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#DontSleep: HipHop Artists On The Rise


With constant chatter in Hip Hop from millions of artists on SoundCloud, Spotify and iTunes, it’s hard to listen to every track and see who’s talented and destined for greatness. Although there’s no article that can ever cover every dedicated artist on the rise, (in fact there are several artists I’m going to leave off of this list simply because they’ll be dropping projects soon which I’ll be reviewing and posting about in the future) this is a small compilation of artists I’d bet the house on.

In no particular order!

11Mir Fontane

From Camden, New Jersey, Mir Fontane has spent the past several years dropping projects filled with compelling lyrics, vivid stories and earth shattering instrumentals. His albums “Who’s Watching The Kids” and his most recent release “Camden”, span the gamut of musicality, flawlessly combining gritty melodies, poignant bars and heart stopping percussion. With only a few features, “Camden” begins and ends with tracks you’re not likely to ever forget, meanwhile the body of the album houses both heartfelt and boisterous records. Songs like “WYD”, “Still In The Hood”, and“Ain’t Afraid” are must haves for the after party playlist, while “Frank Ocean” and “This Life” are laced with dark harmonies and sonics providing an almost cinematic feel. Currently on tour, it won’t be long before Fontane has his big breakthrough moment.

10Saint Jhn


Hailing from Brooklyn, Saint Jhn is a singer, songwriter and rapper injecting the industry with dynamic music and incredible visuals. With several records resting comfortably between RnB, Trap Soul and Rap, Saint is finessing a style even the most experienced artists have trouble developing. Songs like “1999” & “3 Below” offer a symbiotic relationship between Saint’s own style and Brooklyn’s classic aggressive textures. Arguably his two most popular songs “Reflex” and “Roses” coat listeners in waves of tenacious feel good vibes while his latest single “Some Nights” is threaded with impressive songwriting, beautifully showcasing his diverse skill set.



Toronto’s next big artist Friyie is serving music that obliquely inspires listeners and fans. His vigorous lyrics are delivered smoothly over pulsating 808s engaging fans beyond the music. With determination embedded in his voice, his ability to move listeners with songs like “Money Team” and “Undefeated” make Friyie a perfect addition to the gym playlist. Armed with the same tenacity 50 Cent generated with “Get Rich Or Die Tryin’” Friyie’s content makes his journey riveting to watch as he makes his way to stardom.

8Billy Early


One of the next lyricists on the rise comes from the unlikeliest of places: Burlingame, Kansas. Although Early is only 19, his talent is undeniable and his latest project “The Early EP” is a perfect example. The album starts off with a barrage of bars immediately separating himself from the majority of mainstream rappers, Early then goes on to take listeners through an authentic look into his life and experiences. The album is a creative mix of inspiration and wisdom over classic production proving greatness can come from anywhere. “Bang Bang”, “Crown Royalty” and “Cool Kids” are all tracks HipHop heads will want to add into the rotation.



Artists Dante (left) and Drew (right) from San Antonio and Denver respectively, have come together to create some of the most unique and innovative music HipHop has seen in several years. Equally diverse in content and instrumentation their latest album “Nü Religion: Hyena” has many stand out tracks offering a wide selection of sound and graphics. “U-Rite”, “Motley Crew”, “Back It Up” and“Deep End” are all exceptional songs luring fans into playing the rest of their incredibly charismatic album. While Dante works on the production side of the music, Drew handles the singing and songwriting making the duo an incredible partnership to watch.

6Corey Lee


Corey Lee is expertly combining modern sound with aggressively glorious bars. While proudly representing Philly, Lee’s latest project “A Shot In The Dark” pays homage to east coast rap with a focus on lyricism, while the production of the album feels like 2018. Easily slaying your favorite rapper over intense drums, Lee has made a name for himself within the industry with highlights from HipHopDX & Rapfest both naming him as an artist to watch. Stand out tracks like “Carlton Banks” and “Greedy” offer the best of both generations offering both substance and feeling. With a solid fan base behind him, Lee deserves the accolades coming his way with an impressive catalog under his belt.



Bazzi is an internet sensation, coming up on platforms like Vine and YouTube, but his popularity is directly connected to his incredible voice and songwriting ability. Dominating RnB & Soul, the Detroit native boosts an impressive list of hits like “Alone” & “Mine” that combine intense vocals and velvety beats that move fans through a myriad of emotion. With life and love at the center of his content, Bazzi has been a musician since the age of 4 and is seeping his way into the next generations playlist with records fit for mainstream media.

4Bass Santana


As soon as you turn on “i dont trust shit idc” you’re swallowed up by a complexity of heavy instrumentation and songwriting that may take another listen to fully digest. With bold lyrics and percussion Santana’s unique and slightly dark approach to music makes him a standout artist amongst his peers. Producing and rapping, Santana is armed with a striking archive, his latest project “Obeah Child” combines unique music and beautifully fatalistic artistry. Flipping classic samples, the only thing more impactful than Santana’s lyrical ability is his skills behind the boards. Songs like “who dat”, “mix it” and “who fucked my bitch? 🤔” keep listeners eagerly anticipating every line and cadence.

3Lexii Alijai


With bars as cold as her city is, St. Paul representative Lexii Alijai smoothly integrates a soulful vibe with incredibly relatable lyrics. Her honest approach to the trials of love keeps fans engaged and entangled in a story similar to the intricate relationships she speaks on. Her latest drop “Growing Pains” is appropriately titled as Lexii takes listeners throughout the journey of her life navigating through her passion for music and quest for love. With soul imprinted into her records, songs like “Growing Pains” and “Confirmation” offer emotional revelations while “Dime Breezy” and several remixes offer some balance to her catalog with a more upbeat party vibe.



Currently making waves within the industry, EarthGang has been bumbling in the streets of Atlanta for several years. With a resume that includes J.Cole, and J.I.D., EarthGang is slated for greatness with recent records like “Meditate”, “Red Light” and “Legendari” serving as perfect examples. With a unique combination of content and composition, Johnny Venus and Doctur Dot have developed a sound that stands apart from Atlanta’s biggest trends. Their latest album “Robots” has received praise across the industry for it’s witty delivery and distinctive sound that attracts new fans into uncovering their previous projects.

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Kip Sparrow is a HipHop creative originally from Boston, MA, and residing in Miami, FL. Kip grew up on music from Nas, Jay-Z, Eminem, and G-Unit, but when the south broke through mainstream media with artists like Paul Wall, Slim Thug, T.I. and Lil Jon, Kip fell in love with the 808’s and snares and began to create his own music, fueling his ongoing love affair with rap. While focusing on music production, and content curation, Kip uses writing, and podcasting as additional creative outlets to interact with the culture he loves. Kip’s focuses on highlighting quality content, and education within HipHop in an effort to continually push the culture forward.

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