It’s about that time again folks. The year is winding down and the new year is upon us. I hope that 2014 brings about more dope independent rappers. Around this time we reflect on the year past and discuss what type of state hip hop was in and list some of the top independent rap artists of the year.
State of Hip Hop In 2013
I think the state of hip hop in 2013 was great! There were a lot of dope albums that were released this year, and we saw a strong emergence from more female mcees. I think that it’s great that more females are being placed at the forefront of hip hop because it creates balance.
So it’s nice to see that take place agin, and I hope it continues into next year and beyond. Some of the dope femcees that made noise this year was Nitty Scott Mc, Rapsody, Snow Tha Product, Tiffany Foxx, Nyemiah Supreme, Angel Haze and V-Nasty; Nahhhh I’m just fuckin with you!!! V-Nasty is a trash bag of a rapper. She should stop immediately!
Anyway moving on…this year showed and proved that being an indie rap artist can pay off in a major way. It use to be that rappers on the come up were always looking to get signed off of a hot single. Now new rappers are more patient about getting signed because they know if they remain independent and build up a huge fan base, and sell lots of mixtapes and concert tickets, when a record label does come knocking the artist can negotiate the recording contract in his favor. Or what new rappers have learned that it can be even more profitable to build your own independent record label and stay independent.
Also Read: How To Get Signed To A Major Record Label
I think that indie record labels are here to stay and I foresee them being more of a popular choice for up and coming rappers in the near future. Again, more and more new rappers are enjoying being independent and reaping the many benefits that come with it, including not giving away a huge chunk of their profits to their record label.
One of the things I would like to see more is independent artists getting played on mainstream radio. I know all of you are thinking that will never happen because the major labels run the airwaves and won’t allow indie artists to shine. But I believe that it can happen if we stick together and demand change! And from what I can see, and I hope you see it as well, the momentum is shifting from most rappers wanting to be signed, to grinding it out as an independent artist.
Soon mainstream radio will have no choice but to play more unsigned rap artists. online radio and independent radio stations are fine to start off with, but I envision independent hip hop artists one day getting marketed and showcased on the same level as a major label artist. I’m here fighting for balance in the rap game, and if you love hip hop music from unsigned artists, you should to!
Okay well enough of my ranting lol. Below we have compiled a list of independent hip hop artists who we think made the most impact in 2013. Now keep in mind that some of these artists may have been picked up by a major label right now, but when they started out the year they were fully independent.
List of Top Independent Rap Artists
Nitty Scott Mc – born Nitzia Scott better known by her stage name Nitty Scott, MC, is a hip hop artist from Brookly, New York, signed to Boombox Family Entertainment. Her breakthrough came in 2010, when the video for her freestyle over “Monster” went viral.She has performed at the BET hip hop awards and the Brooklyn Hip Hop Festival, among others. Scott released her debut street album The Cassette Chronicles in 2011, followed by her critically acclaimed EP The Boombox Diaries, Vol. 1 in 2012.
Big K.R.I.T – born, Justin Scott better known by his stage name Big K.R.I.T (King Remembered In Time), is an American rapper and record producer from Meridian, Mississippi. He is currently signed to Cinematic Music Group and Def Jam Recordings. On January 10, 2013 Big K.R.I.T. announced his next mixtape as King Remembered In Time. Also naming Mike WiLL Made It as a producer on both the mixtape and his next album.
Mac Miller – born Malcolm James McCormick, is a rapper from Pittsburgh, Park Pennsylvania. He is signed to Pittsburgh based Rostrum Records, and released his debut album Blue Slide , on November 8, 2011, which debuted at number 1 on the Billboard 2000 despite being released completely independently. His second studio album Watching Movies With The Sound Off was released on June 18, 2013.
Rapsody – born Marlanna Evans is an American rapper from North Carolina,. She is signed to super producer 9th Wonder’s Jamla Records imprint under his It’s A Wonderful Music Group (IWWMG). Rapsody is known for her intricate rhyme patterns, metaphors, and wordplay. She cites Jay-Z, 9th Wonder, Mos Def, Lauryn Hill, and Mc Lyte as the biggest influences on her music.
Action Bronson – born Arian Asllani is a rapper from Flushing Queens, New York. He is signed to Vice Records and Atlantic Records. He released various mixtapes such as the critically acclaimed Rare Chandeliers with hip hop producer The Alchemist, before releasing his major label debut EP Saaab Stories with frequent collaborator Renown producer Harry Fraud in 2013. He is currently working on his first major label Studio Album.
Earl Sweatshirt – born Thebe Neruda Kgositsile is a rapper and member of the Los Angelas based hip hop group Odd Future. He is signed to Colombia Records, as well as his own label, Tan Cressida. Earl gained recognition and critical praise for his debut mixtape, Earl. Following its release, he was sent to a boarding school in Samoa by his mother until his eighteenth birthday. On August 20, 2013, he released his debut album Doris
Joey Badass – born Jo-Vaughn Virginie Scott is an independent hip hop recording artist from Brooklyn, New York. He is a member of the hip-hop collective Pro Era, with whom he has released two mixtapes. Joey released his debut mixtape 1999 on June 2012 to critical acclaim and recognition, followed by Rejex in September, and Summer Knights on July 1, 2013. He is currently working on completing his debut, B4.Da.$$ due for release in early 2014.
Angel Haze – born Raykeea Angel Wilson is a hip hop artist and lyricist signed to Universal Republic and Island Records. She was born in Detroit, Michigan but now resides in New York. In 2012, Haze released her EP Reservation for free online, she later signed a record deal with Universal Republic Records later moving to Republic Records. On August 28, 2013, Haze released her first single from her debut album, “Echelon (It’s My Way).”
Dizzy Wright – born La’Reonte Wright is an independent hip hop artist from FLint, Michigan. In December 2011 he signed to rapper Hopsin’s independent record label Funk Volume. After signing he released his debut studio album SmokeOut Conversations in April 2012. He followed that with The First Agreement in December of that year, and then a mixtape The Golden Age in August 2013. All three projects managed to chart in the top 50 of the Billboard Top R&B/Hip Hop Albums chart.
Hopsin – born Marcus Jamal Hopson is an hip hop artist and record producer from Los Angeles, California.. In 2007, he was signed to Ruthless Records, and has since founded his own record label, Funk Volume, in 2009. Hopsin has released three studio albums, Gazing At The Moonlight through Ruthless Records, Raw and his latest album Knock Madness along with the mixtape Haywire (with SwizZz) through Funk Volume. He is due to release a collaboration Extended Play with Travis Barker. He is well known for his use of white colored eye contacts in music videos, performances, and interviews.
Snow Tha Product – born Claudia Feliciano. Snow is mostly known for her singles “Holy Shit” and “Drunk Love” and her mixtape Good Nights & Bad Mornings. She released her first independent album Unorthodox in 2011 to positive reviews.Her debut studio album is set for a 2014 release. She is considered a part of a new wave of female rappers, including Azealia Banks, Angel Haze. and Iggy Azealia.
Nipsey Hussle – born Ermias Asghedom (born August 15, 1985), better known by his stage name Nipsey Hussle (often stylized as Nipsey Hu$$le), is an American rapper from Los Angeles, California. He has released numerous mixtapes including the Bullets Ain’t Got No Name series, The Marathon, The Marathon Continues, and Crenshaw. Soon he plans to release his debut studio album Victory Lap.