5 Underground Hip-Hop Releases to Carry You Through 2016
As far as hip-hop goes, 2016 has been overwhelmingly front-loaded. We’re less than halfway through the year, and we’ve already seen releases from Kanye, King Kendrick, Drake, and Queen Bey. But, as our TIDAL trial subscriptions whittle down, this overwhelming rush of G.O.O.D. music threatens to leave us musically malnourished for the rest of the year. Sure, we could set our clocks to grime time and vibe to Skepta. And we’re lucky enough to be blessed by Chance the Rapper‘s third free mixtape later this week. But what then? Do we wait haplessly in the corner, scratching off the days until Frank Ocean finally releases his album?
Luckily, there is a treasure trove of music to be uncovered in the hip-hop underground. One needs only patience, a SoundCloud account, and an appropriately stanky face. Here are just 5 artists with projects that’ll keep the bass boomin’ through December.
The Last Artful, Dodgr’s “Squadron” Might Give You A Nosebleed
The Last Artful, Dodgr delivers her verses with a smirk, a cool-headed confidence that you’d expect from an artist named after one of Oliver Twist‘s young thieves. The Portland by-way-of L.A. emcee’s nasal cadence on “Squadron” brings to mind Missy Elliott, as she spoons over a spacious, industrial beat pushing “A Milli” snares. The single is her first declaration for the year–she told Pigeons and Planes she has a series of releases in the works.
Nessly is Forever 21 on “The Sky”
No, Nessly is not modeling the latest in fast fashion for Forever 21, although he does look at-home modeling with a crown of roses and a mustard thermal for his freshly released mixtape, Still Finessin. Instead, the Lil’ Yachty affiliate (see the red cornrows?) celebrates his 21st birthday by confessing that he’s been drinking this whole time. Brooklyn-born, Georgia-raised, Nessly closely approximates the auto-tuned style popularized by peers like Young Thug and Future Hendrix. It’s a formula for success. Heads won’t stop nodding.
Onry Ozzborn’s Supercut of “Duo” Brings an Army of Indie Greats
Onry Ozzborn may not have much name recognition, but the Seattle-based rapper has been quietly releasing classics since 2003, through collaborative projects such as Grayskul and Dark Time Sunshine. For duo, released early this February, Ozzborn embraced his collaborative discography, creating a solo album brimming with features. The result is an album full of surprises, with underground greats like Aesop Rock and P.O.S. (who also have two great 2016 releases) alongside a feminist legend, Kimya Dawson of The Moldy Peaches. The album is visually realized via a Soundlapse-directed supercut that distills the LP’s best moments into a 15-minute audio/visual onslaught.
Tommy Genesis Presents an Ode to Art Hoes
Awful Records has built an empire around pared down, sexed up hip-hop, a model that signee Tommy Genesis easily slides into. The Vancouver-based rapper drops bars in a sultry whisper. “It’s that art ho swag,” she repeats for the hook as the synths go off on desi-influenced runs. The darkly sexual single will likely land on her upcoming World Vision 2 album. In the meantime, we’ll figure out whether it’s spelled art ho, art hoe, or art heaux. At this time, UrbanDictionary offers no definitive answers.
Stew in Love Lost with Kweku Collins’ “Ego Killed Romance”
Sadboys, #based, cloud rap–the trend of deep web rap genres reveal an affinity for slowed down, emotionally raw hip-hop. Kweku Collins doesn’t quite fit into any of those aforementioned genres–his discography could be a forgotten collection of dubby ’90s hip-hop–but the emotional honesty is felt in full-force. His latest LP, Nat Love, brings trippy, tropical meditations on love, with tracks like “Death of A Salesman,” and “Ego Killed Romance.” Pairs well with chilled rosé and gram of White Widow.
Cover image via JMP/Dazed Digital.
Stay tuned to Milk for more SoundCloud greats.