Arizona isn’t exactly known nationally for its rap scene. Phoenix isn’t New York and it’s not Los Angeles. However, Phoenix, like other cities such as Kansas City, Atlanta, and Houston, has its own flare when it comes to hip-hop. Rappers coming up in the valley of the sun have their own style and their own culture that distinguishes them from their LA or Detroit counterparts. Rappers in Phoenix have carved out their own lane in recent years, putting Phoenix on the map to the rest of hip-hop culture. For those who love underground hip hop artists and independent music, you should be sure to check out these rising stars from Arizona.
Born in Bloomington, Illinois, Futuristic currently resides in Tempe where he has emerged as an up and comer in the Arizona rap scene. His resume is already loaded with accolades as he has previously opened up for some huge names in the industry such as Mac Miller, MGK, Hopsin, and Dizzy Wright. Considered one of the leading figures in the Arizona rap scene, Futuristic’s videos on youtube have amassed over 25 million views. His new album, Zachary Lewis is out now.
Known primarily as battle rapper, battling on stage at Smack URL events, the Phoenix native has put out a number of songs over the years such as “Bodied” and “A1.” Rum Nitty’s style is heavily based on punch lines and is known for his double entendres both on the battle stage and on records. Bar for bar, Rum consistently delivers some of the hardest punches in battle rap and his battles have racked up over 19 million views as a result.
While RoQy TyRaiD isn’t technically a native of Arizona, he always gives love and respect to the city that was instrumental in his come up. Tyraid’s first came onto the scene in the early 1990s and it shows. His style is a complete throwback to the early 90s era of hip-hop, with a smooth flow and emphasis on lyrics. His lyrical talents have reached and impressed some big names in the hip-hop world, including Sway of Shade 45’s Wake Up Show, DJ Green Lantern, and KRS-One.
One of the most successful Phoenix based rappers, Ali Tomineek, just 22 years old, has already made his own Netflix debut. Tomineek has been rapping since he was only 13. He gained notoriety from a series of videos he produced entitled Friday Flow. His videos went viral and from there he began to gain local acclaim as a rapper. Last summer he released his latest project I Ain’t Sorry … For the Wait. Last fall, Timineek’s song Level Up garnered the attention of director Michael Damian, who asked him and the song to be featured in his upcoming movie High Strung Free Dance. That same month, Tomineek appeared in the Netflix show Rhythm and Flow.
In 2018, this south Phoenix native made history becoming the first rapper to ever release a new song every day for an entire year, living up to his name. Everyday’s style is witty, humorous, and delivered at a fast pace, leading some to make comparisons to an early Lil Wayne. His first memories of rap came from his parents playing west coast rap. “Basically my parents were very young, so they were into partying and stuff like that. So, I think that’s how I heard a lot of music. They would listen to stuff like Snoop, Dr. Dre – lotta West Coast stuff. DJ Quik, stuff like that. Those would be my earliest memories,” he told RhymeBeat in an interview. During the same interview, Everyday briefly described one aspect of the Arizona rap game, saying, “A lot of people from Arizona only focus on the Arizona market which is why we may struggle. It’s a weird culture out here – a random culture
Originally from Tolleson, Joshua Cruz, aka Jacey Flames, is an up and coming rapper in the Phoenix Metro area. His lyrical content touches on a wide variety of subjects including overcoming personal struggles, self reflection, and spreading positivity. A year ago Flames released his first single titled “Behind The Music EP” and last summer put out an album entitled “Good Vibes” and at the end of this month he will be releasing a new single called “Growth”.
Mega Ran moved to Arizona in 2006 and ever since has been a popular name among Arizona underground hip hop artists. His name is a tribute to the video game character, Mega Man. The rapper briefly went under the name Random. In 2009, he collaborated with Camcom and was featured on a hip-hop alternate soundtrack to the hit game Marvel vs Capcom 2. In 2013, Mega Ran continued his involvement in nerdcore rap culture by lending his vocals for a track on the video game, Monaco: What’s Yours is Mine, and performing at the first ever Halo 4 Championships.
Originally from Tempe, Mouse Powell now operates out of downtown Phoenix, a scene that he believes, while still trying to find its identity, has huge amounts of potential in the rap game. Despite opportunities to go elsewhere, Mouse has remained loyal to the Phoenix area. In 2018, he held his album release party at the Crescent Ballroom in Phoenix. In an interview with the Phoenix New Times, Powell described the Arizona music scene saying, “There is a Target and a Starbucks on every corner. As Phoenix grows outward or the west side goes inward, something is going to have to happen. When it happens, who the fuck knows.” Powell’s two latest singles, White Rapper and Ten Seconds ft. Shanker are both out now.
While the Phoenix music scene may be tougher to navigate then others, there’s no doubt that the area is replete with a variety of underground hip hop artists, new and old, who continue to push sound of the Valley.