Hip-hop fans are familiar with the genre's historically influential cities such as Los Angeles, New York, and Atlanta. But there’s no question Broward County has become one of the best new areas for up-and-coming rappers. Whether they're making a name for themselves by dominating the SoundCloud rap microgenre or occupying the most recent XXL Freshman list, here are five rising Broward rappers you should know.
YNW Melly. Although his rise to popularity has been infamous, there’s no denying YNW Melly belongs on any list of up-and-coming rappers from South Florida. The 19-year-old is known for his melodic, AutoTuned sound that dances the line between SoundCloud rap and new wave R&B. Before he was arrested in connection with a double homicide of two friends in Broward, Melly recorded a song with Kanye West, “Mixed Personalities,” which was released on his mixtape We All Shine. In the months since Melly's arrest, the popularity of his music has skyrocketed. Most notable among his songs is “Murder on My Mind,” which went platinum soon after he was charged with murder this past February. He is being held without bond in Broward County Jail while awaiting trial.
Ski Mask the Slump God. The 22-year-old Ski Mask the Slump God is quickly ascending the ranks of notable rappers from South Florida after inking a deal with Republic Records and landing a spot on the 2018 XXL Freshman list. His most recent album — Stokeley, his birth name — has been climbing the charts thanks to smash hits such as “Faucet Failure.” He’s also been expanding his craft with some big-name features and collaborating with other rising artists such as Atlanta’s Lil Baby and Chicago’s Juice Wrld. Ski Mask and Juice Wrld seemed to really hit their stride in the studio together, so much so they decided to embark on a joint international tour this year.
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Robb Banks. Although Robb Banks was born in New York City, he more strongly identifies with his Broward County roots after moving to South Florida when he was 6. Making a name for himself among the Members Only crew, which includes artists such as Ski Mask the Slump God and the late XXXTentacion, Banks has been carving out his own lane in recent years. Along with fellow Broward rapper and 2018 XXL Freshman Wifisfuneral, the 24-year-old Banks recently released the album Conn3ct3d, for which they’re on a nationwide tour. They’re also set to perform at Rolling Loud Miami in May.
Koly P. Pompano Beach native Koly P, who sometimes goes by Kolyon, remains somewhat of an underground voice in Broward despite years of hard work promoting his craft. With a recognizable South Florida drawl and slang, Koly P's vocals skillfully and easily float over traditional piano-heavy beats. Born April 18, 1989, he grew up with fellow Broward native Kodak Black, and the two have a similar sound, but Koly P has certainly created his own path. After losing several friends to gun violence and being critically shot himself, Koly took a break from rapping to recover. Over the past year, he's been getting back in the game in a major way, tapping Florida icon Boosie for the 2018 hit "Downward Departure." Keep an eye out for Koly to continue his rise in 2019 with honest music about his life and struggles.
Lajan Slim. The 25-year-old Lajan Slim finds himself consistently on lists of up-and-coming Broward rappers and refuses to slow down. He flaunts his Haitian roots proudly in his stage name and his music — the word lajan means "money" in Kreyol. The video for his best-known song, 2016’s “Haitians,” has been viewed more than two million times and earned him a video appearance on Genius in 2017. Since then, Slim has continued to release mixtapes and albums, most recently Slime, which dropped in January. The 17-song project is laced with hard-hitting beats and fast-paced rhymes and unequivocally deserves a listen from any fan of South Florida rap.