Music Festivals

Eight Acts You Shouldn't Sleep On Ahead of Rolling Loud 2022

Ken Carson is on his way to rap superstardom.
Ken Carson is on his way to rap superstardom. Photo courtesy of CAA
This time of year, it always feels like everybody and their mother starts itching to find out all the set times and stage placements for their favorite rappers on Miami's Rolling Loud lineup. To be fair, it makes sense to want to be in the right place at the right time.

The last thing you want is to be stuck in line at the water station when the one song you've been bumping on SoundCloud all year starts blaring at a stage 500 feet away.

Underneath the headliners in giant print, several genre-bending standouts are pulling from outlandish influences and pushing the boundaries of what's considered rap in 2022. Whether they've had a cult following for years or just starting to carve their own path, there's so much talent on this year's lineup that deserves an avid audience.

Here are eight artists performing at Rolling Loud you should consider checking out at hip-hop's most celebrated music festival.

Babyxsosa

The angelic melodies of 21-year-old, Richmond-born artist Babyxsosa are downright intoxicating. Sosa's sharp feminity reflects in her high-pitched voice that drifts over dreamy plugg beats courtesy of the eccentric New York City rap group Surf Gang. She's an anomaly, and she knows it, and the music in her catalog epitomizes the carefree, do-it-all-by-myself headspace she often finds herself in. Her new track "Facetime / Texting" is worthy of repeat listens.

Bktherula

Atlanta's Bktherula truly takes a stab at whatever she sees fit. On "Gango," the 19-year-old melds indie-rock sensibilities with jagged trap-influenced lyricism. More often than not, Bk raps like a high-school senior who pushes kids into lockers for fun (see "Santanny"). Honestly, she's cool as hell. She's built herself up by going against the grain, and her raw energy is something worth experiencing.

Destroy Lonely

Does anybody in rap right now have an ear for beats like Destroy Lonely? Orchestral showpieces and Genshin Impact samples feel at home under Lonely's unorthodox croons about designer fashion pieces that cost too much money. Let yourself adjust to the Atlanta native's off-kilter rhyming patterns until you fall in love with them. The first listen to "Hldmyhnd" is an out-of-body experience. Seriously.

Homixide Gang

Homixide Gang's Homicide Beno! and Homicide Meechie rap about precisely what you'd expect them to. On sinister, synth-heavy beats the Atlanta duo has at its disposal, the pair never fails to crazy every single time. Beno! and Meechie trade malign, monotone verses over ear-splitting arcade loops and crunchy bass, setting themselves apart from the recycled tropes of Southern rap. The beat on "Step Daddy" sounds like your speakers are fighting through a stomachache.

Ken Carson

Ken Carson's trajectory is already pointing toward superstardom. His debut album, Project X, is a drug-fuled kaleidoscope that shows listeners they don't have to be so serious about everything. The perpetually smiling Atlantan's simplistic flows and lyrics mesh really well with his affinity for bouncy, synthetic production. Carson is as good as anybody at getting a crowd jumping, and tracks like "Butterfly" feel like a sugar rush.

Lancey Foux

London's Lancey Foux is easily the most exciting international export to hit Rolling Loud this year. If his accent didn't already set him apart from the playing field, his chameleonic flows and cadence make him stand out. His catalog is tinged with alternative R&B undertones, but Lancey is fully capable of sliding on distorted bass and 808s with reckless abandon. His feature on Yeat's "Luv MonĂ«y" might be his best verse.

Lucki

At this point in his career, Lucki doesn't need much of an introduction. The Chicago-born vanguard has cemented himself in underground folklore since the early 2010s and is often touted as one of the most respected artists in his lane. In short spurts, he mellowly raps anecdotes detailing heartbreak, drug binges, and SRT joyrides. More than anything else, the music is hypnotizing. For every project full of melancholic requiems, there's a trunk-rattler like "Tune & Scotty" in the mix.

UnoTheActivist

Since his emergence in the underground Atlanta scene in 2015, UnoTheActivist has shed his skin time and time again. The 26-year-old has evolved from an understated, low-toned emcee into a dynamic vocalist with a wickedly fluid delivery. Uno's frosty layers of Auto-Tuned vocals over glitchy synths feel refreshing. "Die of Old Age" is a criminally underrated track that stands out in his already loaded discography.

Rolling Loud 2022. Friday, July 22, through Sunday, July 24, at Hard Rock Stadium, 347 Don Shula Dr., Miami Gardens; 305-943-8000; hardrockstadium.com. Tickets cost $349 to $1,414 via rollingloud.com.
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Olivier Lafontant is an intern for Miami New Times. He's pursuing a bachelor's in digital journalism at Florida International University. He specializes in music writing and photography and got his start as a writer for South Florida Media Network in 2021.