At this point San Antonio is becoming a breeding ground for artists who want to carve their path creatively. Since day one, Static Kiwi has aimed to drop nothing but hits, and has pretty much stuck to it. Their sound packs a major punch, and instantly hits as soon as you press play on any track. Their latest In My Bag is energetic, aggressive, and hard hitting, with members Landxn and Dino showing they’re no slouches when it comes to lyricism, and deserves to be on everyone’s radar. Check it out below.
I spend way to much time just going through soundcloud and Apple Music looking for the latest releases from any and everybody, just because you never know what somebody has to offer. There’s so much new music dropping, it’s easy to just get caught up in whatever’s hot on the TL, and way too many new artists, or even established ones, drop something super hard that goes almost unnoticed. With Under The Radar, I’m trying to give some shine to the hard shit that may not be getting the right amount of attention.
Good Gas Vol. 1 & 2
I love producer projects. Producers are such a vital part of the game, as they have always been, and it’s really important to hear them they display their art just like any rapper. Good Gas is a type of “playlist” or compilation curated by producer FKi 1st, known by most for his work with Post Malone and Larry June(Good job 1st!). Each volume is short, like 4 songs a piece, but features names like 2 Chainz, Smooky Margiela, UnoTheActivist, and really showcases 1st’s versatility as a producer, making a club hit in Lil Nigga ft. Kash Doll and a west coast anthem in Ooh with G Perico and 03 Greedo. Check it out here.
Standout Tracks: OOH ft. G Perico & 03 Greedo, Birfday ft. Key!
NGeeYL – Tales of YL
South Carolina’s NGeeYL has been a blip on my radar for a minute now, finding his track Front Page Gang on soundcloud. He provides a dark aggressive aesthetic to trap, his new mixtape under 300 Ent. enscapsulates that to a T while still showing his progression as an artist. Listen here.
Standout Track: Trip Gang
Choker – Honeybloom
Choker is one of the best new artists out if we’re being honest with ourselves. His first project Peak was one of my top projects of 2017, and he’s 2 for 2 with his latest. He kind of just picks up where Frank Ocean left off, delivering a Hip-pop style that sees him raising questions on mortality, relationships, and a journey of self discovery. All self produced and engineered, he’s a multi talented kid who actually has a lot to offer, unlike some others who make the same claims(Fuck Russ). Honeybloom is packed with emotion both lyrically and sonically, and is truly a project that should not be skipped. Peep.
Standout Tracks: This whole mf slaps tbh
Avantdale Bowling Club – Self Titled
A share from a friend that I may have missed on my own, A.B.C. is an avant garde jazz rap project that explores a mans desire to provide for himself and his family, while trying not to mull into complacency. I may be a little different than want most are used to, but its a passionate project that delivers on what it’s trying to execute, going against everything that modern rap portrays. The instrumentals are beautiful, recorded by a live jazz band which artist Tom Scott fits perfectly over as he raps about trying not to lose himself as he works to provide a better life for his family. Check it out here.
Standout Tracks: Years Gone By, F(r)iends
Reek – Recliner
Fresh off dropping one of the best projects in the city this summer with Chapter 2wo, Reek dropped off a new loosie a couple weeks ago with production from Fritogang’s Dubb. Recliner is a smooth track that places lyricism and flow at the forefront with a soulful foundation from the beat. A lot of the lines require a double take, so don’t let this go over your head. Peep here, playarrrs.
Jack Harlow – Loose
A cosign is a powerful thing when it comes from the right person. Signed to DJ Drama’s Generation Now imprint through Atlantic, Jack Harlow has been in my sights since his I first heard his track Dark Knight off his last project. Loose takes everything good about his last, and pushes it even further. What I like about Jack is he has good songwriting capabilities and all the features act as complements and have their own place, all the while he never compromises his bars. I mean, dude has a strong voice and can really rap. He has a seriously bright future in the game. Check out Loose here.
Standout Tracks: PICKUPTHEPHONE ft. K Camp, Sundown
Coi Leray – Huddy
Hailing from Jersey, Benzino daughter is actually super hard. she’s got a great amount of confidence in her flow, which is rare among newer artists. A random twitter find made her an artist I really wanna follow. I’ve never experienced somebody who has rapped about taking niggas girls AND girls niggas in the same verse. Amazing. Check out the video for Huddy below.
I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again, this modern era of hip hop exists as a renaissance, both culturally and sonically. Just this summer alone, we got release every almost every Major G.O.O.D. Music artist( they went 1 for 5, but that’s none of my business), Drake dropped a double album, Rocky dr(fl)opped, AND we finally got Astroworld, plus a ton of other quality projects. This shit crazy honestly. What’s gone almost unnoticed though, surprising most who bothered to pay attention, is a slew of high level projects coming out of San Antonio’s rap scene.
Anyone who’s really from San Antonio know shit been super trash outta there for a while, with the city of Carmen Calls and Chingo Bling remixes most major offerings for a minute being King Kyle Lee verses about the spurs and a nigga rappin bout snapbacks (Is AJ Herns alive?). While things and been on the uprise for a couple years now, except for the worst cypher in the history of rap(seriously, who set that shit up? I just wanna talk, fam), this summer is where it all came to a head, giving us top notch projects from AJ Bray, King Khali, Fritogang, and Reek & Sage all in close proximity. Things are changing, and SA could finally be on its way to make its mark in history the same way Houston did back in the day.
AJ Bray – Enigma
Enigma proved to be AJs best project yet, not just in quality, but in impact. He made a lot of waves with his FrFr video, creatively shot like a Genius lyric breakdown, catching the eye of a lot of major outlets, and provided some of his most energetic and tenacious songs to date, signaling a new livelihood and hunger. He’s beginning to embody a mix of trap and lyricism that melds so well together that you can’t tell the two styles apart, which is, in my opinion, how it’s supposed to be. At its purest level, the energy and aggression that AJ put into this project shows a true progression in artistry.
King Khali – Poor Decisions, Good Intentions
I’m not gonna lie, this project caught me by complete surprise. I was unfamiliar outside of his name being brought up in some convos I’ve had, but when I finally decided to listen, I was honestly taken aback by how nice dude is on the mic. A lot of confident flows, heavy punches, and good storytelling, really showing that he takes his craft serious, which I appreciate cuz it seems rare these days. On top of all that, he fits the pocket perfectly, never seeming off kilter on any of the beats and emulating all the emotions that his word convey. PDGI is a strong, introspective look at street life and the balance between keeping it real and keeping your composure, which is something the city really needed. Plus he topped it all off by going 2-0 in a beef, so bonus points.
Fritogang – “ARE YOU EVEN LISTENING?”
This one was probably one of the most anticipated just because of the amount of notoriety these guys have in the city. They’ve been operating in the scene for years throwing events and having one off performances(one had Texas State University going crazy), but this is the first major project from them as far as I know. They’ve been major proponents of developing their vintage throwback aesthetic, which is shown in their appearance as well as their music. Smooth sampling and production places you way back in the day, in the age of cookouts, house parties, and spike lee movies, bringing a different aura to the current climate of hip hop that’s reminiscent of the golden era with a pinch of modern flavor. It’s all smooth lyrics and flows from multiple members, most songs inspired greatly by 90s R&B, with some crooning that makes you feel like times were simpler, and you just got out of school in time to watch Moesha. To have something like this come straight out of central Texas really blindsides you, in a good way.
Reek & Sage – Chapter 2WO
For me, quality of music doesn’t always originate from the words you say or the hardest production, but the amount of passion you invest in it. Start to finish, this is a passion project by definition. One of the strongest pens in the city, Reek displays not only his ability as a lyricist, but a degree of emotional vulnerability and pairs perfectly with Sages production, almost to the point where I don’t want to hear anything else. It’s a introspective yet relatable look at who Reek is, his life, his experiences, every sincere moment he’s gone through expressed in a way where you’ve felt like you’ve gone through it as well. Sage really shine too, his unique not quite lofi style is something that is truly his alone, a sound I’ve never heard from anyone else, with the two of them together making shit like the wonder twins. This isn’t even just the best out of the city, I could truly see this making some best of the year lists from those in the know.
With these four dropping just this summer, like weeks apart, I’m really excited for the future SA holds. They really showcase the diversity of artists around, none of these guys even sound similar, and have paved their own way with their own sound. There’s so many other unique artists in the city as well, Clee, 80sBlond, and Proz Taylor, just to name a few, who are really showing that there’s much to the city that gets overlooked. the past. If the pace continues, the city is EASILY the next to cause a major shift in the culture, and all I can say is, it’s about time.
Being a producer means a lot more than it used to in the past. It’s grown to be way more immersive and intricate, with the heavy hitters laying down complex soundscapes and telling stories with their shit, not just putting down foundations for rappers, but making things standout on their own. Little Rock’s Yuni Wa is a prime example of artistic evolution, with his latest project putting in a different space with every track. If feels like a classic movie marathon, captivating the listener and invoking a multitude of emotion with the instrumentation. Rather than be pigeonholed as just another rap producer, Yuni Ma made an attempting to stand on his own and grab you with his sound, and it was definitely the right decision. Listen below.
While we wait for his next project, Blackball, to drop, ZOTiYAC tossed us some new shit to pass the time. Lost Language may be small, but the energy behind it is huge, delivering 5 heavy hitter tracks. Zo is known for his dark, almost evil sound, and is really in his bag with this one. His gritty lyrics and trademark flow are always on point, and the amount of pure aggression he consistently brings whenever he drops is all over LL. The standout tracks are LICC HOE$ and Unleashing Sum, but each track carries serious weight on their own. One of my favorite underground artists, he never fails to bring the ruckus. Check out Lost Language below, as well and his Too Hotty freestyle.
For the past few years, JMAC the Dragon has been a soldier on his grind. He’s consistently shown a strong pen game and a serious hunger for success, and he enforces that even more with his latest, The Wait. He’s delivering every line with a newfound energy, fully owning his sound, flow, and style, and the A.K.A. production is powerful, the grimy melody and heavy bass making each bar feel harder than the last. Peep the wait below and be on the lookout for what else JMAC has in store.
Already back to work after hitting us with his latest body of work Gucci Durag Chronicles II, AJ Bray blessed us with a new hit. Produced by Izak, who’s careers starting to heat up himself, Make It Quick shows off AJs talent who instantly quotable lyrics and perfectly riding a rhythm with his delivery. Listen to Make It Quick below, and be sure to peep GD2 here.
PNTHN members dc4prez and Tony Tone link up to destroy some Alchemist production with Jabroni. Contrary to what niggas these days will tell you, there’s a number of young new artists coming with straight bars, and this is perfect evidence. The beat is top notch, and both DC and Tony beat it up like Tyson in his prime with their lyricism. Listen to Jabroni right fucking now, and be sure to peep The PNTHNs mixtape …From Disorder.
Lil Purpp has finally blessed our trap. Hailing from Miami, Smokepurpp has been steady on the rise since he first blew up with Ski Mask, and we finally have his debut mixtape, Deadstar, after a ton of delays. On the first listen, the tape has varying from aggressive trap bops to crooned songs of drug binging late nights. With features from the likes of Chief Keef, Juicy J, Lil Pump, and D.R.A.M., and a clear and crisp quality, it’s clear that Smokepurpp is playing zero games with the industry. Give the tape a listen below.