As the music industry shifted with the dawn of the streaming era, young artists with no resources or industry connections made their own beats, recorded their own music, uploaded it onto Soundcloud, and built their own following. Suddenly, artists who weren’t even old enough to vote found themselves at the cutting edge of this streaming paradigm, and they created a movement that would dominate the culture through the latter half of the 2010s.
While places like Atlanta and Miami are hotbeds for the movement, North Texas is also home to a vibrant hip-hop community. As we inch closer to a new year and a new decade, let’s take a look at some of the local artists who are poised to break out. Here are ten DFW hip-hop artists to keep an eye on in 2020.
Asian Doll/Asian Da Brat
Prolific Dallas rapper Asian Da Brat initially came to prominence under the name Asian Doll, but the latter name stuck with her, and now both monikers are used interchangeably. The rapper, born Misharron Allen, dropped a series of mixtapes through high school and drummed up publicity on Twitter to draw attention to her work.
At an early stage in her career, Allen got co-signs from big names such as Chief Keef and Kodak Black. Gucci Mane eventually heard of her talents, and in 2018, he offered her a deal with his label, 1017 Eskimo. She was the first female artist to sign to the label since its inception in 2010.
Her success has only snowballed from there. Her profile increased simply by association with fellow Texas rapper Megan Thee Stallion. She embarked on tours with the likes of Blueface and Bhad Bhabie. Last week, she dropped her umpteenth mixtape Fight Night, her first follow-up since May’s Unfuccwitable. You can expect to see her name pop up on some noteworthy features in the coming months.
Splurge (a.k.a. “SSG Splurge”) got on the industry’s radar using the same vehicle many contemporary rappers use–a viral moment.
Since his “New York Pizza freestyle” made waves last year, the Arlington rapper racked up millions of streams on Soundcloud and Spotify, and premiered three singles via WorldStarHipHop (two of which have over 4 million views on YouTube).
Spare a XXL profile piece, there hasn’t been much by way of national press for Splurge, but make no mistake–at the ripe age of 18, he is already building a strong, organic following.
In late 2018, a dance called “The Woah” achieved an omnipresence on TikTok thanks to Oak Cliff rapper 10k.caash. Videos of people “hitting the Woah” began to circulate all over social media, and it paved the way for the Woah Challenge, whose participants included Drake, Travis Scott, Chance the Rapper, and Lil Uzi Vert.
Since then, 10k.caash has collaborated with marquee names such as Lil Yachty, Rico Nasty and fellow local rapper G.U.N. He inked a deal with Def Jam. He formed a tight comradery with producer KennyBeats (Gucci Mane, Thundercat, Vince Staples). His track “Aloha” has over 17 million streams on Spotify, where the rapper has some 823,000 monthly listeners.
In June, we ran a piece titled “10K.Caash Is the Next Generation of Dallas Rap,” and we stand by that assessment.
Perhaps the most formidable name on this list is Oak Cliff’s Yella Beezy. While he’s not exactly a new discovery, 2019 has been a big year for him, and it’s exciting to see where his grind will take him next.
Last month, he wrapped up a two-month tour run with Chris Brown. In March, he dropped “Bacc At It Again,” a single that has features from Quavo and Gucci Mane–and Beezy’s first release since the October 2018 shooting in Lewisville that left him hospitalized. Two months later, he released a follow-up single, the Pharrell-produced “Rich MF.” Both cuts made their way onto Beezy’s July mixtape Baccend Beezy, his follow-up to 2018’s Gold-certified Ain’t No Goin’ Bacc.
He was also a bit of a favorite at this month’s Posty Fest. After headlining one of the festival’s two outdoor stages, he made a surprise guest appearance during Meek Mill’s set.
He’s ending 2019 on a strong note, so it’ll be interesting to see how he follows up next year.
There’s a subculture within hip-hop that intersects with emo, hardcore, punk, and metal, and Dallas rapper Emotional Xan stands at this nexus. His style (think Geto Boys if they were formed 30 years later and broke into today’s hip-hop scene) is comparable to those of $UICIDEBOY$ and Ghostemane, and it has cross-appeal to fans of different genres.
Emotional Xan’s latest album, 06 Gucci, has garnered over 280,000 streams on Soundcloud since its release in August, and his music has been co-signed by acts like Power Trip. He has become something of a favorite in this particular subculture of local hip-hop, and at this rate, it looks like that reach will extend beyond a local level very soon.
Dallas rapper (:hristian seemed to come out of nowhere, and while his following is still rather small, he has a dedicated fanbase that he continues to satiate with a hilarious social media presence. His music has a similar tone of comedy, too – his August project dummy ep kicks off with an MF Doom instrumental, over which he spits, “I just f—-d your mom inside the bathroom at the Olive Garden.”
At the same time, he is capable of putting on a serious demeanor when needed, and he has been performing prolifically with other fellow local hip-hop artists, such as Coach Tev and Falak Fahim.
That said, his knack for absurdist comedy has translated to a few viral tweets, and both his music and persona have quite the Zack Fox-esque meme potential.
It’s tempting to say that Kaash Paige is going to blow up, but that would imply that it isn’t already happening. The Grand Prairie rapper’s breakout hit “Love Songs,” released earlier this year, has 11 million Spotify streams. That feat is even more impressive when you consider that she had no previous features. Last week, the website Genius uploaded a YouTube video of Paige providing official annotations of the song’s lyrics, and it’s racked up nearly 800,000 views since.
She is definitely an artist to watch in 2020, but she’s also an artist to watch right now. Her star is rising at a remarkable pace.
Over the past decade, the subculture of emo rap sprouted and became arguably as big as the emo wave of the ‘00s that inspired it. Its biggest names include Juice WRLD and Lil Peep, but the movement has spawned a crowded pool of rappers who, for the most part, simply mimic the style without putting their own spin on it.
Dallas rapper Sadfacethuggin stands out among such artists. The rapper, born Mjay Denman, has created music of a similar persuasion to artists like Yung Lean and XXXTENTACION. In August 2018, Zane Lowe of Apple Music’s Beats 1 premiered his single “F—k Love,” and has been an avid supporter since.
2019 saw the release of two full-lengths from Denman: World of Sadface, and Sadface 3. The latter dropped just this month, and one of the tracks boasts production from YoungKio, who produced Lil Nas X’s “Old Town Road.” He also made NPR Music’s “North Texas’ 20 Under 20” list and has reached over one million streams on Apple Music.
It’s cliché to say, “He shows no signs of slowing down,” but honestly, he shows no signs of slowing down.
Dallas rapper Tay Money is best known for her 2018 single “Trappers Delight,” but her new single “Left Cheek, Right Cheek” may very well rise to a similar level of notoriety. The single and its accompanying video are noticeably raunchy, and YNW Melly (who is currently incarcerated and facing a double murder charge) provides a rare feature to the track.
She’s coasting on an upward trajectory to the top, and while this can be attributed in part to her connections in the music industry (she is dating video producer and Lyrical Lemonade founder Cole Bennett), her artistic merits are ultimately fueling her mobility.
Between rappers like Splurge and Tay-K, there is clearly something in the water in Arlington. One of the city’s other great cultural exports is rapper S3nsi Molly.
Her October single “Dead Man Walking” has made the rounds on TikTok (not always for the best reasons), and she caught the attention of Def Jam earlier this year when her Lil Brook-featured single “Big Boss” made the cut for Def Jam’s Undisputed compilation. Like many artists on this list, her streams and YouTube hits are in the millions, and when Def Jam dropped S3nsi Molly’s and Lil Brook’s collaborative full-length Dumb Sh-t, The Album back in June, she scored a feature with Lil Yachty.