Must-Listen-To Music

On ILLogicalHipHop, I will mostly try to highlight new songs and artists, or at least songs and artists that are new to me. Although I am already familiar with the artists on this page, I feel like I need two make it for two reasons: 1) to give you a sense of the type of music you will find on this site, and 2) because I feel that everyone should listen to these artists, who make some of the best music I have come across so far. The collection of rappers here may seem random, and it probably is, but it’s what I like, and part of the reason I like it is probably because these artists’ sounds are so varied.

J. Cole

Cole is one of the best rapping today. He is arguably the best storyteller in the game, which became clear on his first 3 mixtapes, The Come Up, The Warm Up, and Friday Night Lights. One of my favorite things about J. Cole is that he produces almost all of his own songs. After his 3 incredible mixtapes, Cole’s debut album featured more of a mainstream sound because his label, Jay Z’s Roc Nation, wanted him to gain a larger following. Hopefully Cole will to get back to his usual raw sound on his upcoming album, Born Sinner, and a rumored collaboration project with Kendrick Lamar.


Logic is an up-and-coming rapper from the DMV area. He has released 3 mixtapes to date, Young, Broke, and Infamous; Young Sinatra; and Young Sinatra: Undeniable. He raps on topics that range from his troubled upbringing, to women, to how he is the best doing it. Logic is signed to an independent label known as Visionary Music Group. Of all the rappers on this page, Logic is the one that I most recommend. If you call yourself a hip-hop fan but don’t like Logic, I will find it hard to respect your taste in music.

Childish Gambino

Childish Gambino is the rap moniker of actor/comedian/TV writer Donald Glover. His comedy background is obvious when you listen to his rhymes; he spits some of the most clever punchlines I’ve heard. If you want to literally laugh while listening to rap because of how creative it is, I suggest you listen to Freaks and Geeks or Bonfire. Besides being entertaining, Gambino also raps on real topics, especially on his most recent projects, Camp and Royalty.

Cam Meekins

Cam is the youngest and least established rapper on this list, at only 19 years old. He is from Wellesley, MA, a suburb of Boston. In 2012, he won a Boston Music Award for best new artist. I personally like Cam because I find his raps to be relatable, but he also puts out catchy songs, such as Youtube hits Rain and Cut Me Off. He is signed to the independent label Lamp City, and should be dropping an album by that name in the coming months.

Macklemore x Ryan Lewis

Macklemore is a breath of fresh air in hip-hop, making extremely socially conscious raps. The topics he has rhymed on range from drug abuse and alcoholism to consumerism. Very few other artists would even think about making such tracks. I don’t consider the multi-platinum Thrift Shop to be anywhere near Mack’s best work, and yet even that track shows how unique he is; most rappers brag about their expensive jewelry and clothing, not the hand-me-downs they bought at a thrift shop. Plus, it would be a crime not to mention that Ryan Lewis makes some nasty beats.


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