As a hip-hop head, nothing comes close to the feeling of listening to something new and fresh. That’s why we’ve compiled this playlist of great hip-hop music released by independent artists just for you.
Are you a hip-hop listener but not familiar with the new indie music coming out? Well, don’t worry. Every week we go out of our way to listen to new music looking for the best stuff that’s out there.
Here, we’ve reviewed and gathered some of the best emerging artists who are making appearances on the scene.
We were surprised by the discovered gems. You’ll be surprised too! If you listen to any one song listed here — honestly listen — you will agree it is a fresh song worth listening to.
About the quality of the music in this selection – we are sure you’re familiar with the major tunes from the industry giants (Future, Drake, Eminem, Kanye). With that said, let’s chat about some top-rated independent hip-hop music that deserves a listen as much as the major labels’ acts.
We whittled it down to a collection of tracks that will excite the most jaded fan. This playlist is centred around official mixtapes and EPs (not including remastered or revamped versions).
It’s a fine mix to listen to this week as hip-hop continues to build momentum in the mainstream, while still keeping its roots. You can listen to our full playlist which contains the artists’ music, and know more about the artists by scrolling down the page.
1) JOHARI TURNER – Basquiat Dreams
JOHARI TURNER is a new indie artist from Dallas, TX who has just released his first album, Basquiat Dreams. The album is a 7-track masterpiece combining R&B, alternative, hip-hop and trap elements. This boy is only 16 years old and is already producing music and releasing it on streaming services.
The album starts off with “Show Time”, a smooth track that features JOHARI TURNER’s vocals over a mellow beat. This song sets up the rest of the album nicely by giving listeners a taste of what’s to come.
The second track on the album is called “Checkmate”, which features some Autotune vocals as well as some rapping from JOHARI TURNER himself. This song has a catchy tune and will be stuck in your head for days after hearing it! It’s more trap than R&B but follows the same line.
The third track on the album is called “Ride Low”. This song has a soft R&B feel to it and has some Auto-Tuned vocals as well as some rap verses throughout the song.
The rest of the album is equally interesting, which features JOHARI TURNER singing over a piano melody while being accompanied by experimental instrumentation. If want to get impressed by a teen boy full of talent, check it out, visit the artist’s YouTube and follow him on Spotify.
2) J’MORIS – Being Humble
J’Moris is an independent artist from the United States, Fort Worth, Texas. He specializes in hip-hop and rap, but his music also includes elements of trap, electronic rap, and strong male vocals. His new single “Being Humble” is a great example of his style.
The song begins with a simple beat that gradually adds layers of percussion. The vocals are clear and easy to understand, but they’re also distorted just enough to make them interesting.
The lyrics are about being proud of your accomplishments without letting it go to your head or making you seem arrogant; this theme is carried out throughout the song in a funny way but he states: “I’m so sick being humble”. In other words, do not accept abuse from anyone.
The nice beat continues throughout most of the song until it fades out at around 1:11 minutes into the track; then there’s only an extended instrumental break before it picks up again with another round of vocals and drums. It’s a short song but speaks a lot.
The best part is the music video that you will have to watch now to understand the concept. Check it out, visit the artist’s YouTube and follow on Spotify.
3) JUST M – Big Bagz
The hip-hop genre is a powerhouse in the music world, and it’s never been more popular. And while there are many artists who have risen to the top of the charts over the years, some of the best are those who do it independently.
The latest example of this is JUST M, an independent artist from Australia who has just released his first single “Big Bagz”. The song is a banger that will have you hit repeat on your streaming app repeatedly. It reached more than 30 thousand plays already on Spotify alone.
JUST M’s sound is rooted in Australian hip-hop culture, which means that if you’re familiar with what’s going on in the scene down under, then you’ll likely find yourself nodding along with this track. But even if you aren’t familiar with Aussie hip-hop culture, there’s still plenty here for you to enjoy.
The lyrics are super edgy and a bit aggressive—just like any good anthem should be!—and they’re delivered by two strong male vocalists who really know how to grab our attention.
If you’re looking for something fresh from an up-and-coming artist who’s not afraid to take risks with his sound and style, then this might just be what you need! Check it out, visit the artist’s Facebook and follow on Spotify.
4) iHATEJON – Bounce It
iHATEJON is a rapper and producer from Charlotte, North Carolina. He has released several singles and has been working on new projects in different states in the US. Bounce It is his latest single, and it’s super catchy. The song has a smooth sound with soft vocals that are really relaxing to listen to.
iHATEJON is an alternative hip-hop artist who takes inspiration from artists such as J. Cole, Mac Miller, Kid Cud, Dominic Fike, and Lil Peep. These influences are noted on his tracks but he developed a unique sound which you can check on his portfolio.
The song is a smooth mix of rap and R&B with a catchy hook that will get stuck in your head for days. The soft vocals and relaxing lyrics make this song perfect for an after-dinner drive or a long walk on the beach.
We think this is going to be the track that puts iHATEJON on the map—and we can’t wait to see what they do next! Check it out, visit the artist’s YouTube and follow on Spotify.
5) RICK SMOOVE – U Miss Me
Rick Smoove’s U Miss Me is an anthem for anyone who has ever been in a relationship and felt like their significant other was out of their mind. This tune is the perfect amount of pop and hip-hop, making it a great listen for fans of commercial music as well as listeners who are looking for something new and different.
The song starts with a soft piano melody that builds up into a drum beat. The song develops following spoken word style by a female vocalist, with Rick Smoove’s voice chorusing over the track. He sounds like he’s on top of the world when he sings.
As he continues singing about how much he misses his former flame, there is also a rap verse where Rick talks about how he doesn’t want this relationship to end. It’s clear from his tone that he feels deeply connected to this person, but they just weren’t meant for each other—and now it’s time to move on.
If you are into a retro-pop fusion of Hip-Hop and electronic-style rap, then this track is for you. Include this one on your playlist, we are sure you will not regret it. Check it out, visit the artist’s Facebook and follow on Spotify.
6) LUKX – Sunny
If you’re looking for some new music to add to your playlist, look no further than LUKX‘s latest single, “Sunny.” This Belgium-based artist has a unique style that blends hip-hop and pop in a way that is fun and danceable.
The song starts out with a smooth beat and LUKX’s voice comes in singing about being in love with someone in French and English. The lyrics are simple but effective: “You make me feel like summer”. This is the chorus of the song, and it’s all about feelings and emotion.
The song is upbeat and catchy, with smooth male vocals that make you want to get up and move. The lyrics are easy to understand, which makes it perfect for singing along with or just listening to on repeat. It’s also easy to imagine this song being played on the radio or even at a club—it has all the correct elements: catchy rhythm, cool beats, and an overall feel-good vibe.
If you’re looking for something new to listen to while driving around town, working out at the gym, or just chilling at home, check out “Sunny” by LUKX, visit the artist’s YouTube and follow on Spotify.
7) PROKLAIM – Options
PROKLAIM is a Namibian artist who specializes in neo-soul, political hip-hop. He releases his music through the worldwide indie scene, and he has a new single called Options which is a banger.
The track opens with a message to the young generations and this is a characteristic of his entire portfolio. These are powerful messages for young people who may feel different or isolated from their peers.
The chorus itself is an anthem: “how I feel.. the love’s still the same as always” over an upbeat beat. The rapper is an artist with a genuine passion for music and a particular desire to see message-based content spread among urban youth across the globe.
Using his versatility and skills, he pioneers a variety of urban sounds to push the genre forward. Music has the power to shape society, and he hopes to make such a contribution through his music.
The song has an edgy vibe to it—just listen to how he spits those rhymes! It’s also very political: it’s about standing up to support others with love. PROKLAIM uses his platform as an artist to make this statement, which makes me think twice before judging him as just another rapper.
The last line of the song is especially powerful and you will need to listen to his complete portfolio to get to know his work deeply, it’s worth it. Check it out, visit the artist’s YouTube and follow on Spotify.
8) ERIK EVY – Matinee
Erik Evy is a rapper and producer from Chicago, IL. His latest EP, Matinee, is a 4-track release filled with spoken words over hip-hop beats that have a retro vibe to them. The EP is definitely relaxing, but it’s also got a lot of depth in its lyrics and sound.
The EP starts off with the track “Sunday Morning”, which has an upbeat tempo and classic sound—you can hear the influence of the past in Evy’s work, which makes for some really interesting listening.
The second track, “Intrinsic” slows things down again, but maintains that classic vibe; there are even hints of jazz thrown in here and there. Following these two tracks, there are two more rap and experimental tracks which are worth checking as well.
These last two tracks show off the versatility of Evy’s sound—you can hear him experimenting with different genres and styles while still maintaining his own unique style throughout the EP as a whole! Check it out, visit the artist’s website and follow on Spotify.
9) KENN FARR – I Go Get It
KENN FARR is an up-and-coming rapper, who is making waves with his single ‘I Go Get It’. He hails from Dallas, Tx and he’s been building a name for himself for some years. He’s been releasing tracks on SoundCloud and Youtube, but now it’s time for him to take his career to the next level.
His new track ‘I Go Get It’ has everything that you could want in a song: catchy chorus, hard-hitting verses and great production. The beat has a nice bounce to it and it’s filled with atmospheric sounds that are just perfect for rapping over.
The lyrics are strong too, KENN FARR puts forward his point of view about participating in Halloween in America today but in a metaphoric and ironic way. There are references and incentives to the younger, “go and get it!”.
This is an artist who has something important to say and he makes sure that you listen! It’s not only nice lyrics but great beats and a “TikTok-style” danceable flow. Check it out, visit the artist’s website and follow on Spotify.
10) DAX – Depression
Dax, a rapper from Wichita, Kansas, is a rising star in the hip-hop scene. His single “Depression” is a pop-infused rap track with elements of emo rap and soul rap. It touches on themes of mental health and overcoming depression, which are all too relatable these days.
The beat is amazing, upbeat and catchy, with a bass line that stays true to the trap sound while still incorporating elements of pop and R&B. The chorus has an almost ’90s feel to it—something that could be played on the radio next to any major-label artist in the same vein as Drake or Kendrick Lamar.
Dax, with more than 3 million monthly listeners on Spotify alone, and about 600 million plays, sings about his struggles with depression and suicidal thoughts over this beat. This line of music really hits home for anyone who has ever struggled with depression or suicidal thoughts themselves. There is a deep emotional connection here.
It’s an honest look at what it feels like when you’re at rock bottom—and gives us all hope that we can get through those dark times if we just keep fighting for ourselves.
In addition to the high-quality music, you have also a great music video to watch, cinematographic and match with the huge hip hop star that Dax already is right now. Check it out, watch his music video, visit the artist’s website and follow him on Spotify.