First, we start off with Top Dawg ENT (or TDE), home to home of the best rappers out, Kendrick Lamar (who’s album Section.80 is slated to drop by the end of the year. Also home to Schoolboy Q, Kendrick’s homie, who dropped a top 12 release (Setbacks, peep this song. Jay Rock, whose name speaks for itself at this point. And Ab-Soul, who’s the 2nd best lyricist on the label. He can go bar for bar with Kendrick at times (peep this).
Next is Dom Kennedy (see this). He’s probably the most popular out right now and has a project dropping next week, From The Westside With Love 2. He’s a punchline rapper with oozing charisma.
Pac Div has been putting in work for a while. They just dropped their latest mixtape, Mania! a couple of months back peep this ill s***. They’ve been dropping fire for years now, still young too. I recommend checking out Church League Champions.
Blu is still nice, even though his new stuff sounds like pure garbo. I can’t imagine that you post here and not know who he is, but if not –>http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J9360pgDDrY . Not to mention he’s always laced with nice beats by CA producer Mainframe.
Strong Arm Steady is met with some criticism, but their last LP was very nice (Stoney Jackson) and they can consistently make enjoyable music —>http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V3_6vfQHTeo
Fashawn‘s last mixtape, Higher Learning 2 was very good imo, produced this little gem -> http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xApHbq5QrMg , his mixtapeBoy Meets World is very acclaimed around the interwebs, and rightfully so. Modern day classic imo, peep this too.
OFWGKTA is full of talent as you can see. Both on the rapping and beat making tip.
U-N-I is out of my homecity, Inglewood, and they’ve been overlooked for sometime now. Their series “A Love Supreme” is very well loved by their fans. Peep this fly s***. In the same breath, another Inglewood native, Shawn Chrystopher is just now receiving spotlight after releasing a slur of music, I personally like this one.
Mistah FAB is known for his hyphy song “Ghostride It”, but he’s so much more talented than that. His last mixtape is labeled fire by many, check this song off of it. Another Bay Area native, Locksmith, is set to drop an EP produced by Ski Beatz. Peep the first single off of it.
Evidence and Alchemist shouldn’t even have to be named, they’ve been putting in work for years. Not to mention The Alchemist just laced production on Curren$y’s latest project. Pure fire.
TiRon has been on the map for a minute, his projects KETCHUP and MSTRD are both good, peep some of his stuff off MSTRD here.
Cookin’ Soul are a production team out of LA. They did production on a re-do of Trademark & Young Roddy’s new songs of 2011. They also did work for Nipsey Hu$$le -> as you can see here. Speaking of Nipsey Hu$$le, his latest mixtape The Marathon is very good. Heaters like this all throughout. We’re just waiting on South Central State of Mind to drop, but his mixtape game has been very good thus far.
Lee Bannon and Chuuwee work together consistently. Great modern producer+rapper combo and not only that, but they also do well by themselves. Pure fire. Pick up Hot N Ready asap.
Casey Veggies who is an affiliate of Odd Future, young guy, just graduated high school and already has a notable buzz. chill ish right here.
L.A.U.S.D has a few nice spots, group member Polyester just dropped a new LP. Full of music to ride around to in an LA summer, this is just a taste.
Marz Lovejoy is one of the more notable female rappers out West. She makes enjoyable music, point blank. She has connects through Pac Div and is respected out in So.Cal, particularly San Diego –> http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oNurkJa1rSo and http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1tiFmTLK2m4
Producer Madlib is one of the GOATS and released a slew of projects throughout 2010 known as “The Madlib Medicine Shows”. And he’s not done yet, far from it. We’re watching a legend still in his prime, produced by Madlib.
Producer Flying Lotus has been a huge sensation lately, and rightfully so. He’s regarded as one of the better producers, I see comparisons to Dilla often. I don’t like to make the connection between the two, but hey, they’re both dope.
Exile has produced two of the greatest rap albums of the 00s (both of which are by Cali artists mentioned in this post). Not to mention one of the best beat tapes of all time, Radio
Jake One produced one of the best albums of 2010, The Stimulus Package. Along with his great LP “White Van Music” before. Peep this hotness off The Stimulus Package.
Georgia Anne Muldrow and Dudley Perkins are classic acts, relatievly new acts, but they’re still classic. They have a truly classic sound. It’s frustrating that they don’t get recognition. As a matter of fact, all of Stones Throw Records roster is mostly underground fire, Aloe Blacc, Dam-Funk, J Rocc, etc.
Dela released a top 3 album of 2011 so far imo, Translation Lost. Fire all throughout with guest spots by Blu. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xa0KhfWM7zw and http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fKpI9FRwKBI.
Hit-Boy and Swiff D are two pretty big producers out West. One just signed with Kanye West’s GOOD Music, the other is Pac Div’s go to guy.
I think Murs name goes without mentioning, he dropped a nice project last year and a 2011 fun project with Cali producer Terrace Martin who has been releasing NOTHING BUT HEAT in 2011 so far. (all of those words are their own link, listen to them).
I feel like I’m missing people. And I didn’t even mention Lil B.
Underground West Coast rap – hell, Cali rap alone – (I didn’t even mention any West Coast acts outside of Cali, like Blue Scholars) is just firing on all cylinders right now and can go toe-to-toe with any whole region.