Underground/ Indie Hip Hop: My Favorite Artists Part 1

What’s up lyricallyrap fam? My name is Marshall, and I absolutely love rap in all forms and fashions, but the underground scene has always spoken to me more than anything. Ya’ll ever experience something that as soon as you do, it changes your life? That’s me with Indie hip hop. It just speaks to me in a way that no other form of music ever has or ever will. I was always the “underground guy” in my circle. I remember working in this restaurant as a kid and taking my entire paycheck to the local record stores (ya im old) and spending hours just browsing and buying any hip hop cd’s i could afford. Tracks, The Den, and TD’s Cd’s and Lp’s were like my homes away from home. These were my sanctuaries, where i could just get outta my head and sample some dope ass music. Then came the streaming age, which opened me and the world up to the seemingly infinite array of artists new and old, and I fell in love all over again. It really is a great time to be a hip hop head.

These are my 5 Of My Favorite Underground Artists Past and Present

ATMOSPHERE

This duo of emcee Slug and DJ Ant from the Twin Cities, “have built a legacy out of bringing honesty, humility and vulnerability to the forefront of their music, continually challenging themselves to evolve without straying too far from their roots. Slug has proven masterful at storytelling and writing compelling narratives, leaving a trail of his own influence while paying homage to the rappers and songwriters that helped shape him. Ant has skillfully molded the soundtracks with inspiration from soul, funk, rock, reggae, and the wizardry of hip-hop’s pioneering DJ’s and producers, creating his own trademark sounds while providing the pulse for songs about life, love, stress and setbacks.” I couldn’t have said it better, kudos to the writers on rhymesayers.com

Sage Francis

Sage Francis is widely considered one of our generation’s greatest lyricists. His career derives mainly from gifted wordplay which creates vivid narratives to instigate as well as inspire, but since it often derives from an accumulation of public disdain and personal turmoil, it’s more about storming the castle than about watching the throne. Dubbed as the “forefather of indie-hop,” Francis originally earned acclaim in the early 2000’s by winning the most highly coveted titles of the emcee battle circuit. With little to no funding, Francis sustained himself by selling his innovative “Sick of” mixtapes, all made by hand on the floor of his Providence, RI apartment. These were essentially bootleg compilations full of select recordings from his 12” vinyl singles, demo sessions, live performances and radio freestyles. The popularity of these tapes birthed Strange Famous Records (SFR); a meager, one-man operation in 1999. Despite having no official distribution, Francis’ unique brand of music spread like wildfire via the advent of file sharing networks. This resulted in him attaining a massive cult-like following around the world, creating a demand for his albums and live performances at which point the bigger labels took notice. With his first studio album, Personal Journals (2002,) Francis daringly set aside the more boastful side of rap by catering to his poetic leanings and scathing socio-political commentary.”

Murs

“Nicholas Carter (born March 16, 1978), better known by his stage name Murs, is an American rapper. His name is an acronym (or backronym) for which he himself has created multiple meanings, such as “Making the Universe Recognize and Submit” or “Making Underground Raw Shit.” Murs is widely considered to be one of the best and most influential artists to come out of L.A. Murs has received critical acclaim and cult icon status throughout his entire 20 plus year career. This dude is a beast on the mic!

Immortal Technique

“Immortal Technique, born Felipe Coronel, is a revolutionary. Originally from Peru, he immigrated to Harlem, NY and eventually ended up in prison. He left with a new focus on music. His aggressive style gained him instant notoriety as a battle rapper, and his first album was a word-of-mouth sensation. Unwilling to change his message for the mainstream, he remained completely independent. His subsequent projects have permanently found their way into the hearts and minds of truth seekers worldwide. Going behind the scenes, The (R)evolution of Immortal Technique is an exploration of one man’s global journey to fight injustice through music.”

This cat is one of the best storytellers ever to pick up a mic. I would put him up there with Slick Rick with the way he can portray an adventure through his insane word-play and lyrical ability.

MF DOOM

MF Doom or simply Doom (both stylized in all caps), was a British-American rapper and record producer. Noted for his intricate wordplay, signature metal mask, and “supervillain” stage persona, Dumile became a major figure of underground hip hop in the 2000s. After his death, Variety described him as one of the scene’s “most celebrated, unpredictable and enigmatic figures”.

DOOM’s lyrics are known for wordplay, and his productions frequently incorporated samples and quotations from film. Bradley and DuBois, describing DOOM as “among the most enigmatic figures in hip-hop”, and his “raspy baritone weaves an intricate web of allusions drawn from comic books and metaphysics along with seeming nonsense and non sequiturs”. According to an obituary in The Ringer, his flow was “loose and conversational, but delivered with technical precision”, and his use of rhyme and meter eclipsed that of Big Pun and Eminem.

Let me know what ya think and stay tuned for part 2 coming soon!! Peace, love, and hip hop Fam!!

2 thoughts on “Underground/ Indie Hip Hop: My Favorite Artists Part 1

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