With the dawn of a new year comes feelings of aspiration and revelation. You’re ready to undo all the damage of the previous 365 1/4 days and begin with a solid start… Over-priced gym membership? Check. Kicking your pack-a-day cancer stick habit? Check. But what New Years resolution could you and should you actually keep (let’s face it, six-pack abs are totally overrated)? Upping your street cred with a fresh playlist chocked full of new rap artists. Here are three worth an immediate add:
The 24-year-old was named one of Complex Magazine's "25 New Rappers To Watch Out For" in 2013... his buzz in 2015 led him to release a full-on swarm of cameos and catchy singles. While I first noticed him on Jamie XX's playfully soulful reggaetronic "I Know There's Gonna Be (Good Times), Young Thug was clearly meant for infiltrating the rap game with follow-up songs like "Check" and "Best Friend".
His flow, which ranges from melodic to- quite honestly-indecipherable, allows him to float through verses like a butterfly but then, as the hook builds momentum and bass, he stings like a bee. The latest release by this Hotlanta-born artist is Barter 6, an album which I think finally starts to show Thug in his most true self. Although some vocals are very reminiscent of Little Wayne-one of the rapper's biggest influences-in all their unarticulated glory, tracks like "Halftime" showcase his playful, free spirited style. The artist seems to have no sense of rules, syncopating rhymes or completely going off the beat only to come back hitting harder than Muhammad Ali.
Gates' honesty is, oddly enough, something that makes his tracks so unique as he continues strong into 2016 with the release of his latest album "Islah". While recent chart toppers like "Really Really" and "2 Phones" are more or less classic thug anthems, there's something refreshing about the rapper's approach on hard times.
The 27-year-old Louisiana native touches on everything from depression to "baby mama drama" on his mid-2013 album, "Stranger Than Fiction". His feels are real, and they show brilliantly with melodic musings like "Satellite". Coming from an artist that claims music is his favorite vice, I strongly urge to cop his habit and continue to hit replay.
Laying tracks with heavy hitters in the game like Big Sean and Future, DeJ Loaf is like the Hilary Clinton (or Carly Fiorina, party preference depending) of rapping. She can quite clearly hang with the big guns while also branding herself from style to swagger, sans promising presidential pantsuit but add sporty chic and skills to match.
Her sound, high-pitched and youthful, is met with confidence on tracks like "Back Up" while the artist shows a softer side on "Hey There" singing "I love you, I love you, I feel it all in my stomach". She's versatile and consistent yet also surprising- innocent looks with a dirty mouth suitable for an Orbit chewing gum commercial (listen to "Shawty" ft. Young Thug for a gritty-good taste).