DJBooth is Going Global: Who Are Your Favorite Int’l Artists?
For better and for worse, the internet has revolutionized the music industry. Now, someone can be living in their mom's basement, make a song, and become a rap sensation almost overnight (just ask Chance The Rapper). The amount of music floating around the interwebz is mind numbing, and if you step outside America and consider the sheer volume of music being made internationally, your brain might just explode.
For some reason though, hip-hop coverage has stayed very American-centric. True, the culture started in a New York City apartment building, but it now reaches across every corner of the world. And yet, for the most part, we are so focused on American hip-hop that we forget about the rest of the world. While it might not be groundbreaking news that Americans are not aware of the rest of the world, we'd like to change that. So, with that in mind, DJBooth is going to start to go more global.
Now, to be clear, we're not talking strictly hip-hop here. Especially over the last few years the R&B scene has been filled with non-American artists like Sam Smith, Mapei, Lorde and, of yeah, that Adele lady, and we'd love more R&B/soul/pop. But we're particularly interested in hip-hop because when it comes to beats and rhymes, so little global hip-hop manages to land on American shores. (And no, I'm not counting Iggy Azalea.)
To get us warmed up though, here are three artists from across the world that I've had in heavy rotation already:
David has a song on the Madden soundtrack, a record with Freddie Gibbs, and the last name of a super-American city, so why isn't he more well known in the states? Well, I'm not exactly sure, but what I do know is that you Xenophobes are missing out. I've heard people say that they can't get into international hip-hop because of the accent of the emcee, but I think that's bull. Dallas' vocals are not only crystal clear, but they add such a unique flavor to his sound; there really isn't anyone else who sounds like him, and we should celebrate originality no matter where it comes from. Check out his last album, 2013's Falling Into Place, which features the aforementioned Gibbs-assisted "My Mentality" and "Running," which was one of the best beats of the year. Oh, it wasn't on the album, but this jam is one for the highlight reel.
Quick word association game. I say rapper from Australia with an intoxicating style and some long hair and you say? No, not Iggy (well, ok, her too), I was thinking of Allday. If songs like "Girl In The Sun" were played as often as "Fancy" the world would be a better place. Sometimes, I need some hip-hop that's going to put a smile on my face, and Allday does just that. He is fun, talented, and though he is definitely hip-hop, I often hear a little bit of pop, rock, and even some R&B on occasion; bonus points for an original sound! What stands out to me, though, is the enjoyment it sounds like he has experienced making new music. He may never have a "Fancy"-sized hit, but his music has passion and heart--you can tell he loves to make music--so I'll choose his material over processed goods any day. He hasn't had any DJBooth-hosted projects yet (keep us in the loop, Allday!), but check out 2012's freebie, A Skateboard Soiree EP
That song right (up) there is dope, but really you need the video to get the full experience. Rarely, do I make a decision about an emcee on one song (good or bad), but after listening to "Meddling Loops" I knew Rejjie (formerly known as Lecs Luther) was the real fucking deal. Whenever I am in the mood for some international flavor, I almost always go with him and songs like "Lost In Empathy" explain why. His lyrics are incredible, he is almost more of a poet than an emcee, but he can spit, so it sounds natural and fluid. There is something so hypnotic about his work, too; it almost puts you in a trance. Of all the international emcees making moves, Rejjie is my personal favorite. He is so different and he beyond engaging. One listen to his "Rejovich EP" and I know you will be hooked too. Be sure to grab the EP via iTunes; I promise you won't be disappointed.
So there are my three favorites; what about you? We'd love for DJBooth to become the global spot for hip-hop, but we can't do it alone. Let us know what countries and artists we should be checking out, and even some great international blogs if you got 'em. We promise, we'll go through every comment and if we like what we're hearing, we'll be running song features and playlists with those artists!
DJBooth has a fans all over the world (what up Pune, India) and we need each one to help make us the best source for hip-hop we can be. So let's hear it Booth Nation - let us know some of your favorite international hip-hop artists....
UPDATE: Playlist - 12 Dope International Artists Brought To You By…You