Always Stay Open
As many years as I’ve been involved with hip hop, I’m still, to this day, looking for those hidden artists that I’ve missed. This last year has been one of discovery for me personally as we continued to push forward trying to grow our little company. How can we add value to the listener? What can we add to keep increasing our library? With these two things in mind, there have been several new artists (to me at least) that have emerged. Their lyrical skills have caught my attention. Now, some of them have been around but I had never really crossed their path except for an occasional feature or the one song I had heard back in the day, I hated. But things change. Artists improve and so does their sound. I’m going to talk about just a few.
Saigon. I had never really heard anything from Saigon until a few months ago. A buddy of mine knew I had a station. He was a huge hip hop head himself and was heavy into the East coast scene. If you haven’t heard much from him, do yourself a favor and give a listen. His album The Greatest Story Never Told is littered with lyrically and harmonious joints. Normally when I hear an album from someone that I’m not familiar with, I maybe get one or two songs that pass the muster. Off rip, I grabbed six songs from the album with intentions to go back and listen to the others again. Sometimes I have to give a break to songs to see if they are what we’re looking to add to the station. That day, I went through 25 albums so at a point, I get tired and will pass up songs that shouldn’t be. Six, though, were hot enough to grab as soon as I heard them. His legal battle with his previous label is what delayed his release. I’m glad to see though that he managed to make it through and show the world what he can do.
Vin Jay. While his work is definitely on tithe newer side, his skills are reminiscent of the old school metrics. Lyrics. Check. Versatility. Check. Doesn’t run the same beats over and over again. Check. You had me at hello (shoutout to Jerry McGuire). I stumbled upon him via Facebook. Saw a video of Mumble Rapper vs Lyricist and from that moment forward, I started digging. Telling a story of a current mumble rapper and how they differ from true old school lyricists, the boy rips it. His mumble rapper verses are light years ahead of actual current mumble rappers even as he’s imitating them. His lyricist verses are quick, deliberate and on point. After doing some digging, I came across a couple other albums he had released and immediately started grabbing songs. Another artist I plan to explore their library more in the future.
Hopsin. His story telling skills, I would put against most any of the newer artists. He’s another artist I stumbled upon via Facebook. Strange how social media has changed the game for artists that might not get as much publicity. Anyways, I started with his Ill Mind of Hopsin 5 video. Hot lyrics. Told a story I could follow. From there, I did what I normally do. I started researching. Going album by album and pulling song after song to get added to the mix. His versatility in styles is one of the main reasons he’s made my list. He can go from the off the charts songs like I’m Not Crazy to Ill Mind of Hopsin 7 where he’s questioning his religious beliefs. Another that can spit for sure. I only had about two days to dedicate to finding the beginnings of his library on the station but plan on going back through. He started off under the Ruthless label but that fell apart and he moved on. Glad to see he did. Look forward to uncovering more bangers.
This is a short list of some people that I discovered recently. It’s impossible to listen to every artist out there which is why we rely on our listeners to help point out their favorites as well. We’ve gotten several songs from artists that weren’t familiar to us simply because we weren’t exposed to them. Every area of the country, and world, will have a different sound that might not be commercially popular for others to find. That’s why we are who we are and want to any artist and song that fits the mold. Something to ride to.