today).Â Click the link for a track from his mixtape Trunk Muzik.
Yelawolf ft. Bun B – Good to Go
2) Rhymefest - Fest looked to be on the cusp of super stardom four years ago when his album Blue Collar dropped. He had a grammy for writing Kanye West’s “Jesus Walks”, had Kanye on a track that screamed “#1 Single” in “Brand New”. He even sampled the oldies classic “Build Me Up”, carving the song into a love letter to ODB and heartbreak. Everything was going well, until the inevitable wheels fell off.Â The label claimed his tracks weren’t radio hits, he had arguments with Mark Ronson, etc (all of which he raps about on his mixtape Dangerous 5:18). However, Fest is resilitent. His new record El Che, released in June of this year, is the product of a new approach. Fest is no longer worried about what anyone thinks, he just wants to steal hip hop back. He succeeds with a show-stopping record, let’s just hope more people take notice. Below is a video he released for the song “Talk my Shit”. This is El Che’s revolution.
Rhymefest – Talk my Shit
3) Chiddy Bang – This duo has college enthusiasm to spare and beats that stretch a long way. On their mixtape The Swelly Express, they sample MGMT, Sufjan Stevens and others, to make some dangerously catchy hip hop. Don’t believe me? Black Thought from The Roots heard it and has taken the duo under his wing. While other “college” rappers are too involved with how much they love partying and beer pong, these guys are serious about their craft. Let’s just hope when the official record drops they get rid of all the ill conceived sketches. Their single might be the most clever hip hop track of the year.
Chiddy Bang – Opposite of Adults
4) Childish Gambino – Gambino, aka Donald Glover, aka Troy from NBC’s Community, is a cunning wordsmith, with an unusual delivery. While most will think these are joke tracks due to Glover’s comedy background, Glover is a legitimate rapper that deserves notice. Gambino is deeply introspective but with the power to battle anyone who crosses him. Don’t sleep on this one just because he’s on a hit network show, the talent is real. Oh and did I mention he makes his own beats? You can download his excellent mixtape, Culdesac, on his website for free (here).
Childish Gambino – I Be On That
5) B. Dolan – The former underground slam poet has transformed into a hip hop heavyweight while partnering up with mentor Sage Francis. His mixtape was a beautiful mess he recorded in a bomb shelter, which showcased his schizophrenic personality. The most interesting part of Dolan is his ability to make his listeners into active participants. Look up “Bombso Way” on Youtube and see exactly what Dolan is doing, stirring deep emotions inside of his viewers. The true genius of Sunken House, Fallen City is Dolan’s verbal capacity and lyricism. Dolan may not get big like the other four on this list, and that would be just fine with him. Don’t let him have his way, truly listen. He deserves your utmost respect and attention. Below are two tracks, one from his mixtape, the other from the debut album.
B. Dolan – Joan of Arcadia – from the mixtape The Failure
B. Dolan – Economy of Words (Bail it out) – from the album Fallen House, Sunken City