I have a deep affinity for Hip Hop music, not the kind of club banging, syrup sipping, chain blinging Rap music that many picture when they imagine this genre. But deeply lyrical, instrumentally moving, intelligent compositions. I cannot stand mainstream Rap music today, there are rare exceptions to the rule but the majority of it I have affectionately titled “Crap Rap”. Today I will be listing off some truly talented Hip Hop artists that the average rap fan has never heard of. Most of the artists I will speak about in this article would be labeled Underground. A few had some mainstream success or are artist’s from countries outside of the United States.
For each artist/group I’ll include a picture, a short biography and a video of one of their songs to give you an idea of their musical styling. I am certain there are many more amazing yet unknown artists out there for us to discover, so let’s begin.
Bliss N Eso
Bliss N Eso are an Australian Hip Hop group, consisting of MC Bliss, MC Eso and DJ Izm who met in school during the early 1990’s. They released their debut album in 2004. If you live in Australia and love Hip Hop then these guys should be on your radar. Bliss N Eso have also toured through North America and Canada including opening as a supporting act for 50 Cent’s Get Rich or Die Tryin Tour. Over the years this group has dropped 6 albums and have received multiple Australian music awards. Two singles were released in 2020 for a yet to be announced album.
Son of Saturn
Son of Saturn was born in 1982 in Oklahoma. Though he had released his first album in 2005, I had only discovered his music in 2020, 15 years after his initial release. This goes to show how much amazing music and talented artists remain undiscovered and unheard. Over his career Son of Saturn became a founder of the Hip Hop group Akashik Ancestorz and the record label Revolt Motion. Additionally he has dropped 10 albums including the 2020 release of Epinoia. I am still currently in the process of digesting and listening to this lengthy discography.
REKS cut his teeth in the Lawrence, Massachusetts underground rap scene, and debuted his first album in 2001. REKS was nominated for artist and album of the year at the 2011 Boston Music Awards, due to his critically acclaimed album Rhythmatic Eternal King Supreme. REKS has released 12 amazing albums over his career including his most recent artistic work released in 2020 entitled T.H.I.N.G.S. (The Hunger Inside Never Gets Satisfied).
I first heard of Termanology about 10 years ago, at around the same time I discovered REKS. These two artists are associated through growing up in Lawrence, Massachusetts and by their collaborations together and with producer and DJ Statik Selektah. Termanology was born in 1982 of Puerto Rican and French descent and released his first of 14 studio albums in 2006. This does not include his mixtapes such as 50 Bodies, a collection of 50 of his rap verses, which have received critical attention and praise. He recently dropped his album The Quarantine in 2020.
CunninLynguists posses a sound that is lyrically poetic and musically pleasing. This Hip Hop group formed in Atlanta, Georgia during the year 2000. They released their debut album in 2001 entitled Will Rap For Food, This album was one of my first introductions to underground Hip Hop music. CunninLynguists have released 6 albums over their career. CunninLynguists are well known in the Southern Underground scene and released there most current album titled Rose Azura Njano in 2017.
Solillaquists of Sound
Solillaquists of Sound is a unique Hip Hop group composed of MC Swamburger, Vocalist Alexandra Love, Producer DiViNCi, and Poetic talent Tonya Combs. The group formed during 2002 in Orlando, Florida and released their debut album during the same year. Through Swamburger and Alexandra this group posses a unique combination of rapping and singing unlike anything I’ve heard before. Solillaquists of Sound have released 5 studio albums culminating with 2013’s The 4th Wall: Part 2. Though the group has not released any material since 2013, they still remain active and together and I highly suggest you check them out.
Of all the artists on this list Canibus has received the most spotlight and you may have heard of him. Unfortunately this is probably due to his feuds with famous rappers LL Cool J, Wyclef Jean and Eminem. This should not outshine the fact that he is one of the greatest lyricists in the world. Before he began his rap career, Canibus worked for a year as a data analyst for the U.S Department of Justice. Canibus debuted in 1997 and went on to release a total of 14 studio albums. His most recent work of art was released in 2015 entitled Time Flys, Life Dies… Phoenix Rise. In my humble opinion he is the best lyricist on this list.
Swollen Members are a Canadian Hip Hop group hailing from Vancouver, British Columbia. The group is composed majorly of Madchild and Prevail, though there have been other former members and collaborators. The group initially formed in the 1990’s with their debuted album reaching the public in 1999. They have released 9 studio albums in total culminating with the 2014 release of Brand New Day. Swollen Members have received numerous Canadian music awards.
Warcloud/The Holocaust/Robot Tank
I have been listening to Warcloud for over 15 years and he remains one of the most uniquely abstract artists I have ever heard. Warcloud was an affiliate of The Wu-Tang Clan and a member of the group called Black Knights. Warcloud hails from Los Angeles, California. Through the years Warcloud changed his name to The Holocaust, then later changed it again to Robot Tank. Warcloud has gone deep underground and there are even discrepancies on how many albums he has released. By my count Warcloud and all his aliases combined have released 5 albums, the most recent being The Signs Of Hells Winter released back in 2012.
Until my next post
Stay Happy, Healthy and Free
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