This past year, we saw a lot of mixtapes, a lot of debuts, a lot of surprise project, and a lot of talent. Amongst all of the seasoned veterans who dropped albums this past year – Eminem, Common, Ghostface Killah, and others – there were quite a few “freshmen” who made a name for themselves in 2014. We decided to collect hip-hop’s best up-and-coming rappers of the year and make sure you know their name.

10. Astro

The Brooklyn-based rapper Astro rose to fame as a contestant on the first season of the X-Factor back in 2011. After falling short of first-place, the rapper continued rapping, but also did some acting, too. Before the young talent turned eighteen, Astro was wowing crowds and making a name for himself.

In 2014, Astro dropped his mixtape Computer Era that boasted a wildly invigorating boom-bap vibe with supreme lyrical abilities. Astro is witty, energetic, and slick with his flows and subject matters, and Computer Era is a great testament to that fact. Still being so young, there is much room to grow and develop, and with more time to sharpen his craft, Astro can be a force to be reckoned with in 2015 and beyond.


9. Tree

It’s hard to consider Tree a total up-and-comer, as he probably would’ve been higher on this list last year.

Coming off the release of his second volume of his Sunday School mixtape in 2013, the Chi-Town emcee returned in 2014 with a short self-titled EP that might be his best work yet. Tree reminds me of a Chicago version of David Banner.

Chicago is loaded with talent, and I think Tree can be one of the artists to break out of the pack.


8. Raury

Raury is a little bit rapper, a little bit singer/songwriter, and a whole lot of potential. The kid can go bar for bar with just about any up-and-coming rapper, but he has a wide scope of different skill sets that makes him extremely interesting.

Off of his 2014 project Indigo Child, songs like “Woodcrest Manor” are devastatingly insightful and even more incredible when you realize it comes from the mind of an 18 year-old.

If Raury releases more music this year, it would be a mistake to miss out on what he has to offer.


7. Bishop Nehru

While I was personally disappointed by what came of the whole NehruvianDOOM project, I still feel that Bishop Nehru has something big to offer hip-hop.

The New York rhymer has a super chill demeanor on the mic and offers some similar sounds that Pro Era possesses. His earlier mixtapes displayed raw skill from a young rapper trying to rise up in a genre awash with internet talent. Perhaps the new year will bring light to that original style and we can see some rejuvenation from this potentially potent lyricist.


6. Saba

Chicago’s Saba is cut from the same cloth as fellow rappers like Chance the Rapper and Vic Mensa, but he brings his own perspective and style that makes him standout among the pack. Saba raps with the energy of someone spitting his last verse, and his verses are crammed with a lot of words but he never sounds rushed.

In 2014, Saba dropped his incredible, one-of-a-kind project ComfortZONE and you’re missing out if you haven’t heard it yet. Hopefully we can hear some new Saba in the new year.

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Tags : AstroBishop NehruIsaiah RashadLogicMick JenkinsRaurySabaTDETreeVince StaplesYour Old Droog
HHSE Staff

The author HHSE Staff

Thought up by two hip-hop fans, The Hip Hop Speakeasy was started for a sole purpose: to spread the word of good, underground hip-hop music.