rexx life raj

(Originally posted at KQED Arts)

Download: Mixtape: Over a Dozen of the Bay Area’s Best New and Emerging Rap Artists (Podcast #386)

We haven’t done a deep dive into the independent hip-hop scene in some time, but that certainly isn’t due to a lack of new local rap talent. While artists like Iamsu and G-Eazy are among the latest Bay ambassadors to have gained mainstream attention, many exciting and relatively unknown MCs are emerging out of the San Francisco Bay Area.

This mixtape collects 13 songs showcasing some of the best emerging rappers from the Bay. As you’ll hear in the mix, a number of artists are finding ways to reinvent and develop upon established Bay Area styles and themes, from the hyphy sound pioneered by Mac Dre to the socially conscious and political MCing of The Coup and Hieroglyphics. Most impressive, however, is the way that so many emerging rappers defy any clear sub-categorization. Instead of being a “party rapper” or a “backpack rapper” — terms that now seem dated — the artists in this mix are developing personas that are both singular and dynamic. Can it be a surprise that new artists who hail from the land of E-40 and Lil B possess a surplus of charisma?

Perhaps the single biggest indicator of the strength of the Bay Area’s independent rap scene is how challenging it was to limit this mix to a manageable number of artists. As a result, we’ve omitted a number of great acts previously included in recent podcasts — Caleborate, Kamaiyah, Adam Vida — as well as a number of locals with rich histories or a sizable buzz behind them, like Mistah F.A.B., P-Lo, DUCKWRTH, Kool John, and Nef the Pharaoh.

In other words, this is not the definitive guide to Bay Area rap — for that, you should probably visit Thizzler — but it’s a good introduction to many of the new and exciting performers in the Bay Area scene.

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Track Listing

Legendvry – “Easy”
Beejus – “Right Bounce (feat. Oops)”
Queens D.Light – “Queen Of Zamunda”
Rexx Life Raj – “Shit N’ Floss”
Ezale – “Day Ones”
Trill Youngins – “Millionaire”
Not the 1s – “Not The 1s To Be Gamed On”
Tia Nomore – “Camry’s”
Dave Steezy – “Get Away”
Mani Draper – “Floors (feat. Jasmine Nichol)”
Azure – “Fools (feat. Rayana Jay)”
Anthony Dragons – “Gods In The Clouds II”
Dregs One and Ill Sugi – “True Beauty (feat. Priscillia)