In most musicians' stories, the awkward journey to becoming a household name involves being a neighborhood and local sensation first. But that doesn't mean that these indie-level rap artists don't possess the talent and skill of bigger stadium acts.
But that does make finding the best, new indie rap difficult.
So we did the digging for you to find the top, hottest, indie rap songs that have been released so far in 2022 so that you can stay ahead of the game.
Because as young as it is, rap is no different from the other genres when it comes to discovering dope new indie talent, with artists like Macklemore, Nipsey Hussle, and Curren$y representing the independent work.
2022 is full of a few notable emcees and songstresses whose music encapsulates the hero's journey from local legend to full-time musician and they all have earned their spot on our latest list of the best indie rap songs that have been released this year (...so far at least).
GodBodyScience: “Whitley’s Interlude”
Producer and emcee GodBodyScience first came onto the music scene in 2007 as an emcee and in the years since his first project, donned both hats as an emcee and producer.
His song, “Whitley’s Interlude” pays homage to the television character, Whitley Gilbert, played by Jasmine Guy on the show A Different World.
Chock full of 90s character references juxtaposed with today’s issues, the song is sure to remind old and new listeners why they loved the show and chose HBCUs.
CashUs King: "Sit Calm"
Leimert Park emcee CashUs King has been a fixture on LA’s underground scene since 2009 when his debut album Before I Awoke, earned him an LA Times feature.
In preparation for his newest album, The Weight of Wind, he’s dropped a slew of singles, including the pun-laden record, “Sit Calm” featuring Jeff Johnson.
The song personally name-checks popular sitcoms from the last thirty years and presents them in a witty and hilarious manner.
Hailing from Phoenix, Arizona, Hercc’s rise to the top of the rap charts has been a slow and meticulous grind. His biggest single to date, “Jesus”, elevated his star, earning over 140,000 streams on Spotify, and introduced him to a larger audience.
His newest project, Heartbreak Hercc 2, and the song, “Missing You”, present his patented brand of vulnerability and introspection.
Lil Yellow: “Groove”
The founder of Yellow Nation, Miami bred emcee Lil Yellow opened up a new lane, blending smooth vocals and fluid raps over calm lo-fi production. Songs like “Groove” invite listeners into his world and his talent for making popular radio-friendly music.
His newest song, “Dance” makes it on our list as it builds on the tradition of groovy, feel-good music for those who love the sounds of Silk Sonic and Lucky Daye.
Emerging from the new musical tradition of R&B singers like The Weeknd and Arin Ray, Heem’s music fuses the pain and at times the toxicity of love and life and makes it appealing.
His newest project, After the Party, and single, “Cake” focuses on both the sensual and seductive element of the chase.
Who Got You
Da’Mont: “Who Got You”
Inspired to rap by artists like J.Cole and OutKast, Da’Mont’s sole goal is to shed light on the alternative rap sound in the Dallas Fort-Worth Texas scene.
His most recent single, “Who Got You” examines the relationship between trust and hard times and asks the simple question of who's there when you need them?
King Bogus the Monarch: “Cut My Heart Out”
An emcee from Georgia’s first city, Savannah, King Bogus the Monarch has been a staple on the Georgia music scene since his early days as the AUC’s(Atlanta University Center) top rapper.
His newest single, “Cut My Heart Out”, off his project, Death of A Simp, takes the common lamentations men use in love and builds on it in an honest and curious way.
Macon, Georgia emcee cAm is a part of a new generation of emcees from Georgia eager to represent Macon’s growing alternative rap scene.
His single, “Vibe”, off his debut project, Boxed Out, features his partner in rhyme, Hypnotic Phophet.
The song mirrors the youthful energy of our early twenties when we all wanted to relax and unwind with our friends and substances.
Willie J The Artist: “Black Magic”
Soulful and soothing, Willie J The Artist’s music is one part political and spiritual in a way that authentic and natural.
His newest single, “Black Magic” gives honor to the darker hued men and women of the world while paying homage to the popular moniker the culture has adopted.
Nani Goins: “Happy Ending”
Baltimore native and Atlanta transplant Nani Goins is a vocalist gaining traction for her silky vocals and range.
Her recent single, “Happy Ending” explores a familiar topic of a failed relationship, but her rich voice elevates the pain and anxiety of the song.
Kiddo Frm the Westside: “YOP”
Producer and emcee Kiddo Frm the Westside has played a crucial role in much of the Westside of Atlanta’s rap scene, as a ghostwriter and producer for everyone you can think of.
His upcoming single, “YOP”, is set to be released this June on all platforms.
Jalani: “July 11”
Southside Atlanta rapper Jalani has been dropping music for the last eight years and has managed to grow a substantial buzz.
His newest single, “July 11” which features Thvrd focuses on the struggle of an indie artist unwilling to rap about the convention Atlanta topics as a rapper.
Milli Tosh: "Fly Down"
Milli Tosh is another rapper from Atlanta's Westside community. His most recent project, Borderline 2, features collaborations from some of Atlanta's notable underground emcees including Kiddo From the Westside.
Their song, "Fly Down" finds the two inviting a beautiful woman to a life of luxury.