With rap being one of the most important, culture-shifting, and chart-dominating genres we have today, fans and critics alike are often looking forward. Which musicians are going to launch themselves from their homegrown communities to the mainstream rap zeitgeist? Who will become the next vanguard in the game? Here, we speculate, are 8 Rappers Coming Up in 2019.
Philly rapper Tierra Whack made her debut with one of the most joyful and whimsical albums of 2018. Whack World, comprised of 15 one-minute tracks, managed to cover failed relationships, home life, the inner monologue of someone who is desperate to have a piece of everything. Though Whack World was astonishing in its own way, fans wondered if Tierra Whack would be able to sustain bars for full-length tracks—usually a prerequisite in this field, though the rules are meant to be sparred with. But now, with four releases already this year (Only Child, Wasteland, Clones, Gloria) and all of them indelible—each totaling around 3 minutes in length—it appears that Tierra Whack is preparing what could be one of the best rap albums in 2019.
As declared on his latest EP A Dollar in Quarters: 50c, Marlon Craft is “most poppin’ broke rapper you know, homie.” The NY-based—”Hell’s Kitchen Baby”, to be exact—was first known for his viral freestyles and remixes of Billboard hits. But those who came for the bars stayed for his keen production, his knack for melody and structure, keeping us—literally—on the hook. Last year, Craft dropped four EPs, all of which held up to his high standard of lyric efficacy and relatability. Of relaying to his listeners how NYC is the best, most social, and anti-social place on Earth. Craft has led the year with a hard-hitting single, “Do the Work“, which bodes well for Craft’s visibility in 2019.
We have entered an era where Afrobeats are being welcomed into the creative rap process, which invites a whole subset of artists to participate. Specifically those from the U.K, where the presence of West African, Caribbean and American urban music has largely diversified British rap. That’s where Yxng Bane—pronounced Young Bane—comes in. The East London rapper already has a belt of British chart hits around his waist, not to mention how Nicki Minaj recently brought him out at one of her shows. Yxng Bane is currently touring the U.K and Europe, and we think it’s only a matter of time before his Afrobeat sensibility takes over the states.
The fact that Chicago MC CupcakKe is known as one of the more “raunchier” rappers out there will likely turn into currency, as this era of rap hinges partly upon the shock and awe. Just look at the astonishing climb of Cardi B, who launched her artistry on the wings of her corset. So far, CupcakKe has already shared two songs in 2019, January’s “Squidward Nose” and last week’s “Bird Box”. The former used Spongebob Squarepants references to talk about sex; CupcakKe shamelessly filled the music video with seaweed penises. “Bird Box“, replacing CupcakKe’s sexual playfulness with straight up aggression, deftly calls out the recent Jussie Smollett scandal in one seething line. This year, fans will have to face all of those well-worded, uncomfortable truths CupcakKe has to offer.
This list wouldn’t be complete without addressing what’s going on in Atlanta, which has undeniably become one of the most important cities in the progression, the continued authenticity of rap music. Now let us introduce you to Kodie Shane, who is quickly becoming one of the more visible Sailing Team members—next to Yachty, of course. Everything you need to know about this up-and-coming rapper is in “Hold Up (Dough Up),” a DJ Spinz-produced banger featuring Lil Uzi Vert and Yachty. Basically, Kodie Shane hits harder than you could ever expect, exhibiting a talent we know will only grow in 2019.
At the shy age of 20, Rico Nasty has exhibited nothing close to shyness, as the D.C rapper continues to build her web and stake her talent in the game. From trap-pop positivity to straight up diss tracks, Rico Nasty has shown versatility in her delivery, in her gaze. This leads us to believe that Rico Nasty is an artist built to last. Big Boi, Megan Thee Stallion, and Rico Nasty were recently tapped to hold down the Fader Fort at the 2019 SXSW Music Festival. We hope this is just the first of many appearances we see from Rico Nasty this year, as we’re desperate to hear some of her incredible bars live, such as her most recent banger “Roof“.
Who will be the next Oakland rapper to carry on the Bay’s history of shaping the rap lexicon? Last year, rapper ALLBLACK made a couple of big gestures to become just that. ALLBLACK dropped two outstanding EPs, “2 Minute Drills” and “Outcalls”, both of which discuss Oakland’s pimps and pimp culture. Though ALLBLACK is fresh to the scene, he’s already putting his life on the line for his bars, contemplating real danger for the sake of stardom. Why do it? Because it’s important, and ALLBLACK knows the story is incomplete without his voice in it.
With Latin rap making a comeback, figures like Melii are more apt to rise than ever. But all trends aside, this woman can spit bilingual fire, her Spanish/English flow unmatched in just about any arena. People fell in love with Melii’s energy when they heard last year’s singles “Ballin” and “Icey“, the latter of which Rihanna promoted in one of her Instagram stories. Now, after Melii made her Meek Mill Championships appearance in “Wit the Shits”, more people have caught on to the talent of this MC.