The 2015 Phoenix Hip-Hop Power List
One could argue that 2015 was one of the greatest years in Arizona hip-hop history. With a wide range of talent across the state, the beautiful culture simmering underground for years now bubbled up to the surface. The artists of this community are beginning to see fruits of the labors; from television appearances and hip-hop festivals to Billboard charts and radio play, several key players step up to the plate in order to take Arizona to new heights. We were able to compile a list of some of the Arizona hip-hop's most powerful hitters and movers in 2015.
It is clear that one of Futuristic's main goal for 2015 was to stand out and separate himself from the pack. This is exactly what young emcee did as he hit the Internet with a flurry of music videos, including the viral video for "The Greatest," which The Game and Waka Flocka shared on social media on its way to racking up more than 10 million views. The release of his highly anticipated album The Rise hit the iTunes charts hard. Futuristic even managed to make a (second!) appearance on the Sway in The Morning. His biggest move in 2015 might have been collaborating with rising indie band A Great Big World on the song "Hold Each Other." Futuristic performed the rap-infused pop joint on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon and the VH1 Streamy Awards on national television. Futuristic is also only one out of the two urban artists to land on the front cover of New Times .
Mega Ran, a.k.a. Random, has always been the type to carve out his own path. His innovative approach to music blended with his nerdcore roots made him one to watch in 2015. His well-received album RNDM managed to hit the Billboard charts as well as the CMJ college music charts. He managed to tour overseas multiple times and play various comic and video game conventions across the country. His unique approach to his merchandise, which includes a nintendo video game cartridge that plays his music, showed his ability to step outside the box and engage his fans in way that no other Arizona hip-hop artist has done before him.
It would seem that Sincerely Collins' main goal for 2015 was to focus on the home front. His album release Destroyer managed to hit hard in the streets and online. The lead single "Light Work," featuring Jarren Benton and Rittz, has been in constant rotation on radio locally, something rarely achieved by a local artists. The hometown hero also played a slew of shows, opening up for rising artists like Post Malone as well a doing a tour of various high schools in the Valley. Collins also was featured on hugely popular hip-hop websites like Complex and 2 Dope Boyz.
Trap House is easily one of the most consistent artists out of Arizona. He is guaranteed to hit hard every year with a solid project for the streets. This year was no exception as his latest project, Mr. Perfect, hit a regional Heatseekers Billboard chart with a vengeance and had him rocking events with the likes of 50 Cent. 2015 saw the progression of his movement known as The Black Family. The group of like minded urban artists put out a slew of releases and did a backpack drive in the fall for the kids. As a community figure and leader, Trap House made great strides, and as a musician it is clear that the stars are the limit.
Respect The Underground
Hate them or love them, the Respect The Underground movement hit hard as nails in 2015. Led by local hip-hop veteran Justus Samuel, RTU put a multitude of local showcases across Arizona throughout the year and managed to give young, hungry local talent a strong platform on which to perform. All of this led up to the second annual Arizona hip-hop Festival at Comerica Theatre, which managed to bring in thousands and receive a powerful co-sign from hip-hop legend Master P of No Limit records.
Vee Tha Rula
Vee has always been considered to be one of the hardest workers in Arizona hip-hop, but after receiving a powerful co-sign from Kid Ink and signing to Alumni Records, Vee turned up the jets. His first release under the faction, RULA 2 has garnered thousands of downloads across the internet, and his single "Dat Lingo" is easily one of the strongest singles of out of Arizona this year.
His album, The Dichotomy of Roq'y Tyraid, was one of the most anticipated releases to come out of Arizona in awhile. He managed to follow through by delivering one of the most polished and refined hip-hop releases to ever come out Arizona. Lyrically, Tyraid is arguably one of the most deadly emcees on the mic in the county and as a co-runner of his own radio show, The Cleanup Crew, and host of the Hip-Hop House showcase, Tyraid has managed to show his versatility as well.
Felix Da Gato
Felix made a solid push in 2015. His joint release with Random had him touring four different countries as his video for "Dream Girl" climbed to thousands of views. With the Respect The Underground championing his moves, Felix was able to penetrate the radio waves and caught the attention of the Bizzare, the rap artist from the Eminem-led group D12. This led the collaboration and music video with Bizzare on the track "Never Sober" featuring Justus. New Times also did an in-depth feature on him a few months back.
As the only other rapper to grace the cover the New Times in 2015, HotRock Supajoint drove in his own lane with his comical weed theme raps and outrageous outfits and hairstyles. His short film FAKEST: A Hip Hop documentary sold out Film Bar on multiple nights. His lighthearted approach to the music makes him one of the most well liked and approachable dudes in Arizona hip-hop, and with legalization on the ballot in 2016, SupaJoint has managed to find the perfect niche.
After making the bold claim that they were "the only good rap group in Arizona," the young trio followed up their claim by crashing on the internet hard with their release Live From The Dentist Office. The project managed to gain the interest of the fickle Reddit crowd and had the likes of The Needle Drop giving the project stellar reviews. While they may not be the only good rap group in Arizona, they are certainly one of the best out right now, and the Internet and fans seem to agree.
The Tucson-based rapper made a serious impact in the Southern Arizona city. He claimed the title of one of the "Best Local Bands" in 2015 from Tucson Weekly, and his single with Johnny Redd, "Outta My Mind," is a certified hit that has been played on radio station across the west coast.
His highly controversial single about Jodi Arias sparked outrage and controversy but also manage to raise awareness for domestic violence and PTSD.
A nationwide tour with Grieves and a slew of shows and festivals made this young indie hip-hop one to watch as he carved out his own sound and lane. As one of the local openers at the Pot Of Gold Festival this year, it is clear he is going to make a huge impact in 2016.
Get the ICYMI: Today's Top Stories Newsletter Our daily newsletter delivers quick clicks to keep you in the know
Catch up on the day's news and stay informed with our daily digest of the most popular news, music, food and arts stories in Phoenix, delivered to your inbox Monday through Friday.