Los Angeles is an ever-changing highway filled with artists sitting in proverbial traffic.
The plethora of artists stubbornly merging onto the shoulder they believe is the fast lane to fame and riches is always entertaining. The smart ones, however, carve their own lane entirely. Although they may experience more bumps along the road initially, it always seems to clear up at the right moment when you’re original.
By now most have heard the name of L.A.’s brightest new stars such as Blueface, Roddy Ricch, Shoreline Mafia, perhaps even Watts’ very own Ambjaay who’s viral “Uno” song inspired dozens of knock-off versions and had plenty of artists attempting to rap in Spanish, thus bottlenecking the bilingual song lane.
Starting this month, I am going to highlight a few artists from Los Angeles that are carving out their own distinct lane, making noise equivalent to city workers standing on jackhammers.
Being a Latinx rapper who doesn’t get labeled as a Chicano rapper is a task very few Latinx rappers from L.A. have been able to accomplish, B-Real comes to mind, so does newcomer OhGeesy of Shoreline Mafia, and Bravo The BagChaser appears to be next with a wide and diverse cult fan base that is helping him break the mold, creating something completely new.
Bravo is an 18-year-old rapper from North Hollywood who’s amassed a large following over the past year due in part to his prolific output and hard-hitting tracks. Every week or so, Bravo sporadically shoots out a new video or song from his content cannon creating a loyal and dedicated fan base. Already collaborating with Shoreline Mafia’s Fenix Flexin’ on a few songs including “Freestyle” and an upcoming “BravoFlexin” project and hitting millions of views regularly. He’s in the carpool lane doing 100 miles per hour.
White John is Inglewood’s newest rapper tailgating rap stardom’s bumper. Before he bragged about eating Fogo de Chão off a CC, he was already notorious in his section. As Inglewood’s current rising star Rucci mentioned in his video interview with No Jumper’s Adam22, White John is a white dude from North Inglewood who was getting money that recently decided to rap.
His first single “Out On Bail” was extremely well received, especially because it was based on a true story. A video of John knocking someone out cold on Melrose went viral in Los Angeles. He was later arrested and the rest is history. Since then, his output has remained consistent, performing a few times a month at various showcases across Los Angeles and being featured on songs with D Savage, then releasing “Showtime” an extremely strong follow-up single with a fascinating visual shot by Mr. Realmovie.
Feefa is a true bilingual beast on the mic. The Salvadoran-American rapper/singer/songwriter has been creating music for years, but it seems to all be coming together for him now. Having performed at multiple festivals this year including SXSW in Texas, Real 92.3’s Real Street Fest, and the Confederacíon Centroamericana festival in Los Angeles as they celebrated the inauguration of the El Salvador Community Corridor i10 freeway exit. He’s written and collaborated with the likes of Cypress Moreno, Ratchetòn of Republic records, Kalan.frfr and even ‘Orange Is The New Black’ star, Jackie Cruz. His most recent release “Nada Mas” with Chris O’Bannon is being spun in stadiums, clubs, and radio shows throughout the city. His sound might be the true bridge between west-coast rap music and reggaeton.
As the rest of L.A. zooms to their destination, one can imagine J.R. Cruise in the far right lane inside a classic car cruising to his destination with the system thumping, blowing smoke out the window with the confidence of Superman at a cape convention. Cruise is taking the scenic route to superstardom, not relying on the strength of one viral single, rather releasing a strong project titled “Seeds” and following them up with creative visuals such as “Mary Kate”. Sonically, you can draw a line from the smooth-talking DJ Quik, Suga Free, and Dom Kennedy as his influences, thus filling a void not being occupied in today’s LA music scene.