2012: AllHipHop’s Top 50 In Underground Hip-Hop!

Existing, situated, operating, or taking place beneath the surface of the ground, hidden or secret; not open, published or produced by political or social radicals or nonconformists:avant-garde; experimental.

In other words, unique, different, something special that is not like everything else. The Underground.

In 2012 The Underground Hip Hop scene found itself expanding and transforming into an almost unrecognizable entity from most any other year. As the mainstream industry finds itself in virtual free fall, The Underground is not only thriving but morphing into a place where artists from all realms are finding their own ways to succeed without a major machine behind them. Underground artists have genuinely changed to meet the handful of definitions of what Underground truly means. This is a list of 50 such artists that caught our eye in 2012. They’re not the only ones we checked out, and are not the only one’s we liked! And as with any list, the final choices were formidable! With so much talent out here trying to pick but a few is next to impossible! The Underground list is not based on a popularity contest by any means. If you are dope, it doesn’t matter if you have 600 followers or 6 million. This list is one of the rare places where an artist makes it on talent. We hope to introduce you to some new artists on the verge, showcase some artists you already let us know you were feeling this year and reintroduce you to some of your favorites that made their presence felt with a great impact in 2012 ! The Underground no longer means without merit, or unknown. Each artist here has challenged listeners to take part in their journey whether it be creating their own lanes through a mean stage game, lending a voice through music to social causes or the culture, creating a real movement toward self-amelioration, showcasing an ability to get a grass roots musical revolution started simply by having great music, or just through making music that made the listener bob their head and hit repeat! Please check out AllHipHop.com’s Best Of The Underground for 2012!

[Editor’s Note: Although this list is numbered, the “2012: AllHipHop’s Top 50 In Underground Hip-Hop!” is only in ALPHABETICAL ORDER.]

1. Alage

Putting the city of Boston in the spotlight has been a big part of 2012 for this young artist. His ability to adapt to a wide range of beats and subjects leaves Alage in a class by himself. His desire to discover the true meaning of Hip Hop in his city this year left him with a full throttle EP and a deeper understanding of the Boston Hip Hop scene and those who broke the barriers before and for him. What Lage means to his city is a whole lot. The heartbeat of Boston can be found within Alage’s music. We look forward to hearing his new project in the new year.

2. Audible Doctor

The good doctor has been known as one fourth of a dope group and as an amazing producer for years now, but this year Audible Doctor stepped out into the spotlight on his own in a major way. The tracks on “I Think That” showcased the Doctors ability to cut up nouns, verbs, metaphors and similes with the precision of any good surgeon! The complexities of his storytelling became ever apparent on the song Baby’s Momma, a song that on the surface seems to be addressing one topic but upon truly listening you discover there is a whole lot more going on there then you might think. Audible Doctor proved that he is a threat both in the studio and on the mic this year. And if his growth continues at this rate, he is going to be a problem for Hip Hop!

3. Bizz The Prince

Jersey’s own Bizz found himself ripping stages and features to the fullest this year. Regardless of if he was working with Freeway or doing his own thing, he managed to be the very definition of grind and that speaks volumes. Club heavy bangers that beg one to bob their head were a huge part of his appeal on this years Black Carpet Mixtape and the subsequent singles. Be on the look out for the new releases with Q Parker in 2013, they are not to be missed!

4. Blax

The mighty Midwest spirit in the middle of Planet Brooklyn, Blax’s light shone bright with a series of projects that scattered throughout the entire year. Blax Everyday demonstrated the awesome storytelling power of the Wisconsin Wonder and proved beyond the shadow of a doubt that Blax Life has definitely spread across the U.S. in 2012!

5. Bodega Brovas

What happens when more energy than any red bull distributor could ever dole out meets lyrical gold and nostalgia? You get Keynote, Travii The 7th and Headkrack aka The Bodega Brova’s. The trio spent the year putting out song after song paying homage to the Hip Hop they grew up on and ripping stages world wide. Their signature throwback blend was everything a Hip Hop soul needed this year. While they have the ability to adjust to any track they touch, their unwillingness to pander set them apart from the masses.

6. Brother Ali

Brother Ali didn’t just come correct out of the gate this year, he crashed through it! Heads sat up and paid attention in 2012 as his latest project did not allow for you to sit still unaffected by his words! From the artwork to every single line spit in Mourning In America And Dreaming In Color, Brother Ali delivered a complete project, period. Nouns and verbs with so much power you’d swear he was in control of the entire grid! If you slept on this project I’d suggest you wake up and quickly!

7. Brown Bag AllStars

Two words to define these guys this year, Buckle Up! The Brown Bag Boys representing Brooklyn NY were live and in Technicolor this year. Brown Label Part 2 had the group punishing mics with the ferocity of a disgruntled Warden. The group has found their niche and the clever lyrical goldmine that is their signature sound was all the better for it in 2012.

8. Charmingly Ghetto

The first word that comes to mind when describing Charmingly Ghetto is poetic. This spitter rockin out of Boston, Mass has taken the art form back to the form of art! Reminiscent of a young Nas, his verses insist you bring your brain to the game. Charmingly Ghetto was an appreciated breath of fresh air in a simplistic versed world.

9. Chaundon:

While the cocky rhyme master may not be new to the scene his style continues to grow and evolve the way a successful veteran of the game should allow for. He was feature heavy this year and blessed a lot of hip hop artists and fans with lines of pure hilarity and his own brand of microphone bravado. His brazen in your face, “You want my spot Flash?” Five Heartbeats type style left audiences smiling along with the music this year and it is a clear explanation as to why his music keeps this guy a beloved member of Hip Hop.

10. Chuuwee

One of Sacramento’s shining stars, Chuuwee put in work on his own projects as well as gracing other artist’s tracks from coast to coast in 2012. His ability to tell the story with a laid back West Coast delivery while simultaneously merging the lyrical cleverness and metaphorical writing of East Coast spitters helped this artist gain attention in a huge way this year.

11. Danny Brown

When you say the name Danny Brown a few words come to mind in description. Angry, Mad, Upset tend to be some of the chosen depictions, however you would only be looking on the surface if this was all you saw. Danny Brown is in his own lane and unapologetically crashing into listeners with his harsh lyrics, but there is so much more to what he is saying. It’s worth the time to truly dig deeper and listen to this artist, the bigger picture is harder to find, but like any good treasure hunt, it’s worth the prize in the end.

12. Deams

This Dutch Hip Hopper out of Breda, has taken Hip Hop around the world and back again many times over. The veteran artist known for the metaphorical wonders that his music conjures up for the ears, has added taking music to China as a new venture in 2012. His ability to transcend all cultures has allowed him the success many artists have a hard time finding outside of the US, and this year was no exception.

13. Dee-1

Mr. Augustine, the dynamo from the N.O. showed both his former students and parents world wide that it isn’t just what you say, it’s the way you say it. His songs are all riddled with clever verses that are not only powerful, but potent. He speaks his truth on every track and fears no evil. His ability to make music that any listener can hear and enjoy and benefit from keep him in a dignified realm all his own. 2012 was a huge year for Dee-1 and we are sure this is just the beginning of big things happening for everyone’s favorite teacher!

14. Deshawn Supreme

Whether he’s on the mic solo or with various other artists as a feature, Brooklyn’s own Deshawn Supreme brings his unique voice to any track he touches. His skill for transcending genera’s and accommodating listeners with a huge range is pivotal in making him a great artist for collaboration and he’s reaped the benefits of this tremendously in 2012!

15. evitaN

Legendary artists Dres and Jarobi took a huge jump this year and collabed to create a new duo and the result was an unexpected musical treat. Their lyrical snack of clever metaphors allowed Hip Hoppers to vibe out to familiar artists with a modern day twist. Songs like PTI reminded us of the importance of the culture and intelligence still making an appearance in the hip hop world. Like mythical unicorns with a mic, these two artists are something you hear exists but you have to see with your own eyes to believe. The culture was better for the duo’s uniting this year.

16. Final Outlaw

Final outlaw is the kind of unassuming artist that can hurt your feelings if you get caught not paying attention. The quiet assassin is not playing around once he’s unleashed on the mic, it’s as simple as that. His voice slices through beats with the precision of a ginsu knife through a tomato after cutting nails on an infomercial. 2012 found him furthering his craft and method of attack and the result was a felony hip hop murder of tracks.

17. Jasiri X

Jasiri X is the definition of Integrity. His music this year addressed several topics plaguing our communities and he succeeded in educating the masses through verse. His ability to take something sad and dark and make it a beautiful thing worthy of hearing over and over again is uncanny. He did so with ease this year, and an entire culture is becoming aware of important issues as a result.

18. Joey Bada$$

He was super unexpected! But most great surprises are! That’s the way it felt upon the discovery of Joey Bada$$ in 2012. Who knew? Upon hearing the first line uttered from him it was clear that this kid was something different! His voice is was one of those things you didn’t even know you needed until you had it in your realm. Keep your eye on him in 2013!

19. Jon Connor

The word “movement” is completely overused and out of touch with the realities of hip hop, unless you are referring to Jon Connor. His army of followers will not let you forget his name and since the inauguration of Mike Jones onto the Hip Hop scene in the mid 2000’s there hasn’t been this much noise made about an artist’s first and last name! He took that name and made it work for him while simultaneously putting Flint, MI back into the Hip Hop subconscious through amazing music and a mean hustle. Jon Connor definitely came into his own this year and it showed!

20 . J57

It’s not just super duper production with this kid! Though his verses tend to be shorter on BBAS tracks his solo project and his work on the Brown Bag EP proved this year that it isn’t for a lack of anything to say! J57 has stepped to the plate and left the fans wanting seconds and thirds! The problem is the in demand super producer doesn’t have the time to give them a whole lot more than he has thus far. However since one always wants what they can’t have, it simply endears his fan base to him even more. His solo effort while still having features proved that sometimes less is more and if you can say it just as powerfully with fewer words, then by all means Mr. 57 do what you need to do! The fans will be sitting and extra patiently waiting for you! Truthfully stated, you heard it here first, J57 is going to merk 2013!

21. Keko

This Ugandan female emcee gives new meaning to the word perseverance. But it’s not just her back story and love of Hip Hop that have endeared her to crowds in Africa and across the globe. Her hard work and determination to make her music no matter the cost, paid off as she was able to get her music to ears from all walks of life. Keko has found success in a male dominated genera and world in a way that would bring US female artists to shame because she does not pander or showcase her body instead of her skill. Her tenacity and ability have made her much more than the cliche “femcee” around the world. She’s recently become one of the first signed artist to Sony Africa. Not an easy feat by any means, but especially not for a woman. Keko has demonstrated what it means to create and dominate your own lane and her music speaks for itself.

22. Koncept

This young Brooklyn emcee found his voice in a way that most didn’t know was possible. It’s easily said that Koncept was already a dope lyricist before, but 2012 brought something else to the table for the AllStar in such a way that he ripped apart pretty much every track he touched this year. Whether it was his own project that released in the spring, or the myriad of features he did throughout the rest of the year, if you found yourself listening to Koncept you knew immediately who it was. If you didn’t know who it was, you definitely were asking questions to find out his name! His range found more power and emotion this year, and depth was put not only into his delivery but to his writing. we don’t know what got in to him in 2012 but we’re eagerly anticipating the rest of the metamorphosis in 2013! Killer Koncept indeed!

23. L’Dialogue Dicaprio

This emcee is moving crowds in Beverly Hills, the N.O. and all the way back to his native Memphis. He represents the South proudly in any forum on any song, but has a crossed over sounding metaphor and simile filled style that sets his music aside from anything else out. Just when you think you get it with Dia he changes it up and gives you something 360 degrees different. Whether speaking on his history, the stories of those around him or just on everyday recognizable slice of life topics, L’Dailogue’s ability to spin a story through imagery sets him aside from the others.

24. Lecrae

What can you say about Lecrae? This emcee has proven to the world at large that you don’t have to speak about the most ratchet of topics among us in order to get love from audiences. People were ready for a change and Lecrae proved that bringing a positive outlook and a divine love in your heart for the Most High is not a death sentence in Hip Hop to anyone who truly believes. They say “God bless the child that’s got his own” well it seems that this statement has come to fruition for this rapper and the results are astonishing. With his own game played by his own rules, Lecrae accomplished in 2012 what some artists will work their entire lives playing by all of the industry rules and never receive, vindication. His awesome flow and story telling ability have earned him a place at the table, and something tells us his hunger for even more in 2013 will not be satiated anytime soon.

25. Mac L

Mac L is the most unlikely suspect of spitters from Nashville. His southern roots dictate the need to spread his city’s truth, and his boom bap loving heart forces him to share it in a sort of fusion of Dirty South meets East Coast style all of his own creation. This artist has been tearing up the stage all over the South and his strengths are finally starting to be felt in every region! The collabs that are brewing have us excited to see where his music evolves in 2013.

26. Macklemore

A definite Supersonic sound out of Seattle, Macklemore has paid dues to the Hip Hop God’s for some time now. Drawing attention to social causes through his lyrics was just one of the dynamic feats he took on in 2012. His hugely successful Indie album topped charts and checkbooks a like as he outsold many mainstream artists with huge marketing machines behind them. Thus demonstrating that the game has changed and proving that the little guy can win too, if he combines a strong work ethic, mean hustle, passion, determination and some good music together. The result is a pot full of Hip Hop awesome sauce!

27. MC Elijah Black

A young artist with a throw back soul, MC Elijah Black is the best of both worlds. He’s young fresh and new, but his vibe is so reminiscent of everything Hip Hop heads openly admit to missing that there’s something good for everyone. In 2012 Elijah Black featured heavy and stayed on stages and in the booth heavily. The result was evolution and progress. You will be absolutely be hearing more from this artist in 2013! His recent efforts in the studio will most assuredly dictate his presence in the upcoming weeks.

28. Oddisee

Oddisee, is one of the most well traveled artists of 2012, and not for nothing, it’s because they are lovin him world wide! He was phenomenal this year and all projects he worked on were just as smooth and cool as you would expect an Oddisee track or project to be. The sincerity in both his lyrics and delivery keep him a fan favorite and will continue to attract additional listeners to him in the new year.

29. Omar Offendum

2012 was a big year for artists doing their part to change the world, Omar Offendum is absolutely a big part of the list of artists that stepped it up for society at large! Largely known in the Arab world, the artist is actually a Syrian-American and upon being inspired by the Arab spring in Egypt created priceless music to capture the sentiment of the events unfolding in the Middle East. His talent for speaking on the ills of the world have brought him fans around the globe and have allowed him to work with some pretty special collaborations as well.

30. Otis Clapp

Intense, over the top, wild and perfectly Otis Clapp. 2012 found Otis just as brazen as usual and super determined to prove to the masses that it isn’t a fluke with this Queens spitter. He broadened his fan base this year through a dope EP and grinding out feature after feature all year long. There weren’t many weeks that he wasn’t on a stage or grabbing a mic in a studio somewhere. His hustle was extra mean and the results are definitely there. It’s all real with this kid and the fans and his peers have noticed. 2013 looks great for Mr. Clapp!

31. Playdough

Dopeness from Dallas. One of this years ultimate storytellers, Playdough takes verbosity to a whole new level in 2012. His aptitude for not just telling you a story but making you want to continue to listen to it is stellar. He has a playful delivery that is exactly what you might expect with a name like Playdough, but it’s truly not a game with this artist. He does a great job at what a lot of artists constantly miss that mark at, entertaining. You can love a song but not be entertained by it in the slightest. Playdough has no problem getting you to like his music and to be completely contented by it.

32. Prestige

The Heart of Hartford, Prestige is a freakin problem for many competitive Connecticut artists. In a smaller market with wall to wall talent it can be hard to break out of the pack, however the Prestigious one has not run in to this obstacle as he simply can not be contained. He’s the producer and the artist so he doesn’t have the problem of waiting around to grab dope beats. he simply makes them himself. Again, this kid is a problem! And with the break out year that he had in 2012, and with the types of spins and looks that he’s been snatching in NYC and beyond, he’s sure to be creating the best kind of havoc in other cities and regions soon!

33. Prince Ak

Jersey is definitely in the house and Prince Ak goes no where by himself! He takes everyone he knows with him! The Doitall Du mentee has found his own voice and truly come in to his own in 2012. Growth was key in the rapper this year and was super duper apparent in pretty much everything he spit. Taking the region by storm was on his agenda for 2012, and the mission was completed! 2013 should be even more exciting for him!

34. Psalm One

This Chicago chica has been rockin crowds with the famed Rhymesayers for some time now and she’s giving the fellas a run for their money. Her capability of hanging with the guys while still being feminine makes her a double threat in the Hip Hop world as she can successfully appeal to all listeners! She’s able to slice and dice a verse like she’s at a hibatchi grill and can make the listener cheer for her simply by virtue of having dope lyrics worth repeating and 2012 was definitely a great year for this! Her work with kids groups which introduced kids to both rhyming and creating a song was admirable. There should be more artists passing down the tradition in this way. Psalm One was very good for the culture in 2012.

35. Random

Phoenix stand up and make some noise. The Mega Random rapper with the acrobatic flows is back. 2012 caught Random all over the place both on tour and in the booth. Ran made his presence known and truly felt with powerful performances at SXSW and across the U.S. as well this year. His verses left the listeners almost dizzy from the twists and turns they took which had discombobulated fans rockin out and trying to keep up for the entire year.

36. Rapper Big Pooh

This veteran showed the newbies what Hip Hop is supposed to sound like in 2012 with his project Fat Boy Fresh Vol 2. With addictive one liners and slick delivery Big Pooh reminded fans why he is in the game and why they should care, and they still do. He’s evolved and grown as an artist since the Little Brother days and it shows in each subsequent project that he puts out. The Hip Hop realm is better for having him as a part of it and it seems very clear that the former Little Brother is all grown up and in command now.

37. Rasheed Chappell

Lesson learned! Rasheed fans need not worry the message was well received in 2012! But make no mistake, he lands on the list for 2012 due to his dope projects. collabs, hard work and an exhausting hustle! Rasheed Chappell was everywhere this year and the result was something pretty wonderful! His ability to define his own voice on any of his own tracks and then accommodate other artists upon recording as a feature is outstanding. Mr. Chappell proved that over looked never means not good, it simply means they haven’t heard you yet. 2012 found him being not only heard, but appreciated too!

38. Rebel Diaz

There’s really only one word that can be used to describe Rebel Diaz, revolutionary! Whether spitting metaphorical fire into the mics in the booth or on stage, or calling for and/or making huge change in the world, Rebel Diaz has the fortitude to call for revolution in their music and the integrity to actually try to do something about it in real life.

39. Rocky Rivera

This dope rapper from The Bay is throw back in one of the most beautiful ways one can be. All though she is completely modern, her style reminds some listeners of the old Shante days. From her voice to her particular way of delivering a verse, Rocky Rivera grabs the mic and shows that girls can be just as powerful with their words as the boys! No wonder she’s a favorite in the California area and around the world!

40. RoQ’y TyRaiD

This year has mostly been a blur for young RoQ’y TyRaiD! He found himself on tours, showcasing at SXSW and being inducted into the prestigious AllHipHop.com Breeding Ground for starters. Then there was the amazing music he put out to go along with it. His stage show has become nothing short of amazing as the songs he performs seem to have more words within them than the entire dictionary would even allow for. This guy is honing his craft and it is apparent, the transformation of this artist has been dynamic, and 2013 looks as though it will be just more of the same!

41. SneakerBox Chock

SneakerBox Chock shows his passion through every line he spits. Whether collaborating with other artists or doing his thing solo, Chock finds the fortitude to say some of the things others wish they had the nerve to say but don’t. He’s also a versatile artist that is able to rhyme over what ever type of beat that is placed in front of him. The sincerity that Chock displays shows through on every song. He’s been rocking Apple stores all over New York City this year and we’re sure the new year is going to bless him all over again!

42. SonReal

One of Canada’s finest, SonReal stepped up his extra impressive game from 2011 and had an even better year in 2012. His ability to play lyrical hopscotch over various beats and tracks of all kinds makes this artist a collaborative favorite. His energy and storytelling capability set this artist apart and allows him to dominate his own lane. If the last two years are any indication, SonReal will be doing amazing things in 2013 too.

43. Soul Khan

Soul Khan spent the majority of 2012 showcasing on the latest Brown Bag AllStars’s project or on other artist’s mixtapes and EP’s until the fourth quarter when his latest project Psalm dropped and boy oh boy was it worth the wait! It’s completely different from any other SK project in that it’s not feature heavy this time. We are getting all Soul Khan all the time and it’s a great thing! His rough voice that speaks smooth words is both a Hip Hop lover’s paradise and paradox all at the same time! He is still spitting about the world he lives in and his thoughts on what that world should be, so it’s still something that will make you think which is what the fans love about Soul Khan’s projects in the first place. Everything SK’s done in 2012 continues to top what he accomplished in the previous year. If progression is the name of the game, then Soul Khan is absolutely going to stay winning.

44. The Narcicyst

Narcy is another powerful Arabic Language Hip Hop Artist that is known for pointed lyrics and a smooth voice/delivery. He brings it on every song and the passion with which he spits is pure and super present. Lyrically packed and centered on message, the Narcicyst’s music in 2012 was educational as well as worthy of the heavy rotation it got world wide! If you aren’t familiar with him, get familiar with him!

45. The Natural Truth

Seattle’s supernatural emcee! The Natural Truth aka TNT is not just a rapper the kid is a mad rapper, a rabid spitter with one liners and clever lines for days! For everyone who has been sleeping, well this is your alarm clock and it’s set for right now! TNT is a tripple threat, whether on stage, the booth or the parking lot of Dick’s freestyling in a cypher, this artist has the quick whit and verbal ability to add depth to any roster or is complete dope on his own. Keep your eyes peeled for his collabs in 2013!

46. Top $ Raz

This year Top $ Got It definitely had it! His first project on Throat Chop Records was just the beginning in a series of steps that work toward solidifying his spot in the realm. His knack for taking any beat and knocking it around verbally like a prize fighter with a punching bag leaves the listener curious as to what’s next. Luckily for him a complete project was what was delivered so there couldn’t be an unhappy customer. His strength is ever apparent in 2012 and the growth is nothing short of ridiculous. Top $ Raz continues to come in to his own and 2013 should be no exception.

47. Torae

With Torae what’s old is new again! His music makes Hip Hop heads ecstatic with his beat choices. Torae’s lyrics while modern are still reminiscent of the cherished golden era and he does a death defying tight rope walk to make the kind of music that can cater to both realms of Hip Hop. Most emcees fall off the wire without the benefit of a net, however Torae fears no fall. It’s that confidence that makes his lyrics powerful and believable. This grasshopper clearly learned to walk before he ran, and now he’s running faster than Forest Gump all over the industry.

48. Ty

Representing London, England the rapper Ty has been wowing crowds and clubs alike with his soulful delivery and feel good brand of Hip Hop for years now. While well known world wide, his mass appeal for Hip Hop heads seems to span languages, cultures and age groups. Ty’s penchant for nailing exactly what the listener wants to hear is key. Bottom line, this rap veteran Ty is simply fun to pop your fingers and listen to! His fans will definitely agree!

49. Wildelux

Wildelux has made Tokyo’s Hip Hop scene a home by way of New York City and LA. The dominating emcee shows his talent for transforming any song that he touches in to a track that’s all his own. His ability to appeal to audiences from all walks and cultures is what makes this native son memorable to all who hear him. In 2012 he transcended musical barriers of all types. Not even the ramifications from natural disasters could stop his hustle this year. This guy has continued to wow audiences world wide for a reason, he spits dopeness!

50. YC The Cynic:

How do you describe an artist who knows that what he’s written is so dope, so honestly amazing that he stops the music in his own live show to go back over the line he just spit to ensure that you know it to? This is the dilemma in trying to describe one of the most versatile eclectic young men in the game today. YC The Cynic has demonstrated that he can rhyme over anything put in front him. He eats up beats like a kid with a bag of Halloween candy! It was exciting to watch the young genius create in 2012 and what is about to drop in 2013 is going to blow the Underground at large away.

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138 Responses to “2012: AllHipHop’s Top 50 In Underground Hip-Hop!”

    • Skyy hook

      Thanks I’m going to check it out now! And there was no top 10 =)! I purposefully put them in alphabetical order…there is absolutely no ranking! Thanks for taking the time to not just read it, but to leave a suggestion! That is very much appreciated!

      • Q.

        Props for putting this list together! It must’ve taken you forever. It’s a shame underground artists don’t get more shine on this site. This should be a staple on AHH–maybe highlight about 5-10 artists per month.

      • Skyy hook

        LOL Yes it takes a lottttttt of time. We take it very seriously, because the artists deserve it to be taken seriously. =) I have a weekly column that posts on Fridays and it’s always Underground/Independent, check it out sometime! And tell a friend to tell a friend, because if we want to see artists like these more often on AllHipHop they have to be supported more than one time a year! We have to support all year! Thanks so much for your comment! =)

      • Q.

        You’re welcome. I’m not gonna lie…I want to check out these artists, but I don’t know if I can make it through this whole list. LOL That’s why I was suggesting publishing mini-lists on a monthly or weekly basis. Plus, it would save you a lot of work instead of being overwhelmed at the end of the year. What’s the name of your column?..AHH should be putting it on the front page!

      • Roilty CrewRecords

        U shittin me?! What about 38 Spesh.. his project did way better numbers than 90% if the dudes on this list … or Emilio Rojas IN XXL freshman of the year

      • Guest

        This list is not a popularity contest. If you haven’t heard of the artists why not give them a listen? You didn’t know of the other artists until someone told you about them right? If you read what what I said then you see that this was not an easy decision and since there are a zillion hip hop artists world wide that people are feeling, picking 50 was beyond difficult. I appreciate your input and hope that you will continue to hold me accountable during the 2013 year. If there is something you want to see, I invite you to continue to share your thoughts with me every Friday when my underground pieces post! Thanks again for taking the time out! =) ~Skyyhook

      • OnlyFaDaReal

        Nice list!! What’s the link to your column that posts on Fridays?

      • andone

        im dead serious…. trinindad did wat all of these cats are tryin to do in less time i might add… and logics buzz keeps swelling droppin a classic tape in 2012… stop hating bruh u dont have to like them, to kno they shouldve been on the list!!

      • andone

        note to u scary bloggers… anybody can down a comment, but u got to be willing to honestly speak UPP… in order to be taken serious!

  1. Scrilla Scratch

    Man, the biggest underground movement would be Rich the Factor and his label Major Factor Records. Over 150 cds, pushin over 100k cds independent per cd, since 1994. Comin out of Kansas City, MO – dude a beast.

  2. mike jones(who?)mike jones

    Excellent list a lot of cats I have never heard of,but that’s what the list is for..I’m always looking for .ew music,and I have made it to #20 so far watching these videos..and all have been ill!!!

  3. iontheprize

    Nice work Mac L, you’ve earned the praise! Great list of artists here, I can’t wait to go through it and check everyone out that I haven’t heard before. Share the love!

  4. Luss

    Yooooooooooo!! So good to see my brothers on this list!! MC Elijah Black is an amazing artist he freestyles like no other i have seen before! So dedicated and brilliant Watch out for him on 2013 its gonna be crazy! Deshawn Supreme His presence on the stage is amazing to see. He definitely is going a long way in this game cant wait to see what you do next homie! Rebel Diaz my big brothers I love ya you guys are always making sure that all of us are good. Your music is so inspiring and people will be listening to you guys for years to come! Not only are you guys great at making music but you are leaders in your community big ups! My brother YC The Cynic you don’t understand watching this guy work is a blessing! He shines with everything that he does I could watch him perform the same song 300 times, and still be captured by his performance. He is also a big reason for me growing as in artist and I have nothing but love for this man! great things are going to happen for him and I am just glad I am here to be apart of it. Love all of you guys! Keep doing what you all do best! Congratulations!!! and people show them the support that they need to continue.. they do this for ya!

  5. theseizurecomic

    There are literally only 5 rap acts I’m listening to right now: The Roots, M.I.A., Slaughterhouse, and two guys on this list (Random and Jon Connor). But I think I’ll give the others on this list a try. Long live the underground.

  6. TrisTheBarber

    This list is what Hip-Hop needs! So many names on here that I follow. I’m actually surprised to see some of them getting the recognition they deserve. Prestige and Lecrae are easily 2 of my favorite unsigned artists today. Better yet, they’re 2 of my favorite artists PERIOD. Joey Bada$$ is already on the verge of being a household name. Alage and Torae are also artists I’ve been listening to for a while. This list is impressive to say the least. Much respect to Skyy Hook, who obviously did her research for this one.

  7. sofujid

    Congrats Random, RoQ’y Tyraid, Brother Ali, amd Jasiri X I listen to you so I know why you’re on the list. Now the rest of you folks that I haven’t heard- it looks like time for me to get my zune loaded up, long live Hip Hop!!!

  8. Dante Rapper

    They got narcisyst on here – dude is dope if you haven’t heard him before…check him out..listen to the song Hamdullilah featuring shadia mansour..and you gon have a new favourite rapper. word

  9. speedwrench

    I’ve been following #32, Prestige, from his start and watched and listened as he became one of the most versatile and original artist of our time. Skyhook, you hit the nail on the head when u said “this kid is a problem”. If some of u haven’t had and earfull of what this dude is about then go to theprestigiousone.com and get your fill!!

  10. KingsCountyCrooklyn

    this is a great list of artist, most of the lyrical spitters are in the underground on the come up. where as main stream artist are just MCs over beats, they don’t make you think about whats being said its more about relating to their song title/content. can’t wait to see the next list of those that were not mentioned on this.

    • mike jones(who?)mike jones

      Action Bronson is doing big things already,this list is about the underground.d,cats who barely get a Chan e to be heard,and get no love from blogs,and websites….its toshow new and upcoming artists who are grinding support….Bronson is already all over the damn place.

      • JohnnyQuesst

        Bronson is all over the place huh? So is Danny Brown, Joey Bada$$ and Macklemore. Do your homework first. All 3 have more supporters than Bronson and they’re on the list.

      • Skyy hook

        I have him somewhere else…he didn’t get slept on..stay tuned. 😉 In the meantime why not learn about a few other artists that you might just like?! Thanks for the input! Much appreciated!

      • kered gnuoy

        I like your list. I’m glad bronsonwasn’t on it. where is your Friday article?

      • JohnnyQuesst

        I detect hate in your DNA. Not sure what level it is, but it’s there. It’s radiating all on my screen. Let me restart my laptop before it catches something.

      • JohnnyQuesst

        Yes ma’am will do. You guys should do an article on underground producers.

      • Skyy hook

        LOL I did two of them in 2012! Plan to do many more! I sure hope all of the people checkin this list keep checking out the individual underground stuff throughout the year! It would make a huge difference in what I can cover! And even if you don’t agree with me I still appreciate the feedback! THANK YOU!

  11. Nik Jolt

    Skyzoo should definitely be on this list. Torae For The Record is one of the best albums of the year. Great selection with that. Missing Evidence on here though. ProEra was tight too. Fav albums of the year have to be Oddisee People Hear What They See and Koncept Awaken. Those need to be on everyones lists.

  12. Ryan Parks

    Good to see some new cats out there still carrying the torch. Brown Bag as a crew is rock solid. The Bodega Brovas are savagely underrated , Rasheed Chapelle, Lecrae, Playdough, thumbs up!

  13. slumlord_vinny

    My dude, you must still be drunk from New Years! Why isn’t my homie Sha Stimuli on the list!!! D – one and rapper Pooh should be much much higher. Skyzoo is not on their either. Don’t disrespect Crown Heights like that bro

    • mike jones(who?)mike jones

      You didnt read what the writer wrote at the very beggining of the article did you? there is no ranking,they are in alphabetical order….

  14. Airborne Mark

    I’m halfway through catching up on the artists I missed in 2012. Knew only few from here. Such a great list!

    Thank you AHH for digging up >> TY << from UK. The man has been working relentlessly for years to create Real Music for Real People. All He does is about excellence in art too. Let the world now. #UpNess

  15. Airborne Mark

    Too good! Why don’t you AHH put up a nice set on SoundCloud with all the artists here. Much more user friendly to get through #JustSaying

  16. Ciaran

    Ty, absolutely. A British Common: sense of humour, thoughtful lyrics, not a hint of macho bravado, intelligent, but, most importantly, bloody great to listen to

  17. iamthaconnect

    I respectfully submit: Doughbeezy; & Kevin Gates to this list…..google em – check em out – both very solid AND lyrical artists outta Texas & Louisiana respectively.

  18. hoeyuno

    Jasiri X is dope. Ya’ll use to support him like crazy..WHAT HAPPENED?? Yall put Brother ali on here if you put him in here Diabolic coulda been put on the list.. Check for KC mc “Panic”…Dude has a free tape out there thats dope. “Winnipegs most” is a aboriginal group that s getting lots of love in the community

  19. ♪Tris The Barber♪

    This list is what Hip-Hop needs! So many names on here that I follow. I’m actually surprised to see some of them getting the recognition they deserve. Prestige and Lecrae are easily 2 of my favorite artists today. Better yet, they’re 2 of my favorite artist PERIOD. Joey Bada$$ is already on the verge of being a household name. Alage and Torae are also artists I’ve been listening to for a while. This list is impressive to say the least. Much respect to Skyy Hook, who obviously did her research for this one.

    • Skyy hook

      So very humbling! Thank You! These are artists that I hear all day long for my radio station. I hear them more than the majors so I tend to agree! lol Much respect for the nice words! =)

  20. abdallah m.ahmad

    im happy to see the kid “alage” getting some exposure, he’s talented and hard working. this “hip hop” thing is real to those of us that live by our words. not just proud of him for the fact that he reps my home town, thats just a plus. but for me i need to know that its more than music in order to put my support behind you. i feel he shares that ideal…thats why i fux wit him.

  21. Bryan Trench

    Good to see the homie Alage holding down Boston displaying the talent he posses. Lyricism & creativity mixed with a humble minded young fella who is making great moves but never brags. #salute

  22. Juni Rodriguez

    WOOOOOW S/O to Bostons own ALAGE for making this list it has been well deserved. He has been a huge inspiration for my musical career. He has been on his grind and I’ve been following his music since he started his journey. He has been an inspiration for so many people out there and a leader showing you can achieve anything you put your mind to no matter what your story is. Im all the way in Tampa Florida and I have to say his grind, his hunger, his motivation and insipartion has been a GIFT many look up to. GOOD JOB BIG HOMIE AND CANT WAIT TO SEE YOU AT THE TOP!!!!! Thank you for sharing your story and showing me I had a talent I was too blind to see.

  23. Blacc Prince

    What’s with these lists neglecting “Your Boy for Life” and “Skyzoo”?? Otherwise cool list but let’s be real, YB4L embodies the new god flow.

  24. Shatwuan

    Hands Down Alage!!! Spits the realness. This dude is rockin!!! right now and when you see perform LIVE be ready for amazing show!! He deliver
    s to you way more then anticipated. Be on the look out for Lage!!

  25. Typesun / 7 Arrows

    Good to see the living legend that is Ty on this list. He’s been laying down nothing but truth for time and a day and consistently demonstrates where his priorities lie: representing the art form to it’s fullest, passing on the knowledge & inspiring the next generation and staying humble, soulful and creative whilst he’s at it. The real deal. Salute.

  26. Zach Filaber

    No EL-P, Killer Mike, Pigeon Hole, Sweatshop Union, Das Racist, Heems, Kool A.D, Chance The Rapper, D-Sisive, Cadence Weapon, Despot, or Par-City? Really?

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