Part of 20 Watts’ Best of the Decade Coverage!
PREVIEW: VISIT Kanye West’s Blog
No discussion of the ‘00s is complete without Kanye. Here are five similar artists on the brink of blowing up.
Kanye West may not be the best-liked guy in the world, but one thing’s for sure: he has forever changed modern hip-hop as we know it. From Auto-Tune and head-bumping beats to conceptually brilliant videos and inimitable flow, Kanye is almost incomparable. Fortunately for you Kanye fans, 20 Watts has managed to scrape up some lesser-known artists that channel his ability to push boundaries in rap. One warning though: these guys may rock, but Kanye’s definitely the best rapper of all time.
A self-described “socialist guerilla,” Immortal Technique isn’t afraid to make his opinion known – much like our dear friend Mr. West. The revolutionary Latino rapper was born in Peru and raised in Harlem, where he developed his talent for storytelling through music. Immortal Technique tests the game and the government by addressing issues such as poverty, race, religion and class, not unlike Kanye’s much-publicized reaction to the Hurricane Katrina response.
After producing tracks for Macy Gray and Talib Kweli, 88-Keys decided to put down the soundboard and pick up a mic for his debut album, The Death of Adam. Released in 2008 and executive produced by Mr. West, the album narrates a young man’s encounters with lust, greed and betrayal. The Death of Adam features appearances by Redman and Little Brother, as well as Kid Cudi on the playful track “Ho’ is Short for Honey.” With witty lyrics and refreshing twists of humor, 88-Keys’ style is reminiscent of a younger Kanye – he’s just a lot more modest.
Charles Hamilton was exposed to many different musical genres at a young age, which he says helped him mold his music. Coming from more of a trip-hop perspective, Hamilton’s quirky, sarcastic and borderline-offensive style set him apart from most artists, with the exception of Kanye. On his first single, “Brooklyn Girls,” he glorifies himself and the ladies of Brooklyn with punchy lyrics and innovative production. Although Hamilton may not be a household name just yet, he has the talent and confidence to convince you that it may just be a matter of time.
Delirium (Campus Connection)
Why spend hundreds to see Kanye in concert when we have a Kanye-in-the-making right here on campus? Delirium, a.k.a. freshman computer engineering major Marcus Neal, can be found spittin’ rhymes in his dorm room between classes. His passion, determination and raw talent mirror Kanye’s, but unlike the rap superstar, Delirium won’t be another College Dropout. Look out for him freestyling, DJing and jamming out to good tunes on WERW or at a par ty near you! Check here for more content with Delirium
With their skinny jeans, Chuck T’s and cappuccino-inspired songs, brothers Krispy Kream and Ral Almillio Lindsey don’t exactly look the part of mainstream hip-hop connoisseurs. But for the past six years, the New Orleans-born duo has been making music just as progressive and daring as their zany fashion sense. Unlike most hip-hop artists, The Knux play all of their own instruments live and produce their singles and albums themselves. No word on who styles their outfits, but maybe like Louis Vuitton Don Mr. West, the brothers are naturally fashion-forward.
– Taylor Bryant
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