Ohio is undeniably on the rise. The infrastructure in the downtowns look better, the sports are making a comeback, the food is better than ever, and more large events are being hosted here.
It’s an exciting time for many Ohio residents right now. But one thing that many people overlook are the growing creative scenes that are blossoming throughout the state. We thought that we’d take some time to highlight a few of our favorite rap artists who are putting in the work to have a great, successful year. This list isn’t to say that there aren’t more artists to watch for, but these are the ones that we’ve seen grinding during the 1st quarter of the year. These artist aren’t listed in any specific order, they all deserve a listen.
1. Mathaius Young
The young rapper and producer Mathaius Young released not one, but two, impressive EPs this year. Within minutes of listening to his self-titled EP I knew that he had something special, his style is undeniably raw. Check out the two songs below and I guarantee that you’ll be back for more.
Ezzy is another youngin’ holding his own right now. The Cleveland born rapper recently murked a freestyle on Sway in the Morning and then was asked to join a cypher with Vince Staples and Casey Veggies. Ezzy is going to be a problem before we know it.
(Ezzy starts around the 5:20 mark)
If you follow urban culture in the Midwest at all, then you’ve heard of TIMG frontman LAMB$ in the past year. Hailing from Cincinnati, this trap rapper has created some of the best songs that we have in rotation period, not just from Ohio artists. His visuals are always on point, his smash hit Digi Scale Remix was recently added to MTV Jams, and he murdered a few shows at SXSW this year. LAMB$ is coming for the top spot and it’s definitely in his reach, see for yourself.
While we’re talking about the Cincinnati collective TIMG, we can’t forget to mention heavy-hitter Millz. He floats through every trap beat that we’ve heard him jump on with his smooth flows. If you’re not familiar then you’re going to want to jump on these links and catch up.
Follow Millz on Twitter.
5. Correy Parks
There are some great rappers emerging from Columbus this year, but no one stands out quite like Correy Parks. With the release of his latest EP, The Layover, he has proved to be a lot more than punch lines and catchy hooks. Correy touches on many social and political problems in the EP and manages to not be too “preachy” or uninteresting like many rappers tend to be. Watch one of his stellar music videos below to see what I mean.
You may have already heard of Billard from his hit single All Eyez On Me featuring Machine Gun Kelly. This guy has been grinding in the underground rap scene for some time now and it’s finally starting to pay off. Billard is showing growth with each and every release. Check out his latest songs here.
7. Ghost Noises
Alloy-X artist Ghost Noises has created some unforgettable tracks this year. His music sounds like his name, it’s out of this world. He’s definitely not your typical rapper/producer. He spits some crazy flows over psychedelic, head banging beats that’ll raise your standards for how authentic unground rappers should be to gain your support. You’ll want to support this Cleveland native for sure.
8. Will Turner
Dayton hasn’t been an Ohio hotspot for some time now, but the collective YOP is trying to change that by breaking into the music scene. Member Will Turner is the trap rapper coming out of Ohio that we’re most excited about.
9. Bankie iZ
Bankie iZ, formally known as Bankie Travolta, is a rap legend in his hometown Cleveland, but this past year he’s been aiming way way way past that. His mixtape iZ that released earlier this year was straight heat. He’s hands down one of the most diverse rappers around, spitting on a wide range of topics, constantly switching his flow and even offering his solid vocals on some tracks. Check out his last two releases to see what I mean.
It wouldn’t be an Ohio rap list without including Cleveland-bred artist Tezo. His track Dinner Date set the state on fire a while ago and this year Tezo is back to do it again. Every track and video on his SwampLand EP was stellar and he’s put on some crazy performances. We can’t wait to see what he has in store for the summer time.
Ohio’s music scene is on the rise and these 10 artists are some of the many great rappers contributing to that. We can’t wait to see what’s coming later on this year. We have our ears to the streets and will continue to keep you updated on music coming out of the street scene.