With infinite SoundCloud rappers emerging every day, it can be difficult to navigate through the bullshit and find the best up and coming talent. To expedite your search for good music and give these artists some well-deserved credit, I’ve compiled a list of three up and coming rappers to keep your eye on. If you love hip hop and are getting tired of hearing the same rotation, give these guys a listen.
Hailing from the hip-hop powerhouse of the South, J.I.D’s Atlanta roots shine in his music. The 27-year-old rapper combines meticulous lyricism and flows with a captivating personality in a way closely reminiscent of a young Kendrick Lamar.
Having only recently discovered J.I.D when he was selected as a 2018 XXL freshman, I didn’t get a chance to listen to his debut LP The Never Story until this year. I was floored after one listen. Sitting at a tight 12 tracks and 39:51, The Never Story is a concise window into J.I.D’s versatility as a songwriter, rapper, and singer. Tied together with stellar Dreamville in-house production including beats from J. Cole on “D/vision” and “LAUDER”, J.I.D has my attention and absolutely deserves at least a moment of yours.
Notable Bar: “How you feel about me don’t matter like black lives/nothing even matters dog I heard that when I was five/that’s around the same time my big brother had shown me his 9 and let me hold it, literally what I call a 9 to 5”
In his own words, Lou the Human’s music is “the thin line between genius and crazy.” With provocative lyricism and dark instrumentals, this Staten Island rapper stylistically resembles a heavily sedated (Pre-Encore) Eminem.
His debut project, Humaniac, is 10 tracks and 45 minutes of relentless charisma and wordplay. While much of the production is borrowed from other songs, Lou’s revolving door of personalities and extremely creative lyrical tangents make each track hypnotizing. Lou’s Quasimoto-esque spastic vocal layering and adlibs add texture and make his verses uniquely conversational. While Lou the Human remains relatively out of the spotlight at the moment, he is one of hip-hop’s best-kept secrets. Expect big things in the coming years.
What started as an XBOX Live party among friends who liked to freestyle, YBN has evolved into one of the most popular hip-hop collectives seemingly overnight. Widely regarded as the most lyrically gifted of the group, YBN Cordae has quickly separated himself as a creative force.
My first impression of the rapper was with his remix of J. Cole’s “1985”. What struck me about this track, aside from the razor-sharp wordplay, was Cordae’s extremely well-articulated frustrations as a young rapper in a world of judgemental old heads.
It’s refreshing to hear a 20-year-old emcee with such well thought out and cleverly worded rebuttals, compared to an iconic rapper like J. Cole. Beyond the “1985” remix, Cordae has consistently released sharp and creative singles and music videos that have amassed millions of views. Though he has yet to release a debut commercial album, I expect Cordae to find sustained mainstream success very soon.
Notable Bar: “Other idols they be broke, get your funds in order and/Kanye West is a Trump supporter then/we got R Kelly and Bill Cosby/who probably still got lil girls in the hills lobby/and these supposed to be our heroes? Negro please/old n*ggas unreliable like D-Rose knees”