There’s no denying it, 2012 was momentous for Hip Hop. From your car radio, to the freshest club music, to MTV Award Ceremonies, Hip Hop well and truly dominated 2012. Nestled between a lacklustre, acoustic, lulling indie scene and an EDM obsessed succession of chart hits, Hip Hop gave us a refreshing, unique and varied offering for last year. Whether it was the near anarchic punk inspired attitude of Odd Future or the lyrical waxing of Kendrick Lamar on Good Kid, M.A.A.D City (arguably the closest our generation’s going to get to The Chronic), Hip Hop revived itself. This year is looks to be just as promising with releases from the likes of Azealia Banks, Ghostface Killah and Andre 3000. But what about the fresh new talent? There’s a whole culture of underground artists waiting to be uncovered by the masses, here’s our guide to the top 10 to make it big in 2013.
Fresh off the release of three mix tapes in 2012, this young Brooklynite resonates the sound of a bygone era in Hip Hop. Think a classic 90s sound with a twist, the jazz vibes of A Tribe Called Quest meets the disparate youth of a post recession America. The beats may be chilled but the lyrics are charged with political aggression. Joey is a member of the collective Pro Era, who tragically lost their MC, Capital STEEZ. Despite this recent tragedy, I have every faith this talented group can deliver a fresh new sound for the coming year.
Sadly better known for her recent feud with Azealia Banks, Haze’s tracks are just as aggressive as this young Detroit rapper’s Twitter beef, with debut E.P New York charged with aggression and a non-forgiving attitude. To be honest with you it’s refreshing, lyrically she offers more than most other female rappers on the scene right now and her 2012 mixtape Classick showcased the young rapper’s versatility. From diss tracks to club- ready bangers, Angel Haze is that female representative that Hip Hop’s been missing since the 2000s.
Ireland and Hip Hop don’t traditionally go hand and hand, with the Emerald Isle’s musical exports focusing more on folk and The Pogues than hooks and rhymes. This 19 year old Dubliner is set to challenge his nation’s musical image with songs that draw many a comparison to the likes of Tyler The Creator and even MF DOOM. But don’t write this lad off as an imitator, despite certain similarities, his delivery is unique and the addition of a subtle Irish accent in places makes for a fresh new European sound.
This secretive rapper was recently revealed to be the side project of none other than L.A based producer Flying Lotus, during a mystical performance at L.A venue, The Airliner. But for those that thought that was the end of FlyLo’s journey into rap, think again. The secretive producer recently revealed to XXL that he felt he needed another outlet for his work. But what to expect from this esteemed producer’s sound? If 2012’s Duality is anything to go by, think reconstructed, trap-infused jazz hooks combined with the rapper’s dark lyrics, “I never wanted to rule the world, I only wanted to watch it burn.” This music is in a sense post-apocalyptic, it’s only fitting then that 2013 should be Captain Murphy’s year to break.
Chances are you’ve already heard TNGHT’s work. This production duo consisting of Glasgow’s own Hudson Mohawke and esteemed Montreal producer Lunice, dominated the airwaves with their song Higher Ground undoubtedly becoming the trap anthem of 2012. Their success doesn’t stop here though. With HudMo’s recent signing to Kanye’s G.O.O.D Music label, a string of collaborations and guest mixes on Radio 1 Extra, there’s no doubting that TNGHT will be at the forefront of the 2013 scene, effortlessly blending Hip Hop with a new electrified sound.
Words: Charlie Jaco