What makes an artist influential? It's one of the greatest debates in Arizona hip-hop. Many believe that having the most streams or playing a lot of events means you're garnering influence, while others think it comes down to the potential of raw talent manifesting itself and spreading to peers through community-based efforts.
Either way, over the last several years the Phoenix hip-hop scene has taken things to the next level, with everything from city-sponsored festivals to artists like Futuristic and Ali Tomineek making their mark on national TV. Those are just a couple of examples of the many ways artists can carry the torch of the local urban community to the next level.
Plenty of artists will be making moves in 2018, but here's a look at 10 artists you should keep an eye on in the coming year.
At this point in his career, Mouse Powell could be considered a veteran of Phoenix hip-hop. He has stellar projects like These Are the Good Times under his belt, and he's traveled the country with the likes of Grieves. Mouse has spent the last four years gaining a wealth of experience and knowledge in preparation for releasing his long-awaited new album, First Love. If his previous efforts are any indication, he'll likely deliver one of the most compelling releases of 2018.
With cadence and flow that could be compared to Tyler, the Creator, Jalopy Bungus hit the scene with strong bars and stage shows that had his name flying out the mouths of his peers and fans alike. Simplistic but strong songs like “Rushmore” and “$ouL Pt. 2,” did a great job introducing Jalopy’s grimy, underground sound to the local community. The stars are aligned for Jalopy to make a lot of noise in 2018.
With cosigns from artists including Futuristic, T R U V O N N E has already managed to carve out a unique, soul-tinged sound that makes her stand out from others in this scene. Songs like “Alright” show her sensual side, while bangers like “G.T.F.O.” remind the listener that she has a rougher side as well. Her appearance on Futuristic’s “Good Pain,” a track from his recent What More Can You Ask For EP, exposed her to his rabid, growing fan base, acting as a launching platform for the young artist, who's sure to drop more heartfelt music in 2018.
In 2017, Delly Everyday took on a few acting roles while he pushed his hard hitting single, “Hometown,” to all-time highs. This year, Delly hit the ground running, promising to release a song every day in 2018. With his name continuing to gain buzz in the streets and his undeniable work ethic, there's a good chance that Delly Everyday will leave 2018 as a top-tier artist out of Phoenix.
Toure’ Masters ended 2017 by dropping his latest project, Finally Champion, to stellar response. His creative approach on songs like “Faucet Water” and “Bigger Plan” show that Masters might be one of the strongest creative forces in the city. Since then, Toure’ has been on a promotional tear, with radio and cypher appearances in support of the strong project. This year, we hope to see Toure’ push his creativity to the max, as the self-proclaimed “king of the chill” is looking to release even more great music.