While predictions are being made for the XXL Freshman 2014 class and voting is underway, it would be appropriate to compile a list that notes some artists that did not make the ballot and are also unsigned. Those listed for the 7 Most Promising Unsigned Artists of 2014 have, over the past year, created a buzz and a fan-base for themselves and have been mentioned on numerous discussion boards around the net. All of the artists display unique personalities that are easily distinguishable from the masses and are well deserving of some shine.
YC The Cynic
YC The Cynic is a golden nugget that should definitely be mentioned here. The Bronx, NY emcee has a few projects under his belt, but released his debut album, GNK, in 2013. He’s noted for being socially conscious and on GNK he thoroughly focuses on religion, race and power. His lyrical content will leave listeners pondering for days over various topics and may even strike up debates. It would be very interesting to see him collaborate with TDE’s Ab-Soul on a track or two just to see what the lyrical conversation would sound like.
In recent years, Chicago’s new wave of talent has been steadily rising. There have been artists who have experimented with trap music as well as those who have followed in the footsteps of Kanye West and Common. Luckie Eck$ is a new artist from Chicago that is in his own lane. His Alternative Trap mixtape, released in 2013, displays his unique sound and lyricism. He recently released a song and an accompanying video entitled “Boomin.” Cloud Sessions directed a mini-documentary entitled, Still Stuck In These Troubles, that shows the making of “Boomin” and delves a little more into the personality of Luckie. He describes the production that is orchestrated by Plu2o Nash, as “ versatile with the best of trap and the best of alternative.” We’re keeping our ear to the Chi and looking for great things from Luckie Eck$ this year.
We had to throw a curveball onto the list. Even though she isn’t a rapper, it wouldn’t be right to not include her in the mix. Rochelle Jordan, a Toronto native, has been around since 2011, releasing her first mixtape entitled ROJO and has since released P R E S S U R E in 2012 and the single “Follow Me” in 2013. She embodies true R&B and has proven that she has what it takes to lead the genre. Billboard even placed her #1 on their Next Big Sound list earlier this year and hopefully we will soon get a new project too.
With an album entitled, “I Am Not A Lobster OK” who wouldn’t want to listen? The St. Louis rapper released his LP in 2013 and serves up some pretty down to earth lyrical content that is comical and entertaining. “Hunger,” “25 Bills” and “Chasing Rainbows” featuring Gloria Kim are all stellar tracks that standout. “I Am Not A Lobster OK” is available for purchase and download via iTunes.
Denzel Curry’s name has been thrown around a lot in the blogosphere and most would have been willing to bet money that he was going to be on the XXL Freshman list this year. The Miami rapper, heated things up with the release of his Nostalgic 64 mixtape and he can only get hotter from here on. The SpaceGhostPurp affiliate was featured on the Get In The Game segment of MTV’s Rap Fix where he showcased his video, “Threatz,” which has over a million views on Youtube. Nostalgic 64 features Lil Ugly Mane, Robb Bank$ and more. Denzel’s album is available for purchase and download via iTunes.
Boston’s Michael Christmas released his Is This Art? mixtape early this year, which generally received positive reviews. His sense of humor, meshed with old school bebop production, adds to the uniqueness of his sound and lyrical ability. He’s one of the few rappers that comes across as funny while delivering clever punchlines at the same time. Michael Christmas pulls it off in a cool way.
Macon Hamilton’s sound may remind you of Outkast’s pre-Stankonia days. Some of the production on his mixtape, Macon Going Ham, is reminiscent of Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik even though his flow doesn’t sound like a typical southern artist. The 19-year-old Georgia rapper is multi-talented, being that he writes, produces and engineers most of his own work. He frequently freestyles over sampled beats with one of his hardest to date being over Kendrick Lamar’s “Rigamortis”. Even though he’s already being compared to a young K.Dot, we’ll see what this year will bring for Macon. His upcoming project Rich By 19, Wealthy By 21 is scheduled to be released June 15, 2014.
Who did we miss? Tell us in the comment section below.
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