• Lennon Richardson

Top 10 Best Hip-hop Artists of 2019

If you like inspirational, intelligent, and independent hip-hop artists, then you are going to love this list! I've given zero consideration to artist popularity or song plays. In fact, some of the artists here are hardly known by anyone, but their music is fire! This top 10 list is comprised solely of the new hip-hop music I most enjoyed listening to and sharing in 2019.


Strap in because it's going to be an amazing ride...


10. Chris Webby

Chris Webby is a talented lyricist with clear enunciation and a rad raspy rap voice. His style was heavily influenced by 90s hip-hop and his songs typically feature heavy baselines so I most enjoy listening to him at the gym.


Our Planet is an atypical song for Chris Webby, it's softer and more sentimental. I decided to feature it in part because Chris is donating all profits raised from this song to wildlife organizations. Go Webby!


In 2019 Chris Webby dropped an 18-track album called Wednesday After Next. I saved 8 of these tracks to my Spotify. Also, my brother and I got to see Webby in concert this year and he put on a great show!


9. Mike SB

Mike SB is a young rapper from Florida whose style ranges from quick and energetic to slow and sensual. I enjoy listening to Mike SB while exercising or cruizing in my car. I love rapping When I Want To (above), though I do switch up a few of the lyrics.


I had a couple of questions for Mike so I reached out to him on YouTube. He took the time to give me a thoughtful reply and even subscribed to my channel. Props for that!


Mike SB dropped Chase Your Dreams, an 8-track EP, plus a few additional singles in 2019. In total, I added 8 of his new song to my Spotify. In addition to When I Want To, I most enjoy Move, and Time to Go.


8. Jaypitts

Jaypits is an Independent artist from Detroit with a soulful style that sources inspiration from artists like Andree 3000, Lupe Fiasco, and Kendrick Lamar. He's a husband, father, and good-natured dude which is reflected in his artistry.


When I first discovered Jaypitts he only had a couple of hundred followers on his YouTube and Spotify each but has been steadily growing since. As a smaller artist, he is more accessible and I've had a few nice exchanges with him on social media.

In 2019 Jaypitts dropped a 9-track album called Free Fall, an EP called There's Gold in the Sky, and a few additional singles. I liked 9 of his new songs in 2019. Omw (above), Cheat Code, and Wild Wild Blessings are my favorite.


7. EARTHGANG

Atlanta duo EARTHGANG is the 21st Century version of Outcast. This 2-man band includes Johhny Venus whose voice, style, and charisma remind me a lot of André 3000 and Doctur Dot who may as well be Big Boi's little brother.


I got hooked on EARTHGANG in 2018 when Up (above) dropped on the YouTube show Colors. I typically listen to music on Spotify but kept coming back to YouTube just to play this track. In 2019 they finally released their new album Mirrorland which includes this song.

In addition to this album, EARTHGANG released several signals in 2019. I saved 11 of their songs total this year, 3 of which ended up in my Top 100 Most Played Songs of 2019: Up, Bank, and Blue Moon. I tried to catch them in concert, but tickets were sold out.


6. Funky DL

Funky DL is a veteran OG rapper who keeps getting better with time. He's a smart lyricist who's upbeat and positive. He also produces his own beats and his style is smooth, classic, and jazzy.


He dropped 2 new full-length albums in 2019, which is not unusual for Funky DL. Def has a couple of hits - People Who Need People (above) and 2 The Sky - but Life After Dennison is his best album yet! He also released instrumental versions of both albums and a couple of remake/compilation albums. Dude is prolific!


I added 16 new Funky DL tracks to my library this year! I also had a dream that Funky DL took me to the studio with him. It was a good dream.


5. Kota the Friend

It's hard to imagine a more laidback rapper than independent Brooklyn born artist Kota the Friend. His beats are uncomplicated and catchy. His voice is smooth and clear. His style is self-confident yet humble.


I saved 11 of the 19 tracks off of Kota's new album FOTO. That's actually a pretty good ratio. My favorite track is Hollywood because I love rapping that one. I also really enjoy Chicago Dinner (above), Alkaline, and Church, which was awesome live! Overall it was a good show.

This year Kota was also featured on a single by No Suits called Boat to Bermuda which is another one my favorites.


4. Ice Nova(冰塊先生)

Ice Nova's new album Cloud Temperature (雲層溫度) is the best Mandarin hip-hop album I've ever heard! I'm obsessed with his smooth, jazzy style which is reminiscent of Softlipa (蛋堡), the Godfather of Mandarin hip-hop. Sadly though, it seems no one knows about him. He has less than 40 followers (that's not a typo) on both his YouTube and Spotify accounts! But the boy's got skills!


Minus the skits, I saved 9 of the 10 songs on Cloud Temperature! 4 of these ended up on my Top 100 Most Played list this year: Fantasy (幻想) (above), By Your Side (到你身邊), You Are (你是), and Fly Over (飛越).


3. Futuristic

Futuristic is a successful independent artist who's been producing hits for 10 years now.


My brother has been a big fan of his for half that time, but I was only into a couple of his songs until he dropped his 2 newest albums I Am... | Zachery Lewis. These 2019 albums are more soulful and acoustic than his usual hardcore style and that's what I like about them.


Based on the strength of these albums I decided to go to his show. I didn't expect much, but it ended up being the best concert out of more than a dozen that I went to all year! His stage presence and energy level were simply amazing. I am now a big fan of Futuristic.

My favorite new Futuristic songs are Jam (above), Top Notch, and 48 Hours.


2. Wax

I discovered Wax randomly this year when I was at a friend's home and he played one of his older songs, I Ain't a Real Man. "I Ain't a real man. Real men work. Digging, digging shoveling dirt." I looked him up and ended up saving a couple-dozen of his songs.


Wax dropped 2 albums in 2019, B.A.A.A. and Acoustic Monday Album which is a collection of original songs performed on his guitar in his back yard. Between these 2 albums, I liked 12 songs and even saved Flawless (above) to my Download✔️ playlist which is the highest recognition any song can receive.


I caught Wax in concert this year and he put on a good show ... for all 30 of us.


1. Mike Posner

I'm sure you know Mike Posner from Cooler than Me and I Took a Pill in Ibiza, but have you listened to his new stuff? He's a changed man! He stopped drinking and taking drugs, got into spirituality, and grew a beard.


In 2019 Posner walked all the way across America! He also managed to drop 2 new albums - A Real Good Kid (inspired by his experience providing hospice for his now-deceased father) and Keep Going (inspired by his cross country journey) - which are his best albums yet! I saved 15 of his new songs and added 2 of them - God's Lottery ft. Elohim and Look What I've Become (above) - to my most important playlist, Download✔️!


0. Closing Remarks

Thank you for checking out this list of the Top 10 Best Hip-hop Artists of 2019! What song/artist did you enjoy most? What other artists should I have featured? Share your thoughts below.


If you are interested in discovering more inspiring music check out these posts:



Want to hear what I'm listening to today? Connect with me on Spotify!


Thanks again,


Lennon

 
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