In no particular order Complex Magazine recently came up with a list of up and coming artists in the Philadelphia Area. The list in itself is well thought out however there are many that should be just as deserving. One thing however I completely disagree with is some sort of hidden resentment towards the style of Philadelphia artists. For instance to what “benefit” does STS not sounding like a stereotypical Philly rap artist necessarily mean? From my perspective the original author doesn’t necessarily understand that geographical bias should be irrelevant in creating and grading great music. That in my opinion is what makes music great having inspiration from different parts of the country let alone the world. Could you ever imagine Kanye West’s “808 and Heartbreak” Album without African Tribal beats in the compositions of his tracks? While Kanye was not the first rapper to sing on the record, do you think people would have been as receptive to Drake as they are now? Looks like that was extremely beneficial for ‘Ye and many artists who drew from that album itself. That being said here is the list. Enjoy
With a voice reminiscent of a young Canibus, Santos’ in-your-face battle-ready style is captivating. You can hear the struggle and hunger in every single verse, and at just 20 years old, he has time to develop. He spits that grimy, ugly, vintage Philly shit with the greatest of ease. He also annihilated his Come Up Show freestyle (see above), so if you’re into a hybrid of Can-I-Bus and Sticky Fingaz, the self-proclaimed “Human Torch” is your guy.
With dope lyrics and co-signs from The Legendary Roots Crew and 2dopeboyz, STS definitely has what it takes to make it. There’s virtually no perceptible Philly influence in his music, and that works for him. You can hear the ATL in his work, which helps to diversify him as an artist. He’s definitely one to watch.
This dude definitely has talent; he’s reminiscent of a young Joe Budden, but his music might be just a tad too dark. He’s introspective with solid story-telling skills, but would benefit from switching his format up sometimes. With that said, just like Joey, he does tell the whole truth and nothing but the truth about relationships.
Gotta respect that.
West Philly rhymer Pate is like a rap James Harden: He’s a fundamentally sound sparkplug, and you can hear how much he wants it in each bar. Laced with his signature sound, his video for “Fun & Music” made its way to 2dopeboyz in January, and his project Take Off in T-Minus 2 was featured on Pigeons and Planes. His voice is Philadelphia, and his style is a nod to the Philly rappers of old, but he needs more industry support.
5.OCD (Moosh & Twist)
These kids are clearly having mad fun in their videos; it’s like they have no troubles whatsoever. Theirs is a Mac Miller-type of aesthetic, and it’s very refreshing. Flows and production are tight, but can they graduate to more a “adult” sound over time? We’ll see—but in the meantime we’ll give them the nod for that “City Kids” video you see up top, pushing a million YouTube views.
Pros: Been in the game for a minute and spent time around veterans; now has new lease on his life and career.
Cons: Can he separate himself from Chris? Has he missed his shot?
Essential Listening: Forever Do Me 4.
With over a decade in the rap game, Neef Buck is hardly a rookie, but he’s finally forging out on his own. As one half of the Young Gunz and a member of State Property, Neef was around for the era when Roc-A-Fella ran Philly, but never really managed to seize the moment and own it. He’s back with a new focus, and with his Forever Do Me 4, he’s poised to show the world who he is and what he can do.
Pros: Escapes the typical “Philly sound” and it works wonders for him.
Cons: Not enough material released yet.
Essential Listening: Official project 800 on the way, but “E&J” goes extra hard. Check out his SoundCloud page in the interim.
The young GrandeMarshall is an artist who’s winning by diverting from the usual sound of Philadelphia. His trunk-rattling, 808-heavy music is energetic and reckless, which probably explains why he opened for A$AP Rocky last month. With his first major release, 800, on the way, this kid is eager to make a name for himself.
The gate is wide open
Gilbere Forte, a Philadelphia adopted son, gets credit for daring to be different musically. He’s gotten love from 2dopeboyz, and his video for “Black Chukkas” was played on MTV Jams. His Some Dreams Never Sleep EP sports the track “Hot (In This B*tch) with Pusha T and Jim Jones, as well as features from Big K.R.I.T, Tyga, Casey Veggies, Bun B and Asher Roth. With that many stamps, he has all the right ingredients to break out.
As part of Lupe’s All-City Chess Club (is that still in effect?), Dosage got the opportunity to tour with Fiasco and B.o.B on 2010’s Steppin’ Lasers affair and appeared on the remix to Lupe’s forgotten gem “I’m Beamin’.” You have to respect his hunger, and if you throw that in the bag with his connection to Lupe, a promising future could be on the horizon for this guy.
Reppin’ West Philly, Chill Moody’s name speaks to his laid-back style. He has a good ear for beats, and he murked his Come Up Show freestyle last year on an aggressive tip, proving that son can really rhyme. He’s definitely talented, so if he turns it up more often, he has the potential to break out. We also have to applaud him for tweeting from a “drunk” account when he gets bent; it’s a hell of a way to create a rapport with followers.
Original List Attributed to Complex Magazine
via Julian Kimble