If you’re reading this, you are probably aware that BDTB is a hip hop, soul and beat/production based blog, and that we share music from many talented people. A lot of those people happen to be from Indiana at times, too. Whether or not it’s commercial or not is irrelevant. Whether or not it’s widely liked or known is also irrelevant. It just has to be great.
With that being said, and me being a musician, producer and taste maker that believes in his ear for dopeness, I’m sharing to you a couple handfuls of emcees that I personally wish people would pay more attention to in 2014. I’m talking everybody. Not all of these artists are younger, and some of them have even reached a considerable amount of success. I just want to highlight for you a few (of many) artists, under too many people’s radar, that I enjoy music from.
Yeah, I know what you’re thinking, and yes, Add-2 just recently signed with 9th Wonder’s Jamla. That’s great, and well deserved (and a perfect fit I might add), but I know well enough that this alone doesn’t necessarily mean that a lot of you will pay attention to him any different. Well, change that if this is you. In the last few years, the one man duo has put out many projects that has garnered respect from many you might look up to. From Save Our Souls, More Missed Calls, to his recent Between Heaven and Hell release with Khrysis, Add-2 has continued to excel and showcase his talent for making great music.
Check out a track of his below and follow him on Twitter: @ADD2theMC
Jamall Bufford, Michigan
As many of my friends most likely know the name Jamall Bufford, I would be happier if that number increased. Jamall has been around for quite a while, as he used to go by Buff1, but in the last few years he has continued his pursuit of great music through a specific project. As it seems it’s no longer a secret, Jamall is a key member in The Black Opera. Yes, those guys. I don’t think they’ve released a single skip-able track. Building off his success with The Black Opera, Jamall just recently dropped a new album, titled Victim of a Modern Age, and it’s a great solo, heart-felt project that is sure to impress.
Check out the intro to his recent release below and follow him on Twitter: @JamallBufford
You know, until I randomly thought of Locksmith, I was only going to showcase Midwest artists. Locksmith is from Richmond, CA, and he is a lyricist’s lyricist. Every word is thought out, heartfelt and has heavy intention. His voice pops. His songs are about life and the emotion surrounding it. His production selection accentuates his message. Don’t take my word for it though, go and listen to his The Green Box project, and when you listen to it front to back for the second time, and third, you’ll love it even more.
Check out one of my favorite tracks of his below and follow him on Twitter: @DaLocksmith
It’s probably not fair to add MeLo-X to this category because he’s not just a rapper, as he’s an all around great musician, singer, producer, and more, but I’m going to because he does indeed rap too. He’s also pretty good at it. To me, his music often creates a spacious aura. Melo had quite an impressive 2013, which focused on his GOD series, and saw him put out numerous EP’s (some instrumental ones too). My personal favorite was probably GOD: LoFi, but he also released GOD: HiFi, GOD: WiFi, and of course GOD: Pièce de Résistance that was unleashed in November.
Check out a track of his below from his LoFi project last year and follow him on Twitter: @MeLoXTRA
MoRuf, New Jersey
Although I was kind of aware of his music, I didn’t really dig into a lot of MoRuf‘s work until the end of 2013. Needless to say, I’ve become quite impressed with his work. MoRuf joined the talented Iman Omari on a project in 2012, called Euphoria, but what really grabbed my attention was his recent, highly impressive Shades.Of.Moo release that dropped just a couple months ago. The project is full of great raps with great production.
Check out a track of his below and follow him on Twitter: @MoRuf88
Nemo Achida, Kentucky
I’ve been following Nemo Achida for a while, as we’ve been sharing his music on BDTB for a couple years. Although he hales from Lexington, Kentucky, the Midwest emcee and producer now resides in the New York area. In the last year, we’ve seen Nemo put out a project in Midnight Magic, a short film in Slave To The Wave, and music videos for Global, KillinEveryNigga / Jngl Fvr, and She Forgot The Rello.
Check out a track of his below and follow him on Twitter: @NemoAchida
Oreo Jones, Indianapolis
Naptown’s Oreo Jones has been consistent in one thing since I’ve known him: he always reinvents himself. When I think about the first time I saw him rock 4-5 years ago to his Delicious EP with 90 lbs, his Oreo Jones & Friends album, Black Fabio, his Betty release of a year ago, and now with his latest album with DMA in Highway Hypnosis, he never does the same thing twice. His last two videos are for Dream Babe and Running.
Check out a track from Oreo’s recent project below and hit him up on Twitter: @OreoJones
Pete Sayke, Chicago/Cincinnati
I’d be willing to bet that many of you don’t know who Pete Sayke is, but he has been one of my favorite emcees for years. Not only for his great lyrical flexing ability, but also for his storytelling. From his rhyming days at Ball State nearly 10 years ago with KM², his works with producer Maja 7th after they moved to Chicago, to now and most recently as a part of the duo Grumpy Old Men with Mike Schpitz, Pete has been churning out dope song after song for a long time. He was mostly quiet in 2013, after back-to-back full-lengths in 2011 and 2012 with Grumpy Old Men, titled Sunday Skool and FreeLunch, but he is planning on dropping two solo projects in 2014. One is an album releasing in April with producer ThatKidMyself, titled Forever, and another one with long-time producer collaborator Maja 7th.
Check out a track of his below.
Pope Adrian Bless, Indianapolis
I had to share some local talent, and Pope Adrian Bless is a rising star around these parts that deserves to be on the list. Last year, Pope dropped AMIII: Internal Warfare, a multi-track mixtape that was praised as one of the best local releases of the year. From that project, Pope released an impressive video for the song below, Full Metal Alchemist, but also dropped videos for Pieces of a Man and Cigar Smoke, a track that also features Feeray that won BDTB’s Favorite Single of the year for 2013.
Check out a track of his below and follow him on Twitter: @AdrianBlessRWG
I first became familiar with Sene years ago when he was featured on a track with Blu… or maybe it was Blu featured on a track from Sene. Either way, from that point on I’ve been paying attention to everything that Sene has been releasing. Sometimes it’s been solo work, other times it’s been with Recess, but most recently it’s been his collaborative writing work with Denitia Odigie. In the last year and a half, these two have put out song after song, including singles Feel Better, It’s Your Fault, The Nude, and many others. They also released His And Hers, a full length album. Sene’s most recent track, where’s he’s rapping, is Crooks in Castles, which features a slew of dope rhymers.
Check out a track of his below that features Blu and follow him on Twitter: @writtebysene
Sirius Blvck, Indianapolis
Indianapolis’ Sirius Blvck has been putting in a lot of work in the last couple years. In 2013, Sirius released a pair of solo mixtapes (Rite of Passage and Ancient Lights), a 7-track EP with his band Indian City Weather, a collaborative project with fellow Ghost Town collective member John Stamps in Piggy Banx, and was featured on many projects throughout the city. Talked about as one of his best projects to date, Sirius unleashed Year of the Snake on us at the beginning of 2014. Not only was his Ancient Lights project voted the favorite release of Indiana in our 2013 Wrap Up, but he was also voted emcee of the year. Check the videos for Canadian Tuxedo, Ancient Lights, and Man on Fire, as well as a song of his below. Oh, and follow him on Twitter: @siriusxblvck
Sulaiman is a dope emcee that represents the #Treated Crew in Chicago, is one of the heads behind Blind I For The Kids, an oft-collaborator with Vic Spencer, and is also half of the Local Nobodies (which is him and fellow Chicago musician Mathien). I’ve yet to hear Suli come with anything less than stellar. He rhymes smoothly with clever content and thought provoking lines on every track, and quite honestly, if he’s featured, he’s usually the one I’m fast forwarding to hear. Suli was recently featured on Retch and Thelonious Martin’s Polo Sporting Goods album, Chuck Inglish’s Droptops, and he and Vic dropped a video for their Baffleboard track back in August. Oh, and you might want to check out the Local Nobodies.
Check out a track of his below and follow him on Twitter: @Sulaiman_