South Florida's rap scene is constantly evolving. Over the years, a wide range of notable hip-hop artists from Miami-Dade and Broward counties have churned out plenty of unforgettable music, and some have made a lasting impact on the genre. Yet in this era of social media and streaming, the playing field has expanded far beyond the limitations of the previous generation.
In 2022, the average artist isn't discovered by a record-label executive. They're coming up on streaming services with hopes of finding a spot on major playlists. They consistently post their music on TikTok, praying it goes viral that their idols will hear and repost it.
At the moment, a few acts are keeping SoFlo relevant in hip-hop — like Rick Ross, City Girls, Kodak Black, Pouya, and Denzel Curry. At the same time, we've seen a wave of fresh faces from the underground scene who have been doing the most in the studio and online, hoping to make a name for themselves locally and beyond.
In the past, New Times has highlighted artists on the rise regardless of how many Instagram or TikTok followers they have — and we're carrying that same energy into 2022, presenting a mix of experienced emcees and talented rookies who are on a hot streak.
Here, in alphabetical order, are ten acts that kept fans entertained with new music throughout 2021 and are poised to continue their success into the new year.
Miami's Apollo Lofton has spent the past three years building up his catalog. After serving up his album Truth Is I'm Terrified in 2020 (along with several other freestyles), he caught his big break. This past September, Lofton learned that OVO Sound founder Drake was dining in Miami Beach. He waited two hours outside the restaurant to introduce himself and his music to the Toronto rapper, blasting his freestyle over Drake's "No Friends in the Industry." He got good feedback, and when Drizzy followed him back on Instagram, Lofton knew it was the real deal. The Cuban-American rapper had already been making noise with songs like "Overthinking" and "Freedom," in which he speaks out about the recent conflict in Cuba. In 2022, Lofton is hitting the ground running. Shortly after New Year's Day, he revealed a sneak peek of his new video for "Never Trust a Soul," which premieres on January 13.
Eighty8 is preparing to take the world by storm in 2022. The North Miami rapper, who has toiled in the music industry since his teens, performing with the group 4th & Ocean, hit the block as Cash Money Records' newest signee last year. Eighty8 dropped his debut single "Hit" via the label back in August. The song allows him to flex on his haters with cocky bars and gives a glimpse of his vocal range on the hook. Shortly after the song hit the airwaves, Eighty8 dropped the official video for the track, which has since netted more than two million views. He followed that up by dropping a rare visual mixtape on YouTube, which offered clips of songs he's got in the vault, including "Trilly Wonka" and "Heartless."
Twenty-twenty-one was a breakthrough year for FCG Heem. After coming up at the beginning of the pandemic with projects like Street Virus and Letters to My People, the Fort Lauderdale spitta delivered his major-label debut, Neighborhood Poetry, via Republic Records. The 14-track album features Heem's best material thus far, like "Shinin" and "Believe in Me," along with features from NoCap, Toosi, and Rooh Shiesty. Shortly after the album dropped, Heem's name got even bigger, especially after his debut at Rolling Loud in Miami. Since then, the buzzing emcee has dropped two new songs, "Ball" and "AMG." Just before the new year, he posted an Instagram snippet of a new song that's set to drop in 2022.
There's no stopping Frank Kastle13 in 2022. Having built up his catalog over the past three years, the Little Haiti native won't be pumping the brakes anytime soon. In the past year alone, the face of 1313 Ent delivered tenacious bars in a handful of bangers, from "Pressure" to his latest single, "Make Em Say Uhh," as well as his most recent project, Check Inn Seazon 26 Vol.2: Imm So Lil Haiti. So far, he's shared stages with the likes of French Montana, Moneybagg Yo, and Tory Lanez and collaborated with fellow Miami rappers Kiddo Marv, Freese Cola, Billy Blue, and K. Charles, among others.
Mellow Rackz enters 2022 as the freshest face on Young Money's roster. From shedding her Mrs. Kapri persona to her short-lived engagement to Kodak Black, the rising rapper has flaunted her lyrical skills by effortlessly floating over every instrumental she's released over the past year. Don't let her beauty cloud your judgment. Her gritty delivery and enticing flows on songs like her debut single, "Diamonds," and her recent freestyle to Nardo Wick's "Who Want Smoke?" have the streets talking. The Broward native's collaboration with Icewear Vezzo, "Right Now," sheds light on her range as she channels her inner Rob Base while flexing her braggadocio bars. If you're not familiar with her music, catch up before she blows up.
Broward's own MF has been in the rap game for nearly a decade since the release of his 2012 project Lights Dreams & Nightmares. Over the years, he has concocted a litany of gritty rhymes for projects like America's Angel and songs like "Judgment." He's joined forces with several notable artists, including Project Pat, Don Logan (FKA Gunplay), and Jay Burna. In 2021, MF made more waves with his EP From Nothing Comes Everything, which includes collaborations with Smoke DZA, Doe Boy, Griselda’s Boldy James, and Miami rapper Bruno Mali. He's preparing to drop a new song and gearing up for his next project.
Nick Garcia is one of Miami's most consistent Cuban-American rappers. Since 2017, Garcia has been dropping a slew of bangers in English and Spanish that perfectly balance hip-hop and reggaeton. His versatile flows and outlandish bars stand out in every song he drops. In the past year alone, Garcia dropped 15 singles as well as his latest project, King of Kendall 2, which contains features from Drink Champs host DJ EFN, Don Logan, Spkilla, Andre Da Tippa, BeatsNDaHood, Gnautica, and Kairo Lavoe. At this rate, there's no way Nick Garcia will slow down in 2022. He's already released his first single of the year, "PYP," featuring Gnautica and Nixononthetrack.
No Jwettz has been in the game long enough to impress the masses with her work. Her dedication to crafting authentic bars for every hard-hitting beat she finds is clear from the second you hit play on her first project, Closer. Since she dropped her debut EP in 2019, fans have been able to hear the 23-year-old's lyrical skills progress with each project she's delivered, from Night Before Valentines to Recovery to Closer 2. In 2021, Jwettz came through like Frankie in F. Gary Gray's Set It Off with the video for her latest single and one of her hardest songs to date, "Dangerous." Before the new year, Jwettz revealed that the music video for her song "Lil Boothang" is on the way.
It's been a few years since rapper Rellyski dropped out of college to pursue his career in music. So far, he's doing pretty well for himself. Since his debut single, "Grip," in 2018, the Miami native has gained even more momentum by dropping a handful of singles like "On God" and "Repetition." His catchy wordplay over unique melodies eventually caught the attention of Bad Habit and Atlantic Records, which signed the rapper midway through 2021. Afterward, Rellyski released more bangers like "Flowers" and "Right/Left." He teamed up with fellow Dade County rappers Bushy B and Major Nine for Cedia's "Cost Me" before releasing his most recent single, "Spalding," produced by Go Grizzly and Mike Maven, in December.
Trapland Pat is unlike any other act to come out of South Florida. Since 2019, Pat has consistently delivered grimy bars and smooth cadences over an array of trap beats. Over the past three years, the Deerfield Beach native has been feeding his growing fanbase with singles like "Emergency" and "Dealings," along with four projects: Exit 41, Pak Man, Interstate Baby, and 2020 Vision. (The last two albums were released via Fredo Bang's imprint Bang Biz Productions/Create Music Group.) In 2021, Trapland Pat dropped his latest project, Thru Da Door, via Bang Biz, featuring collaborations with Kuttem Reese and Members Only rapper Kid Trunks. He's still pushing his latest single, "Boondocks," which dropped last month. However, on Instagram, Pat celebrated the anniversary of his song "Big Business" and teased a potential remix coming later this year.
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