With so much of 2018 being dominated by huge names like Drake, J.Cole, and Travis Scott, it’s tough not to overlook those that have the quality or substance in their music, but may not have the big-name record label to push their product. With hip-hop reigning as the most popular music genre today, it’s even easier for artists to be “slept on.”
Although it may seem like it’s on the decline, Soundcloud remains the easiest and most authentic outlet for discovering those under-the-radar artists. So, we knocked out the hard work for you and came up with 10 SoundCloud hip-hop artists you’d be wise not to sleep on.
For Fans Of: Solange
If you ask NAO herself what genre she is, she’ll tell you “wonky funk.” However, most classify her as a soul/funk/R&B artist from East London. She released her debut album just two years ago, so she’s still under the radar, but she is as talented as any other singer I’ve heard within’ the past few years. Having already played at the Glastonbury Festival and received a Brit Nomination for Best British Female Solo Artist, NAO has made a name for herself overseas, but what about the US?
So far this year, she has already released a couple of singles that have her name buzzing around the States. Her recent singles, “Complicated” and “Another Lifetime”, are exposing more people than ever to her music. It’s about time.
For Fans Of: 24hrs
Ye Ali is one of the more established artists on this list. Residing in Los Angeles, he has already worked with numerous hip-hop artists, not only as a singer but also as a producer. At one time, Ali was only known as a songwriter-producer, but now he finds himself pushing to be fully appreciated for the new style of trap beats and R&B grooves he’s brought to the game.
Ali did reach some mainstream success with his hit single “Talk Less”, which samples Ashanti’s hit “Rock Wit U (Awww Baby)”. His previous project, Passion & Patience, features not only that hit single, but a couple of other chill-vibe R&B songs. Between that record and his 2016 release, Private Suite, Ye Ali’s SoundCloud is full of quality R&B vibes that you’ll want to experience again and again.
For Fans Of: Azealia Banks
Los Angeles singer-songwriter Lala Romero is one of the hottest R&B/soul artists on the west coast right now. However, despite being introduced to a big market, she still isn’t as known as she should be. Currently signed to Silent Giant Entertainment, Romero emerged on the scene with her 2017 album, Palm Tree Dreams. Her hit single “Angels in the City” sampled the Tyrone Davis hit “In the Mood”. She also puts her innovative touch on the classic Dre and Snoop hit “Nothin’ but a ‘G’ Thang” in the album’s title track. There’s so much potential in Romero. She has an incredible voice and has such an effortless flow; if she utilized these talents to their full potential, Romero could become one of the most enterprising and resourceful artists in hip-hop.
For Fans Of: Wale
It’s kind of frustrating that Mark Battles has to even be on this list. As a rapper-songwriter from Indianapolis, Indiana, the odds may be stacked against Battles with a smaller market, but he’s still working with some top names in the hip-hop world, including Tory Lanez, French Montana, and King Los. Battles is a relatable artist who talks about things that everyone either thinks or goes through at some point. He has a very raw and straight-forward delivery that sets him apart from other hip-hop artists.
In May of 2017, Battles released a collaboration album with Tory Lanez (Day 2) that garnered some mainstream success, but perhaps didn’t showcase his full potential. His most recent release, Fortunate, may be his best project to date. Not to mention, he released the Vasi World EP earlier this year prior to the announcement of the Vasi World Spring Tour. Fly America is on the rise and Battles is leading the way.
For Fans Of: Wiz Khalifa
Having started his career as a battle rapper in Fort Wayne, Indiana, Nyzzy Nyce has since evolved into one of the most innovative artists in hip-hop. He’s spent the past few years out in Los Angeles working with some very talented producers, including Twigg and AmpOnTheTrack. His style is unmistakably diverse, which may be one of his most overlooked traits as an artist. He has stoner anthems like his most recent single, “Smoke All Day (Roll That)”, songs for the ladies like “Blow Pounds”, and club bangers like “Stone Cold Steve Austin”.
Nyzzy has already achieved some notoriety by having songs appear in television shows like American Horror Story, Being Mary Jane, The Grand Hustle (T.I.’s show on BET), and several others. His upcoming album, Nyce to Meet You, is expected to be released soon and will likely include some of his latest singles.