There are a lot of hungry artists out there right now, which is making for an interesting line up in emerging talent. While I’m bound to miss your favorite newcomer, these are the cats that have my ear right now. In no particular order, I believe the shear hustle of these artists will shape the next decade of hip hop.
There’s no order to the list…BUT if there were one, Meek would still easily be at the top. No album to date and already selling out concerts on his headlining tour. He’s a runaway train of success. His hunger is undeniable and his talent is quickly catching up. Make no mistake, his vivid detailing of a hustler’s story from the streets to the high-rise is going to fuel a whole generation of kids’ dreams to come.
@MeekMill – Twitter
@meekmill – Instagram
Dreamchasers 2 Mixtape – Download Here
2Chainz is 100% turnt up right now [as he would tell you]. If he were a stock, he’d be the opposite of the Facebook’s IPO. Ever since Kanye gave him the official cosign by giving him the closing verse on “Mercy”. Ever since then, if you’re not up on the artist formally known as Tity Boi, then you better catch up to his campaign. #TRU
@2chainz – Twitter
@hairweavekiller – Instagram
Based on a Tru Story – iTunes
Cudi simply carves his own lane…period. You may be one of the people who even claim what he represents is not even Hip Hop. I would say you’re grossly mistaken, but hey, it’s your opinion. He embodies everything that hip hop was and can continues to be. He’s 100% fearless in how he crafts his sound. No Kanye – No Cudi. No Kravitz – No Cudi. No Pink Floyd – No Cudi. He’s the bold and unapologetic synthesis of all these influences and so much more. Kids being raised in Cudi’s world will no doubt be shaping what the sounds of what we’re to hear in the future.
@ducidni – Twitter
@indicudominate – Instagram
WZRD – iTunes
Like most of the artists on this list, Big Sean has been on his grind for a minute. Another with the G.O.O.D. Music Kanye cosign, he’s been a strong emerging voice for a couple of years now. His growth in his lyricism, wordplay, comfort level with himself, and a better understanding of where he sits in the continuum on modern music is constantly making him into a better artist. Expect Big Sean to be around for a while. He’s only getting better.
@bigsean – Twitter
@bigseangood – Instagram
Detroit (Mixtape) – Download Here
Wale, another part of the monstrous Maybach Music Group, is the poetic voice of the youth. As with most music critiques, people are focused too much on how he says something vs. what he’s saying. His flow is smooth and he makes it seem almost effortless, which is one of the reasons he tends to attract so much hate. But even as he would tell you, his ambition remains flawless and expect his growing presence in hip hop to influence the next batch of young poets raised on 808’s.
@wale – Twitter
@walefolorin – Instagram
Ambition – iTunes
A$AP Rocky is the synthesis of a New York state of mind growing up on the No Limit and Cash Money southern influence. He carries all the entitlement of a NY emcee mixed with a southern type flow. Expect A$AP’s hustle and flow to carry him to much bigger spotlight in the next era of hip hop.
@asvpxrocky – Twitter
LiveLoveA$ap – Download Here
Big K.R.I.T. is pretty much expected to take the reins for the next defining voice of Southern Hip Hop. He’s almost everything you wouldn’t expect when you hear the term ‘Southern Rapper’, but he embraces his roots and simultaneously makes us challenge what we think whenever we hear that title.
@bigkrit – Twitter
@youngkrizzle – Instagram
Live From the Underground – iTunes
Determined to not only be the guy that brings the West Coast back in fine fashion, but also a candidate for ‘hungriest’ on the list (which is no easy task given his company), Kendrick Lamar is proving to be one to watch. His wordplay is unmatched by anyone on the list, and his quick fire delivery keeps the listener attentive. He’s the rapper’s rapper, and with huge names like Dr. Dre already behind his work, the game is his to lose.
Section.80 (Mixtape) – Download Here
Childish Gambino is a true visionary and renaissance man. If he looks familiar, yes he’s the same actor/comedian you see doing standup on Comedy Central and playing Troy Barnes on NBC’s Community. What? Yes, that guy. And if you’re discounting his rap cred based on his other talents, you would be grossly underestimating him. Like many on the list, Gambino’s talent lies not just in his skill, but in his authenticity. The common thread that weaves these very different people together is a determination to remain true to themselves, their stories, and their experiences. It’s actually very refreshing. It’s clear that Childish Gambino is interested in changing not only your perception of what a rapper can be, but what you can be. Why do one thing if you actually enjoy doing many things?
@donaldglover – Twitter
@childishness – Instagram
Royalty (Mixtape) – Download Here
I left some obvious ones off the list like Drake, Nicki Minaj, and J. Cole, because I feel their level of success is already self apparent. Their influence is already being felt on a mass scale. Other honorable mentions would include:
- Mac Miller
And a host of others could follow. It’s actually an exciting time in hip-hop right now to see not only the next evolution taking place, but also watching some of our undisputed reigning kings like Kanye West, Rick Ross, and a wiser Jay Z, hand-pick talent to take us to the next plateau.
If you’re one of those cats that don’t like any new stuff, that’s fine. But acknowledge you just don’t like it primarily ’cause you grew up on something different. Things change…you can’t stop it. Your story is not their story. We all have to recognize the context into which something is born. If you STILL don’t like it, that’s cool too. They’re still gonna be doing their thing.
Like any of these artist’s work? Don’t like any of these cats? Who’s voice has your ear right now?