We’re celebrating 50 years of hip-hop at the world’s largest hip-hop festival this Summer, and there’s obviously a lot to unpack. For starters, Travis Scott is headlining (again, following a stellar performance at Rolling Loud California earlier this year). 21 Savage is listed as a special guest for Saturday’s festivities, taking a break from his co-headlining tour with Drake to turn Miami upside down for one night only. Not to mention, after a five-year bid behind bars, 03 Greedo is celebrating his triumphant return with a set at this year’s event.
With so much happening at once, it’s exciting to see promising prospects share the same stage as hip-hop titans. There’s something to be said about Rolling Loud’s ability to uplift the up-and-comers just as much as legacy acts, and in return, festivalgoers are treated to an unforgettable experience.
This year’s bill for Rolling Loud Miami 2023 is stacked in the truest sense. Aside from the aforementioned artists, there’s a lofty lineup of undercard performers who are carving out a name for themselves in rap. With tons of emerging talent making a run at the fest this weekend, here’s a list of must-see acts to keep on your radar if you’re heading down south to the show.
2023 will forever be remembered as a #SexyySummer. St. Louis baddie Sexyy Red has all the intangibles needed to thrive in today’s rap landscape. Her songs are fun. She’s unapologetically herself. But most importantly, she’s consistent, and her solo output thus far is something to marvel at. From “Pound Town” (which flaunts a guest verse from Nicki Minaj on the remix) to her recent collab with DaBaby on his viral single “Shake Sumn,” Red makes music for the It-girls that get it.
Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock for the last year or so, chances are you’ve heard of Luh Tyler. The Florida jit has been snappin’ on beats and maneuvering through rap like he has something to prove. His debut studio album, My Vision, peaked at No. 2 on the Billboard Heatseekers Albums chart earlier this year. However, his most viral feat in 2023 would have to be his standout verse on Danny Towers & DJ Scheme’s collaboration with Ski Mask the Slump God, “Florida Water.”
Veeze is a torchbearer of the new-age rap renaissance currently taking place in the Midwest. The Detroit rapper made his anticipated solo debut last month with Ganger, which almost instantly became a contender for AOTY. His sticky raps make hustling feel like a civic duty, and his punchlines are caption-worthy.
Lola Brooke is short in stature but her personality is larger than life. The Brooklyn-bred emcee burst onto the scene with her viral banger “Don’t Play With It,” and it has been Gator Season ever since. Her effortless cool and natural grit have allowed Brooke to flourish in little to no time. Not to mention, female rappers have been killing it this year, and she’s definitely a part of that conversation.
Babyface Ray is a big part of the reason Detroit’s rap scene has continued to flourish over the last few years. With a new album in the works, and an arsenal of popular releases in pocket, Ray is keeping the flame lit for the Midwest by riding his own wave.
Jeleel! puts the exclamation point in his name. He’s the closest thing to explosive and the furthest from controlled, equipped with the freak athleticism of a world-class athlete. Everything about him screams high energy, which reflects in his signature style of amped-up rap. Plus, his live shows keep fans on the edge of their seats.
There’s an edginess to Bktherula’s approach as an artist that leaves a lasting impression. That, and her uncanny ability to experiment with different sounds. Her flow hits just as hard as the beats she raps over, making use of melting melodies that fall into hidden pockets at will. Put it this way, if your intrusive thoughts had a voice, it would be Bk’s.
BigXthaPlug’s syrupy flow puts molasses to shame. His defiant freshman album AMAR shook up the industry and solidified his position as one of the prominent new voices in hip-hop. As he continues to live up to the hype, his stone-cold flexes prove that the South still has something to say.
SCY Jimm has been on a tear since signing with Quality Control Music. In the face of adversity, he’s remained laser focused on staying consistent, and it’s starting to pay off in more ways than one. Jimm has a lot of upside and is showing no signs of slowing down anytime soon.
Fridayy is quietly becoming one of the industry’s most in-demand collaborators. He’s earned a spot on the 2023 XXL Freshman List the year after securing his first Grammy nomination. And beyond the accolades, he can actually sing. His slow-burning style of R&B is trap soul at its finest. But most importantly, his hip-hop hymns are breathing new life into the game.
TiaCorine is a future rap leader. It’s impossible to describe her sound without drawing comparisons to experimental icons of yesteryear like Missy Elliott. From left-field looks that redefine beauty standards, to the unwavering confidence of a natural nonconformist, Tia has continued to trend in the right direction since “Lotto.”
Atlanta is known for its growing community of underground artists with their own style, and Tony Shhnow is one of them. A good portion of Tony’s catalog finds him tearing through busy beats that sound unfinished, at least until he shhows up to fill in the gap.
Memphis rapper Duke Deuce brings a necessary edge to hip-hop. His energy commands attention and his dance moves are just as invigorating. If there was ever a question as to who’s responsible for reigniting the public’s demand for crunk music, it’s him.
Skilla Baby is an emerging artist with mainstream potential. He’s collaborated with everyone from Kash Doll and Peezy T to Luh Tyler and most recently Tee Grizzley. Without a doubt, Skilla has one of the most distinct voices in the Motor City and he’s carved out a lane amongst his contemporaries.
21 Lil Harold
Slaughter Gang signee 21 Lil Harold is slowly but surely graduating from buzzing force to rap star in his own right. He’s consistent where it counts and has a natural flair to his delivery that makes his hard-nosed raps stick. Lil Harold’s flow is bulletproof like his bars and he represents the sound of modern Atlanta.
Loe Shimmy is making the most of his success this year. He’s currently on the road with Luh Tyler as support for his My Vision Tour. Plus, he’s already secured co-signs from Drake and Kodak Black this early in the game. Shimmy is putting on for Florida with a whisper-like voice and a tremendous amount of star power.