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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.