Here are our picks for the 6 best projects from hip hop’s new wave.

2018 has proven to hands down be the best year in terms of artist development, and the industry has been blessed with some big time content from hip hop’s younger gen. We’re seeing superstars being made in front of our eyes, and as the weeks go on, they’re only getting bigger. This is paving way for new talents to rise, but 2018 displayed some of the hottest talent thus far. There’s some big names on this list, who have clearly reached a mainstream status through their content they’ve put out this year alone. Check out our list and see what you think for yourself, and start the conversation on our Twitter at @RhymeHipHop.

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J.I.D – DiCaprio 2

Dreamville’s J.I.D has kept 2018 under his belt as his most progressive yet, reaching some big numbers on streaming charts. He ended the year with a bash, releasing his sophomore studio album to the world. He perfectly displayed how the new wave of artists can pave a path of quality content while still cleaning the plate on streams. His brilliance lies in the lyricism we hear and the intriguing production that keeps the listener guessing what’s coming up next. The distinct flows and melodies combined with some of the most unique production we’ve heard from that label are a sure set for success, and it’s a no brainer why critics are going nuts over this one. JID is well on his way to mainstream success, but his second LP proves his stance and competence over the entire industry.

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YNW Melly – I AM YOU

YNW Melly has proved his status in the hip hop industry quite sporadically, but never let that undermine the talent brought from the Florida rapper. He’s from the small town of Gifford, FL, and it’s safe to say nobody’s doing it like Melly in the South. His eccentric bars as he speaks on his trials and tribulations are a perfect mix with the unique production found on I AM YOU. Melly paints a vivid picture of death, money, and a strive for success in hip hop. He’s picked up a ton of steam after “Murder On My Mind” went viral, and is now working with some big cosigns. The young artist is on the right path with this project, and each single portrays the hardships of many of his peers. Despite his overwhelming lyrical content, his vocal talent is at high competence to compete with many artists as he progresses his career. Take a listen to his newest project if you haven’t already heard it.

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Ski Mask The Slump God – Stokeley

Ski Mask has come up in the game as one of the most singular and unique through crude vocals and lyrics. He doesn’t seem to stop on Stokeley, where he perfectly shows off everything his image stands for. The dizzy speeds from his flow are met with deep production, while he also steps out of his comfort zone for more spacial tracks like “So High”. His corny adlibs and lyrical references keep his audience in tact, and there’s no question why his fanbase is one of the most loyal in the entire industry. He doesn’t dwell on his ecstatic bars, rather he keeps leverage through never compromising his sound for a mainstream track. Each single brings something new to the table, where Ski is faced with challenges as an artist. He portrays his mindset, his attitude, and his overall stigma to the listener quite vividly. 2018 was a great year for the young rapper, but we can expect a mainstream takeover come 2019.

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Trippie Redd – A Love Letter To You 3

We knew we were not going to be unimpressed when Trippie Redd released the third installment to his A Love Letter To You series, which is practically what shot him to the mainstream. It all started with singles off of 1 & 2 that raked in massive streams on his Soundcloud, so we knew the third one would be stashed with some of his best content yet. He released his debut studio album Life’s A Trip this year as well, but nothing goes as deep as the lyrics in ALLTY3. He and his ex-girlfriend Angvish broke up a few months back, so we take a dark look into the mind of Trippie Redd post-breakup. He portrays the tribulations of love, lust, and loyalty. Each single offers an intriguing message that resonates with so many of his fans. He takes the emo-rap stigma out of the picture, and instead delivers an extreme contemporary R&B styled project. The flows and production are unmatched in terms of distinction, where Trippie claims one of the most unique to keep the ball rolling even through mainstream needs. His deep thinking is the competent Trippie we’ve seen evolve over the past year, and he may have officially found his sound.

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Lil Skies – Life Of A Dark Rose

Soundcloud curator and mainstream rapper Lil Skies has came up in 2018 as arguably one of the hottest talents we’ve seen in a while, and through quality content he’s persevered to the masses. His superstardom status didn’t come easy, but it all started with one project. Earlier in January we received his breakout tape Life Of A Dark Rose, which included his major hits like “Nowadays” and “Red Roses”. He has since taken a leap of faith in his music, and it was all for the best. Since then he’s racked in a ton of big name cosigns, but he really proved his solo efforts on this project. The entire album is strung together with some of the most unique sounds and styles we’ve heard, yet Skies keeps his wits when it comes to the lyrical end. He never flails to hit a perfect bar, and his flows are keeping him as a top name to look out for in 2019. Let’s expect a mainstream takeover next year.

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Sahbabii – Squidtastic

Though he’s been under the shadows for about a year, that’s never going to undermine the talent from Sahbabii. His artistic way of portraying love, lust, gang life, and loyalty are just some of the reasons why Sah is making his waves in the industry. It all started with “Pull Up Wit Ah Stick”, then he proceeded with his fourth mixtape this year. The young artist is showing his full potential on this one, coming clean with a sound we’ve never heard before. His gritty yet flawless production is accommodated by Sahbabii’s extreme lyrics and soothing vocals. Each track brings something new to the table in terms of messages, but the entire album is strung together by a common concept and flow. His flow switches are apparent at a certain level, but his lyrics are what is giving him leverage on the rest of the game. It’s hands down his best project yet, and I’m not sure if there’s a skip on this one. Take a listen to his tape if you haven’t already.