It’s an exciting time an hip-hop right now, and I think there is a lot of attention on who the next crop odf hot rappers is going to be. There’s a lot of attention focused on young rappers, and I think that has to do with the success of 25-year old Kendrick Lamar (who had the number 2 selling album the week his ‘Good Kid, MAAD City’ album came out, eclipsed only by Taylor Swift) and also by the success of Odd Future, a posse that includes 18-year old Earl Sweatshirt, and 21-year old Tyler, the Creator. How young is young? for the purposes of this article I’d say teens to mid 20s.
Tarik -Everything I Am
Tarik is a young dude who’s spent most of his life in Brooklyn and Queens, where he graduated from an arts high school with a diploma in the field of drama/acting. He started rapping seriously after the money situation made it too difficult to finish college at St. Thomas Aquinas college, where he completed 3 semesters. In terms of subject matter, he makes me think of what Common would be writing if he were a young man now. Everything I am, borrows a beat from Kanye, but I think that Tarik’s delivery and content outshine Mr. West’s. This song blows me away. Tarik has a message I can get behind, and this song may just have to go on any list I might make of slightly downbeat, self-reflective raps.
Aziz – My Own World
Aziz has done more videos that I’ve been able to find than anyone else on this list, and they are all solid. It’s hard to believe that this guy isn’t signed. Aziz also did videos that are labelled as ‘the 1990s’ and ‘the 2000s’ where he raps over some of the iconic beats of those eras, and those are both worth checking out.
Joey Badass -Hardknock
Of all these guys, Joey Badass is the one I discovered first. I first saw an interview video with him, and then I saw the video Survival Tactics with Capital STEEZ, which is on a P.O.S./Doomtree “burn everything and riot” kind of thing. Joey has released a album/mixtape called 1999, and everything I’ve heard off of it is straight. Joey Badass, and his crew, Pro Era, are a step above the rest of these young MCs because they have developed a signature sound when it comes to picking beats, by choosing ones that are off the beaten path. Joey’s mixtape 1999 features beats by MF Doom and by J Dilla, and beats by others, including some reminiscent of Madlib. You can say what you want about the Odd Future crew (Tyler the Creator, Earl Sweatshirt, Hodgy Beats, MellowHype, etc.) and you can say they have gotten where they are largely by applying the shock-rock thing to hip hop, but you have to admit that their beats sound different than anybody else’s. Do you want other songs worth checking out by Joey Bada$$? ‘Survival Tactics’, and ‘Waves’ are both solid.
Teejay -See Me Now
The song ‘See Me Now’ matches a stirring, insistent vocal delivery with a dance-y beat a la Lupe Fiasco’s Lasers. I think I love the video, in large part, because it shows off Chicago, my favorite city in the world. Teejay seems really green in some ways, so I’m interested to see where he goes in a few years. There’s a few lines in here I especially like, such as “we on the rise like Lebron’s hairline” and “no holds barred till I get a black card”.