We're barely out of winter and the charts are already heating up with tracks from some of Atlanta’s next generation of hip-hop heavy-hitters. Some of these ATL rappers aren’t on national charts yet, but they have the streets jumping, so you can be sure it’s only a matter of time before the radio catches on.
From College Park’s Kap G to the Northside’s K Camp, these rookies -- both signed and unsigned -- have already proven that they can hold their own among big names like Pharrell Williams and 2 Chainz.
As always, The Boombox wants to ensure that you’re ahead of the curve and aware of who you should add to the playlist before summer kicks in. After all, you’ve got to have the right tracks bumping from your speakers once the temperature rises. Here we’ve listed the rappers out of the A-Town that you should get familiar with. Check out 10 Atlanta Rappers to Watch in 2014.
Forte Bowie is indisputably the most soulful artist out of the Think It's a Game (TIG) camp, home to Trinidad James and Rich Homie Quan. The 24-year-old triple threat (producer, rapper, singer) made his mark with a featured verse on James’ ‘Southside’ track in 2012. Since then, he’s dropped his own ‘Vice Haus’ project, followed by the revamped ‘Deluxe’ edition, which showcases Bowie in his element: singing and rapping about the layers of life and love beyond rap dreams over his own ethereal beats.
The lead track off the project, titled 'Gucci Mane,' highlights all these elements perfectly as Forte walks us through the emotional process of getting over someone with melody as well as some clever bars.
Hailing from Atlanta’s northside, K Camp's hit ‘Money Baby’ took off on the radio in 2013, and by the time he dropped his newest hit, ‘Cut Her Off,’ featuring 2 Chainz, his project ‘In Due Time’ was already buzzing in the streets.
'Cut Her Off' instantly took off upon release, with the rumbling bass and a flippant K Camp disregarding a clingy love (lust?) interest.
Years after his start in Atlanta’s music industry, K Camp is finally catching his second wind and everyone else is catching on -- including Interscope, who just signed the rapper. In due time, indeed.
With all the hoopla surrounding the leader of the Young Stoner Lifestyle, one would think Young Thug already had a debut album on deck and ready to go.
Regardless of his claims to have signed with Young Money, and before that, Freebandz, neither is the case. Nonetheless, Thugger is surely racking up some insane buzz with his two hits, ‘Stoner’ and ‘Danny Glover’ -- the latter pulling one of the dopest verses from Nicki Minaj in years.
His signature yelps give unbridled energy to every track he touches. Not to mention, most recently the 1017 Brick Squad member joined forces with Bloody Jay -- another young firestarter on this same list -- offering the 'Black Portland' project. Their newest track, 'All Type A Drugs,' may not offer much lyrically but it definitely gets the club jumping in the A.
Go Dreamer, born Demond Toney, has been a self-proclaimed "weerdo" [sic.] since the days he was part of the group Hollyweerd. Go Dreamer is a rapper-producer whose musical DNA comes from from the Dungeon Family movement of the 1990s.
He’s established his own fanbase and for their benefit, Dreamer released 'The OuttaHere Project' in 2013, with features from people like Two-9’s Curtis Williams and Forte Bowie.
The project is also EP-ed by The Flush -- a production team of which he’s a member with fellow Atlanta MC Spree Wilson. Tracks like the funkadelic 'Electro Phonk' features Big K.R.I.T. and showcases their eccentric inclinations, while paying homage to the hip-hop inspiration at their root.
Rich Homie Quan has been coasting since the success of his ‘Type of Way’ track in 2013. Late last year, he followed up with his fourth mixtape, ‘I Promise You, I’ll Never Stop Going In’ -- and he hasn’t. His strong lilt and catchy hooks make him something of a King Midas.
His latest appearance on Bankroll Fresh's cocky track 'Show Em How To Do It' is infectious, further cementing the fact that Quan has a way of adding shine to most joints -- whether from ambitious newcomers or established artists.
Although much of the industry is convinced that the 'Walk Thru' creator has been inked with Def Jam for at least a year now, Quan won't admit anything is concrete. Instead, he simply offers that he isn't signed to anyone as of now. His relationship with Jeezy, currently the senior VP of A&R over at Atlantic Records, has also lent to the belief that Quan is secretly signed to the label.
Either way, from his featured appearance on YG’s now-platinum single ‘My N----’ to endless tour dates everywhere, Rich Homie is still grinding his way to the top and going in. As promised.
Atlantic Records signee Kap G is primarily focused on making his mark as the first Mexican-American rapper to make an impact within the Atlanta metro area and beyond. His calling card includes everything from his syrupy southern drawl to the many cultural references made within his verses.
For example, Kap's lead song, 'Jose Got Dem Tacos,' is less about the street food and more about the street connects. The remix features a verse from Jeezy that gave the blazing track even more gas.
Not to mention, his recently released debut, ‘Like A Mexican,’ showcases some hefty cosigns -- from Wiz Khalifa to Chicago up-and-comer Spenzo, Kap has a number of notables that he shares the mic with. Production-wise, Bangladesh and Grammy-winner Pharrell Williams bless Kap G with some of the most innovative sounds on the tape.
At the top of 2013, Que was enjoying the success of his ‘Forbes Atlanta’ project, a collaborative effort between himself and super-producer Sonny Digital.
The lead street single ‘Young N----’ jump-started the career of Migos -- a wily trio from the north side of the city -- who’d been featured on the song, but Que needed that one smash on his own to continue the momentum.
That energy came on his recent release, ‘OG Bobby Johnson,’ a bass-heavy, ominous-sounding track that, when paired with his raspy flow, gets the crowd bouncing -- and as a result, earned Que a deal with Atlantic.
Just to reinforce that he's on a winning streak these days, Que dropped the most recent 'Jungle Fever' produced by the hard-hitting 808 Mafia -- Gucci Mane's in-house team. Then, he immediately followed it up with the booming track 'Time,' a dance-worthy ode to his now-busy schedule, produced by his homie Sonny Digital, bringing things full circle.
The Atlanta music industry is already calling Earthgang the second coming of Outkast. That’s one heavy description -- and a lot of pressure -- but the Atlanta duo (Johnny Venus, Doctur Dot) doesn’t seem to be slowing down anytime soon.
Their latest project, ‘Shallow Graves For Toys’, is quickly earning fans and their penchant for spitting diverse flows over even more diverse production is making them a crowd favorite. Not only can Earthgang take credit for the bars but they have the executive producer title on the project as well.
The song 'Momma's Callin'' highlights Earthgang's style to a T. That type of stream-of-consciousness subject matter coupled with an intense flow from both prove that if anyone sounds like Andre 3000 and Big Boi in 2014, it's these two younguns.
Bloody Jay can celebrate being the latest artist to sign to Rocko’s A1 imprint.
The second installment to his ‘Blalanta’ mixtape series dropped in December and immediately set a bar for the Atlanta native -- high enough to make his rise to the top an anticipated one. The tracklist alone sets Jay apart from fellow newcomers. From Chief Keef to Young Thug, Bloody Jay is aligned with the street side of hip-hop -- a plus for label head Rocko who started off on in that same lane years ago.
The track 'Pull Up' features both teacher and student -- so to speak -- and between Rocko and Jay, there are countless threats made on this track, inviting any and every dissenter to make the beef cooked and "pull up."
Bronx-born Sy Ari Da Kid is no stranger to Atlanta’s music scene. He's known for winning battle after battle on one of the city's top stations, Hot 107.9.
Having been raised on the city’s northside, the rapper is very familiar with the inner workings of Atlanta’s most exclusive circles. The MC's relationships with everyone from Waka Flocka Flame to Future has established him as one of the A-Town’s most connected, but the bars on all 15 of his projects dropped since 2012, make him easily one of the most lyrical. One of his most noteworthy tracks is the cleverly executed 'If I Was a Trapper,' where he breaks down what he'd do differently than most knuckleheaded street guys.
His most recent joint, ‘Popular,’ featuring K Camp is sure to solidify the momentum for his next tape, tentatively set for release later this year.