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It’s been a minute since we did this. And things have changed. A lot.

The FlyPaper 6-1-4 Hip Hop Power Ranking spotlights the best music the city has to offer, in our humble yet informed opinions. Like always, the 6-1-4 ranking asks, “What have you done for me lately?” Our goal is that you get a sense of Columbus hip-hop and the direction it’s going from these top 11 artists, as well as the honorable mentions that follow. 

It’s important to know, having juice in the city is not just about putting out really dope music. It’s also not just about having a solid fan base and dope marketing. The most valuable members of the City’s hip hop culture are those who know how to do both and with this Power Ranking, we attempted to measure those who did exactly that.

If you’re not familiar with how the 6-1-4 works, we group 11 artists into three different groups. The “6” are the artists who have been working hard, grinding and hustling. Their music is respectable and they are relentless in pushing it and trying to grow their artistry. They perform at quality shows. They put out high volumes of music. They create and generate press for their art. They interact with their fans and reward people for supporting them. The “6” is a group of people that understands that being a great rapper means valuing the relationship between the fan and the artist.

The “1” and the “4” are essentially the top 5, most valuable artist in the city. These are the ones who have the juice, right now. They are responsible for making some of the best music in the city, pushing the culture forward with dope shows and collaborations and making power moves.

If anyone asks who’s really killing shit in the city right now, send them here. We’re more than happy to tell them what’s up.

As it is now, here are the 6-1-4 hip hop power players:

The 6 By Lynds – OG Vern, Pimpin Pat, Trek Manifest, Devin XO, Tripp Fontane, Darrio Lamont

The rappers we chose to spotlight in the 6 are the upcoming artists that are on the rise that you should be checking for.

OG Vern is a young kid on the scene that recently released his song “Man In The City.” He will be performing at Breakaway fest this upcoming September.

Pimpin Pat is a newer, risqué artist on the rap scene with crazy street buzz. His latest project #WholeLotOfPimpShit is available on iTunes.

Trek Manifest is  veteran whose lyrics will draw you in with his fast yet smooth flow. You can hear his flow in his recently released song “Sprng Cleaning.”

Devin XO is a vibrant artist who just released his new song “Give Love,” promoting positive vibes and loving yourself.

Tripp Fontane is a hip hop artist from Dayton, Ohio who resides here in Columbus. He recently released his song “12 Hours/The Come Down” and will be going on tour all over the US starting in July.

Darrio Lamont is an artist who’s been around for some time, leads a hip hop conglomerate and still manages to churn out some of the highest quality music in the city. His recently released and critically acclaimed project ULTRA is available on iTunes and all streaming services.

The 1 by T. Nichole – Big James

Big James’s recently released project FRVRGOLD, alongside Kent and Sean Starks, is one of the best projects the city dropped this year. After giving the project some time from its initial release, we still have FRVRGOLD in rotation, and we attribute that greatly to Big James’s growth behind the mic.

And this isn’t just an opinion of our own. Big James is on a city-wide takeover, and as he says, the support of his close friends has become the support of the city: “All of my other homies around me have helped me spread the music to the people, whether it’s tweeting my links, playing my music at the functions, or just simply telling people about the movement,” he says. “Everybody in my circle brought their own audience with them and we just found a way to bring it all together to create a whole movement.”

He’s more than just one. When talking about Big James, you also have to talk about Zac Fresh, Sean Starks, and the Mouf Worldwide clothing brand, because they’re right in tow in this takeover. Altogether we see an ascension that’s unmatched in the city. Take a listen to FRVRGOLD and decide for yourself.

The 4 by EhKees – Vada, Correy Parks, TrigNo, and Nes Wordz

Vada – It was really hard for us to decide who belonged as the one and Vada was heavily debated as belonging as THE guy. Beyond being a legend in the city and despite making music over ten years, Vada continues to command the respect of his peers, the attention of younger listeners and a fandom that crosses international lines. Stature aside, Vada put out a EP, “20s Go For Nix”, that we ranked as nearly perfect. There aren’t many rhyme-spitters in the city that can do what Vada does behind the mic, from the lyrical ability to artistic creativity that he employs. We recognize his talent and star power. Listen to 20s Go For Nix here.

Correy Parks – Correy Parks was one of the first artists that we covered at FlyPaper last year when we named him the 1 in the city. Despite not putting out a lot of new music recently, he continues to grow his fandom here in the city and spread his name. His hard work has made such a reputation for him, that even though he does not have any new BODIES of music out, his name still is thrown around anytime Columbus rappers are discussed. Correy continues to receive top billing at festivals and shows and is definitely one of the torch carriers for the city right now.

TrigNO – This time last year, we hardly heard of TrigNo the rapper. We’d heard of the guy who danced really nice but didn’t know that he could kick rhymes with the best of them. An innovative social media marketing strategy brought him to our attention and when we listened to his project TrigKNOW 2, we were blown away by the uniqueness of his sound and the strength of his bars. Now, not only can we not get enough of him, but he also is everywhere: performing at shows in venues big and small, popping up as a featured artist on other rapper’s projects, providing hook work, dancing, or just supporting other performers as a show attendee. TrigNO is one of Columbus’ fastest rising talents.

Nes Wordz – One of the Columbus’ best-kept secrets is the “Stupid Genius” known as Nes Wordz. Like Vada, Nes is a veteran in the Columbus hip-hop scene, (one of the first projects I ever heard from him came out while I was in highschool over 7 years ago), so he’s not new to this. In the last couple of years though, we’ve seen him elevate his star power up to a level that we have no choice but to include him as one of the 5 most important in the city. From gracing the covers of magazine, to putting out TWO quality projects in the span of a couple of months, to headlining one of the biggest local festivals in the city this summer, Nes has been working. In Feburary, after being named as one of the only rap acts apart of the Bands You Should Watch, Nes rocked a sold-out audience in Skully’s, effectively moving a multi-cultural crowd. That’s juice.

We Also Have Love For…

Of course, we had to leave some people out. However, as the city continues to flourish, this is a problem we hope to continue to have. Columbus is much more than these 11 artists, and with that in mind, we present our honorable mentions, folks who are bound to take spots in the coming months and continue to push the city forward as a whole.

Bobby Biz

Bree The Rapper

Kid Crave

Yogi Split

Tribe

Joey Aich

Alexander Dreamer

Velly

Tae Fresh

Tobilla

Brady

Dominique Larue

If nothing else, FlyPaper is always down for a debate, and this list is no exception. Tell us how you feel on IG, on Twitter or in the comments below.

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