We’re blessed to have a Transatlantic correspondent/connect here at THE6BY6, and the dude is plugged in on both sides of the ocean. There’s a guy in every group of friends that puts you on to new shit more than everyone else, and the author of this post (Jacob L, aka Ya Boy) is undoubtedly one of those guys. We’ve been sitting on this one for a while so you’ll probably know a few of these cats – regardless, there’s some certified bangers in here that definitely deserve your attention. Peep the list below and lend your ears to 6 US Hip-Hop artists that are in the process of blowing up:
An unusual player in today’s hip-hop game, LA native and Atlanta transplant ILoveMakonnen bridges the gap between RnB and Atlanta trap rap with his love it or hate it vocals that fluctuate from rapping, to soulful falsetto to deep tenor, often within the same song.
Late summer 2013 hit “Tuesday” propelled him into the mainstream hip-hop consciousness, whilst a Drake/OVO collab and signing has bolstered his prominence. Instrumentals are provided by a strong lineup of established Atlanta producers such as MetroBooming, SonnyDigital, DJ Spinz and 808 Mafia whom he was introduced to through Mike Will.
Proving not to be a one hit wonder and showing diversity with unexpected collabs such as with Vampire Weekend’s Ezra Koenig and New York MC and Smart Crew affiliate Despot, Makonnen looks to have a promising future in the rap game.
A 22 year old rapper from Hackensack New Jersey (also Dame Dash’s nephew), Da$h’s music is characterised by drugged addled, woozy flows over a variety of slowed-down syrup soaked beats and crawling 808 soundscapes courtesy of Larry Fisherman (Mac Miller’s alter-ego) and Theolonious Martin amongst others.
This track featuring Da$h’s NJ partner in crime, Retch, and TDE’s conscious-yet-effortlessly cool heavyweight Ab-Soul, perfectly highlights his narcotic, braggadocios, post-adolescent flow over a minimal but perfectly layered beat from RandomBlackDude, the producer alter-ego of Odd Future’s Earl Sweatshirt.
The yin to Da$h’s yang, Retch, aka Retchy P(orter), also a Hackensack NJ native, covers broadly the same content as his musical cohort and childhood friend Da$h, while bringing a darker, static, more biting flow akin to 90s NY rappers such as Mobb Deep. Retch’s latest full-length release, Polo Sporting Goods, sees him lyrically glide over heavily sampled beats that are equal parts soulful, gritty and classically East-Coast (entirely courtesy of Thelonious Martin) and delve into his favourite topics such as hustling, prescription drugs, exotic women, and perhaps most notably, vintage Ralph Lauren gear, drawing comparisons to other Lo-Life MCs such as Long Island powerhouse Roc Marciano.
Retch’s latest video, “Amedei Porcelana” (named after the world’s most expensive bar of chocolate) serves as a precursor to his album “Finesse the World” and shows Retch rip into the sinister piano loop while detailing his lawless exploits and penchant for the finer things in life. If proof of Mr. Porter’s street cred is needed, one need look no further than his Instagram page (@retchyp), where he can be seen smoking blunts with cab drivers, constantly pouring up codeine syrup and randomly letting guns off in the middle of public streets.
Straight out of Atlanta’s gritty Zone 3, Bankroll Fresh could be misjudged as a newcomer, with his 2014 mixtape Life of a Hot Boy quickly becoming a street classic, however, Bankroll’s first feature can be traced all the way back to Gucci Mane’s 2007 mixtape “EA SportsCentre”. Life of a Hot Boy is, in one word, unrelenting. With bass-heavy, hammering beats provided by Southern trap guru Zaytoven amongst others, Bankroll’s merciless, pounding flow stands out on street anthems such as “Show em how to do it” and the Cassius J produced “Hot Boy”, which references the original Cash Money Hot Boys, Juvenile and Weezy, whom Bankroll often pays homage to. With comparisons to Young Jeezy’s certified street classic Thug Motivation 101, and unexpected co-signs from artists such as Dizzee Rascal, Bankroll could be on track to become Atlanta’s next hood superstar.
Formally a member of, but still associated with, youthful up and coming Atlanta hip hop troupe Two9, Key! aka FatManKey has had a bevvy of prolific releases highlighting his versatile and inventive flow. The usual Atlanta trap-rap themes of drugs, money and hoes are ever present, but Key’s uniquely adaptable flow (sometimes auto-tuned, sometimes powerfully aggressive) has led to co-signs from industry heavyweights such as Future and Mike Will, and collaborative tapes with Atlanta up and comers like OG Maco.
This track, featuring former Two9 cohort Jace, shows Key effortlessly riding the chimey pads and driving 808 bass provided by up and coming LA producer TrapMoneyBenny.
A relative newcomer to the game, 19-year old Playboi Carti aka Cash Carti’s “Broke Boi” is quickly becoming 2015’s most trunk rattling underground hip hop banger. With approval from hip hop elites such as Drake and management courtesy of equally loathed and lauded hipster messiah, Ian Connor, Carti is set to make big moves this year.
Despite not having an official release out currently, he’s been in the studio with some promising artists namely London MC Skepta, and if the current tracks and collabs on his soundcloud are anything to go by, this year might be Carti season.