WHAT FRESHMAN 2017 LIST?!!? Here Are Insomniac Magazine’s Underground Elite!

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Insomniac Magazine celebrates real Hip Hop’s elite emcees.

Just like the majority of Hip Hop fans who respect and understand lyricism and true artistry in general, we’ve become increasingly disappointed in XXL Magazine’s controversial and confusing selections for their annual Freshman List. To combat the problem, Insomniac Magazine presents a list of artists bubbling on the underground who were chosen for their talent, potential, and never-ending grind to reach the top! Sales and media hype have no place here. It’s all about skills…and these artists got ’em!!!

WESTSIDEGUNN – We were first introduced to the Griselda Records Capo when a copy of “Dear Winter Bloody Fiegs” popped up on our radar in 2014! From that point on, the GxFR juggernaut steadily climbed up the ranks of the industry by dropping a catalog of high-powered bangers that were near flawless in content and execution. The Buffalo, NY bred lyricist’s distinctive voice, wickedly twisted sense of humor, and relentless grind made him an instant stand out to our Hip Hop hungry staff. He created the Fashion Rebels line that showcased works of art (NOT MERCH!!!) snatched up and worn by consumers both domestic & international AND introduced us to sonic powerhouse, Daringer, supreme poet, Keisha Plum, and lyrical generals – Benny, Mach-Hommy, and Tha God Fahim! But let’s get back to the rhymes because The FlyGod definitely delivers on that front! We know he wants to fall back and focus on the business end of things but the streets need ya to keep spittin’ that HEAT! Now that they’ve teamed up with Shady Records, WATCH OUT!!!





CONWAY – Is he man or machine? It’s difficult to tell. Known for delivering a relentless stream of rewind-worthy rhymes, the GxFR super soldier has not only survived multiple gunshot wounds but he also turned the permanent scowl on his face(as a result of Bell’s Palsy triggered from the incident)into a badge of pride, a successful marketing logo for Fashion Rebels apparel, and a powerful tool of self-empowerment. Simply put, he’s unstoppable! The lyrics are what you need to focus on though. Always calm, yet deadly serious, Conway creates bars densely packed with sinister undertones & dual meanings. The passion for his art is apparent and considering he’s WestSideGunn’s brother, it must run in the genes!





DANIEL SON – The Toronto Tornado is one of the most prolific emcees in the game! With his steady onslaught of tracks you would expect the caliber of the material to diminish over time but…NOPE! This is one of those cases where quantity and quality are always on equal ground! Besides being one of the illest spitters to bless the mic, Daniel Son is also a shrewd beat selector! His close ties with Crate Divizion production powerhouses – Giallo Point, Vic Grimes, and PhybaOptikz, have led to some of the most exciting projects to hit the underground in years. He’s got that Brown Bag Money and a catalog stacked with dope rhymes!






HUS KINGPIN – Lord Wavy’s rhymes are like an intricate labyrinth that contain a million different paths & possibilities. #TheWinners mic master might begin a verse detailing street life before veering off into the marvels of the universe & an exploration of the cosmos. It’s these kind of unexpected turns that make listening to his tracks so much fun! Instead of a dumbed down approach to the material, Hus challenges fans to peel back the layers and figure things out for themselves. Leading the charge for an entire crew of creative masterminds(SmooVth, Rozewood, SageInfinite, Al.Divino, El Ay) the next level lyricist has been firing on all cylinders for a few years now…with no signs of EVER slowing down!





SMOOVTH – Showcasing the most dexterous rap flows in the game, Hempstead, L.I.’s underground hero brings energy to every cut without even breaking a sweat. No one can compete with the controlled confidence SmooVth exhibits on the mic. He bends words to his will and playfully bats around bars in such a carefree manner you would think rhyming was effortless. That’s the magic of the situation. It’s not pulling a rabbit out of a hat but it’s pretty damn close!





ILLPO – J Bond & Mundae Boones are lyrical war machines who ignite the scene with explosive rhymes powerful enough to take out an entire city! The North Carolina natives attack the mic with the ferocity of legendary crews like M.O.P. & Mobb Deep…but bring their own identity to the mix for hardcore selections that sound like they’re in the midst of a revolution. This one will be fully televised as ILLPO overthrow the commercialization of the industry to keep things rough, rugged, and raw!




JADEN CASTRO – Sometimes you just know that you’re listening to a star. That’s the way we felt when the lyricist first caught our attention as a member of CT power collective, The Voyagers. His clever rhyme schemes and instantly identifiable vocal tone transported us back to the hey day of The Hieroglyphics crew & Souls Of Mischief in particular. Last we heard, he was conquering new heights with an underground unit called UZOO. But whether part of a group or rockin’ solo, Jaden always manages to shine!





VEE SKEENO – The best emcees are the ones who pour their heart & soul into every track. Vee easily fits into this category by taking whatever issues he’s going through in his personal life & transforming them into art to be consumed by the masses. It’s a positive way to exorcise the demons within & it also makes him extremely relatable. The former Voyager is also one of the most diverse lyricists on the list. He can segue from boom bap to trap in no time flat & sound comfortable in both lanes. There’s no track that can shut down his flow. Vee’s talent is unlimited!






NOLAN THE NINJA – The ultimate beast in the booth. Detroit’s one-man wrecking crew demolishes his competitors & eviscerates what’s left of the survivors. The rapid fire flows alone will leave you in awe…but tack onto that the fact his bars are all composed of high quality content & it becomes evident that Nolan’s in it for the long haul. Promoters better make him the headliner on EVERY tour ’cause no other artist will want to follow that heat!






BEANZ – The Reading, PA power lyricist delivers top of the line rhymes each & every time! With her aggressive, take-no-prisoners approach on the mic, she effectively conveys the hardcore street element missing from the genre. Aside from her proficiency on the mic, Beanz also has a great sense of style and personality to spare! We won’t be surprised when she starts selling out arenas & makes the big leap into feature films. The talent is obvious…and it can’t be contained!






– Kevin Keith