Six months after publishing 5 Rappers You Need To Know, the five rappers have gone on to be in XXL’s Freshman 2011 class, tour constantly, release new videos, sign with Eminem, and so on. Though I had nothing to do with their success, I felt a connection to all five. Below are five more, cracking the surface, some a little closer to super stardom than others, but all worth your time.
1) Jon Connor (All Varsity Entertainment) – Hailing from Flint, Michigan, Connor is right on the edge of superstardom, making a believer out of everyone he encounters. Already on the bandwagon are such heavyweights Nas and Busta Rhymes. I encountered Connor when he opened for Yelawolf at S.O.B.’s in New York and he proceeded to raise the bar for the rest of the emcees following. The following month found his mixtape “Jon Connor as Vinnie Chase: Season One” in heavy rotation (download). I became a cheerleader for Connor, telling everyone who would listen about him, letting the skill speak for itself. While our lives and upbringing could not be more different, I feel connected to him in his drive for his dream. Follow him on twitter here.
2) STS – AKA Sugar Tongue Slim. Slim, a moniker from his days growing up in Atlanta, and Sugar Tongue, a character from his poetry he cultivated while living in Philadelphia. STS decided to call his series of mixtapes, Demand More, in an effort to get hip hop fans to demand more from their rappers. Not to be a hypocrite, STS demands more of his listeners and his flows. Not settling with the mundane, STS falls in line with the other rappers on this list as a mover and a shaker, proving to anyone willing to listen, there is a lot more going on in hip hop than hits the radio. This is music to change your soul. Download Demand More 2 here.
3) Homeboy Sandman – You’re in good hands when an emcee can release an album titled Actual Factual Pterodactyl. Hailing from Elmhurst, New York, this Queens native went to high school in New Hampshire and college in Philadelphia. This moving around helped shape who Sandman would become as a rapper. Those looking for hard edged gangsta rap, should probably look somewhere else. But those in search of hyper-literate wordsmiths, who spit out clever reimaginings of hip hop phrases such as “I’m not a Dentist, I just brush a lot,” look no further. Lest you think Sandman a bit too gimmicky, the skill is real, as demonstrated below.
4) YC the Cynic – This Bronx, New York native wants to not only bring hip hop back to the Bronx, he wants to change his community for the better. As part of the Rebel Diaz Arts Collective, he’s teamed up with a group of artists and individuals looking to give back to their neighborhood. If this were all he was doing, YC would still be of note. That he is an insanely talented emcee, makes him that much more notable. An intelligent rapper with a bit of an edge, help him bridge the gap between nerd-rap and the harder stuff. For the nice price of $5, you can download his Fall FWD mixtape here.
5) PackFM – Sure he’s been around for the better part of the decade, but he still flies under the radar. His latest album, I F*cking Hate Rappers, was one of the best hip hop albums of 2010, showing other emcees what they’re missing: the ability to take a real look at the genre and have a sense of humor about it. Hip Hop isn’t all “money, clothes and hoes.” Rappers is one of the few hip hop albums critical of a genre and doing something about the state of it, while still being true to its roots. Follow him on Twitter.