Words below by Noah Soria
This list is covering the new generation of Los Angeles music, so you won’t see Tyler, The Creator’s Call Me If You Get Lost, Vince Staples’ self-titled album or Isaiah Rashad’s The House Is Burning, even though those are some of the best albums of the year overall. This list is for the artists in the city who are on the verge of really reaching the masses.
Kalan.FrFr. – TwoFr 2
Kalan.FrFr. has been a staple in Los Angeles for the last couple of years. He’s one of those hybrid artists or dual-threats. His versatility as both an R&B artist and as a rapper is what gained him a recording deal with the notorious label, Roc Nation Records.
For his debut project under the label, Kalan delivered TwoFr 2, one of the better debut albums to come out this year. The lead single was “Scoring”, where he has the whole city reciting “I know yo baby mama wanna eat my shorts”.
It featured guest verses from Mozzy and Stunna 4 Vegas on the original, and verses from Lil Durk, BlueBucksClan, 1TakeJay, and Maeta on the deluxe. The project is universal, it’s got those uptempo tracks for the guys, and the melodic aspect for the women. “Never Lose You” is one of the best tracks of the year.
BlueBucksClan – Clan Virus 2
BlueBucksClan has become the best duo in west coast hip-hop, and it’s only taken them about 18 months to do so. After breaking out in 2019 with projects like Clan Way & No Rules, and then flooding with three more full-length mixtapes in 2020, BlueBucksClan has made a serious statement in a short amount of time. The duo made their 2021 debut with Clan Virus 2. If you could summarize BlueBucks’ lyrical content it would be barred referencing athletes, Christian Dior, Ruth Chris steakhouse, and Rolls Royces.
Going into this project DJ and Jeeezy Obama paid homage to retired power forward, “Horace Grant”, and also collaborated with Lil Yachty for the single “Last Minute”. The 17-track project also includes features from frequent collaborator Bino Rideaux, Quavo, and Grammy Award-winning producer Hit-Boy.
BlueBucksClan is starting to look like the Shaq & Kobe of the rap game.
YS – Realer Than Real
YS’s latest project, Realer Than Real, is the Compton native’s victory lap after the significant run he’s been on here in 2021. YS and Detroit hitmaker, Helluva, have teamed up for most of this year. When they connected, they sought out to create a sound truly unique to them, a young Compton rapper and a seasoned Midwest producer. The team made tracks with a blend of blazing street stories, and torment-filled warbling over exemplary West-Coast loops, artistic scores, piano-emphasized beats, and melodic guitar-filled creations.
The 16-track project is executive produced by Helluva and filled with star-studded features including EST Gee, on “Play 4 Keeps”, Detroit heavyweight Payroll Giovanni on “All Week”, Babyface Ray, and LA’s Fenix Flexin on “Hate Me”. YS also teamed up with standout Florida artist Hotboii on “Switch”, and the two released the accompanying music video the day of the project’s release. Fellow Compton artist and childhood friend Wallie The Sensei joined YS on two songs as well. The album highlights YS’ diversity. He displays tracks that are heartfelt & tracks that are his more traditional turned-up style. You can’t put YS in a regional box when it comes to his sound.
Wallie The Sensei – Golden Child
If you’re not familiar with Wallie The Sensei, get hip before it’s too late. The Compton native had the whole city chanting “this is my 03 flow” from his hit record “03 Flow” a track paying homage to the incarcerated 03 Greedo. His breakout record “Scandalous” featuring Mar & Yah-L led to Wallie getting signed by Capitol Records, and the remix to the track featured a verse from Detroit’s 42 Dugg. If you had to sum up Wallie’s sound in two words, that would be easy, “street gospel”.
The music is angelic sounding, but he’s talking about real shit. “Bompton to Balabasas” & “Fallin Apart” are two perfect examples, but you can hear it all throughout Wallie’s studio debut Golden Child. The 17-track project melodically tells his life story over trap & West Coast infused instrumentals.
Wallie The Sensei is here to stay.
AzChike & Rucci – Kourtesy of Us
AzChike and Rucci are frequent collaborators who have become staples in their own rights in this new era of Los Angeles hip-hop. After multiple years of collaborating, the two artists finally decided to work on a joint album titled Kourtesy of Us via Empire Records, which was released in October. For the lead single, AzChike and Rucci called on Baton Rouge OG, Boosie Badazz, along with fellow Mackk & Cult members Pjay & AzSwaye for the track “Hoodrat”. For the rest of the guests on the album, the duo kept it strictly West Coast. It features Haiti Babii, Kalan FrFr, Capolow, & Kamaiyah, among others.
Both of these artists have been making noise for the last 5 years, but you can tell these two had something to prove on this project. They flaunted their versatility for touching all hip-hop fanbases while keeping their West Coast sound. This was the declaration that Rucci & AzChike are not just holding their own, but that they have been forces to be reckoned with.
Blxst & Bino Rideaux – Sixtape 2
Making a sequel that matches the magic the original brought is a difficult thing to do, and we’ve seen many fail. However, Blxst & Bino Rideaux was able to do just that. Sixtape 2 followed up the highly praised Sixtape – EP which was released back in 2019, which elevated both artists’ careers to the next level. Since then, both artists have signed record deals, and have dropped their projects. Both Blxst’s No Love Lost & Bino Rideaux’s Outside were both commercially successful.
The fans wanted the LA natives to team back up for the sequel to their EP, and not only did they deliver, but they also gave the fans a 12-track full-length project. It was only right they started off with “Pop Out”, the perfect track to set the tone. The duo was able to not mimic the energy they created for the original, instead of creating different energy which represents where the two are at in their careers now, compared to two years ago.
You can’t go wrong when these two link up.
AFN Peso – New Heights
South Central local and rising artist AFN Peso is on the come-up as one of the West Coast’s most blazing talents. Expanding on his all-around regarded notoriety in the LA rap scene, Peso keeps on making his mark on the new wave. From earning exceptional co-signs to selling out his very first show in Los Angeles, it’s clear AFN Peso is next up.
Coming off the release of his most recent collection New Heights, Peso has organized an ethereal West Coast sound all his own. The collection is about success, and since the arrival of Back on Bullshit and The Real Thing, Peso has done exactly that, spitting with a refined presence that affirms development and development originating from his past work. “Can’t Fall Out” & “Movie Star” is just a couple of many highlights through the project.
AFN Peso is just getting started.
G Perico – Play 2 Win
The term “quality over quantity” gets used pretty frequently when it comes to music & the music industry. G Perico in the year 2021 has done both. The LA-based rapper has done everything he predicted he’d do this year, and that was a simple, flood. The nay-sayers can talk about “oversaturation of the market”, but if the finished product is consistent with quality as well as quantity, who cares?
G Perico has released three full-length projects (Welcome to the Land, No Love in LA, and LA Summers) to go along with a plethora of EPs, singles, and feature verses in 2021. He continued his winning streak with his fourth project of the year in Play 2 Win. Leading up to the release, Perico dropped two singles. The first one is “Spazz” featuring San Pedro’s own, and budding star, Remble. It also featured guest appearances from fellow LA natives BlueBucksClan & 03 Greedo on this 11-track project.
The sound is undeviating, like most of G Perico’s music, especially this year. The title speaks for itself, the LAnd native is here to Play 2 Win. The music is direct, and straight to the point. In this day in age that’s a breath of fresh air. Overall, G Perico blends old-school nostalgia with the new school wave, which makes his music enjoyable for hip-hop fans of all ages.
G Perico is simply your favorite rapper’s OG.
Drakeo the Ruler – The Truth Hurts
Since being released from prison in November of 2020, Drakeo the Ruler never let his foot off the gas. Out of the five original full-length projects he released this year, it was difficult to pick which one to select for this list. Some may have said that he oversaturated the market by his rapid-fire approach to releasing music, but he was just making up for lost time since he was away. The two projects that go head to head from the late-great MC’s 2021 are Ain’t That The Truth & The Truth Hurts. The Truth Hurts gets the slight edge due to the fact that this sounded like a traditional debut album. Yes, it had the big named features, and that helps, but Drakeo knew this project would reach the masses, and he flexed his versatility, his creativity, and his ability to construct songs. “Pow Right in the Kisser” & the clever “Dawn Toliver” are tracks that are easy to rap along to, while still having significant substance.
The track that stole the show was “Talk to Me” featuring the artist of the decade, Drake. The track features a melodic Drake hook, but the lyrics are just as dark as his counterpart Drakeo. The track is smooth, and the best of both worlds.
Saying Drakeo The Ruler’s presence will be missed is an understatement.
Remble – It’s Remble
If we want to talk about who would be LA’s rookie of the year, that title would have to go to Remble. From having the rap game questioning if they felt fly in True Religion with his “Gordon R Freestyle”, to sporting a toga in his “Ted Talk” video, San Pedro’s Remble has emerged as one of the highest rising stars of the west. It’s Remble was just a sample of what the MC can do. It was evident early on that he was an artist that would be a highly requested collaborator among his peers. The project includes features from Mozzy, BlueBucksClan, and of course Drakeo The Ruler.
Remble enunciates every syllable on every track, making the statements he says as clear as day, and makes them hit harder. Tracks like “Touchable” & “No Competition” sound like he’s talking to his opps like they’re right there in the booth with him.
Remble’s menacing, MLA format flow is here to stay.