Among the underground rap scene it’s almost become a sentence: when the mysterious producer Big Ghost decides to contact a rapper to create a sort of concept album together, then pressing it on vinyl, it usually means that the contacted emcee is finally about to reap the fruits of his hard work and his fan niche is destined to widen significantly, moving to a next level. Or, perhaps, more simply, the “ghost” producer is endowed with an acute intuition in intercepting the potential of an MC, more quickly than the market, as well as having a marked ability to sew a comfortable outfit on the chosen rapper and tailor-making for him productions and concepts.
The latest rapper “baptized” by Big Ghost Ltd. is the Detroit rapper, Mickey Diamond, member of the Umbrella collective, already protagonist of an incredible 2022, thanks to an unmistakable vocal timbre and aesthetics and accompanied by an exceptional work ethic, which led him to publish 6-7 very solid projects this year alone, building, brick by brick, an ever-widening niche of loyal followers and unleashing a real race for limited edition drops of his LPs. (We also hosted one in our shop in collaboration with Dirty Nails Records). Needless to say, the copies of the various Lp versions of “Gucci Ghost“, whose concept is clearly inspired by the film “House of Gucci” and the murder of Maurizio Gucci, sold out in a few seconds.
If the music industry were meritocratic and didn’t consume millions of dollars in pumping trending artists, trying to myopically chase the next media phenomenon, an MC like Ransom would be universally recognized as one of the greatest rappers living. But history is not made with ifs and, unfortunately, objective superior qualities and sacrifice can’t guarantee you a place in the annals. So Ransom has decided, for some years now, to take back his career and unleash chaos in the Rap industry with manifest superiority and solidity, along with another handful of equally solid MC’s and producers. Chaos Is My Ladder, the new album by the New Jersey MC produced entirely and excellently by the always exceptional V Don, is the latest chapter of a musical revolution that starts from the underground, in which skills and integrity matter more than budget and compromises, and of which Ransom is certainly one of the most capable and determined leaders.
Ty Farris, more than others, through his story embodies the character of the outsider, the challenger who comes from the bottom, fights to make a name for himself and take his chance, blow after blow. In fact, born in the rough streets of the 6 Mile of the Eastside of Detroit, with a harsh yout behind him (read our interview), he managed to make a name for himself starting from the freestyle battles. Without illustrious co-signs, or major investments from record companies, he had to fight with only his own hands to make his way and find a way to continue making music, managing to create his own independent reality. His latest work “Pain For Ya Vein” is a condensed of his history and personality, which is reflected in the way he communicates his music and, bar by bar, in his rhymes. Pain, sacrifice and resilience are the main ingredients that led Ty Farris, despite all the obstacles, to build a long-lasting musical career, only thanks to the sweat of his brow and lyrical skills.
Right now, as we write, a snowstorm is literally raging in the eastern United States…I wonder if this mysterious rapper, who has only recently appeared on the underground scene’s radar, has also thought of contributing to this blizzard. His Voice, a glacial personality and his acquaintances (see Hell Rell), in reality, betray a navigated background, both in terms of the art of rhyming and the experience told in his own stories. On the other hand, we don’t know much about GREA8GAWD at the moment, except that he almost certainly comes from New York, his raw vocal tone reflects the content of his rhymes, cold and icy, and that, surely, he might not love to show his face, always covered by a balaclava. His new tape “SNOWDAY” is like a cold shower for those who, like us, didn’t know him: where was he hiding and where did he come from? The winter and the cold have brought a new predator to the lands of American underground rap.
The Umbrella is, hands down, the crew/collective of 2022. They have managed to bring together, under their, literally, own protective umbrella, a team of deadly spitters and beatmakers, still mostly unknown to the masses, but united by strong individual personalities, charisma, common purpose and a precise aesthetic vision. Leveraging each other, they created a “cartel” which, this year, flooded the market with a raw product, which could not leave listeners of the underground Hip-Hop scene indifferent. Snotty is certainly one of the generals of the Umbrella Collective, even if this year, due to legal vicissitudes, he somehow had to slip away, reserving the best, however, for the 2022 finale. CA$H FOR GOLD, his latest project, in addition to being excellently produced and rapped, embodies and best represents the raw aesthetic of Umbrella, summarizing its incredible season and promising us even more meat on the fire for 2023.
For the New Jersey rapper of Colombian origins, CRIMEAPPLE, the balance of this 2022 that has just ended is certainly positive. You’re Dead Already, released at the beginning of December, is the fourth official and totally independent project of the year (he also released a 5th one just as we write), despite being the protagonist of numerous live shows in different continents, also crossing the ocean for a short European tour. The Colombian-born rapper, as he himself tells us in the exclusive interview given to us for the new print issue of ThrowUp (order your copy), has now broken numerous barriers and his name has crossed the underground bar, thanks to an increasingly large global fan base, earned through a wise use of his English-Spanish versatility and bilingualism. You’re Dead Already, after the previous project almost entirely in Spanish with DJ Muggs, is a fresh return to the “original” CRIMEAPPLE, which demonstrates once again how he now manages to carry on his art prolifically, changing skin and language, with extreme naturalness and without effort.
The New York MC of Ukrainian origins, Your Old Droog, certainly does not seem to be interested in which directions, trends, or anything else, might the US Rap game look at. Despite having passed extremely fluctuating seasons in terms of attention and popularity in the thriving American underground market, even reaching surprisingly quite high levels in this regard, YOD continues undaunted, head down, to do only what he likes, without distractions or letting himself be influenced from the unstable “emotions” of the rappers “stocks” market. Like a smart investor, Your Old Droog knows when to keep a lower profile, if the market demands it: the real gain comes in the long run. A coldness, also, guaranteed by an above-average set of skills and knowledge. Your Old Droog continues to make his rap solid and outspoken, as demonstrated by this latest project “The Shining“. YOD grinds a non-stop flow of sagacious and irreverent bars, with his usual style.
In the Italian Hip-Hop scene it is difficult to say that someone has really managed to experiment something new and different with this genre, without denying their musical origins and remaining loyal with themselves and with this culture. With Sangò, after years of absence from the scene, Louis Dee returns with an ambitious project from a sound point of view, but perfectly linear with his own history and musical past. It is a new path, made up of new points of view, but not a 360° inversion, which, as far as other artists are concerned, has often left the lovers of the genre displaced. Sangò is something that, in our opinion, hasn’t been heard in our country for a long time, something that rhymes with musical research, but at the same time a declaration of love for this culture roots. Louis Dee proves to have one of the deepest and most refined Italian pens. Not only that, it combines new sound vibrations, flows and melodies with it, reflecting on the points of view and life experiences of those who have reached an age that needs to process certain thoughts with a different maturity. A great credit for the extraordinary success of this return must certainly be attributed to Big Joe. The alchemy between the producer and the rapper from Palermo, it is perceived, goes far beyond the music.