Providing one of the most understated albums of 2019, Chicago collective Pivot Gang have been conquering the Midwest since 2012. The group pride themselves in their cascading drum patterns and snappy lyricism; debut LP ‘You Can’t Sit With Us’ feels like a group of mates spitting bars at each other in the playground, with each member aiming to out do one another with references to modern culture. Comprised of brothers Saba and Joseph Chilliams, siblings Frsh Waters and Squeak Pivot, and Men Melo, DaeDaePivot, DamDam and John Walt, they’re a self confessed gang bringing a unique, spirited vibe to Illinois rap.
When you think of Arizona, Iced Tea springs to one’s mind more so than a thriving hip-hop scene. Arizona Iced Tea isn’t even from Arizona, It was founded in New York, however It’s only a matter of time before Injury Reserve wipe any false associations away from the American state. Their music embellishes an angst that can’t be boasted by many rap groups. From Parker Corey’s signature skittish beats, to J. Groggs and Ritchie With a T’s occasionally brittle vocal delivery, the three piece have managed to cross-pollinate with other alternative rappers like JPEGMAFIA and Cakes Da Killa to establish a scene layered below the discrepancies of commercial rap. They are due to tour Europe later this year, and for a tenner a ticket, you really are winning if you opt to cop one.
An anomaly in Atlanta’s saturated trap rap scene, Earthgang are from the ends of artists like Future, but propose a more left field sonic to their superstar compatriots. Collabing with artists like J.I.D and Mick Jenkins regularly, they draw on tones of soul and jazz, as well as the pacy high hat sounds that have established Atlanta as one of the most prolific music producing states in the US. The Rags EP, which members Johnny Venus and Doctur Dot released in 2017, set the duo a par above other artists sprouting from the jazz-infused hip-hop scene Earthgang are know to be apart of.
Earthgang also make up a quarter of rap supergroup Spillage Village, along with J.I.D, 6Lack, Lute, Mereba, Hollywood JB and Jordxn Bryant. Despite the quantity of members, their music isn’t hindered by the individual styles and flows; on ‘Bears Like This Too’, in particular, the Atlanta group find a perfect middle ground between the eccentricity of members like J.I.D, and the sincerity of artists like 6lack. Individually, the rapper’s are rising through the unquestionably congested American hip-hop scene, with the likes of J. Cole showing love and signing them to Dreamville records.
Unlike any of the other acts on the list, Zillakami and Sosmula, the duo that congeal the DNA of City Morgue, come from a new wave of heavy metal inspired rap. The thrashier cuts of XXXTentacion don’t even really compare to the ferocity of City Morgue’s 2018 record ‘Hell or High Water’, which combines Nu Metal guitar riffs, with demonic trap melodies and frantic adlibs to soundscape what many would perceive hell to be like. They’re a great study of just how diverse hip-hop has become since It’s beginnings in the Bronx; the New Yorkers are pioneering a new sonic from NYC, and should be watched closely by any heavy metal rap fanatics.
SOB X RBE
One of our favourite tunes off Kendrick Lamar and SZA’s Black Panther curated soundtrack was ‘Paramedic!’, the bop excels in It’s deliverance; the passionate, fiesty flows reminded many critics of early NWA - a compliment of the highest form for any rap collective. SOB X RBE have since released billboard entering mixtapes and a string of singles, none of which have reached the acclaim of the Lamar featuring ‘Paramedic!’, but they have all justified their appearance on the Black Panther soundtrack. Hailing from California, the four-piece just need another break through single to grasp the attention of hip-hop’s most celebrated, we see this as some what of an inevitability.