Once again, it’s time for HipHopDX to put the spotlight on the independent Hip Hop artists with the Underground Report. In this edition, we share seven more songs that underground fans need to hear. It’s impossible to keep up with all the music dropping these days, so let the Report make the search a little easier.
Huey Briss & Nikobeats – “Gil Scott Never Lied” f. DJ Babu
Huey Briss converted me into a fan with just one song. After listening to “Gil Scott Never Lied” for the first time, I immediately had to replay it four more times due to its quality. Briss quickly shows off his wordplay with the bars “Never Akademik, keeping TEC’s on the dresser/Struggle every day and never ever seen Nadeska,” but his biting critiques of the rap industry are the satisfying payoff.
Nikobeats’ haunting production expertly sets the mood for Briss’ dissection as he scoffs at everything from DJ Vlad interviews to rappers pretending to be gang members. The closing cuts by Dilated Peoples’ DJ Babu only bolster this record, making “Gil Scott Never Lied” one of the best songs to drop in 2018 so far. The Long Beach MC and Nikobeats have some equally dope material on their Black Wax EP, which is a must listen for anyone who enjoys their standout single.
Jhon Myquale – “Genesis”
Speaking of dope EPs, Jhon Myquale has one of his own in Flight Theory. The Chicago-based MC put together a brief five-track project, but it’s mighty potent. The finest moment of the 20-minute listen is its opener, “Genesis.” Myquale floats over the Niko beat to spit aspirational rhymes about his desire to make his music dreams come true. In a day and age where it often feels like rappers blow up overnight, it’s refreshing to hear about the grind and the devotion to the craft as detailed on “Genesis.” Myquale believes the hard work will pay off soon, “as long as the kids love it.” Hopefully, he’s right because Hip Hop needs more of this.
LB199X – “War On Drugs”
I’m starting to turn into a broken record because the DMV keeps commanding attention on the Report. This time around, the region is represented by LB199X. The Washington, D.C. spitter stood out with his impressive Black Matter project, which is all about the black experience. It was hard to narrow it down to one song, but “War On Drugs” seemed like a good example of LB’s artistic capabilities. He explores the lasting effects of Ronald Reagan’s drug war on a micro and macro level, all while softening the dour subject with a catchy hook. “War On Drugs” is a taste of what LB has to offer, so check out Black Matter in its entirety for the full experience.
Tha God Fahim – “One N Only” f. Kungg Fuu
Tha God Fahim is the polar opposite of what you expect to hear from Atlanta, especially in 2018. Fahim, much like frequent collaborator Mach-Hommy, is all about boom bap and gritty bars. His discography is extensive, to say the least, with a release schedule that would make Curren$y say, “Slow down.” Despite putting out so much content, often at exorbitant prices, Fahim is so good at what he does that it’s worth keeping up with the relentless barrage of music.
One of his March drops, Dump Gawd: Dragon Emperor, is thoroughly entertaining and far from time-consuming. The Kungg Fuu-assisted “One N Only” is a highlight of the seven-track EP, packed with brash bars and insults directed at wack MCs on a neck-snapping beat by C-Lance. If this track and its host project aren’t enough for you, check out Fahim’s follow-up Blvk Pearl 2 — a collaborative release with Camoflauge Monk.
Jose Xavier – “Cycles” f. Quadry
Baton Rouge is often pigeonholed by the sound associated with Boosie Badazz or, more recently, YoungBoy Never Broke Again. However, there’s a much different style in the city that’s been bubbling for years and starting to make its presence known on a larger scale. Jose Xavier and Quadry are two such artists, so it should come as no surprise they are collaborators. Both MCs are part of the talented Black Cypress crew but are best represented by their solo work.
Xavier, formerly known as Blaze Jose, closed out March with his debut solo release FADE001, which exemplifies what he brings to the table. His southern-fried sensibilities permeate the project, but his song “Cycles” with Quadry is the shining moment. Fellow Black Cypress member Swiger samples The Hics’ “Lines” and turns it into a bona fide country rap tune (R.I.P. Pimp C). Xavier’s hook is infectious, his flow is slick and the verses come from a genuine point of view. Quadry’s short but sweet appearance is a bonus, so put both of these skilled rhymers on your radar if they’re not already.
Sahtyre – “Numb” f. Trizz
If you’ve been following the Report closely, you should recognize Trizz from a previous edition. This time around, he’s the guest instead of the lead artist. The latter role is manned by Los Angeles rapper Sahtyre, who caught my attention with his LSD (Saga) album and kept it off the strength of his 2017 album Cassidy Howell. A year later, he has released a new EP titled The Gorgeous Darkness. Despite containing just seven tracks, the EP has a lot of variety and shows off different aspects of Sahtyre’s artistry. The Trizz-assisted “Numb” is a true banger that’ll sound great in the ride or blaring over a speaker system. Although Sahtyre and Trizz are mainly snapping on this one, the track has some underlying substance about self-medicating and becoming numb about life. That adds another dimension and sets it apart from a pack of similar sounding cuts.
Dillon & Batsauce – “You Should Be Dancin (Not Me)”
Dillon Maurer has been dropping dope music for over a decade, dating all the way back to his days as one half of Intellekt and Dirty Digits. Although he’s an accomplished solo artist, Maurer’s been heavy on the collaborative releases in recent years. He’s teamed up with Diamond D, Boog Brown, Paten Locke and Massinfluence’s H2O for a string of high-quality projects, but now he’s back at it with his go-to producer Batsauce.
The longtime friends kicked off the campaign for their On Their Way album, which dropped on April 13, with a smooth single called “You Should Be Dancing (Not Me).” The track is Hip Hop at its purest because Maurer & Batsauce have no delusions of grandeur. They are making the music they love and hoping it connects with like-minded individuals. Those underground sensibilities and Maurer’s skills should resonate with true school Hip Hop heads, but “You Should Be Dancin” has a groove that’s hard for anyone to deny. On Their Way delivers even more authenticity and features an impressive guest lineup, including Sadat X, Greg Nice, Count Bass D, Willie Evans Jr. and Qwazaar.