The FlyPaper 6-1-4 Hip Hop Power Ranking ranks the best rappers the city has to offer, in terms of visibility, quantity, and quality of music. The 6-1-4 continues to ask, “What have you done for me lately?” and for the past 6 months, these 11 artists continue to do a lot for the city.
With dope marketing, a solid fan base, and dope music to match, we attempted to measure the hard work being put in. A note on the categories, for those unfamiliar:
The 6: 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 & 4: 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.
As always, we love a good debate. Hit us up on Twitter, Facebook, or IG and tell us what you think. And without further ado, here are FlyPaper’s 6-1-4 hip hop power players:
“When the best up, I get brought up / I come with the antidote”
If you’re plugged into the Columbus hip hop scene, you know that this statement is no exaggeration. TrigNO is apart of any “Best in the City” conversation, as his unique brand of artistry consists of hard-hitting bars, harmonies, melodies, dance moves and unforgettable stage presence. To say he’s multi-talented would be an understatement.
“When I listen to songs,” Trig explained in our Rawest 4mation cover story, “I try to understand the harmonies and melodies by singing the background vocals. That’s really helped me as I progressed and started making my own stuff.”
It’s because of this and his enviable ability to make really good records, that the whole city has been buzzing about the Northside Native.
Trig’s star power continues to ascend as he steals the show on posse cuts (records like “Cold Blooded,” “Therapy”), makes standout guest appearances on other projects around the city (“i670,” “Tetris”), and deliver on incredible performances all year long. Most notably this year, Trig collaborated with Sean Starks to put out Rawest4m, a 13-track album stacked with bars and dope production. Rawest4m is a project of the year contender for sure.
“I should charge these A&Rs with truancy / I’m the truth indeed / If I ain’t that, then sue me please but I don’t need your validation to succeed.”
If you’re talking about Columbus hip-hop today, the conversation should start with TrigNO. His 2017 epitomizes the spirit behind the FlyPaper 6-1-4 and he undoubtedly deserves the #1 spot.
– Written by Malcolm White
The 4 – Trek Manifest, Kashis Keyz, Greg Owens, and Sarob
Though ever consistent, Trek Manifest brought new energy to SPRNG SVNTEEN and its follow up, SMMR SVNTEEN. The MC continues to show us that even as a vet, he’s never falling off. The latter half of the year saw Trek performing at the sixth annual Creative Control Fest and his intimate unplugged show in November, along with a new track featuring Joey Aich, “Dreams and Routines.”
Kashis Keyz showed an insane work ethic these past 6 months. His Word Play Wednesdays series, where he dropped a new, no-nonsense track each week, went for 10 straight. That series gave us “Bullsh*t,” accompanied by a video released just a few weeks ago.
The flood of new music is matched with visibility all over the city. He opened for David Banner, contributed a verse on the heavy-loaded track “Therapy,” and continues to have all of the stage presence in the world for his Free Love shows every month.
It may come as a surprise to see a singer on this list, but Greg has given us so much more, by way of bars, production, and instrumentation. He boasts production credits on the cities biggest projects (FRVR Focused, Summer’s Over, Little Mi$$understood) and is responsible for two major posse cuts that made the rounds online. And we haven’t even got to Eclectic Soul, a clear local favorite, if not one of the best projects of the year period. Plus, the music video for the single “Wake Up” now clocks in at a smooth 5,800 views.
The later half of the year saw Sarob release his EP Seeing in the Dark to acclaim, leading to major playlist spots on Spotify, a set at the final ID Fest (accompanied by HakimArtNStuff) and the release of the video for his single “White Moon.” Though Sarob’s a Dayton native, he’s representing well for the Columbus scene too, so props to him.
– Written by T. Nichole
The Six – Sam Rothstein, Zac Fresh, Devin Xo, Big James
Sam Rothstein may be one of Columbus’ best kept secrets. We saw his Sad Los Angeles EP release in July, meanwhile his podcast “The Sam Rothstein Show” continues to feature big names in the city like The Dreamcatchers, Sarob, and Joey Aich, and his 614/216 Pipeline Shows have been great for the state of hip hop.
Trap’s John Legend made major moves in the last few months, with the release of his latest project, a heavy presence on Kent’s FRVR Focused, a set at Independent Music Fest, and the ever relevance of Mouf at Adult Swim (1 & 2) XL at Saloon.
There was no other rollout like DevinXo’s EP Coming Of Age this year. After releasing singles “Free Your Soul” and “Social Anxiety” earlier this year, he released the music video for the former, hosted a live band (with background singers) for his release show featuring Diamond Browne and Bizz, and performed at ID Fest to close out the summer.
Our former “The 1” Big James continues to be everywhere, including at XL and Adult Swim with Mouf, and on the recent bangers “Crushing” and “Aquarium.”
We had the opportunity to support Bree The Rapper in her rollout of her latest, Game Over, but it’s no credit to us the . And she’s barely let up in the following months, releasing the tracks “Shameless” and “DND Freestyle” in the same breath.
Since the Summer’s been Over, OG Vern has shown an insane work ethic. From Breakaway Fest to The Art of Hip Hop, Rebel’s Night and Native Tongues, he’s never not working and giving crowds his all.
-Written by T. Nichole
We also have love for…
The beauty about Columbuus right now is that there are a number of artist who deserve to be on this 6-1-4 Power Ranking. Even if they aren’t listed above, there are many artists making good quality music in the city and deserve your listen.
(* = Designated Veteran On The Scene Who Commands Relevance Even When They Haven’t Recently Put Out Music)