(This list is in no particular order)
To be honest, if you’re a fan of VA music and pay any attention to the scene then you’ve probably heard the name Young Crazy. He’s the #1 guy for VA right now, and has most of the state behind him.
2017 was an incredible year for the Norfolk MC, since taking off and signing with independent staple, D1ent, Crazy solidified his role as the next big thing coming out of Virginia. With a handle on the torch and a tireless work ethic, he dropped “Who TF Is Young Crazy”. A standout collection that finally got many of his notable hits such as Get Dumb and Lessons on all major streaming platforms.
Crazy is an artist who has his foot on the game’s neck right now, he continues to produce steady content that further expands his fan base. With the signature sound Crazy produces, he’s one of those beloved stand out artists who can’t be imitated or emulated. He notably snaps on each track, with striking lines that stand out in your mind long after the beat has ridden out.
The 757 has birthed a lot of gems whether it be in sports or music. Norfolk raised singer, rapper and songwriter, Billy Mercury, is nothing less than a musical genius. This is a one of a kind artist we don’t come across too often.
From his name to his live performances and music content. Mercury is just ahead of the pack. He released his album “The Soulution” late June that has garnered over 150,000 streams worldwide and caught the eye of many big platforms. Mercury easily appeals to a large scale of listeners because he fuses genres such as Jazz, R&B, Soul and Hip-Hop effortlessly to bring a new sound to the table. With his team of super producers such as EOM and BDub.
If you’re fond of mainstream artists like Anderson Paak, than you’re likely to be a fan of the sound and positive vibes that comes with Billy Mercury’s music. There’s no telling where Billy will be in a year, let alone even a couple months from now.
3) The Rain by Noah-O
Richmond’s Noah-O, who’s grind and work ethic is like no other, is well known for his consistent push of hip-hop culture around the gritty city. Noah embodies the independent grind and hustle that it takes to carve your own lane in an area where resources are scarce.
Noah stands now a seasoned veteran in the scene with a plethora of albums, mixtapes and performances under his belt over his 10+ year career. Though one can argue no project has garnered him as much success and acclaim than his Dj Mentos produced , “The Rain”.
This project rings a sense of nostalgia through your system, from the smooth NY boom bap instrumentals Mentos provides, to it’s short and concise execution that infamous hip-hop staples such as “Illmatic” are known for.
Throughout this 9-track LP, we see Noah show his versatility and still ever present hunger as we delve into his innermost thoughts and pains as an independent artist, a God-fearing man and troubled youth coming up in the dirt of Richmond city. On the flip, Noah brings to the table much of the positive vibes and spirit which he embodies and has carried him throughout his adversities in his life and music.
4) Beautiful Piece Of Shit by .Peter $un
When mentioning top tier musicians from the commonwealth, one must mention Richmond’s pride, .Peter $un.
$un hit the ground running with his 2016 project, “Paradise Is A Day Away”. A project where he really showed range & ability as an artists to make music like no other, fluidly blending jazz influences with phenomenal lyricism & wavy melodies.
This painted the perfect picture for $un & only further built his status, respect for his artistry, & anticipation for his debut LP.
He did anything but disappoint with his unapologetic, “Beautiful Piece of Sh*t”.
We find $un sticking to his guns & personal style, building upon and evolving on his unique abilities rather than switch it up to appeal to masses as some artists feel pressured to do on their major release.
Expect the same heartfelt melodies and lyrics, as $un gives the honest depiction of his life, aspirations, & experiences rolled into a RAW filled w/ audio dope.
Now relocated to Los Angeles, the sky is truly the limit for $un & VA eagerly cheers him on as he rises to his deserving place at the top of the industry.
5) When It Rains by Treez Lowkey
Newport News artist, Treez Lowkey, has seen an incredible rise over the past few years. Lowkey’s know for never letting up with multiple breakout SoundCloud hits and most recently being affiliated with many established artists such as A$AP Mob.
With so many accomplishments under Lowkey’s belt and critical support from the entire 757, the pressure to release a standout body of work was ever-present.
The jeers and prodding of fans were finally quelled with the release of “When It Rains EP”.
This collection of tracks powerfully illustrates Lowkey’s direction as an artist and ability to masterfully create his own sound, genre, and track from top to bottom.
It’s hard to describe Lowkey’s music, with his auto-tuned vocals and enveloping production, it makes for a listening experience that leaves you engulfed in a sonic blanket that only Lowkey can lay down.
Portsmouth’s, Breeze Barker, is arguably one of the most underrated artists on the scene with star potential in VA. You’d be hard-pressed to find a weak verse, hook, or bar in Barker’s catalogue. People don’t call him the “Snapman” for nothing.
Barker dropped a stellar mixtape this past year, a second installment in his Snapman series. On this project we find he’s more comfortable and locked in compared to his previous work “Snapman”
In “SnapMan 2”, Breeze handedly bodies the instrumental of numerous mainstream hits , garnering him notoriety and respect in VA. One can compare this project to that of Lil Wayne’s “No Ceilings”
This isn’t a conceptual album nor is it that cohesive or concise. It’s a mixtape in it’s purest form, a talented artists going hard on every hit beat he can get his hands on, whilst mixing in his own tracks.
Snapman 2 serves as an impressive introduction to Breeze Barker which is due to keep you interested in his plans in 2018,
Era Hardaway, also known as Juugamil, released his highly anticipated debut LP “The Juug Tape” this past spring to high praise and much attention. The premiering of the project through notable hip hop platform, The Source further increased the buzz.
It can be very hard to define or label Era Hardaway in any particular box. He’s a multifaceted creative, reaching his hands in numerous pots as a producer, hip hop artist, designer and business owner. One thing is clear, and he’ll tell you himself on the Intro: he knows who he is, his purpose, and his direction.
These steadfast qualities that exemplify Hardaway as a person, shine strong through his artistry. Thus giving his music a very authentic and relatable feel, which he candidly lays over dark sounds and wavy melodies on this 11 Track LP.
Drew Famous is one of the few artist that Roanoke (Southwest Virginia) has to offer. Being 17 years old at that is mind blowing, giving that this kid released his debut album titled, “Yearbook” this past October which received tremendous praise worldwide. Within 36 hours his album was on the iTunes Top 100 Charts. A milestone not too many underground artists reach early in their careers.
Drew is an artist younger listeners can easily gravitate because of he himself is in high school. He’s in the good hands of producers 808-Ray (Roanoke Native) and 1995, two producers whom he made his notable records with.
As long as he keeps this same energy and momentum going, Drew Famous will be just that, Famous.
9) How Singers Cry by Vesta
How Singer’s Cry is a rather sentimental body of work, channeling into Vesta’s true feelings of heartbreak and resentment. Throughout the project, Vesta finds herself contemplating on past relations, constantly questioning her emotions and her ex-lover’s motives. From top to bottom, the 19-year-old artist finds herself yearning a feeling like no other, soliciting passionate vibes along a soulful and rather euphoric feel. Her call for compassion among her previous lover finds her debut project to be very relatable and rather lustful. Tune in to Vesta’s debut below.
10) OFF-MVP by J Slim
Referred to as the heart of the city, Richmond’s J Slim found himself at a crossroads in 2017. His last project, Premeditation, was released in 2015 to high acclaim and much attention because ti was hosted by the legend, DJ Don Cannon. He subsequently went through personal trials and tribulations and was forced to take a step back from the scene. Yet in 2017, Slim stepped forward to find his name and project still bubbling even years after the release.
From this, Slim catalyzed this feeling and took the route of putting together his official debut album, MVP (Morals Values Principals). With MVP still in production, Slim dropped off a loose collection of tracks titled “OFF-MVP”.
With OFF-MVP, Slim continues to give us insight into his mind and life, with his lyrically hefty style and innovative storytelling. His often-greatest asset in his music is his ability to give what some may consider “typical” street/hood stories in a fresh and conceptual way. Striking well with many who relate to the struggle and grasping the attention of those unfamiliar with the lifestyle
Across the project, Slim talks about his story and how his own morals, values, and principles have guided him through his journey out of the Richmond dirt. He bares it all with this EP, and gives us some REAL music in the process. Scary thing is, these are just the tracks that didn’t make his upcoming album, MVP. This leaves much excitement and anticipation for J Slim and what more he has in store.
It’s no secret the 804’s, Easalio, is one of the top tier lyricist Virginia has to offer. Earlier this year he came out with a 8-track gem of an LP, “Mood”. The project lived up to its name and gave a series of moods and vibes front to back.
Though his intro, “Mood” is only 1 minute 30 seconds, its does the job of captivating the listeners attention easily, preparing you for the lyrical ballad that is in-store. If you like bars and supreme production this is definitely something you can cruise to.
12) Elevation by Mayah Dyson
We are Two months into the arrival of Mayah Dyson’s, Elevation, and we’re still very much excited. The short EP weaves together themes of modern womanhood. So being the independent mavericks we are, you bet our ears perk up at the truths about garnering success and keeping interactions sexy. Keeping the 19-minute project in mind, the time spent bringing it to fruition may shock you; Between juggling school at Berklee College of Music, performing around venues in Boston and performing festivals, Mayah Dyson humbly delivered an R&B gem after Thanksgiving.
Too often in our lives as young movers-and-shakers, we have to minimize what we bring to the table to keep others comfortable. Even via the logistics of Elevation, Mayah makes sure to keep an integral presence and direct her sound. Don’t Cry is a prime example of the range she oversaw. The single opens up without percussion, just chords and Mayah. The sound builds into this R&B bop where she commands attention over bass, upbeat percussion and pretty backing vocals.
13) Life by Young Moe
Young Moe is one of the few artist from Northern Virginia that drops consistently. With ties to Kevin Gates, Fattrel, Yung Ru and many more. Moe has been releasing projects since 2011. After his “Humble Hustle” and “Street Scars” series, he decided to switch it up with a new series, “LIFE”.
At this point in Young Moe’s career as a OG, “LIFE” is a testament to it as he gives the youth game and advice on lessons he “Had 2 Learn”.
14) Spuddies by Buto
Buto (Boo-Two) hit 2017 hard by dropping his highly anticipated album “Spuddies” after releasing the well received single “Blessings” early February. Buto in fact had no intentions of dropping a project until he saw the significant reach of “Blessings.” The tracked reached over 50K streams on SoundCloud.
Genre wise, it’s impossible to categorize Buto as just a R&B singer because he fuses his sound with Alternative and Soul elements. Being such a relatively new artist, Buto will be an extremely dangerous force in the year to come.
15) Thank Y’all 2 by ConFromThe703
The 703 has often been viewed as the newer, less established grounds of the music scene in VA. Considered an area lacking in creative spaces and struggling to throw off the inhibiting grouping that comes with the “DMV” theory/ideals.
Woodbridge artist, ConFromThe703, has been one of the premiere artists who’s been breaking ground and garnering major attention from others in VA. Posing himself as a walking testament to the talent that the NoVa area can provide.
His most recent release, Thanks Y’all 2, gives an interesting sample to Con’s unique style and high octane music. His frequent voice alteration, adlib laced production, and knack for creating simple but resonating choruses, make this project a listen like no other.
There are very few artist on the same wavelength as ConFromThe703 in this music thing. So, really check out something new and what the northside of VA has to offer.
Sheik Kargbo is a 26-year-old Artist,Producer and Songwriter from Virginia who released his latest body of work “Speakeasy” earlier this year. With “#FixYourFace” being the first record released from the project, many thought this was Sheik’s new sound, instead he dug deep with versatility and subject matter making “Speakeasy” a much more calmer and soulful project. Colorful in a way encapsulates the versatile production of SK himself.
Find “The Speakeasy Experience” on all streaming platforms!
This year we’ve seen a lot of growth in the Virginia Beach native, Kris Stasse. His recent development on melodies, features and live instruments makes Stasse stand out. He turns upon past love experiences a lot and channels his emotions clearly through the live instrumentation he decides fits best for each record.
Richmond based Musician, Ed Da Realist is much more than your typical artist. He’s a lyricist infused storyteller with a lot to speak on. He’s the one stray wolf from the pack in terms of appearance and voice. He uses his tone as a instrument that alters along with the instrumental. His album “Gift Of The Struggle” is a quality project coming out of Virginia. He provided a body of work that the streets can adapt while also providing Radio ready records such as, “Clouds”.
The Intro of his project “Take Part Of Me” is also the theme song in his web series “Ghetto”. A series based on a true story by Ed Da Realist. Needless to say, he’s much more than your average artist take this chance and learn some game from the Richmond OG.
Young Stafford based artist, Soundboy Kwad, released his project “Soundboy” in June. The project gave off trap/energy vibes and garnered over 40k streams. Though this was a very decent project. It was only the “calm before the storm” as he dropped a last minute Christmas gift to his fans “Glocks And Butterflies”.
A majority of “Glocks And Butterflies” was Produced by in-house producer, ELIJVH. The first record “Trust Nobody” blew us out the water in comparison to any of his previous work. Kwad comes in a much more calm/melodic approach and slowly transitions as you go through the project. It’s safe to say this kid has found his sound and is in position to be very dangerous in the music industry alongside his GUiLD team.
[Notable Records: Trust Nobody, Deathstar (Featuring Yung Bans), All The Smoke]
20) Who Killed Matt Maeson by Matt Maeson
Matt Maeson of Chesapeake Bay is one of the finest Singer/Songwriters that Virginia has to offer. He effortlessly makes timeless music beyond our grasp that can be related to both the young and old crowd. Matt’s early success has landed him in a record deal with Neon Gold/Atlantic Records. Last year he headlined his first tour across the country that received great reception from his followers.
His single, “Cringe,” is his most popular record worldwide, being his first breakthrough record with over a million streams. You can hear the pain and hardship Matt’s gone through through records like Tribulations and Straight Razor. Music is best known for turning negativity into a beautiful and that’s exactly what Matt Maeson does effortlessly.
Check out the young legend in the making below!
21) YNSTM2 by Doe$ki
iLPackMobb’s, Doe$ki, is one of those artists you can listen to or meet and can instantly recognize the star potential. His “larger than life” energy, charisma, and relentless flow have shot him to the forefront of the VA movement this year.
He stands in a lane with no other. In his young career he already has multiple cult hits throughout the 757, many of which have spread like wildfire over the past year throughout the state.
Doe$ki really illustrates what makes him standout far apart from much of the competition in is his lane with his most recent full length LP release, YNSTM2. Raw energy, catchy ad-libs, and unique quotables jump out from this project, making it quickly a cult classic in VA.
22) Teenage Rage EP by FulMetalParka$
FullMetalParka$ frequent collaboration with visual magazine powerhouse, ELEVATOR, has helped advance his career in leaps and bounds. His self-edited visuals frequently induce much 90’s nostalgia and allusions to popular anime and pop culture, helping draw in many listeners who grew up as fans of this niche market.
This year, Parka$ released his 6 track EP: Teenage Rage OST, which is filled with bangers from start to finish. The production on this project is crazy, layered with multiple samples and high energy tones that leave you running the project back again. The various flows and melodies he brings to the table on this EP only further show Parka$ versatility and increases the listener’s intrigue.
The town of Newport News seems to be the forgotten one of the seven cities that make up the bubbling 757 area hip hop scene. But young up-and-comer, TCrook$ has been shattering this concept with his recent work, such as the hit single “Anyway”, which has over 30k views on Youtube and was featured on sites such as WorldStarHipHop. The climb has been impressive for Crook$, and to top it off he dropped his latest Hottest On The Market EP.
TCrook$ brings us this body of work from a very raw and relatable place, as the 6 track EP serves as a great intro to Crook$ and a real peek into BBE and his lifestyle.
One of the best parts about this project is the fact that it feels effortlessly delivered. When an artist brings some authentic, undeniably real sh*t, listeners take notice and gravitate. The EP feels more like an audible autobiography or insight into Crook$ life, rather than a simple project thrown up on multiple streaming services.
There ain’t too many built like TCrook$ and BBE, so check the boards and see whose the Hottest On The Market!
24) Ride Slow by Noo$e
If you’ve been keeping up with the NoVA music scene for the past five years, then you should be very familiar with Rapper/Singer/Producer, Noo$e. Although currently residing in Florida he’s always VA reppin in records such as “VA to HollyWood”. One thing you’ll quickly find out about Noo$e is how he nonchalantly versatile he is. He’ll give you soothing R&B records like , “How it goes” then hit you over the head with crank like, “Who are you?“.
There’s simply no barrier that Noo$e can’t breakthrough. Which makes him an exciting artist to anticipate because you truly never know what you’ll get next from this man.
25) Love Lost EP by Austin Skinner
In the new wave of rap, Austin Skinner has the style and artistry to hold his own. He’s been slowly, but surely, making his way to the top. After his single “rolls” featuring Nodis, Orion, Nessly, and Fridaynite, he quickly popped up on everybody’s radar. The song “rolls” has acquired 100K streams in the year it’s been out but its just a glimpse of what Austin has to offer.
His latest project, “Love Lost” EP is relatively new and is getting get good reception early. If you enjoy that “I-95 cruising” type music with a touch of Auto-tune, this is easily an artist you’ll enjoy.
26) Woah EP by Huncho Heem & Tae Glocka
Up-and-coming Woodbridge artists, Huncho Heem & Tae Glocka have been applying pressure since they first hopped on the rap scene. As for Heem he had. a strong 2017 in all angles. We first got wind of him early May in our first interview. Since then Heem has worked with PWild of SluttyBoyz and QDaFool. QDaFool ended up getting featured on the remix of their breakthrough record,”Woah.” Prior to its airing on the radio it went as far as proms, locker rooms and house parties.
With the support of the IGM label, Heem & Glocka both are in a pivotal position to be a strong presences for the young people!
27) Shadows of Poetry by Alondo Jackson
The city of Norfolk was majorly on the rise in 2017, with young artists like Alondo Jackson continuing to put on for the 757 and pushing the city to the forefront.
Alondo delivered “Shadows of Poetry” in the spring and it had the whole 757 cheering and pushing the young MC all year long. Co-signs from fellow Tidewater Park legend, Young Money Yawn, only further helped Jackson gain attention.
Don’t mistake this though by any means, Alondo is his own man and his music speaks volumes. On the rightfully dubbed, “Shadows of Poetry,” listeners find Alondo bringing pain and memories to the booth so real you can hear it ring in his voice.
This project is a diverse one, with everything from sorrowful melodies, to high energy-blasting in the whip singles.
One thing you know after listening to this one is Alondo Jackson is due to be a problem very soon!
28) Street Gospel 3 by Young Money Yawn
Norfolk artist, Young Money Yawn, is well known in his city and throughout VA for his 10 summer work ethic which has landed him much critical acclaim throughout the past few years. These accomplishments have included collaborations with VA legend, Pusha T, multiple 100k+ views on visuals, as well as a slight celebrity lifestyle.
He continued to put on for the 757 with this release, including major features from industry artists such as Young Dolph, Shy Glizzy, Troy Ave, & Lil Bibby while also mixing in some of the hottest upcoming artists from the 757 such as Breeze Barker, Young Rog, Alondo Jackson, Young Crazy, & Beo Smook.
Bobby Blaze has been known for gracing the Virginia hip hop scene with his distinctly different “boot up” sound that we love, and on this project he did not disappoint. From beginning to end, the 10 track mixtape gives listeners a vivid picture of exactly who Bobby Blaze is as an artist.
On his opening track “Verified” Bobby Blaze gives us animated vocals and hardcore lyrics over a mellow, retro sounding beat, giving listeners the unique, loveable sound that Bobby Blaze is known for.
On other tracks such as “Accidents” and “Going Crazy”, Bobby Blaze shows his versatility as an artist by giving us catchy, sing-song hooks over trap beats resulting in a perfectly blended sound that is sure to please listeners everywhere.
Throughout the project Bobby Blaze features artists such as Doe$ki, Bucky Malone and Treez Lowkey and the project also features tracks produced by Ready Rock James, bringing it all together to form that trap-funk sound that the 757 is now becoming recognized for.
30) Magico by T. SliZz
T. SliZz is far from a stranger to the scene, as he’s been producing and engineering for artist of the likes of J. Cole, Kevin Gates, Shy Glizz and Fattrel.
SliZz has been building the anticipation for, “Magico,” perfectly dropping multiple key visuals early this year like “Supposed to be”, “All There” and most recently “Sell My Soul”. SliZz’s following isn’t as big as it should be giving the content he’s releasing. He’s still growing nonetheless outside of his city and state.
“Magico” is an amazing album front to back. It was released this past summer and has been in heavy rotation since. Filled with numerous trails and tribulations. You get a taste off conscious, melodic, and trap infused records. You’ll quickly find out SliZz is an artist you cannot place in a box due to how versatile he is.
31) Only Option by Doug Finesse & Jack TP
The 804 produces a lot of talent in VA and this LP showcases two of the premier up-comers from the area: Rapper Doug Finesse and Producer Jack TP. Doug’s unique style, witty wordplay, and boastful rhymes have made him a standout within the VA scene, whilst Jack has been gaining buzz and multiple placements as his bass-heavy production has made him a noteworthy producer in the area.
Their chemistry is apparent on the LP and makes for one of the most memorable releases of the year. Though only 8 tracks and just under 30 minutes, Doug gives us a complete body of work that exhibits his abilities as more than just a rapper, but as an artist.
32) I Hope You Overstand by Trip Dixon
If you aren’t aware, Trip Dixon is probably one of the most unique/strangest personalities you’ll come across. The Woodbridge musician and fellow StOGie member has been making music far before a lot of other rappers in the area. One thing we commend is him sticking to his sound and making a different substance from the next man. His project, “I Hope You Overstand” reached 200K streams on SoundCloud in only 10 months of it’s release. A true testament which proves as long as you stick to your sound there will always be an audience for it.
33) Maintain by Mood
Hampton/Newport News collective, MOOD ENT, have become a powerhouse in the 757 as they continue to drop quality projects and visuals.
Most notably their visual for their single “Virginia Is For Lovers” took Instagram and YouTube by storm. Garnering thousands of views and notoriety for the group, all in the name of Virginia.
The group continued their movement with the release of MAINTAIN, an album that introduces the masses to MOOD across all media platforms and the quality this collective brings to the table.
Their energy, chemistry, and songwriting ability is evident on every track, and feels as organic as true brotherhood can come. With vibrant feel good singles, to real introspective verses, you get a little bit of everything on this one.
Check it out and become a fan of MOOD ENT below.
34) Just for today by Ceo
Mechanicsville’s Ceo (pronounced see-oh) is one of the newest artists on the scene, and continually proves to be the most personal and honest artist we’ve had the pleasure of discovering. Possibly the best insight one can get into Ceo is through his debut project, “Just For Today”
This project is incredulously raw and real, as Ceo speaks candidly on his fall to rock bottom. Battling alcoholism, addiction, and the depression that came from losing his daughter and eventually his scholarship, Ceo almost lost it all.
But upon the release of this project he stands tall as a man. With over a year of being sober and having kicked all the negative energies that drained him, this 11 track LP has Ceo baring it all. Venting over every instrumental and proving that only a few can step up to the mic with the same energy and humble honesty that he carries with him, always.
As we all know, Malice and Pusha T created some of the most dynamic and influential music in VA that’s left it’s footprint on hip-hop history. Pusha’s drug rap laced lyrics was only furthed elevated by the confidence and menace Malice exuded on the mic.
Post troubling times and endightment’s , Malice was forced to face an issue that had been itching in his mind for years. He was at a crossroads in not only his career, but his life.
Since turning over a new leaf with Christ and adopting the new moniker: No Malice, he’s continued to make large imprints on hip hop and the community.
One thing is for certain, he has not waivered nor let up on his God-given gift in the booth. And after three years off, he continues to astound listeners with his highly anticipated project “Let the Dead Bury the Dead”.
36) Edifice by Mike $trong
VA Beach artist, Mike Strong. had a strong year after coming off the momentum of his Subject of Sadness album, which many in VA revere as one of the best projects of 2017. Despite the talent and steady flow of audio dope supplied by Strong, his name sometimes goes unnoticed among talks and conversation of major 757/VA artists. Yet Strong surprises us again with an out of the blue release for latest album, Edifice.
This 9 track LP is a body of work that is hard to put into words. It’s quality is apparent, and for those who are fans of lyrical artists, it can’t be overstated. He delivers a concise and cohesive LP where relentless flow and clever wordplay make him one of the most intriguing MC’s coming out of VA right now. Couple this with his transparency and ability to conceptualize albums, and Edifice becomes an album that is a must-hear.
37) La Diablada by Dan V Hefner
Dan V Hefner is a standout artist from Centreville whose sound and style has gained him much traction online, and set him apart from the crowd in the bubbling scene of the 703.
Possibly the most notable thing we’ve seen with Hefner and his career is his continued major success in drawing in a crowd online, particularly on Soundcloud. Boasting many hit tracks such as his single, Hellbent, which has ran up over 50k organic plays.
Hefner is far from a Soundcloud sensation though, he’s an unapologetically honest artists who makes music for many of those who gravitate to darker energy music made famous by pioneers from the movement we saw in groups like Raider Klan and Three 6 Mafia.
La Diablada serves it’s purpose as a dope 6 track EP on which Hefner raises hell on each track, skating through the dark production, sharp snares, and heavy bass. He doesn’t pose to be what you imagine a usual “rapper”, but rather the most transparent and honest rendition of himself.
Hefner touches on various topics in the EP from drank induced memories, to the struggles of coming up chasing the American Dream, to maneuvering through the grass dodging snakes.
See what all the hype is about and get familiar, as DanVHefner won’t be falling off anytime soon.
38) No One Ever Really Dies by NERD
N.E.R.D…They finally dropped another album. That’s it. Nothing else needs to be said.
If you from Virginia, you should aready know! Listen!
39) The Red Tape by $inbad
Fredericksburg’s $inbad brings to the table his own unique approach and ferocity to the mic everytime he lays a track. With sounds inspired by artists.
Drawing inspiration from artists such as Chris Travis, Black Smurf and various metal influences, $inbad presents a truly raw experience with “The Red Tape”.
His quick, emphatic flow rips through his often dark and bass ridden production.
This guy is a rewind king for sure, as you work to catch lines whilst simultaneously getting caught up in the thump and waves of the beat.
40) Ascension EP by Boris The Lucid
This young Newport News native is well known around the scene for being apart of the standout, high energy collective, IIIDAZE (Three Daze), however he’s notable as artists in his own right and proves so with Ascension.
This EP is incredibly spacey and atmospheric, as Boris’s voice echoes and reverbs through every track and bassline in such a way that makes the project very mellow and ambient. Take a real listen though, as within his lyrics he gives insight into himself, concepts of parasitism, and some real spill on this record.
41) 4×90 by 90wyse
Slipper connoisseur and lyrical aficionado, 90Wyse, stands out from the crowd in whatever box/lane you put him in. His grungy sound and deep, gravel voice add only more fuel to the fire that is his presence on the mic and in your speakers. With his new EP release, he’s back in your face and taking a machete to these wack rappers on 4×90.
This 4 track EP continues 90’s streak of continued improvement and development as an artist. Coming off heavy steams from 10K+ single “Swap Meat“, 90Wyse was sure to follow up with a body of work that fans expected from an artist who stands on a lyrical pedestal.
4×90 is filled with the content and allusions that characterized 90Wyse. Everything from pop culture references, to anime, to the witty but violent Shady-esque threats lace this quick EP and give for an exciting listen and perfect introduction to the 703 standout.
You don’t have to take our word for it, check the music for yourself below!
Flamez Jelani ,one of the more consistent artist the commonwealth has to offer, is from where he calls “East Virginia”. Every six months you can easily expect a new project/mood from him. His latest 2017 project “B.4 Nightfall” was Flamez proving himself to critics that he’s polishing his sound and approach to the scene. Records like “Misunderstood,” “When The Money Low,” “Day Goes By,” and “My Ambitionz” are notable favorites from project .
If you like to cruise to smooth, euphorically kickback smoke music, this is definitely an artist you should check out.
43) The Summer I Went Missing by D$G Dae
D$G Dae of Alexandria Virginia is one of the biggest upcomers from his city. Dae, who currently resides in Norfolk attending ODU, quickly gained respect of many with his visual “Walk In” hitting platforms such as XXL, Respect Mag and many more. Dae has party appealing music but before that he has an even stronger base with his more conscious/r&b approach.
His last project “The Summer I Went Missing” didn’t get the proper recognition it deserved. Though it’s different from his most recent hits, it’s still rotation-worthy! Be on the lookout for this kid as he has a very promising future ahead of him.
44) Smart Money by Cocaine Mali
You could make the argument that Cocaine Mali is the premiere artist coming out of the 434, and is steady on the rise.
Smart Money is an 8-track tape filled with both turn up music and plenty of introspection. Many of the tracks, such as”Intro” and “Came Up”, paint relateable stories of struggle over star production. While in other tracks he effectively delivers bangers like “I Want Da”, which are set to turn up the energy wherever you are.
45) $tarboy EP by Gstar T
Rapper G$tar-T, little brother of well respected Manassas artist Yung Ru, has been applying pressure trying to live up to his older brothers shoes. Though there are similarities in both styles. T stands out with his conscious like approach on trap beats. We are yet to get a full fledge project from this musician but his latest body of work, “$tarBoy” EP was a decent preview for what he truly has to offer.
Sonny Ward is possibly one of the most enigmatic artists we’ve covered in this list, whilst also being one of the artists with the strongest breakout visuals in the same breath. At the top of 2017, Ward dropped a bar-setting visual with talented videographer Legicity, for his online hit “Help Wanted”. The collaboration and roll out reaped plenty of success, with over 25k views on YouTube completely organically.
Yet after it’s release, Ward went relatively quiet in the release of music and could only be seen or heard through a few performances as the year progressed.
On little notice this summer, he dropped an EP “I’m In Sum Pretty Deep Thot Right Now”, loaded with strong features from fellow 703 heavy hitters like Migo Arias and Lazy Rios.
The project hasn’t seen the huge flow of success and views he garnered from Help Wanted, but Ward comes as hard as ever. With drug laced lyrics, extreme voice alterations throughout tracks and crude lines with dark humor Ward has always made listening to music an experience.
He’s not an artist for everyone, and his personality isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but one thing becomes undeniable with Ward, his talent and energy when it comes to this.
757 artist, Mack Derico, broke onto the scene with hit single “Back To The Trap” and hasn’t let up since.
His 2017 release of Hyperbolic Time Chamber 2 was highly anticipated and a solid release, but i chose to bend the rules a little bit. The release of “Raw Is War” happened very early 2018 but in my eyes, it’s a project a few steps ahead of his last and a perfect first introduction to Derico.
As the title suggest, Raw Is War is loaded with ad libs, skits, and references to the WWE golden era that many of us 90’s babies hold dear and give due credit for it’s impact.
Just like Raw, Derico gives a hard hitting, smack down (no pun intended) project that’s hard hitting instrumentals is only outdone by Mack’s confidence and signature barking voice that makes every line hit.
You jabronis better check this one out, as Mack’ set up to take off this year in every way possible!
The VA scene is a diverse and sometimes complicated one. With so many different lanes and a hundred different sounds within the community, there are artists who can seemingly go unnoticed. With polarizing sub-genres like “trap” and “lyrical” music at the forefront, where do those who don’t necessarily fall into these molds stand?
Here lies Loner Avenue, a Stafford artist whose out of the box personality is only matched by his ability to make catchy, standalone hits.
His “My Lil EP” project serves as a prime example of the music and sound Loner possesses. To think this is an early release with songs from 2016 or earlier is scary, as the music seems even ahead of our time.
This one maybe proves Loner is ahead of the curve with his sound and style. We can only expect and appreciate more from the upcoming MC.
The talented Rapper & Engineer, Jay had a great follow up from his previous tape “Sober Thoughts”. His first project was an excellent debut & shown a lot of potential in the MC. If you thought he was going to stay stagnant you were sadly mistaking. He shown a lot of growth yet continuing to stay true to his lyricism but also making trap friendly records. Track #2 “Broken Hearts” is one of those records. You can hear the authentic storyline in his voice yet also jam to this record!
Beautifully produced all the way through, Jay brought along his Too Trill label mates, Innanet James, & Norfolk native Lord Etha on board to help paint this picture. “Look at me” featuring Maryland’s own Innanet James has to be hands down the best song on this project. You’ll find yourself gravitating to the chorus quick. One thing I really enjoy about Jay is how he basically told a whole story in this chorus & made it catchy as well. The partner up w/ James made this record all the more enjoyable.
Jay clearly has his own lane in VA, he’s bound to spark a plug as this year continues to progress. Definitely keep an sharp eye out for this guy!
Personality, performance, and image are often aspects of the craft as an artist that is overlooked and undervalued, or at least until one comes across an artist who brings this trait to the forefront in a heavy hitting fashion.
Skutta World’s Supe Dupe does just that, shaking rooms and rocking stages across the DMV area, as well as Florida.
Unfortunately, we can’t give you the experience of his live performance through this article but take a look at his notable debut LP, Still Da Nigga.
A project that provide various sounds and influences from relateable tracks like Problems, to braggadocious crew anthems like New Dipset.
Big Dupe’s cult following has made him one of the most notable names from Woodbridge to the Highway, so check em out before it’s too late!