The city of Baltimore is ingrained with a rich culture of arts, especially in music.
From jazz legends Billie Holiday and Chick Webb, to R&B stars Dru Hill and Mario, Charm City has achieved success on the biggest stages. When it comes to hip-hop, the city has achieved marginal mainstream success historically. But now, a resurgence of artists are receiving national recognition. Across multiple genres, Baltimore is making waves in music, here are five artists to watch.
East Baltimore rapper CTM Ball made a splash regionally with “Cut Throat Money” his rendition of rapper O.T. Genasis’ hit “Cut It”. Ball’s 2016 mixtape “Sandwich Bags & Scales Reloaded” has thrust him to the pinnacle of the Baltimore scene. Ball combines a slick flow with raw street tales over hard-hitting production.
Rapper Martina Lynch is the first lady of Out The Mud, the East Baltimore imprint spearheaded by local rap star Young Moose. Lynch first made waves in the city as a poet, before appearing on Moose’s “No Sunshine”, a tribute to slain Baltimore native Freddie Gray.
Martina Lynch is a poet turned rapper who is making waves in the Baltimore rap scene. (Courtesy photo)
Lynch’s consciousness makes her stand out among Baltimore emcees who are more concerned with material things, but she possesses the versatility to make upbeat tracks for club and radio. Lynch’s 2016 single “Laugh in Ya Face” was featured in the Baltimore Sun’s 2016 mixtape of essential songs.
Rapper Young Moose is arguably the most notorious rapper in the city of Baltimore. Moose has seen regional success behind his 2014 single “Dumb Dumb,” and got the attention of major players in the rap game. He’s even affiliated with Baton Rouge rapper Boosie Badazz, who participated in the #FreeMoose campaign that began after Moose was incarcerated in 2016. Legal troubles are Moose’s biggest problem, having faced an array of gun and drug charges over the years. But with his recent release, Moose can harp on his allure and reclaim the title of King of Baltimore.
JPEGMAFIA is unique, showcasing the thin line between being controversial and polarizing. His 2016 album “Black Ben Carson” is a beautiful fusion between political and gothic hip-hop, combining grungy beats with jaw-dropping crude lyrics. Beneath the surface lies plenty of substance and consciousness, making JPEGMAFIA an artist worth listening to. Receiving attention both locally and nationally, JPEGMAFIA is the perfect artist to kill stereotypes of what a Baltimore rapper looks and sounds like.
Baltimore rapper Abdu Ali is making waves on the Baltimore rap scene, and it’s not because he’s gay. Ali bears an incredibly unique sound and flow, combining hip-hop with the house music sound Baltimore is known for. The conscious, free-spirited emcee creates catchy tracks, as evident by 2016’s “I’m Alive”. Ali’s 2016 debut project “Mongo” was released to much acclaim, even generating a feature from national publications.