Today we have brought you a select list of artists to look out for in 2021. Based on their actions/record releases in 2020 we have high hopes and even higher expectations for these performers to blow us out of the water. Make sure to get familiar...
First up to bat we have Jersey City's own Ransom. As an OG in the game for more than 20 years, Ransom has made what is to be considered one of the strongest comebacks in all of hiphop. Last year he released a large catalog of music which shows his time away was not spent relaxing. Formally known for his beef with fellow New Jersey native Joe Budden, Ransom rises from the conflict with knowledge to spare. You may be familiar with Ransom by his high quality bars and lyrics, you may know him as “the best MC of the year" as Throw Up Magazine would call him. However you know Ransom, one thing is clear, he’s here to stay and we certainly haven’t heard the last of him.
Rj Payne, the notoriously quick-witted MC has held our attention for more than a decade. Originally known as Reign Man, he was featured on the early days of BET’s freestyle battles dominating the field with his fiery delivery and witty disses. As whispers stirred in the scene about a new artist called RJ Payne, Reign Man’s fanbase began to turn an ear to the undeniable energetic voice of RJ Payne. He has even grabbed the ears of Eminem and Lil Wayne who credit him as a great rapper. After changing his name to RJ Payne and started releasing tons of music he got noticed by Griselda Records and pumped out a mountain of music in 2020. The sixth installment of If Cocaine Could Talk offers some heavy bars and provides the star quality production of PA Dre, Ski Beatz, Don D, Veltrax, Asethic and Tru Mentillz. We can’t wait to hear more of him.
Che Noir is THE voice of Buffalo New York. She started making a name for herself in the underground appearing on some notable records; soon after she released the 38 Spesh produced Juno, the Apollo Brown-produced As God Intended and ended her 2020 with her self-produced After 12 EP. She shares compelling lyrics on her album with fellow artists Ransom and 38 Spesh. She opens a dialogue with Sa-Roc on one of her tracks discussing the injustices that 2020 served in excess. She has shook the industry to its core with her individualism and solidified her name in the game. This is only the beginning for Che Noir and we are highly anticipating her next drop.
Rome Steetz is what we call a traditional loyal to the soil hiphop artist with his old-soul boom-bap tracks and a leading man flow. Our founder 60East shared with us a personal anecdote on how he came to know of the New York native— “I first caught word of Rome Streetz after a show in Boston when Hip Hop legend Elzhi played me a freestyle he had done after our show in our AirBnb. I started listening to his Noise Kandy series and was blown away. His output of music has been great, and he is a great lyricist.” Based on Rome Streetz’ consistent output of music we can estimate it won’t be long before we hear from him again. In fact, rumor has it that he may have an album coming out with DJ Mugs this year, stay tuned for updates!
Syracuse’s own Stove God Cooks has had a better year than most. This past year he was listed in the top 50 of Complex’s Best Albums of 2020. Some artists he beat out for the coveted spot of No. 42 include Nas, Big Sean and Ty Dolla $ign. He’s been a coveted feature to have, working with tons of artists and most notably cooking up with Griselda. Last March he showcased his major label debut, Reasonable Drought, produced by Roc Marciano, on Busta Rhymes’ The Conglomerate Entertainment. His style is chameleon-like, an abled MC who can focus on old school flows yet remain distinctive and original. We firmly believe in Stove God Cooks and wait patiently for his newest concoction of perfection.
Lyric Jones has toured and performed all over the globe for nearly 10 years. Our founder shares some experiences he encountered with her— “I remember running into her at shows and festivals all over the world and we even performed together at the A3C Festival in Atlanta in 2015”. She had an epic breakout year in 2020 releasing an album executive produced by the Little Brother Legend Phonte, which received critical acclaim and appeared on several best album of the year lists. This album Closer Than They Appear battles with heavy subject matters such as survivors guilt. Lyric Jones reminisces on the lives of Breonna Taylor and Sandra Bland and comes to grips with what it means to be a black woman in America. She bears her soul on Closer Than They Appear which is why there is no coincidence that this has been her biggest project to date. She’s also got a head start on 2021 releasing her single “Rock On”. Her ambitious outlook is setting the tone for this next year.
Boldy James, the Detroit rapper working independently for almost 10 years has released a slew of albums this past year. He’s been staying busy and recently, officially linked with Griselda Records. The Price of Tea in China has been called one of the best albums of the year and was produced completely by the infamous Alchemist. But that’s not the only heavy hitter he’s cooked with. His albums Manger on McNicholsand The Versace Tape were produced by the legendary Harry Fraud. He’s characterized by his detached, deadpan outlook on the world around him. He raps as if he doesn’t want to be there, yet storytells in extreme detail.
And last but certainly not least is the hard grinding Rochester rapper ETO. If you haven’t heard of ETO you may be familiar with his former alias he rapped under as Lil E or Lil ETO. He has been under the radar of Griselda and has captured the attention of NPR, The Washington Post and Complex. He wears a weighty crown being dawned one of the “heroes of a new era of hardcore hip-hop”. That’s a title not to glance over. His dark, slow measured beats create the persona of a mindful MC. With five projects released last year and many notable features, ETO lives on the horizon of opportunity.