Rappers – The A-Z 6

Rappers A-Z (FlyLo – J.U.S.T.I.C.E. League)

First (2Chainz – Beanie Man) <> Second (Belly – Cassie) <> Third (Cee-Lo Green – Cypher Clique) <> Fourth (D.R.A.M – Doe B) <> Fifth Dom Kennedy – Flume <> Sixth (FlyLo – J.U.S.T.I.C.E. League) <> Seventh (Ja Rule – Joe Budden)  <> Eighth (Joe Moses – Lil Reese) <> Ninth (Lil Scrappy – zHUNDRED)

Flying LotusPushing mainstream listeners into uncharted territory, LA magician Flying Lotus is too creative for his own good. Getting his start making beats for Adult Swim, the producer born Steven Ellison (no relation to the legendary author Ralph Ellison, but related through marriage to jazz god John Coltrane (look it up)) quickly rose to the top of the pack in the experimental electronic scene of his home city. With the release of five full-length Flying Lotus albums between 2006 and 2014, acclaim and attention only grew larger for FlyLo, making the musician a household name of sorts. Bass heavy Thundercat has contributed musically to FlyLo’s last three albums, with the two frontline artists forming an unmatched creative partnership. In addition to his own albums, Flying Lotus is also Captain Murphy, a cartoon rap alter ego with one mixtape to his name. Notable cuts on Ellison’s production discography include Mac Miller’s “S.D.S” and Kendrick Lamar’s “Wesley’s Theory,” proving that Mr. Lotus is capable of pushing some of today’s finest rappers into their finest hours. Tell your friends about FlyLo; it’ll make you look cool.
Francis and the LightsRap superstars have been in Francis’s corner for years. The band that might just be one person has been producing music since 2007 with the release of Francis’s debut EP Striking. As legend has it, in 2009, Kanye West endorsed the band’s “Can’t Tell Me Nothing” cover, bringing the limelight one step closer to Francis. The following year, budding Canadian rapper Drake took Francis and the Lights on tour with him in support of his debut studio album Thank Me Later. Francis and the Lights had produced TML’s second track “Karaoke,” a song Drake fans would eventually start mentioning in conversations to seem cool. In the last couple years, Francis has found a friend in Chance The Rapper, helping the Chicago prince with production on songs from Coloring Book and The Social Experiment’s Surf. In 2016, reaching the peak of his fame so far, Francis and the Lights released “Friends,” featuring Bon Iver and Kanye West. Yeezy called it his favorite song of the year. The lights are only getting brighter.
Frank OceanFrank Ocean is one of, if not the most recognizable R&B crooner of the new generation. After joining the Odd Future Wolf Gang Kill Them All collective in 2010   and receiving critical praise for his debut mixtape Nostalgia, Ultra, the New Orleans native skyrocketed to recognition, touring internationally and appearing on Jay Z and Kanye West’s collaborative album Watch The Throne (on the standout cut “No Church In The Wild”). His debut studio album Channel Orange, released in 2012, peaked at #2 on the Billboard 200 and has been certified gold (not to mention the universal praise from critics).
Fred The GodsonFor those not in the know, Fred The Godson is a relatively underground emcee born and raised in South Bronx, New York City. Throughout his burgeoning career, he’s released a slew of projects and collaborated with the likes of Lil Kim, Raekwon, Maino, Fatman Scoop, Pusha T, Remo The Hitmaker, Oun-P, Murder Mook, Loaded Lux, Charlie Clips, Chubby Jag, Dade County Mustafa and many more. The last we heard of Fred was the January 2014 singe “Quarter Past Three”, produced by the Elements – expect it on his upcoming mixtape Fat Boy Fresh mixtape, which is slated to drop in early 2014. Stay tuned for updates on his career, y’all – there’s certainly more to come.
FreewayHailing for North Philly, Freeway got his career started in the battle-rap circuit. He leveraged his connections to eventually land a contract with Roc-A-Fella Records. Freeway has worked with many artists including Kanye West, Just Blaze, Bink!, Jay-Z, Beanie Sigel, 50 Cent, Rick Ross, and Statik Selektah. His debut album, Philadelphia Freeway, contained some of his most successful tracks, including “What We Do,” featuring Jay-Z and Beanie Sigel, and “Flipside,” featuring Peedi Crakk. The album went on to reach gold status with over 500,000 units sold. In September 2015, Freeway was diagnosed with kidney failure and had to undergo emergency dialysis.
Funkmaster FlexFunkmaster Flex needs little introduction – not only is he one of hip-hop’s most recognizable DJs, his moniker is synonyms with the sound of bombs exploding. Throughout his 25-year career, the Bronx native has released six compilation albums, having worked with the likes of 50 Cent, Paul Wall, Fat Joe, Jadakiss, Remy Ma, Faith Evans, Ja Rule, Cadillac Tah, DMX, Mary J. Blige, LL Cool J, The Wu-Tang Clan, Harlem Hoodz, Killa Sin, The Product G&B, Ivory, The Ghetto Celebs and many more. Most recently, he engaged in a bit of beef with POWER 105 New York’s Breakfast Club, and released a feature heavy mixtape titled Who You Mad At? Me Or Yourself? in April of 2013. He’s currently a producer and host on NYC’s HOT 97 radio station, and continues to host his own show on MTV, “Funk Flex Full Throttle”. Stay tuned for updates on his career.
FutureFuture, a Haitian / American rapper raised in the South, has slowly worked his way up the hip hop royalty ladder. Future started off by releasing semi-successful mix tapes, before joining forces with Epic Records and rapper Rocko’s A1 Recordings. He then decided to start his own label Freebandz in 2012.
G-UnitY’all already know what it is. In their prime, G-Unit were the biggest and most successful clique in the rap game, led by 50 Cent and home to Lloyd Banks, Tony Yayo, The Game, Olivia, Spider Loc, 40 Glocc, Lil Scrappy, Freeway, M.O.P., Ma$e and even Mobb Deep during their run, which has since ended, unfortunately (most members are still pursuing solo careers, though). Since the collective’s inception in 2000, they’ve released two studio albums (Beg For Mercy and Terminate On Sight), a clothing line (The G-Unit Clothing Company) and a public foundation (G-Unity Foundation Inc.), also having collaborated with the likes of Eminem, Snoop Dogg, Daz Dillinger, Soopafly, Wisin & Yandel, Nelly Furtado, D12, DJ Whoo Kid, Sha Money XL, Obie Trice, DJ Drama, Butch Cassidy, Joe and more. Also, G-Unit records continues to function to this day, and is home to Lloyd Banks, Tony Yayo, Hot Rod, Governor, Shawty Lo, Kidd Kidd, Precious Paris and DJ Pauly D. The last we heard from them as a unit was a remix of their 2003 single “Stunt 101” by Australian producer Papertoy, which was sonically hyper than the original, to say the least. Unfortunately, we wouldn’t expect a G-Unit reunion any time soon – 50 recently stated that he’d never work with Game again. 🙁
GinuwineGinuwine is one of the most successful R&B artists to do it thus far, having been certified Platinum several times over throughout the course of his career, selling more than five million records in the United States alone. As of 2014, he has seven studio albums and a compilation under his belt, having worked with Playa, R. Kelly, Timbaland, Missy Elliot, Static Major and many more since stepping foot in the game in 1993. Most recently, he formed R&B supergroup TGT with Tyrese and Tank, who released a GRAMMY-nominated album titled 3 Kings in 2013. As for solo work, the last we heard of him was a July 2012 joint called “Love To Hate”. Stay tuned for updates on his career. (Oh yeah, he also acts occasionally, having appeared in Jawana Man, for example.)
Glasses MaloneGlasses Malone, sometimes referred to as G Malone, hails from the rugged streets of Watts and Compton in Los Angeles. He has been putting out mixtapes since 2003 but he didn’t release his debut album until 2011, titled Beach Cruiser. The rapper has worked with many artists including Tech N9ne, supergroup Slaughterhouse, Scott Storch, Akon, Mack 10, Big Scoob, Birdman, Lil Wayne, T-Pain, and Rick Ross. His second studio album, GH2: Life Ain’t Nuthin’ But, dropped in 2015, and most notably featured a collaboration titled “Thuggin” with Kendrick Lamar.
GLCOne of the most positive, inspiring hip-hop artists in the industry is Chicago native GLC. The former G.O.O.D. Music signee has faced much adversity throughout his life that has shaped him both as an artist and as a person. He began his music career in 2003 and two years later he signed to G.O.O.D. and was featured on Kanye West’s “The College Dropout” and “Late Registration” albums. GLC has released one album, “Love, Life & Loyalty” in 2010, as well as scores of mixtapes.
Gucci ManeAh, Gucci… an equally notorious and beloved figure in the rap game, albeit more notorious as of late. Say what you will of him, but he is without question one of the most prolific rappers in the game, having released a staggering 41 mixtapes, 9 studio albums, 3 collaborative albums, a compilation and an EP throughout his 8-year career.
Gucci Mane & Waka FlockaFor those unaware, Gucci Mane and Waka Flocka (colloquially known as the Ferarri Boyz) were close friends and frequent collaborators until a scandalous 2013 Twitter rant from the former that led to the deterioration of his 1017 Brick Squad Records label (after which he was arrested for illegal firearm and drug possession as well as threatening police officers – he’s currently incarcerated with a potential sentence of 10-20 years in prison for federal weapons charges.) The last we heard of them was the August 2011 collaborative album Ferrari Boyz, which featured the Frenchie-assisted single “Feed Me”. Unfortunately, it’s unlikely we’ll hear anything else from them any time soon, if ever. 🙁 #RIPBRICKSQUAD
Gudda GuddaGudda Gudda is an American rapper who may not be the face behind Young Money Entertainment, but certainly played his role to help grow the label into one of the most recognizable imprints today. Being one of the original members of Young Money, which was founded in 2005, Gudda Gudda has been in the game since 2004 and collaborated with many of today’s biggest artists including Weezy, Drake, Tyga, Nicki Minaj, Lil Twist, Jae Millz, Shanell, Mack Maine, Tity Boi,Busta Rhymes, and Bow Wow among many others. You may most recognize Gudda featured on Young Money’s radio smashes “Bed Rock” and “Every Girl” back in 2009. Since then, he’s released three “Guddaville” mixtapes, and most recently released the project “Red Rum” back in March of 2013. Be on the lookout for a new project from Gudda Gudda in 2014.
Harry FraudHarry Fraud is a record producer from Brooklyn who has worked with many artists on full length albums, but perhaps he’s most well-known for his work with French Montana. Among the joint albums he’s worked on, he did Flight 2011 (2011) with Chinx Drugz, Rugby Thompson (2012) with Smoke DZA, Cigarette Boats (2012) with Curren$y, and Saaab Stories(2013) with Action Bronson. He also released a solo project called Adrift which featured Danny Brown, Sir Michael Rocks, Trae tha Truth, Kool G Rap, and others. He runs an imprint as well, Surf School.
HavocBest known as one-half of among the greatest hip-hop duos of all time Mobb Deep is Queensbridge-native Havoc. He is both a rapper and producer who entered the music scene in the early 90’s. Aside from producing the majority of Mobb Deep’s music, Havoc has produced tracks for many notable artists including Method Man, Eminem, Nas, Notorious B.I.G., Jadakiss, Game, Diddy, LL Cool J, and Capone-N-Noreaga, among others. He has released three studio-albums as a solo rapper, as well as various other projects, and has collaborated with artists like Cassidy, Big Noyd, Nas, Raekwon, Ghostface Killah, Q-Tip, Royce da 5’9, Method Man, Kool G Rap, Lil’ Kim, Nate Dogg, Lil Jon, Twista, 50 Cent, Lloyd Banks, Tony Yayo, Mary J. Blige and producers including Alchemist, Statik Selektah, Dr. Dre, and Kanye West. Havoc and Prodigy have not released a Mobb Deep album since 2006, but in 2013 Havoc confirmed that an upcoming album is halfway done. Stay posted for specifics and a possible 2014 release.
HeemsOne half of the now-defunct Das Racist, King of Queens Heems probably wouldn’t want us to start his biography that way. The 2-kool-4-skool MC born Himanshu Kumar Suri would probably want us to start his profile with a picture of traditional Hindu imagery superimposed over the Hiroshima mushroom cloud, and that’s why we fuck with him. This guy doesn’t play by anybody’s rules but his own (and he probably makes those up on the spot anyway). More interested in Tumblr than Instagram, Heems is a post-modern artist who combines biting social commentary with the lyrical equivalent of a dank meme. His debut studio album Eat Pray Thug was the kind of album that critics only started liking 9 months after he released it, begging for Suri’s forgiveness, pleading plebian ignorance. Touring the continent while simultaneously giving no fucks at all, Heems has a cult following that would swallow a hater whole. In terms of his next move, your guess is as good as ours.
Hit-BoyBorn in Fontana, California, Hit-Boy started promoting his music in the early 2000s on Myspace. Polow Da Don got in touch with the young producer with a message that said no more than “Let’s Get This Paper”. Since, he has produced for major artists such as Kid Cudi, Kanye West, Jay-Z, Eminem, Lil Wayne, Mary J Blige, 50 cent, Chris Brown, Snoop Dogg, Big Sean & Justin Bieber. Hit-Boy is also one of the founders of Surf Club, a collective of beat makers including Chase N Cashe, Bcarr and Chili Chill. They got their first break in 2007 after linking up with Polow Da Don. Hit-Boy’s work in 2011 really put him on the map when he signed to GOOD Music and produced smash singles like Kanye West & Jay Z’s “N*ggas In Paris” and A$AP Rocky’s “Goldie”. In 2012 he proved he was more than just a producer with a single of his own, “Jay-Z Interview”. In June of 2013, the producer left GOOD Music on what was reported as GOOD terms. Now with Hits Since ’87 as an imprint of Interscope records, we are excited to see what 2014 has coming for one of the most talented producers of this generation.
Hoodie AllenGoogle “hoodie allen” and you’ll probably get a bunch of links to Hoodie Allen’s music videos and social media. And that’s because Hoodie Allen is like the Google of rap, or rather, he used to work at Google and he raps. But we’re okay with that. Hoodie is super talented and incredibly motivated, and we’re not saying he manipulated the Internet’s most dominant search engine to make himself famous (wake up, sheeple), in fact, we’re saying the opposite. He DIDN’T do that, but rather, hustled like only a millennial growing up in Long Island with an incredibly high IQ knows how: rapping well and rapping often. The self-made MC born Steven Markowitz is DIY on steroids, getting two EPs and two LPs on the Billboard 200 without the help of the machine (two of those projects cracked the top ten). Hoodie Allen hasn’t expressed any interest in signing a record deal, but if he does, the label would probably give him the building. Make ‘em beg for it, Steve.
HopsinHopsin is one of the most unmistakable faces in hip-hop, due in part to a devoted cult following, his tendency to name-drop and the white contact lenses he chooses to rock, both live and in music videos and interviews. The emcee, producer, director and actor fell out with Ruthless records after signing with them in 2007, going on to found his own independent imprint Funk Volume Records in 2009, which is home to Dizzy Wright, SwizZz, Dizzy Wright, Jarren Benton and more. Other than those mentioned, the Panorama City native has worked with Tech N9ne, Paul Wall, Yealawolf, B-Real, Xzibit, Demrick, R.A. The Rugged Man, Insane Clown Posse, DJ Whoo Kid and more throughout his 10-year career. Most recently, he released his third studio album Knock Madness (which he’s currently touring in support of) and clarified a series of “suicidal” tweets. He’s also working on an EP with Blink-182 percussionist Travis Barker. Stay tuned.
Huey BrissThe following is to be read aloud in a stately British accent.
Ibn InglorIbn Inglor is an emerging Chicagoan rap artist with a flair for the experimental. If you haven’t heard his September 2013 project NEW WAVE, we strongly recommend doing so – it’s available below.
Ice BergFor those unfamiliar, Ice Berg is an emerging emcee from Miami, Florida and a former member of the Dunk Ryders collective (formerly signed to Birdman’s Cash Money Records). Throughout his career, Berg has released multiple mixtapes and collaborated with the likes of Rick Ross, Chris, 64 Chris, Ace Hood, Gold Rush, Trick Daddy, Trina, Gunplay, Shonie, Uncle Luke, Jimmy Dade, Mowett and more. The last we heard of Ice Berg was his January 2014 single “Smokin’ ‘Em Straight”, which was produced by Rooq. Stay tuned for updates on his Team Billion Movement, y’all. He’s been in negotiations with Rick Ross’ Maybach Music Group since 2011. (For more details, visit billionberg.com.)
Immortal TechniqueBoth a hip-hop artist and an activist of urban issues, Immortal Technique is known for his controversial lyrics that focus on political issues. Born in Peru and raised in Harlem, he began rapping in jail and on the streets of New York. Over the course of his career, he has released four albums – the first of which was in 2001 and the most recent in 2011. He is best known for his tracks “Dance With The Devil”, “Obnoxious”, and “Bin Laden”, just to name a few.
Isaiah RashadIsaiah Rashad has been rapping seriously since he was about 15 years old. By the time he was 20 he had built enough buzz to land a spot on the 2012 Smoker’s Club Tour alongside Juicy J, Joey Bada$$, and Smoke DZA. Shortly after signing with Top Dawg Ent. He released Cilvia Demo which was well-received, and led into a spot on the 2014 XXL Freshmen roster. Thanks to his deal with TDE, he went from obscurity to being known worldwide basically overnight.
IYAZFor those unfamiliar, Iyaz is a Caribbean singer, emcee and dancer who dabbles in R&B, Indie, Pop, Island Pop, Reggae, Dance, Country and Rock music. Since stepping foot in the game in 2009, he’s a successful studio album (Replay, 2010) and collaborated with the likes of Demi Lovato, Miley Cyrus, Stevie Hoang, MANN, Snoop Dogg, the New Boyz, Rick Ross, Auburn, Jay Sean, Diction, Shotta, Charice, Travie McCoy, Sean Kingston, Big Time Rush, J.R. Rotem and more. The last we heard of Iyaz was his June 2011 single “Last Forever”, which was produced by David Guetta. Although we haven’t heard much else from him in a minute, stay tuned for updates on his career, y’all. He’s currently working on a collaborative studio album with Adam Levine.
J DillaDetroit-raised J Dilla is one of the most influential producers in hip-hop history. From a very young age, Dilla grew a strong love for music. He formed a rap group in high school with two of his friends and would spend hours alone in his basement perfecting his beat-making craft. His hard work really paid off, as he is one of the most respected producers in the game. He has worked with many big artists including Common, Questlove, Black Milk, Mos Def, Jay Electronica, J Rocc, Busta Rhymes, De La Soul, A Tribe Called Quest, Nas, Joey Bada$$, Kanye West, and many, many more. In 2006, J Dilla died of a heart attack in his Los Angeles home. He had been suffering from a rare blood disease and possibly lupus for several years. He is survived by his two daughters, his mother and his massive legacy.
J. ColeJ. Cole is widely considered to be one of the best storytellers of the new hip-hop generation, eschewing hype and hedonism in favor of levelheaded honesty and conscious self-reflection.
J. HolidayJ. Holiday is a singer, songwriter and actor in the realm of R&B music inspired by such artists as Tupac Shakur, Jodeci and Boyz II Men. Since stepping foot in the game in ’06, the Washington, D.C. native has released three studio albums, and four mixtapes, having collaborated with the likes of Fat Joe, 2win, Black Cobain, Roscoe Dash, Pastor Troy, Dolla, Lloyd, Nicki Minaj, Busta Rhymes, Mack 10, 2 Pistols, Lil Wayne, MIMS, Chamillionaire, Plies, Keyshia Cole, Young Lace, Young Bruh, The Game, Dear Jayne, the Outlawz, Dee Boi and many more. Most recently, he released a new studio album titled Guilty Conscience (January 2014), his first in five years (it was preceded by the November 2013 single “Incredible”). Stay tuned for updates on his career, folks – disgruntled with the state of contemporary R&B, he’s set out to prove that it’s much more than dance music.
J.U.S.T.I.C.E. LeagueThe game’s production superheroes are as mysterious as they are respected. Hailing from Tampa, Florida, the three-man heatmaking machine that is J.U.S.T.I.C.E. League consists of  Erik “Rook” Ortiz, Kevin “Colione” Crowe, and Kenny “Barto” Bartolomei. To get a beat from these caped crusaders costs a whole lot of bank, but so far, every rapper has gotten their money’s worth. With the ability to precisely recreate samples, J.U.S.T.I.C.E. League combines their hip-hop sensibility with the superpower of shape shifting. Although their only Grammy came from their 2005 contribution to Mary J. Blige’s The Breakthrough, the Florida hitmakers have worked most extensively with Carol City kingpin Rick Ross, giving the rapper some of his greatest tracks to date (“Luxury Tax,” “Maybach Music,” “I’m Not A Star”). In February 2016, J.U.S.T.I.C.E. League released their debut studio album J.U.S.T.I.C.E. For All, which features the likes of Lupe Fiasco, Drake, and R. Kelly.