When Insomniac Magazine launched in 1995 (initially as a newsletter and then a full-fledged magazine in 1996), one of our tenets was to create a medium that provided an outlet to spotlight groundbreaking and authentic Hip Hop regardless of its profile within the industry. 23 years since Insomniac’s entry into the music industry, we’re proud to stay true to the growth of the culture and genre. Many times, the best in the game aren’t found on mainstream media channels, they’re on places such as this one, a platform created by those who bore witness to the movement during its earliest and purest days- before the glitz, glamour, and acclaim. Insomniac Magazine’s editors were once kids growing up in The Bronx and Harlem during the ’70s and ’80s- Hip Hop’s Golden Era. With that context, we present some of today’s brightest up and coming stars. Here’s Insomniac Magazine’s Hip Hop Top Ten.
1. Planet Asia f/ AZ – “Fast Not Slow”
West coast and east coast rhyme kings collaborate on a lyrical feat entitled “Fast Not Slow.” There’s no question that Planet Asia and AZ are heavy hitters in the rhyme game. Now, these top tier emcees deliver the goods on this izznyce constructed sound piece.
2. Black Milk – “Laugh Now Cry Later”
Multi-talented Hip Hop practitioner Black Milk delivers an impeccably executed original creation. The intricately constructed song features a conglomerate of disparate sounds that mesh into a pleasing listening experience. The song’s lyrical content is described as an exploration into “the mental and emotional tug of war within social media.” Now, that’s subject matter worthy of a deep dive. “Laugh Now Cry Later” is an impressive offering that will be sure to spark the flame of anticipation for this amazing artist’s upcoming full-length, “Fever,” due out on 2/23.
3. Domo Genesis – “Hood Famous”
Odd Future family member Domo Genesis’ first of two entries this week is the incredibly funky “Hood Famous.” This is an example of stellar Hip Hop music with a classic west coast vibe. The album it’s from, “Aren’t U Glad You’re U,” as a whole, finds the brilliant emcee showcasing his lyrical swagger and Hip Hop sensibilities.
4. CrimeApple – “Siegfried”
Street slang spitter and lyrical mastermind, CrimeApple, once again rips a track. The DJ Skizz molded “Siegfried” is another high caliber boom bap banger. Tell somebody.
5. Cuns x Dawson f/ Benny – “Sink”
Dawson and Benny The Butcher collaborate on this gritty ground-up grinder crafted by Cuns. Take time to “Sink” into this seared sonic sizzler.
6. Domo Genesis – “BBB”
Domo Genesis makes it on the list once again. This time with another funk-filled ditty entitled “BBB” from a collection that features impeccable production and oversight by Hip Hop champion Evidence, who also contributes on emcee duties during “F*** A Co-Sign.” Upon consuming the entire project, you’ll no doubt note it’s light on features, which is a good thing! Other than executive producer Evidence, the only other guest is Phonte, which completes a trifecta of underground legendary groups with a presence on this top tier project: Dilated Peoples, Little Brother, and OFWGKTA. Listen to “BBB,” then hit play on the entire impressive mixtape.
7. Aswad Mikal and Knotz f/ Young Zee – “The Iron Throne”
Real Hip Hop reigns supreme on the newest release from the DamaliUrbana crew. Aswad Mikal and the Knotz family connect with Young Zee to construct “The Iron Throne.” The DonWil crafted composition, coupled with lyrical excellence, provides another impactful example of rugged rap rhythms.
8. Ullnevano – “WRK”
Ullnevano puts in “WRK” on a soulful track constructed by talented producer Ohbliv. Nothing like a smooth Hip Hop creation to groove to.
9. Lord Luminous – “Wolf Rayet”
Dark imagery dominates the overcast audio aesthetics on Lord Luminous’ latest song. The talented wordsmith and beat creator unleashes “Wolf Rayet” on counterfeit rappers the world over.
10. Jay Holly – “Flashbacks”
“Flashbacks” finds Jay Holly weaving wicked tales of everyday existence gone awry on Calgary based producer Jungle’s soundscape.