New York City is one place to see what’s new, unique, and yet-to-be discovered. Artists from every creative genre have gotten their big breaks in the Big Apple, and hip-hop artists are no exception. Here’s a look at five unsigned, diverse talents – both male and female – that you won’t want to miss when you’re in the city that never sleeps.
Indie rapper and hip-hop artist Dylan Owen has been described an author who can rhyme with rhythm and delivery. The 20-year old writes what he knows – and his lyrics resonate with meaning. His second release, Keep Your Friends Close, evolved as he transitioned from high school and experienced major changes in his life, from the breakup of his relationship to the healing power of friendship.
Owen’s mix is available for free download. “I want as many people to hear it as possible,” he says.
Owen is appearing in venues around the nation, opening for acts like Mac Miller, Wiz Khalifa, and Chiddy Bang. In NYC, keep an eye out at Webster Hall and Gramercy Theater.
She describes herself as “being sweet over a beat,” an accurate description of Lakisha Robinson’s style. Unlike other female hip-hop artists, Kilo Kish is making her mark on the music world by looking and sounding ultra-feminine.
She recently graduated from the Fashion Institute of Technology, where she stumbled into becoming a performer as a student popping off rhymes with her rappin’ roommate Smash Simmons. Kish, Simmons, and producer Mell Masters formed KKK – the Kool Kats Club.
Kilo Kish has been making appearances at venues along the east coast and more recently, at the Echo in Los Angeles following the release of her EP Homeschool. In New York, look for her at the Bowery Ballroom.
Swag. Fashion. Rap. Three words sum up Vinny Cha$e’s feel, Cha$e, who started rapping in late 2011, already has the music world buzzing. Building on a career of directing videos and writing documentaries, his connections in both the music and fashion industry opened doors once he decided to form the Cheer$ Club with Kid Art and Cartier Court.
Soulja Boy teamed up with Cha$e on his second release, titled Double Cup City. He was recently spotted performing at SOBs in the city.
Nitty Scott MC
The difference between a rapper and an emcee, according to Nitty Scott, is that a rapper can be gifted at creating rhymes but lack the talent to captivate and manage the crowd, while an emcee must do both.
Featured on BET’s Hip-Hop Awards Cypher last year, Scott tells fans she’s not signed with a label because she wants to retain her creative freedom as a representative of the Boombox Family, an “organic, lyrical, message-driven hip-hop movement.”
Still, she acknowledges that she can see a role for herself in mainstream media eventually. In July, she’ll be performing at Peter Rosenberg Presents a Night of Real Hip-Hop with Tyler, the Creator, Earl Sweatshirt, Raekwon, and Asher Roth at the Best Buy Theater.
Rapper Yonas is no newcomer to the hip-hop scene. He has shared the stage with established rappers like Wyclef and DJ Stretch Armstrong, earned a Billboards award for his single “Banga,” and boasts quite a few indie releases.
Fans are attracted by Yonas’ intensity and honesty. Although he tours the east coast regularly, he favors performing in his home state. Look for him at SOBs this August.