Ladies and gentleman, the Underground Report is back in full effect. HipHopDX’s spotlight on the independent Hip Hop artists is here to showcase more tracks from artists that deserve some extra recognition.
The latest edition of the Report compiles seven high-quality songs that dropped in April, and it was a tough task to narrow down the selections. A lot of good music came out last month, but here’s a look at some of the best on the indie scene.
Wara From The NBHD – “Godspeed Ahead”
Wara From The NBHD is a skilled rhymer who caught my attention with his 2014 project Kidnapped, particularly for the song “Slangin.” His follow-up, If Guns Could Speak PSA, solidified me as a fan in 2015. It’d been a minute since Wara dropped something, so I was glad to see him pop up again a few months ago.
In April, he dropped a new single called “Godspeed Ahead” that showed off a different side. Wara is typically in-your-face, commanding attention with the fervor of his delivery. But on this track, he’s more laid back. The relaxed vibe is a change of pace but fits the production of Henry Shoults and Whatchu Mean. Wara’s lone verse is excellent too, showing the shift doesn’t come at the sacrifice of his rhymes. Although the rest of his Bombs Away EP (released on May 4) is more in line with his past work, the versatility of “Godspeed Ahead” is an interesting new development in his already strong formula.
Legendvry – “Can’t Get Stuck” f. White Dave
I’ve always had a soft spot for the Bay Area, appreciating the work of everyone from E-40 and The Jacka to Zion I and Hieroglyphics. My affinity for the scene recently directed me to Oakland’s Legendvry, who dropped a solid EP called Insurance in January. The brief project put him on my radar and I’m glad it did because I might’ve missed “Can’t Get Stuck” without it.
Producer Drew Banga lives up to his name by lacing the Oaktown MC with an absolute banger. Legendvry strikes gold too with the hook and his particularly slick flow. White Dave (the brother of Black Panther director Ryan Coogler) also delivers a strong performance in his guest spot and hints at why he should be known for more than his family ties. Fans need to watch out for these two Oakland up-and-comers if “Can’t Get Stuck” is any indication of what they’ve got coming down the pipeline.
The Doppelgangaz – “Slay Bellz”
The Doppelgangaz have been one of New York’s best Hip Hop acts for the past five years. The purveyors of the “Black Cloak Lifestyle” have released a string of excellent projects while existing on rap’s margins. Fans of traditional New York Hip Hop need only look to Matter ov Fact and EP aka Harrisun21 for a fix of the sound they crave.
While I’d highly recommend delving into their older work, such as 2013’s Lone Sharks, The Doppelgangaz have some brand new music for fans to enjoy. Ahead of their AAAAGGGHH album’s May 11 release, the Ghastly Duo dropped a grimy single called “Slay Bellz.” The familiar jingle bells from a bygone era act as the backdrop to rhymes about “chicks who look like Bud Selig” and a “skeezer who plays Weezer on Deezer.”
K-Rino – “Speech Unleashed”
K-Rino probably deserves a whole Underground Report solely dedicated to him. The Houston MC is the epitome of the underground, carving out a career that’s lasted decades without an ounce of mainstream recognition. Despite his low profile, K-Rino is truly one of the more adept lyricists to ever pick up a mic. He makes Canibus’ pen game seem like Dom Kennedy’s. He’s displayed his lyrical prowess over dozens of albums and is still going strong.
His latest LP, Mightier Than The Sword, is another tour de force of rapping that kicks off with a bang via “Speech Unleashed.” Allow me to quote a portion of the song’s lone verse: “Your people fiending for concepts with a deeper meaning/ My line scheme got ’em se-secretly reconvening/ High-frequency thinking, cerebrally linking each who syncing/ Unequalled achievements, bilingually speaking street and English.”
If you love meticulous lyrics and don’t listen to K-Rino, it’s time to rectify that.
The Monastery – “I Ain’t Coming Down”
Public service announcement: somebody needs to sign The Monastery!
A few years ago, the Birmingham, Alabama duo came to my hometown of Baton Rouge for a small rap event aimed at giving unproven artists a chance to shine. It was a quasi-talent show and they weren’t even originally on the bill, only getting to perform as alternates for someone who couldn’t make it. That night, they stole the show and convinced me they were born to be stars.
Since then, Carlos Charm and Paco have been making regular trips to BR that have only solidified my opinion of their star-quality. The Monastery are wizards on the mic, spitting jaw-dropping rhymes and hypnotic hooks. The release of their new single “I Ain’t Coming Down” has finally given me the opportunity to highlight them in the Report … and I don’t think readers will be disappointed. Carlos and Paco’s rapping prowess is on display, but it’s only a taste of their capabilities. There’s plenty of room on The Monastery bandwagon, so grab a seat.
Gold Mysterio – “ReBorn”
The importance of a good stage name can’t be overlooked. Having something that stands out is a great way to get noticed. Atlanta’s Gold Mysterio did just that for me.
After discovering Mysterio through some SoundCloud digging, I found myself stuck on his song “ReBorn.” The Dungeon Family influence is palpable, which makes sense coming from an ATLien. But this isn’t some carbon copy; there’s distinct individuality as he explores the concept of pain on an Abel Petit production. The verses provide a glimpse at Mysterio’s mindset and the varied vocals crying out “I hurt myself again” are filled with pathos. If you’re like me and need to hear more from Mysterio after “ReBorn,” check out his recently released Blue Boy EP.
Angelo Mota – “Sucks”
The Immaculate Taste label/collective is probably best known for Well$, a talented rapper out of North Carolina. They’ve got a secret weapon in Angelo Mota though. The West Orange, New Jersey-repping MC/producer has some great music in his catalog, but his latest single might be his best creation yet.
“Sucks” is the type of track that could absolutely take off if it landed on the right playlist or soundtrack. The hook is money and the verse seems destined to be a hit at live shows. The song’s also got some unique twists and turns, including a beat switch three minutes in that changes the mood. This latter half of the record sees Mota shift to singing over a guitar, which surprisingly works as well as the straightforward rapping. Mota’s got much more on the way as “Sucks” will appear on his When All Is Said And Done album, which drops May 25.