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Henry Adaso

Open Mic: Rappers to Watch in 2013

By January 5, 2013

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Every year for the past six years, I've published a list of new-ish hip-hop artists worth paying attention to. "10 to Watch" is one of the most watched series here, so to speak. I haven't always made the perfect picks, but I've never "cosigned" anyone I didn't believe in. I've talked up future stars like Lupe Fiasco and Kendrick Lamar, as well as also-rans like Buff1 and Termanology. Regardless, I've always been able to find 10 people worth writing about.

Things done changed.

Friends, I can't think of ten halfway-decent rappers worth singing about in 2013. For the first time in half a decade, "10 to Watch" is under serious threat.

We can't let that happen. I want to keep introducing people to the best young minds in hip-hop, but only if there are rappers worthy of that nod. As popular as these lists are, I refuse to waste ink on anyone who doesn't deserve it.

With that said, I'd like to turn the floor over to you. Tell me: Who are the best new rappers worth watching this year. But before you answer that, please glance through previous lists to make sure they haven't already been featured on this site (2007, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012).

I can't wait to see what you come up with.


January 6, 2013 at 12:42 am
(1) Jon says:

I’ll admit this choice is biased and this guy probably won’t blow up this year, but I gotta show some love for my childhood friend, Derrick B. He has two mixtapes and I think they’re good. Here’s the link to his most recent one, The Second Take:


As for rappers who have gained more notoriety already, I’d probably say Joey Bada$$ could be getting more love this coming year. I don’t know if he’s not new enough.

January 6, 2013 at 3:16 am
(2) Caveman says:

Joey Bada$$ definitely. Also can’t forget Ab-Soul, who has that Unit 6 project with JMSN coming out next month. I’d also like to say Jay Rock but he hasn’t made any serious moves as of recently…

January 6, 2013 at 3:30 am
(3) Dan says:

You’re right though, there is an extremely limited capacity of new rappers worth mentioning, which is odd considering there is usually some rising talent every year.

Mayhem Lauren immediately comes to mind. Joey Bada$$ is also a good mention, although I’m not big on him personally. Fat Trel, Trinidad James, GBE in terms of mainstream appeal I guess ? Gunplay maybe ? Chinx Drugs ? Any rappers who have a shot at stardom are honestly garbage lol.

I don’t know how XXL will construct their list either (not that it’s been good anyway since like 2010) because there are really limited options of buzzing underground rappers.

January 6, 2013 at 7:55 am
(4) Joey Calhoun says:

In the realm of undiscovered hip hop acts, there is a rapper from Sacramento, CA by the name of Chuuwee who has released two very enjoyable mixtapes over the past two years. Quick wit and sharp rhymes coupled with a superior production team make Chuuwee a candidate to receive more acclaim in 2013.

Rappers already receiving buzz that may be poised for big years include Jon Connor, Gunplay, Joey Bada$$ and the PRO ERA team, and 9th Wonder protege Rapsody. Rapsody released a fantastic debut album in 2012 after several stellar mixtapes and should to continue her success into 2013.

2013 could be the year that Black Hippy takes over the airwaves. Riding the wave of Kendrick Lamar’s commercial success, “the four headed monster” should strike while the iron is hot and release a collaborative project. Whether of not they like the comparisons to NWA, the group is the closest thing the West Coast will probably ever see to the pioneers again.

January 6, 2013 at 8:49 am
(5) Z says:

Robb Bank$. His mixtape/album Calendars was one of my favourite things last year, “Look Like Basquiat” is one of my favourite singles of last year. He makes great music, cloud rap beats and some venomous rapping. And the guy is pretty close friends with SpaceGhostPurrp and the whole RVIDXR KLVN so that’s something.

And I just have a gut feeling that he will blow up. The same feeling people had about ASAP Rocky I have about him.

January 7, 2013 at 1:03 am
(6) baunique says:

I’ll give you eight:

MFN Exquire
Joey Bada$$
Chance The Rapper
Julian Malone
Tito Lopez
Troy Ave
Meyhem Lauren

January 7, 2013 at 1:21 am
(7) KickHaiku says:


January 7, 2013 at 1:37 am
(8) Justsomerandomfan says:

H3RO. Lite Gray. Carolina Scene.

January 7, 2013 at 3:13 am
(9) EJ says:

Chance the Rapper
Childish Gambino
Kembe X
Domo Genesis
Alex Wiley

January 7, 2013 at 5:14 am
(10) Bill says:

JOEY BADA$$ !!!!!!!!!!!! And DIZZY WRIGHT !!!!!!!!!!!!!

January 7, 2013 at 6:29 am
(11) Adsy says:

Not 2 rappers but groups who could possibly have a big year. The foodchain have been making great hip hop music for a few years now and perhaps could finally make it big in 2013. Check out ‘Dear Industry’ if you have not heard of them before.

Also not so much a rap group but Producer No I.D. and James Fauntleroy’s group Cocaine 80s have such a fresh soulful hip hop sound I would be amazed if they don’t become a major success this year. They have already collaborated with Nas and Common a few times and just a few of the many tracks that are worth listening to include ‘Six ft. Over’ ‘Chainglow’ ‘Queen to Be’ and ‘To Tell You The Truth.’

January 7, 2013 at 7:41 am
(12) Larry says:

New underground rapper called Joey Bada$$. Check him out….got old school flow.

January 7, 2013 at 7:44 am
(13) Larry says:

Joey Bada$$ new underground rapper from NYC. Real Hip-Hop…you will not be dissappointed

January 7, 2013 at 7:59 am
(14) Dan says:

Joey Bada$$
Meyhem Lauren
Kembe X
Jon Connor
Earl Sweatshirt
Soul Khan
Jon Connor
and then two groups;
Clear Soul Forces – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BWKLuwR_bFw
Split Prophets – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cSl_y1-t4ek

January 7, 2013 at 12:18 pm
(15) Henry says:

I should probably point out that Joey Bada$$ was always a shoo-in for the list. Almost mentioned that in the post.

Anyway, keep the suggestions coming. Thanks.

January 7, 2013 at 4:34 pm
(16) Chris says:

Ground Up, Dumbfoundead, The Dopplegangaz, Mally and the Sundance Kid

January 7, 2013 at 4:40 pm
(17) Chris says:

Jon Connor, Mally and the Sundance Kid, Dumbfoundead, Ground Up, The Dopplegangaz

January 8, 2013 at 7:01 am
(18) DiscoCat5 says:

In addition to some of the great suggestions already, ‘Logic’ maybe?

January 8, 2013 at 9:11 am
(19) Arel says:

Its probably a bit early but you need to pay attention for Armvnii. He’s got some buzz in NY as the next big thing to come up. Not much material to judge off but there’s definitely some promise in what there is.

also since I don’t recall Mr MFN eXquire being on any of your previous lists he needs to be on this…

Similarly with someone like Heems?

Jon Connor is a good one too

January 8, 2013 at 7:32 pm
(20) Arel says:

Also Rejjie Snow… He is an Irish rapper who it was speculated might be Captain Murphy.

He’s pretty good. He again doesn’t have a lot of material available but he is stylistically similar to Earl Sweatshirt. He also has apparently recorded with Earl and DOOM.

He is genuinely sharp. I think hr could be big in the future

January 8, 2013 at 8:12 pm
(21) EJ says:

One group I think that should be mentioned: Flatbush Zombies

January 8, 2013 at 10:29 pm
(22) Zach says:

some strong possibilities

Joey Bada$$
Flatbush Zombies
Kembe X
Alex Wiley
Chance the Rapper
Rockie Fresh (since he signed with MMG)
Dom Kennedy
Alexander Spit
Casey Veggies
Warm Brew
Jon Connor
Nitty Scott MC
Trinidad James (just because he’ll probably blow up in 2013)
Raven Sorvino

January 9, 2013 at 7:39 pm
(23) Caveman says:

I think Tijon should also be considered. He’s quite talented and puts a lot heart in his music. I believe he’s signed under Nas’s label.

Then there’s Hopin’s crew from Funk Volume (SwizZz, Dizzy Wright, and Cryptic Wisdom). I don’t think they”re on a level compared to Black Hippy or Slaughterhouse, but they could become a problem as a group and as individuals.

January 9, 2013 at 8:56 pm
(24) Burn says:

I think i will be the most talked about yungburn916@reverbnation.com

January 10, 2013 at 8:45 pm
(25) Jon H. says:

I think everyone should checkout http://www.Kassinova.net and checkout this guy Kassinova from Beverly Hills, CA. His music is passionate, tells a story and is actually pretty darn good. But yall can judge for yourselves…

January 11, 2013 at 11:32 am
(26) Eddy says:

1. Meyhem Lauren
2. Lowkey
3. Joey Bada$$
4. Milo
5. Los
6. Rockie Fresh
7. XV
8. Snow Tha Product
9. A-Mafia
10. Gavlyn

January 11, 2013 at 11:54 am
(27) Chris says:

Another guy that should be considered is Blueprint, he’s one of my favourite rappers and his album ‘Adventures in Counter Culture’ is criminally underrated!

January 15, 2013 at 1:11 pm
(28) Jai says:

David Dallas who is signed to Duck Down. Released “the Rose Tint” which garnered great reviews in 2011 and just released an Ep using samples from Jamiroquai called Buffalo Man. Buckshot saw mad potential!

January 16, 2013 at 2:02 pm
(29) Gill says:

Joey Bada$$
Dizzy Wright
David Dallas
Bodega Bamz
Meyhem Lauren
Fat Trel
Heems (now that he is solo)

You should count groups:
Flatbush Zombies
The Underachivers
Clear Soul Forces
Kids These Days

You can’t put Dom Kennedy and Ab-Soulů They aren’t rookies anymore, had chances to put them on in the past.. too late now.

January 16, 2013 at 2:07 pm
(30) gill says:

Joey Bada$$
Dizzy Wright
David Dallas
Bodega Bamz
Meyhem Lauren
Fat Trel
Heems (now that he is solo)

You should count groups:
Flatbush Zombies
The Underachivers
Clear Soul Forces
Kids These Days

You can’t put Dom Kennedy and Ab-Soulů They aren’t rookies anymore, had chances to put them on in the past.

January 17, 2013 at 6:06 pm
(31) Colin says:

I’m not entirely sure as to whether he’ll release much material in the forthcoming year but I think people should seriously check out Genesis the GreyKid if they haven’t already…I’m sure most people will enjoy his style & recognition & plaudits are surely imminent.

January 20, 2013 at 1:40 pm
(32) Nicholas Downey says:

1. Joey Bada$$
2. Rocky Fresh
3. Los
4. Snow Tha Product
5. FlatBush Zombies
6. ASAP Ferg
7. XV
8. Trinidad James
9. A-Mafia
10. Codean http://www.youtube.com/713gtg

February 27, 2013 at 2:08 pm
(33) Jughead says:

Not in any order just 10 to listen to.

Childish Gambino
Chance The Rapper
Earl Sweatshirt
Rejjie Snow
Domo Genesis
Joey Bada$$
Bailey Moore
Beast 1333

February 27, 2013 at 2:18 pm
(34) mike says:

Dont 4get Prof from Minnesota

March 21, 2013 at 4:39 pm
(35) B says:

This is really worth listening.
This is the first time he went into the studio, he was born for this.

April 1, 2013 at 8:07 am
(36) A says:

This dude is the truth 1 TRU HEAT,a promising Bronx rapper with versatility and lyrics I went to one of his shows he tour it down. There is not a lot of m.c’s doing it like him check him out http://youtu.be/b91Cc_1uve4

April 1, 2013 at 8:13 am
(37) D says:


April 5, 2013 at 6:08 pm
(38) Tboy says:

Lust heard this new dude lil snupe he has potential

May 15, 2013 at 3:32 pm
(39) 1Bred says:

Damn …. im looking at all these list and nobody has 1. Gee Watts (who has a kendrick lamar feature)
and the group Flo rida came from before he went pop 2. GroundHoggz

June 7, 2013 at 5:56 pm
(40) George says:

i like dylan owen. namely his song “bookmarks”. I don’t know if i would say hes gonna be a future star, but i say worth looking in to

June 17, 2013 at 8:22 pm
(41) Dion says:

Joey Bada$$
Ken Rebel
Dizzy Wright

August 22, 2013 at 7:22 pm
(42) DJ says:

Jon Connor is up next hands down. He has already got cosigns from NAS, Scarface,Talib Kweli, Dj Khaled, Yelawolf and so many other big names. Oh and he was just in the studio with Dr. Dre. Oh he is Nas’s favorite up and coming artist right now. He is my favorite MC in the game right now.

November 22, 2013 at 4:22 pm
(43) kris mayor says:

its sad to say but it seems that theres no good underground rappers here in sacramento ca. its like no originality, everyone whats to rewrite history, making songs about smoking weed its old get over it. i can say that B Smoove have caught my attention because he is on his grown man tip with the positivity.

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