ReRoute – [BigMouf’bo]

From the SouthSide of Chicago, BigMouf’bo is native to the Chicago drill scene with lyrical prowess enough to impress Chance the Rapper on the new Netflix series ‘Rhythm and Flow.’ The show features Chance the Rapper, Cardi B, and T.I. acting as judges to determine the next hip hop sensation. Chance’s visit leaves him impressed with BigMouf’bo’s performance delving into Chicago crime through thick rap without beats. While the verdict of the show is yet to be determined, she released ‘ReRoute’ to Spotify this past week complete with her standard clever lyrics backed by repetitive, fun beats. It is a track that would be expected of an upcoming young artist, however, her track ‘Fate’ on SoundCloud shows her potential through a thought-provoking honest depth. She is a standout talent and a rising female star in the Chicago hip hop community. I would expect more greatness out of her in the very near future as she continues to develop as an artist. Words by Sabrina Hand

No Permission Needed – [Rexx Life Raj] ft. [Bas]

When two of the most consistent and thoughtful (yet slept on) artists in rap (in my opinion at least) get together it’s a guarantee that I’m going to write about it. Throw a Sango beat under them and I couldn’t get to my computer fast enough. I’ve been waiting for Rexx Life Raj to blow up for a while. To be honest, it’s too hard to predict these things, but with his new album, Father Figure 3: Somewhere Out There set to drop early next month, he’s been making all the right moves and gaining some serious momentum. First, a collab with Kenny Beats, then one  Russ, and now, Rexx joins forces with Bas for “No Permission Needed.” Even with different styles–Rexx with is light crooning and Bas with that deep voice– two emcees are the perfect duo to tackle the cushioned Sango beat because of their ability to be thoughtful and inspirational without ever coming across as corny. Rounding the effort (released early this week), Rexx dropped off a left-of-center video where he showcases his gardening skills.

Slop – [bbno$]

We recently did an in-depth interview with bbno$, where he got some insight into the insanely creative mind that has produced one of the weirdest smash hits of 2019. To close out the year strong, bbno$ is back with “Slop” a single that both flexes his personality and witty lyricism. The production on this track hits hard, simple strings and a kicking 808 pattern allows bbno$ to go absolutely dumb in his typical fashion all over the beat. This record was produced by Y2K, their chemistry at this point is undeniable and fans will be excited to hear he will be the executive producer on bbno$’s upcoming full-length project releasing later this year. One thing that is clear is that the Vancouver rapper has no signs of slowing down any time soon. He just wrapped up his North America and European Tour, only to immediately announce the next run of shows in early 2020. Capitalizing on the success of “Lalala”, what the next year holds for bbno$ will be groundbreaking, to say the least. Listen to “Slop” on all platforms here!

Modern Trash – [Abhi The Nomad]

It may sound weird, especially in this day and age, but there are still some people who don’t really listen to rap. In the event I encounter one of them in the wild, one of the first artists I suggest is Abhi The Nomad. With a knack for colorful production and a ton of personality, Abhi has developed a really accessible sound that can draw anyone in. In fact, I’ve already shared his new album Modern Trash, with more than a few people. Abhi broke out last year with the release of Marbled and continued his momentum with five solo releases capped off by a few acoustic renditions of some select cuts off the album. The range he showed in 2018 is concentrated on Modern Trash; damn near every single one of his facets is on display. From the harder cuts like “BTFL” and “Trash Man” to the lighter ones like “Me Now Evil” (which absolutely belongs in a commercial or movie trailer), Abhi does it all with ease. Still, he keeps things light and fresh, with some really stellar production. In fact, I think it’s his production–and his ability to keep things light while still incorporating layers– that continues to be my favorite part …

MVK3 3M S!CK – [Bari]

St. Louis native/Chicago-based artist Bari is perhaps best known for his effortless approach to melodic rap, floating over tracks with a level of soulful finesse that balances catchiness with cleverness. His MSTRGLSS project earlier this year offered the most culminating execution of Bari’s sound so far, and he gives us a glimpse of where he’s headed next on his new song, “MVK3 3M S!CK”. On the record, Bari’s melodic ad-libs become one with the instrumental, softening the bass-rattling 808s and smoothening out the beat’s jagged edges. Although it’s tempting for a listener to just get enveloped in Bari’s muddled melodies, there’s also no shortage of personality in Bari’s lyricism once you listen a little closer, and his sense of humor mixed with general shit-talking feels nothing but genuine. The full breadth of what Bari brings to the table has come in flashes of brilliance throughout the music he’s dropped thus far, and this track teases the next step in his promising trajectory. Listen below: (Prod. By @1NikoTheGreat )

Häagen Dazs – [Ghetto Sage]

Last week, Noname, Saba, and Smino began teasing a collective release under the moniker Ghetto Sage. The prospect of this midwestern rap supergroup was enough to get any hip-hop fan excited, as the three’s past track record together has been nothing short of excellent. Today, the trio made their formal introduction as Ghetto Sage with a new single titled “Häagen Dazs”. The three versatile artists waste no time in getting to what listeners have been craving since last hearing from them, opting for a hard, straightforward comeback single that showcases the unique talent of each individual member. Smino kicks things off, holding down the hook and first verse with his signature buoyant flow, mischievously maneuvering with the beat as if his presence is weightless. Saba’s follow-up verse is short, sweet, and poignant, demonstrating that his precision for crafting never-before-heard rhyme schemes only continues to get sharper with time. Noname, who’s remained the most relatively low-key of the three artists since dropping ‘Room 25’ last year, enters the arena as a master of metaphors, able to contrast flowery eloquence with blunt truths, all while keeping her penchant for clever wordplay in pocket. Producer Vzn ties everything together, arming Ghetto Sage with …

Crash – [Lil Gray]

After breaking out alongside Goonew on their unforgettable “Positive Goon” record, Lil Gray has relentlessly clawed his way to the apex of the quickly rising DMV rap scene and he is releasing a steady number of new visuals that only tighten his already firm grip on the region. Gray has a reckless and raw vocal style that is both unbridled and melodic and this makes listening to him simultaneously entertaining and breathtaking as he manages to pack a tremendous amount of emotion into his bars. His newest track “Crash” is situated over a triumphant instrumental that is powered by a lavish trumpet melody with thumping percussion to match and he uses his unique delivery patterns to eviscerate this beat. He possesses the rare combination of talent and likability that are the necessary ingredients to make a rapper go far, and for now it appears that the sky is the limit for Lil Gray. Watch the “Crash” visual here:

Dellwood Market – [Rahli]

To me, one of the greatest qualities a rapper can possess is the ability to create an accurate and gritty picture of the place they’re from purely from the sound of their delivery and instrumentals alone. Many artists have had this talent and gone far because of it and after his newest project Dellwood Market, St. Louis rapper Rahli ought to be added to this impressive list. His delivery style is rabid and impassioned and he almost slobbers through his most potent and emotional passages, but these gritty and reckless vocals accurately match the atmosphere he comes from. St. Louis has seen a dramatic decline in industry and a sharp upturn in poverty and violence in the past decade and Rahli stands as an accurate synecdoche for this turbulent area. My favorite track from the mixtape was the third-person account Rahli gives on “In & Out” where we learned a great deal about Rahli’s upbringing and his long-standing relationship with Dellwood. Dellwood Market has some star-studded production, featuring work from many of hip-hop’s biggest names currently and Rahli shows enough versatility to feel at home on any of these styles. The melodic “Any Moment” was not something that I anticipated being in Rahli’s wheelhouse …

LA Party – [King Acne]

In the age of the internet and therefore, the age of accessibility, there exists far greater opportunities for new artists to get started on their own. DIY scenes are more alive now than ever before, and with a simple wifi connection and a laptop, there are kids churning out hit songs all over the world, no different than you or I. Every once in a while, in light of a time where creative horsepower truly resides in the hands of the people, I’ll stumble upon an artist who has taken this idea of DIY to new heights. Such is the case with King Acne, exemplified by his latest release, “LA Party.” The first thing you should know about King Acne is that he does everything on his own, with nothing but a small group of friends helping out. Considering that his visuals, and creative direction overall, are often better executed than that of artists with million-dollar budgets, this may seem unlikely, but I can assure you that the King himself is entirely self-sufficient. The already-high bar that he’s set throughout his output thus far simply keeps getting higher, and now with “LA Party” to add to the collection, it’s clear …

Church Cry – [Ola Runt]

“I speak my pain in the booth like its a diary,” croons rising Atlanta rapper Ola Runt in his latest music video for his heartfelt and touching track entitled “Church Cry.” Ola is rapidly ascending through the Atlanta rap ranks and his quick ascension through this dense scene makes him a clear favorite to be the next big rapper out of his city’s talent-laden streets. Ola’s real musical gift lies within his ability to make records that are simultaneously sonically memorable while having a certain emotional potency that only a truly gifted MC can emanate. While Ola Runt is still incredibly raw it is impossible to ignore his talent and brooding charisma, and it is undoubtedly only a matter of time before he is at the forefront of the Atlanta scene. Watch the “Church Cry” visual here: