SZA started out by releasing two EPs back in ’12. Her sound, best described as alternative laid-back R&B, is perfect for the upcoming spring/summer months. Guest featuring on tracks of Ab-soul, Kendrick Lamar, Schoolboy Q and most recently Travis Scott, she is a well-respected name in the game. Her long-anticipated sophomore album CTRL was finally released on June 8th. Just in time for these hot summer weeks up ahead! Don’t forget to vibe out to her debut album Z If you haven’t already.
Favorite songs: Babylon (ft. Kendrick Lamar), Go Gina & Sweet November
Rapsody is a well-established rapper from North Carolina, signed to Roc Nation. Her first solo mixtape, Return of the B-Girl, came out in 2010, after which she has steadily released mixtape after mixtape. Her debut album The Idea of Beautiful dropped in 2012 and she now has over 11 projects with guest features like Anderson. Paak, Chance The Rapper and Mac Miller. Her distinctive, recognisable sound combined with her lyrical storytelling abilities and old school productions make her music a must in your playlist.
Personal favorites: NonFiction (ft. Raheem Devaughn and Ab-Soul), Caught Up (Ft Raheem DeVaughn) & Good Good Love (ft. BJ The Chicago Kid).
Noname, formerly Noname Gipsy, is a Chicago rapper who has found the perfect balance between hip hop, soul and R&B. Her music is very personal and at times paints a very bleak scene of memories that are nevertheless always brought with a soothing voice and light melodies. Having started out at poetry slams and open-mike nights, Noname really knows how to rhyme. Her lyrics tell a story whilst the instrumentals and vocals color in the picture. And after her feature on Lost off of Chance The Rappers’ Acid Rap, the world noticed. Her debut album Telefone was released last year and was critically acclaimed.
Personal favorites: Yesterday, All I Need (ft. Xavier Omär) & Sunny Duet (ft. the Mind).
UK artists are blowing up in the hip hop scene right now. A UK’er who deserves all that is Little Simz. She started out an actor but eventually realised rapping was her calling. After steadily releasing free material since 2010 (she is on her 11th project), she released her debut album A Curious tale of Trials + Persons through her own label AGE 101 in September 2015. By sharing her personal view on her story, every track on this album backs up the concept she lays out in the first track: “Women can be kings”. This album is everything I wish it to be as a female hip hop lover: lyrically strong, real and it highlights personal situations from different POVs. Also, whenever Kendrick Lamar says, “might be the illest doing it now” you know you should get with it. Tip: her sophomore album stillness in Wonderland is out now!
Personal favorites: Gratitude (ft. The Hics), God Bless Mary, Persons, Her (Interlude)