L.A.'s 10 Best Up-and-Coming Rappers
Inglewood rapper Skeme
Los Angeles has been a hotbed of rap and hip-hop for decades, and the current time is no exception. While there are a slew of big names coming out of the City of Angels, there’s a burgeoning underground scene of lesser known but equal talents. Thanks in large part to platforms like SoundCloud, Datpiff and Bandcamp, these artists have been able to get their music out there, and we decided it’s time to give them a shout-out. After all, you don’t need to be signed, with major-label albums under your belt, to be good at your craft.
10. Kosha Dillz
Maybe you've heard Kosha Dillz outside the Roosevelt Hotel in Hollywood on a Friday night. With his amp and microphone in tow, he sets up shop on the sidewalk and starts freestyling, usually to everyone’s delight. Kosha, who hails from New Jersey, is Jewish and raps in English, Hebrew and Spanish. He claims he got his rap name, literally, off of a jar of pickles at the supermarket at the age of 17. He got his start in New York rap battles and has since released over six projects, played South by Southwest, and performed with artists like Snoop Dogg, Ghostface Killah and Maitsyahu. He’s signed to Murs’ 3:16 imprint and dropped his most recent project, Awkward in a Good Way, in 2014. (Not so) fun fact: Kosha’s website got hacked by ISIS last year. He’s currently working on a documentary about being a Jewish rapper.
9. King Trell
It’s been over a year now since L.A. native King Trell was singed to Tyga’s Last Kings label. The L.A. native has yet to release a full project, but he’s been dropping singles steadily over the last few months. So far, his tunes have leaned toward party anthems and club music, which is to say his songs are highly danceable. His most well-known jams are “True Dat” featuring Young 100 and this summer’s League of Starz-produced release, “Talk Dat Shit,” featuring Iamsu! and RJ. Rumor has it that he’s coming out with a mixtape by the name of Manchester Park later this year.
The girl group PTAF (which stands for Pretty Taking All Fades) might not ring a bell, but odds are you know their breakout hit, “Boss Ass Bitch.” The hip-hop trio made the song during an after-school class when they were students at Crenshaw High back in 2012. The song went viral and later caught the attention of Nicki Minaj, who remixed the slap with her own lyrics. Though Nicki gave the girls a shout-out on Instagram the day the track was released, they claim that the singer never contacted them about using their beat and that the song itself came as a surprise. In the last few years, PTAF, who are all young mothers, have graduated from high school and released a newer, sleeker music video for the track. They signed to Capitol Records in 2014 and dropped two projects last year: Fake Friends and The Hard Way. Though they have yet to come out with another viral hit, they’re working on new stuff and have hopes of breaking through without Nicki's help soon.
For the last few years, Compton-bred rapper AD has been steadily building a name for himself and dropping new releases. Like Inglewood MC Skeme (who is also on this list), AD has made his hometown a central feature of his music, most notably through his 2013 and 2014 mixtapes, Welcome to ComptonFornia and ComptonFornia 2. His latest mixtape, Blue:89, is a collection of synth-heavy, bouncy tracks that match well with the rapper’s energetic vocals. Featured artists on the project include Lil Durk, OT Genesis, Jon Hart and RJ, as well as production from League of Starz. Some of his songs, like “Juice,” are starting to get radio play, so keep an ear out for more from the young rapper.
6. B-Mac the Queen
B-Mac the Queen is a little-known rapper from the Crenshaw district who is part of Hit Boy’s HS87 (Hits Since ’87) hip-hop collective. She’s been on the scene making music for the past eight years and was featured on HS87’s last two compilation albums, We the Plug (2014) and All I’ve Ever Dreamed Of (2013). She dropped her first EP, Black Kid$, on Aug. 3, with features from Skeme, iLL Camille and Kembe X. The eight-track release (plus a bonus track) is a perfect intro to B-Mac, who is known for her deep voice and particular blend of “ghetto gospel.” She’s tough and fierce, but reflective and candid about her life and Los Angeles, too. Not only is it refreshing to hear a female voice in the rap world, but it’s nice to hear one as real and raw as hers.
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