People say rap is a young man's game. And here in Arizona there is a ton of young people with crazy amounts of talent making music. Then you have those that go a step further and have the business side of the game locked down. This lists honors those dope artists who create dope music and hustle hard. This is the 21 Under 21.
First I gotta say though that making a list shouldn't be the end all for these young artists. Its literally such a subjective task. However, I know people will be upset they were omitted. Those selected will feel validated. Neither are wrong. But whether you were selected or not, the desire to make music should not end. Flotivity Media's interest in your music certainly doesn't.
The criteria I looked at was simple. It was subjective based on my tastes. I appreciate interesting lyrics, originality, and style. If a certain artist sounded like everything else out right now then it became less interesting to me. To cut down to 21 was very difficult. I listened to songs from artists who didn't make the list multiple times trying to determine if I liked it. When two artists were close I looked at social media presence, views, streams, and fan interaction. Finally to break one tiebreaker between four artists, I phoned a friend who's involved in Arizona's music scene. I trust his opinion and we just about agreed. In the end, I stand by this list based on all this as today.
I hope those that make the keep making music to impress not just me, but those they are already impressing. Sorry for those who didn't make it. Don't be discouraged. I'm literally one man with one opinion. There are many others who are important to impress.
I picked one song from each artist that I think exemplifies ho dor they treat y are. Each artist has other dope tracks
Without further ado, your 2017 21 Under 21 (not in any particular order).
With pop sensibilities, a knack for making catchy, infectious music, and introspective and observant lyrics, Tullis is as close to a complete artist as you can find in Arizona.
Dorian's makes completely originally sounding music that appeals to younger fans tastes but that lyrically should appeal to older heads.
Lil Qwerty is a powder keg of fierce, energetic music and cross-generational content lyrics waiting to explode all over everything and everyone, who will surely appreciate it once they hear it.
What more does Jalopy have to prove? He's already proven he can make great songs, that he's a dope lyricist, and that he can and his crew have the business sensibilities to make it in this industry. I can only guess he has more to prove to himself and that's a great thing for the rest of us.
Sui Blue's ability to sing about the worst in people and the best in people moments and sing about it over emotionally dense tracks is unmatched. Period. It's a good kind of heart pains that invoke familiarity and have me going back for more and more.
Slator Blacc is a teenager who raps like he's lived and experienced a thousand lifetimes. His lyrical maturity is otherworldly like he's a time traveler who settled in 2017 for our enjoyment.
Rappers 10 years old than Woodro have told me they wished they had this kid's bars at his age. He's has the type with lyrics that make you stop and rewind every song.
Ma$ter Mind has a level of cockiness and ego that is more often than not necessary to make it in these mean streets of hip hop. And he has the bars to follow through on most anything he says he is.
Listen, I've made a lot about bars the last few artists but I can't say this about any one else here. Unorthodocks is probably top 5 lyrically amongst ALL AZ artists.
For the amount of dope, work product Fresco and his crew Products of Infamy put out, they sure are mad underrated. His 2017 mixtape Signals is a mine of gems unearthed.
With a new wave sound and a dope delivery, this new jack cat is bringing fresh sounds to AZ with every drop.
Shrub Head (JD)
Shrub Head sounds mad comforable and laid back on the mic, but don't let that fool you cause he drops bars. His late 2016 release still sounds as cold as the month it dropped.
Tucson resident Ekow hasn't made a lot of noise locally, yet. The yet deserves an exclamation point cause once people start to catch on, he's gonna be hard to miss with his tenacious rhyme stylings.
It took me a while to understand Splash, even though many others were claiming he's one of the dopest - maybe I wasn't given him the right time. But after his Strawberry Glocktarts album with Catminq$, which is excellent, I get it. He's very unique and different which is a very good thing.
Yung Joey released this super dope 112 in Arizona album and then followed that up with Sharks. His gruff, deep voice flow is chock full of dope lyrical moments.
When I do these lists, it's dope cause someone comes out of nowhere. This is one of those dudes. The trap stylings of 11:11am and the rest of music is made dope by the watery way he flows on top of those rolling hi-hats.
Deeayego is a thought-provoking, deep dude. I dig that. I like content with a little density to it and he brings that on his excellent 2017 release, I'm Almost Home.
With influences from black metal to abstract hip hop like Anticon, Malick is a fun producer to listen to. His tracks also provide him dropping some head nodding rhymes.
Pariah Pete is the third member of the crew 20 Pounds, which also has Jalopy Bungus and Shrub Head in it. He's no slouch though as he's carried his own on numerous projects with his boom bap style rhymes.
Coming in as the youngest on this list, he's like his cousin Slator Blacc in that he's an old soul with super mature rhymes lyrically and content wise. The Stay Happy EP he released this year is a good sign of things to come for this dude.
This transplant from Palm Springs has a dope, confident delivery. Seemingly influenced by lyrical spitters, Flo has exactly that along with dope understanding of crafting songs.