2018: Underground. Underrated. &Unmentioned.

These artists are equally dope and linked to correspond with their project art (left to right, top to bottom). My favorite underground, underrated, and unmentioned (by me) are as followed:


  1. Lily Allen

    transparent, brave, rebellious

  2. Dominique Fils-Aimé

    classy, thrifty, meditative

  3. Left Lane Didon/Tha God Fahim

    collective, conscious, dark

  4. Tierra Whack

    theatrical, wacky, iconic

  5. Mark Battles

    relative, motivated, trained-to-go

  6. Phoelix

    flavorful, smooth, pimpin’

  7. ODIE

    empathic, passionate, hopeless romantic

  8. Leon Bridges

    soulful, timeless, psychedelic

  9. SerpentWithFeet

    mystical, poetic, falsetto

  10. Zilo

    breezy, rational, cool

  11. Henry Green

    multifaceted, melodic, bashful

  12. Abhi The Nomad

    versatile, matter-of-fact,vengeful

Beyond The Surface

Saba continues to keep listeners engaged by dropping a single weekly. This week he released "Where It's At".
Azealia Banks, easily a top 3 "problematic" female rapper, released a rather enduring holiday compilation. Icy Colors Change is a 3 song project that captures the sensitivity to lingering love during the winter holidays.
Canadian rapper, Allan Kingdom, released a 3 song EP entitled "Coming to America", an uptempo project that exposes the artist's experience with migrating to the "land of endless possibilities" in under 9 minutes.

Soulful singer, JoJo, released a self-titled project just days ago on the 21st.. Despite its 2018 release, JoJo features a lot of singles released by the artist over the years, such as "Get Out" which came out in 2004. Overall the album is about love and self-discovery, and of course JoJo sounds amazing.
On the 18th Jhené Aiko delivered a freestyle entitled "Wasted Love" inspired by fears of abandonment.
Rico Nasty is crazy about her money and her recently released "Guap" visual shows us how much so.
Tha Material dropped their second official Cartoons & Car Tunes Vol 1 visual, this time for the single, "X-MATS".

Beyond The Surface: The Return of the Matriarch

The repression of the feminine has led to a planet on the edge of collapse. The re-emergence is going to be a dance to behold.
— Clare Dakin

Self-proclaimed, Princess Nokia, released a super transcendental, lo-fi fusion album, entitled, Metallic Butterfly. The project, which is celebratory of matriarchy, serves as a trip to the fifth dimension, where all are free from low vibrational feelings and thrive in love. In so many words the Princess states that she will no longer "keep it cute", but instead will vocalize her truths. On Metallic Butterfly, Nokia speaks on feeling like a supernatural butterfly in a toxic environment-- in a specific instance, no longer resonating with a romantic partner after a paradigm shift within leading her to surrender for the sake of her energy. Metallic Butterfly is sacred house music for all self-proclaimed queens-- because the only way to come into power is through its recognition! Metallic Butterfly is available on major streaming platforms.

Dreezy drafted Kash Doll for her latest single, "Chanel".

Indie Arie dropped a single/visual combo just days ago; "That Magic" is a beautifully inspiring divine love story.

Hip-Hop lyricist, Sa-Roc, exudes empress energy with her "Goddess Gang" song and visual. The visual was released months ago in October and is one of many since her last full project in 2015, Gift of the Magi.

I come in peace, but I pose a mother-loving threat.
— Queen P

Beyond The surface

The first visual of Noname's Room 25 went viral on the 4th. The "Blaxploitation" visual accurately captures the extensive demonization of "Black" America by the media and its brainwashed consumers.
On the 7th, upcoming rapper, Domo Genesis, released a super chill uptempo Hip-Hop EP, Facade Records. On it, the Cali bred rapper speaks on his crime ridden beginnings, weed and carrying out plans to elevate his career. Amongst my favorite tracks are "Two Tone Durag", "Online" and "Power Trip", which features Dreamville's Cozz. Facade Records is available on major streaming platforms.
Earlier this week RnB songstress, Tink, dropped her single, "Different", on which the decline of a relationship begins with the singer's intuition.
Jaden finally shared a more than fit visual for his single, "GOKU", months after its October release.
Latin lover, A.CHAL, released EXOTIGAZ, an 18 minute trap EP centered around his unwillingness to take life too seriously right present day. On EXOTIGAZ, A.CHAL speaks on turning down the possibility of a longterm commitment to instead party, smoke and "hook-up". "Indigo Girl" is my favorite track of course, followed by "000000". EXOTIGAZ is available on major streaming platforms.
Saba is up again this week with his forth single since November, a love song entitled "Papaya".
Nigerian artist, Davido, took the opportunity to make a beautiful gesture to honor powerful African women with the visual release of his "Wonder Woman" single.
Jorja Smith dropped the official video for her single, "The One". The song can be heard on the artist's Lost & Found album, released June of this year.

Beyond the Surface

On the 26th, JID released his highly anticipated LP, DiCaprio 2, the sequel to DiCaprio (released in 2015). On DiCaprio 2, JID lays down more skillfully executed verses as he allows his past to resurface alongside his heightened awareness; the artist's platform has always served as a revolving door to his mind and each go around its expansion is up for consumption by listeners. On DiCaprio 2, JID does more rapping than anything, and instead uses beat selection, delivery, and subject matter as means of creating depth. The project is solid for sure-- but then again, JID never misses! Amongst my absolute favorites are "Off da Zoinkys", "Workin Out", "Tiied" and "Skrawberries". DiCaprio 2 is available on major streaming platforms.
A new wave has washed up on my lap. The quartet, Good Girl, is a heavily melinated 90's heir to the throne's dream. The dream team released their single "I Can Be Yours" which features upcoming rap artist, A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie. Their 2016 EP, Goodie the Appetizer is available on major platforms.
This week, Ravyn Lenae shared a glamorous visual for "The Night Song", a single off her EP Crush.
On the 30th, sound engineer, Kaytra released an EP entitled Nothin Like U/ Chances. On the project the soundstress features artists Ty Dolla $ign and Shay Lia. Assumably the project is short and sweet ode to an apparently magical muse-- because vibes don't lie. Nothing Like U/ Chances is available on major streaming platforms.
Krizzle, formally known as Big KRIT released another EP, entitled Double Down. The 2 track project is more in line with KRIT's signature southern rap sound in comparison to Thrice X.
Odd Future member, Earl Sweatshirt, released his third solo project, Some Rap Songs, earlier this week, and I would describe it as a 'casserole of vibes'. The LP is a mesh up of verses or maybe chop up of songs; however every thought is complete. The project is reflective of Earl's journey through a metaphorical shadowed valley as a rite of passage into divine manhood. On the journey the artist has come to realize that it is up to him to unchain himself from drug dependency and to relieve himself of the pain that keeps him chains him to it, all of which he elaborates on. Some Rap Song's 15 tracks can be listened to in under 30 minutes on major streaming platforms.
Saba released another single entitled "Excited". On it he reveals a new project is in the works, but we knew this!

Submissions: Hiiighercalling@gmail.com

Beyond The Surface: Rapper’s Delight


At the top of the month Hip-Hop artist, Vince Staples, released his third album FM!. FM! is a lot more hyphy than the artist's previous work, Big Fish Theory, but rightfully so; the artist has more songs centered around his street mentality, which is all about survival, and the West Coast influence is sonically prevalent throughout the album. Tracks "Run the Bands" and "Tweakin'" are my favorites at the moment. FM! is available on all major streaming platforms.
On the 9th, rising rap star, Cupcakke, released her sixth studio album, Eden. On Eden, cupcakKe showcases her penmanship and dynamic flow while discussing an array of things. "PetSmart", "Dangled", and "Starbucks" are my top 3 from the well-made project. Eden is available on major streaming platforms.

Submissions: HiiigherCalling@gmail.com

Conscious North Philly artist, Hprizm aka High Priest, released his third studio album deliberately entitled, Magnetic Memory. The album is very soothing in fused sound with its rather aggressive intent to wake up the chosen ones. All conscious artists desire to do such a thing, but along with telling us what to do, Hprizm tells what to overcome. My favorites are "Infusion", "Asia", and "Electric Ladyland". Magnetic Memory is available on major streaming platforms.
A$AP Rocky released his single "Sundress" along with a visual earlier this week on the 20th.
On the 25th, King Draft dropped the visual for his single "Make Sen$e" which features Kelly Kale. The single is the first off Draft's album, Two Eyes, to have visual representation.

Beyond The Surface

Dreamville's Ari shared two more singles this week, one entitled "Pedigree" and the other "No One", both soulful.
JID shared "Off Deez", a single that will be featured on his upcoming album, DiCaprio 2. The project is set to release this year on the artist's birthday, November 26th.
On the 16th, Big KRIT released a short compilation entitled, Thrice X. The project is centered around finding God in isolation and in return not feeling indebted to anybody. Thrice X is available on major streaming platforms.
Tyler, The Creator released a not so festive holiday EP, entitled Music Inspired by Illumination & Dr, Seuss' The Grinch. If you and your cousins like to make "Store runs" (side-eye) before joining the rest of the family for holiday dinner, this just may be the EP for your. The project is available on major streaming platforms.
This week Saba released "Beautiful Smile", a single about maintaining optimism when things are bad.

On the 16th, Anderson .Paak released his highly anticipated album, Oxnard and it did not disappoint. The Self-righteous revolutionary album is relevant and just on time. Paak, who is keen on using his instruments to make statements allows us to relate where we can to his firsthand experiences. Taboo subjects based in politics, spirituality, love, financial freedom, and more are discussed as the artist spill from his heart. The album is very much so a rock and funk influenced classic that can be played for many summers. Oxnard is available on major streaming platforms.

Beyond The Surface

On the 8th, smittened Smino, released his second studio album, NOIR, an ode to his "life being a black ass movie". The versatile rapper delivers scatted verses that tell-all about his highs and lows as of late, mentioning partying, casual relationships, heartache and hardship. NOIR is full of timeless sounds, from jazz and caribbean influences to galactic effects and latin flavor. The album is available on all streaming platforms.
Anderson .Paak released his second single from his upcoming album, "Who R U?", which takes on a much different sound than "Tints". Both singles will be featured on his upcoming album Oxnard which is available for pre-order now.

Submissions: HiiigherCalling @Gmail.com

Upcoming rapper, Kash Doll released a visual for her new single, "Ice Me Out". The single is separate from the rapper's Brat Mail mixtape, released in March.
Dreamville, Princess, Ari Lennox released two jazzy love songs this week. The artist, known for her candid approach, sings about wanting to "pull up" and get choked out-- during sex of course. She makes it's sound so dreamy though. "Grandpa" and "40 Shades of Choke" are available on major platforms along with "Whipped Cream".
Artist: Khalid
Album: Suncity
On Things Could Be Worse rising Hip-Hop artist, Alex Aff speaks on life post-transition from Durham to Charlotte, NC-- a move made in hopes of "getting rich quick". Instead, the artist was met with obstacles and resolved friendships, but in turn used love, and the "little things" as his solace. Things Could Be Worse is self-recorded and produced, therefore takes on Aff's signature raw, coasting sound. The album is available on major stream platforms.
Known Hip-Hop Producer, 9th Wonder brought out the Jamala Squad with the recently released 9th Wonder Presents: Jamla is the Squad II, a sequel to part one, released in 2014. The project, mostly Hip-Hop, is dense in appearances, featuring the likes of J. Cole, Rapsody, Busta Rhymes and to my surprise, King Draft.