5 On It: The Best Under-the-Radar Rap This Week

ars nova bw 5 On It: The Best Under the Radar Rap This Week

Image via Ars-Nova

5 On It is a feature that looks at five of the best under-the-radar rap findings from the past week, highlighting new or recently discovered artists, or interesting obscurities.

ahyve trina jpg 5 On It: The Best Under the Radar Rap This Week

Image via AHYVE

Trick Daddy ft. Trina – “Nann Ho (AHYVE Please Save Me Remix)”

Our first proper remix in the 5 On It archives.

I’ve never smoked DMT or dropped acid (subtract points for my Gonzo journalism cred, add points for my “parents-still-loving-me” cred), but I imagine that producer AHYVE’s music is what it sounds like to have an experience both frightening and strangely enjoyable while on either drug–a barrage of dark sounds, shifting voices, otherworldly effects, and bottomless bass.

Picking late 90s classic “Nann N*gga” as excellent source material, AHYVE sinks his demonic teeth into all angles of the record, giving it gothic new life that makes it feel more like vintage Three 6 Mafia than Miami hip-hop–and even then there’s an unearthly quality to it that separates it from either.

flexas 5 On It: The Best Under the Radar Rap This Week

Image via DT Blanco

DT Blanco – “Flexa$”

Austin, Texas rapper DT Blanco’s “Flexa$” is oddly catchy rap gold. An excellent hook (and a criminally underused one–it only appears at the beginning and end of the song) and a hypnotic beat make for the sort of listen that seems pedestrian on first pass, creeping up on your memory as the day goes by, forcing repeat listens.

There’s a larger conversation, here: DT Blanco is a female rapper who seems fairly open about her homosexuality. She never broaches it directly as a “talking point” and her music is all the more powerful because it simply exists–her effortless, hook-y ability and gruff voice enjoyable without demanding a discussion of the politics of her sexuality and place in the rap world. We’ve had a larger conversation about the topic of progressing attitudes on homosexuality in hip-hop here at P&P; rappers like DT Blanco push matters forward by making good music and being themselves without concession.

On an unrelated note: Here’s to hoping referring to Texas as “Flexas” becomes a thing soon (if it hasn’t already and I missed that wave).

(Hat tip to the fine fellows at Steady Leanin’)

ars nova 5 On It: The Best Under the Radar Rap This Week

Image via Ars-Nova

Ars-Nova – The Story. EP

As 5 On It takes shape, each week seems to hold one spot for a young rapper that raps really well, but is still searching for a compelling story or message–the words and ideas that will make the most of prodigious talent.

Rochester, New York’s Ars-Nova isn’t the sort of rapper who wows with technical pyrotechnics (a la Kendrick, prime-era Eminem, Tech Nine, etc.), but he possesses a natural way with words and syllables that bodes well for him–smooth and calculated without ever sounding unnatural.

Mini EP The Story showcases both Ars-Nova’s pure rapping ability and his creativity, combining personal anecdote and unusual effects to create something that feels like a brief window into a moment in time, at once authentic and impressionistic–a word and concept not often associated with hip-hop.

Also, listen to “LeSabre Family” below as another example of his able flow.

cyrax 5 On It: The Best Under the Radar Rap This Week

Image via Cyrax


Down the line, when we look back on hip-hop post-2009, will we realize that Lil B was actually one of the most influential rappers…ever? His ideas, his methods of dissemination, his beat selection, and his Based lexicon have influenced rappers at all levels, particularly trickling down to a younger generation of kids who find their hip-hop largely on the internet (surprise). Sure, he never gained the mainstream traction some envisioned for him as he and Odd Future were burning bright in the fall of 2010 (and he never did get that $10 million record deal he wanted), but he’s undoubtedly become a proper cult hero

This Cyrax song “WHITE CASTLES (LIL FLIP)” is never quite as wonderfully off-kilter as any of Lil B’s peak output, but the Richmond rapper channels some of Lil B’s woozy energy, thinks he’s Lil’ Flip, and is followed by Lil B on twitter, so that’s enough evidence in this loose court to draw the lineage from the Based God.

Help keep rap weird.

jordan shoebox 5 On It: The Best Under the Radar Rap This Week

Image via Russ P

Russ P ft. Wave Chappelle – “Jordan Shoe Box”

“Jordan Shoe Box” is a proper mix and a famous feature (Drake, I’m looking at you) away from becoming a hit and turning Russ P’s “Whoa, mane” into something. And I’d be exceedingly happy with all the above.