Hip-hop turned 40 last year. One constant throughout its history? There’s always a new act just around the corner, ready to completely flip the game with a new style.
So who’s on deck in 2014? Here are five MCs we are confident will be much discussed over the next twelve months.
5. Hand Job Academy
From: New York City
Arguably the best song ever recorded about periods, Hand Job Academy’s “Shark Week” is no laughing matter. The rest of their catalog delivers as well. With referential punchlines, a great sense of timing and an unapologetic unpretentious brashness, the ladies of HJA seem poised to be among 2014’s most polarizing, debated and celebrated rap outfits.
From: Kansas City
One-half of Kansas City favorites COA (Center of Attention), KJ has an interesting story: The real life son of Kansas City mayor Sly James — his name is Kyle James — KJ’s descriptions of his real life run-ins with the law make for some incredibly intriguing listening experiences. He’s also got an infectious flow on the mic.
3. Random AKA Mega Ran
Random, also known as Mega Ran, has been embraced by independent hip-hop niches at a rate not seen since Tech N9ne. After spending 2013 touring with fellow “it” rappers Homeboy Sandman and Open Mike Eagle, Random’s proven he can excel in storytelling, punchlines, poignancy, freestyling and, well, pretty much any other way you can measure an MC.
Boy genius 100s is much more than just the best head of hair in hip-hop. First popping up on radars in 2012 with the excellent “My Activator” and his Ice Cold Perm mixtape, he spent the last year reportedly blowing away anyone he shared a stage with. One of rap’s best kept secrets, 2014 could find 100s getting the nationwide acclaim he deserves.
Twin Cities underground rapper Prof has long had a must-see live show, and his fans were extremely (and understandably) psyched by his signing to Minneapolis label Rhymesayers last year, home to Atmosphere, Brother Ali and others. He’s goofy, he’s funny, he’s got bravado and he’s got chrarisma; there’s little doubt he’ll be taking a big national step forward in 2014.