If the rap game were an easy mountain to climb, everyone would do it. The fame and recognition that goes with being a wordsmith who expounds poetry above a bumping track can be quite intoxicating, but it’s also very difficult to get recognized amid the mass of hip-hop artists out there. More than ever rappers have avenues to get recognized, with the internet and sites like SoundCloud and YouTube allowing budding artists to pump out their product.
Through all the static, there are gems: aspiring rappers that seem leagues above their competition due to the intangible “it-factor.” These five, young artists have it, and if their recent work is any indication of the future, the future is looking bright.
Somewhere at the crossroads of R&B and rap — the place where Drake calls a home — is a little cottage belonging to this man, Luke Christopher. His home is not as big as Drake’s, but give it time — the foundation for a bigger facade is being built. Hailing from Los Angeles, Christopher can sing better than Drake, but takes a more narrative approach in his rapping; it’s something that’s evident on his single “Lot to Learn,” a song that professes his immaturity in certain matters. At only 22 years old, Christopher has the world ahead of him, and has buckets of swag and talent that will likely propel him to the top of the heap in the hip-hop world.
Whomever told you that religion and rapping can’t mix lied to you. Andy Mineo is a Christian-based rap artist who started his career working with the highly esteemed Christian artist Lecrae. A rapper and producer out of Syracuse, N,Y., Mineo doesn’t slather his verses with God-talk, but does espouse a highly motivational and inspirational tone, one that rockets his recent titular single, “Uncomfortable,” past tunnel-banger status (the beat is serious fuego) to something more ethereal. Showing that he has the skills to excel in this rap game, Mineo recently ripped some verses for the Sway in the Morning show. For those searching for something more positive in hip-hop, and crave high-quality lyrical flows, consider your search over.
Rich The Kid
There are two sides to excelling in the rap game: swag and skills — the best of the best usually have a bit of them both. Born in New York but now rapping out of Georgia, Rich The Kid is a young man dunked in swag sauce. On the Zaytoven-produced single, “Keep It 100,” Kid’s verses slip and maneuver out of his palette with the grace of an oil-slicked swan. The Migos-affiliated rapper was jailed last April after authorities found drugs and guns on a tour bus, but has since been released and is getting back to business with two projects, Rich Than Famous 2 and Trap Talk.
In the music biz, being an anomaly can be a good thing. Hell, it can be a great thing. Perhaps there’s no bigger anomaly in the hip-hop industry than MOD SUN. First: he’s a white man from Minnesota. That’s not really a big deal since Eminem broke the color barrier back in 1999, but Minnesota is not really known as a beacon of mainstream rap music. Then, there’s MOD SUN’s style and content. There’s no question that the 28-year-old can rap his ass off, but it’s lines like “Shoot ’em down with a peace sign,” that makes you question if Sun was supposed to be born in a different era. Espousing the principals of “Hippy Hop,” MOD SUN, aka Dylan Smith, looks the part of a hippie but raps with the rapid-fire staccato of an early Jay Z. Dropping knowledge since 2009, Smith’s debut studio effort was finally released in 2015 with the banger “My Hippy” leading the charge.
When J. Cole — one of the hottest young rappers in the game — co-signs you, you’re already a few steps ahead in the game. It also helps if you can actually spit bars, and Cozz definitely can. Signed to J. Cole’s Dreamville Records, Cozz comes from South Central Los Angeles, one of the birthplaces of West Coast hip-hop. That might seem like quite the load to handle, with the potent pedigree that Cozz maintains, but he’s more than capable with a sound that maintains a sharp, hardened edge like Nas and Rakim. Cozz’s debut album, Cozz & Effect, was released late in 2014, and he recently released a new mixtape in January called Nothin’ Personal.
From casual urban shoes to tough and rugged boots, Lugz is built for the streets. Check out the Lugz website to see which shoe is the perfect fit for you.