Ever since the rap battle league Fliptop exploded on the Internet and garnered millions of hits—more than any battle league in the whole world, in fact—there has been a rise of hip-hop acts from the "internet underground." Armed with Soundcloud accounts, a new school take on beat production, and raps that aren't just mere rapid-fire flow, these artists have been working hard to carve out their own niche in the genre.
These are neither your Ja Rules nor even your Kanye Wests, but a whole new breed of hip-hop altogether.
Only a few people know the true identity of the anonymous rapper known as Calix. There have long been murmurs and speculations as to who Calix is, ever since he dropped his aptly titled first single "Intro," but who knows, really? Because much like the hacktivist collective Anonymous, it is the ideas in Calix's raps that are of importance. Unapologetic, barbed, and unafraid to be in your face, Calix spits pure hatred against our failed system, something we've all said angrily while watching the news. He has since released an album, dubbed Breakout Satirist, and played his first show just last August 27.
2) Emar Industriya
Raised in and by Dongalo (Wreckords), Emar Industriya—who sharpened his skills in the streets of Silang, Cavite—could be considered the Yin to Calix's Yang. While both emcees operate in the darker, shadier parts of hip-hop, Industriya's spoken word flow and old Tagalog ("Nagsasalpukang alimuom/ kaya tulala ka sa talata") contrasts with Calix's cruder and expletives-heavy bars. They are like two sides of the same coin, and we heard from the grapevine that they might be collaborating on a track soon. Fingers crossed.
3) Den Sy Ty
The Faceless Void—or so Den Sy Ty calls himself, among a myriad of other aliases—is poised to take over the rap game with the upcoming release of his mixtape Manila Circle Jerk. The semi-anonymous MC (what is it with local rap artists and anonymity?) takes potshots at the fakery surrounding the scene in Manila, and if any of his past singles are any indication, his rhymes are sure to ruffle some feathers. Playing with vocal manipulation, both pitched up and down, and backed with off-kilter beats front the best local producers we have today, Den Sy Ty creates his own atmosphere around his songs, capturing both the sound of alienation and anger. You're damn right the kids would love this.
4) OJ River
Out of everyone on this list, OJ River is the most likely to crossover and have mainstream success—that is, if he even wants any part of it. He not donly oes extremely well with his somewhat partner-in-crime- slash-producer Pope Fiction, OJ also finds himself flexing his own production skills apart from his rapping. What he's best known for though is his narcotic flow, best displayed in songs like "Blood On My Bapes" and "Marrawanna." With a steadily growing cult following, there is no way to go but up for this young Makati-based emcee.
5) NOFACE RECORD$
A newly formed group of rappers and producers mostly living in the south of the metro, NFR had people turning their heads with their mixtape $OUTH$IDE$WA666. Just barely a month old but already with four releases under their belts, alongside numerous single drops, this solid 10-man crew (possibly even more) could be compared to internet breakout sensations Odd Future or Team Sesh. One thing going for this collective though is its own slant that's altogether stoned, self-depreciating, and menacing. A weird combination, yes, but a combination that works really well for the group. With all bases covered, the rap collective is sure to hit home soon.