I've seen some countdowns and lists of different genres of music over the past few days, and I thought that would be a cool idea for us to do as well. Many lists were good and had some unique spins, but I feel there were some unsigned hip hop artists that were left off a lot of lists. The list below has no specific order, just the ones you should of been listening to in 2011 and to continue listening in the new year. A few of these artists already have tons of hype, others might be getting started, but each of these artists brought positives to the hip hop community.
Granted, I'm sure there are some I might have missed and ones that should make the list, but its hard to know about EVERY new artist out there. So please be kind.
e-dubble: This man had a big year even though his name might not be that well known. Hailing from Philly and now reppin' Baltimore, e-dubble is best described as "The Fucking Man." He produces all his tracks, spits some crazy verses, and knows how to make some catchy tunes. If you missed all the free music and other singles he dropped, I suggest to look him up. In 2011, he was featured on pretty much any blog that mattered and found a dedicated following on Facebook and his Youtube channel. Listen to "Changed My Mind" below.
Danny Brown: I'll admit, listening to Danny Brown is a little intimidating. The Detroit eccentric rapper has been around for a few years, but once he dropped his album XXX, shit sort of just popped off. Brown has his own unique style, voice, and approach, but when it comes down to it, his gritty lyrics are pretty bonkers. 2011 was only the start for Brown, 2012 is looking bright. Listen to the title track "XXX" below.
Action Bronson: The New York emcee with the Ghostface Killah-like voice, stormed the hip hop scene with classic style beats and a unique storytelling flow. Bronson sort of appeared on blogs one day with some heat and then next thing I know, the dude is everywhere. But he deserves the acknowledgement as he is bringing back that 90's type shit with a modern twist. Expect tons of music from Bronson in 2012. Listen to "Barry Horowitz" below.
A$AP Rocky: The moment I heard A$AP Rocky's "Purple Swag" a few months back, I totally wasn't feeling it. Then "Peso" dropped with that ridiculous beat and I've been hooked since. I think compared to some of the other rappers on this list, Rocky isn't quite up to the level, but he never said he was super lyrical. His confidence, his delivery, and superb beat selection make him a name to remember. His mixtape downloads went off the charts, expect more of this in 2012. Listen to "Peso" below.
G-Eazy: While the new generation of hip hop has been experimenting with indie jams and pop songs to sample, who has heard of some serious classic 50's style incorporated in hip hop? G-Eazy is from the West Coast, but his James Dean stature is something truly different. He has had some success like e-dubble with the major blogs, which has helped propel him to the next level. He produces a lot of his music as well and is always sharing free tunes. Expect big things from G-Eazy. Listen to "Runaround Sue" below.
Freddie Gibbs: Gangsta Gibbs has been grinding for a few years, but I think 2011 was the year that took him to a more recognizable level. He is one of the only artists left that really have that 90's gangsta era rap that was so popular. Gibbs deep voice and lyrics are enough to captivate any true hip hop head. His mixtape Cold Day in Hell is continuously being played. Listen to "Barely M.A.D.E. It" below.
Kendrick Lamar: For those who kept talking about hip hop being dead, true believers in the genre recognize the importance of West Coast emcee Kendrick Lamar. The young talent was slowly making a rise in the scene until 2011 hit and everyone sought new joints from him. Lamar is true hip hop and is what the game has been missing. His lyrics go further than the money and women, Lamar has a voice and it needs to be heard. His future is promising in 2012. Listen to "HiiiPOWER" below.
Das Racist: What can be said about this trio? Interesting, funny, and damn entertaining. At first, I feel like a lot of people didn't know how take these guys, myself included. Granted, some of their music I can't really listen to that often, but other jams I get real into. They are good rappers, but not everyone is going to like these guys. Whether you have positive or negative feelings about Das Racist, they were everywhere in 2011. Listen to "Brand New Dance" below.
Ground Up: You know I had to rep my Pennsylvania state with the rap duo known as Ground Up. I've been watching these guys closely in 2011 and their grind is like no other. They are literally on the verge of majorly blowing up, yet somehow, a lot of people sleep on these dudes. It feels like every week they are releasing free music or brand new videos. But you know what, that's what makes them so good. If they don't blow up in 2012, I'd be quite surprised. Listen to "Daps" below.
Big K.R.I.T: This southern emcee sort of blew up around the same time as Kendrick Lamar, and people were excited about where hip hop was going with these two. Just like some of others, K.R.I.T. also was producing and rapping for a few, but really people began taking notice in 2011. He has this ability to keep you interested in his bars, but not make you over think. His music will get your head moving and your car bumpin'. Listen to "Dreamin'" below.
Hoodie Allen: The ex-Google employee took his career to a different direction and pursued music. People love Hoodie, and why shouldn't they? He raps over samples that range from pop, indie, and more, but also can bring the party. His latest mixtape, Leap Year, took Hoodie to the next level and became one of our most popular posts. His music gets snagged up real quick and his videos are getting high numbers. This unsigned artist will be a fixture in 2012 to keep an eye on. Listen to "The Chase is On" below.
XV: If you didn't see XV's name floating around, then you weren't following hip hop music too closely. XV has been under the radar for a few years, which is unfortunate. But I'd say he has made some serious stride in being recognize. His videos and songs get tons of hits. More recently, his song "Awesome" was featured in a commercial getting his music out for more to hear. I'd say its about time XV becomes the next big thing in hip hop, here is to 2012 being his year as well. Listen to "When We're Done" below.
The Dean's List
Mr. Muthafuckin eXquire